For the second year in a row, the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture (DHC) at IUP has co-sponsored an Edit-a-thon event focused on improving representation of women and the arts in Wikipedia. In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as female. This lack of female participation has led to an alarming dearth of content about women and art in the world’s most popular online research tool. DHC affiliate Dr. Matt Vetter organized and led the event with Women’s and Gender Studies Director Dr. Lynn Botelho. The DHC also provided technical support and laptops for the event.
The Edit-a-thon took place March 7, 2018 in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 226. As part of this event, 66 editors made 429 edits to 29 articles in Wikipedia, adding nearly 6,000 words to help improve representation of women and the arts across disciplines.
This year’s Edit-a-thon also included a broader assessment initiative. Organizers conducted a survey to which 24 participants responded. Preliminary analysis of survey results demonstrates positive outcomes related to the event. In particular, 70% of those surveyed indicated that they would edit Wikipedia in the future. Additionally, 80% of the surveyed participants agreed that a Wikipedia classroom project is a worthwhile experience. Finally, as part of this survey, participants were asked to rank learning outcomes. Averages across these rankings showed that participants found the event useful for learning about outcomes in the following order: (1) critical thinking, (2) digital literacy, (3) technical skills, (4) online source reliability, (5) about the class topic, (6) writing for a general audience.
Doctoral students in Dr. Vetter’s English 846: Digital Rhetoric also conducted video interviews with 6 Edit-a-thon participants to learn more about their experience and learning related to digital literacy and critical thinking. This research is ongoing.
In addition to the sponsorship provided by the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture, this event was supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, IUP Libraries, Women’s & Gender Studies, Art, Theatre & Dance, and Composition & Applied Linguistics.