Touro PT Students Share Health Information Worldwide in Wikipedia Editathon

This real time counter logs each edit to Wikipedia, including those by our own PT students

Drs. Shira Wiener and Yocheved Bensinger-Brody hosted their second Wikipedia Editathon for their Doctor of Physical Therapy Program students of class 2019 on April 4th.  Like last year, in this three-hour long session, Lane Rasberry, the Wikipedian-in-Residence first briefly explained the nature of Wikipedia as a free encyclopedia that can be edited by anybody. At the same time, he clarified, Wikipedia is not a chaotic space and once an article is written or edited, its dedicated volunteer editors will check on the accuracy of any new information that has been added to Wikipedia. This is how Wikipedia controls its quality, he said.

Librarian Sara Tabaei and Wikipedian-In-Residence Lane Raspberry offer support

With this advice, he then invited students to start editing an article on Wikipedia. All students were required to research their topic and find high quality evidence to support their edits before the session. Divided into several groups, the students started skimming articles on their particular topic to identify any information gaps, inaccuracies or poor sources. Since the main goal of this Editathon was to contribute evidence based, current and accurate information to health articles on Wikipedia, the PT students using their expertise knowledge of reliable resources, added citations and professional sources as needed. This Editathon resulted in 75 edits in 8 Wikipedia articles.

As a librarian, it was a pleasure to see how meticulously students added new information to the Wikipedia articles and made sure they have provided correct information about their sources both in text and in the references at the end of the article. Continue below to read about the students’ experiences on their Wikipedia Editathon collaboration. In true Wikipedia fashion, we’ve compiled excerpts from each group’s response to the event, to create a chronicle of their experience in the students’ own words:

Students hard at work updating their Wikipedia articles

“All in all, my group and I found this Wiki-Edit-a-Thon experience to be irrefutably engaging.”[1] “This was the first time any of us have edited anything on Wikipedia and it was a good learning experience.” [2] “We did not expect to be so engaged during the process and it took a lot more effort to edit even a small portion of an existing article.” [3] ” “It was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into each Wikipedia page, and to see the influence we can have on the world. Even though we only wrote one paragraph, we had to do extensive research and make sure that we had proper citations for each sentence we wrote.” [4] “To be able to edit the pages ourselves and know that we will helping provide new accurate information for viewers around the world is empowering.” [5] “We gained insight into how Wikipedia works and the complicated process involved in editing and producing articles.” [6] “As we became accustomed to the editing interface, it was exciting, and dare I say addicting, to make changes and improvement to the Wikipedia page on chronic pain.” [7] “Lane did not disappoint! His explanation and expertise in Wikipedia, captured our attention and kept us engaged throughout the experience. We are happy to have made a big difference in this small world.” [8]

(Hover over the footnotes to see group members’ names.)

Contributed by: Sara Tabaei, Librarian, Midtown; and the students from Doctor of Physical Therapy Program students of class 2019

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