Using Wikipedia to Make English Academic Writing Meaningful for Undergraduates

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Jennifer Louise Teeter, Kyoto University

Reference Data

Teeter, J. L. (2016). Using Wikipedia to make English academic writing meaningful for undergraduates. In P. Clements, A. Krause, & H. Brown (Eds.), Focus on the learner. Tokyo: JALT.

I describe a project to help make academic writing more meaningful and authentic for 1st-year students through a Wikipedia project. Students wrote Wikipedia articles on topics important to them, uploaded them, and then monitored comments made by Wikipedia editors on their articles. The project focused not only on producing articles, but also on building awareness of genre, developing research skills, and getting peer feedback, so as to provide students with an introduction to the unfamiliar terrain of writing for an international audience. In this paper I outline the prewriting, research, drafting, uploading, and follow-up stages. In order to gauge the success of the project, I had students participate in an informal survey and semistructured interviews. The results indicate that students’ perceptions of their writing competence improved, specifically regarding the ability to find articles, write references and citations, paraphrase and summarize, and reduce bias in writing.