Skip menu

Engaging with a global audience through writing for Wikipedia

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 2:30pm – 3:00pm parallel session



Room 1 – 302-G20, Case Room



Dr Frances Di Lauro
University of Sydney, Australia

Susan Atkinson
University of Sydney, Australia



This presentation will showcase the assessment design in a unit called Writing for the Digital World, which was one of the first round of Open Learning Environments (OLEs) released in 2018 at The University of Sydney. OLEs are part of a redesigned curriculum and support the development of graduate qualities and other competencies that have broad application but are not formally taught as part of the degree structure.

Writing for the Digital World engages students in the production of content for a global audience via an authentic assessment: writing an original Wikipedia article. Students work on a topic that is personally relevant and become skilled at writing in an expository style that typifies the writing genre required in most future workplace contexts. The Wikipedia team are actively engaged in providing targeted feedback to the new authors. Students are able to follow not only the history of revisions to their Wikipedia article but how many global views it receives through Wikipedia’s analytics dashboard.

The effectiveness of the assessment was demonstrated by substantial public engagement with many of the student articles, indicating their mastery of the writing genre.  Quantitative and qualitative responses from the end of unit evaluation questionnaire revealed students who understood of the aim of the OLEs,  the value of inquiry-based learning on a topic of their choice and writing for a global audience, as well as some who misunderstood the purpose of the unit and resented Wikipedia benefitting from their work.

This OLE continues to have very high number of enrolments in 2019, suggesting that students value engaging with and mastering technology that serves a global context and can be directly applied to their future lives and workplaces.  During the course of the unit they are also critically engaged with ethical debates around access to information, copyright and quality of sources on the Internet.


Presentation topic

Students – Global Learning

Print Friendly, PDF & Email