Adding content to LocalWiki can be a part of coursework in a variety of educational settings. A number of college and high school instructors have included contributing to the community's LocalWiki as part of their coursework. Additionally, many libraries and library schools are incorporating LocalWiki into their work.
Students at Boise State University have contributed to the Boise LocalWiki as part of their coursework.
Prof. Kate Williams' Community Informatics course at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library & Information Science has included contribution to the Champaign-Urbana LocalWiki in 2012, 2013, & 2014. Students have created content, worked on outreach, and created a guide to help others who are working on LocalWiki projects in their own communities. Here is the text of the LocalWiki assignment used in this class:
Cyberorganizing. This assignment is part of the community endeavor CUwiki (https://localwiki.org/cu). Assess the wiki, comparing it with other localwikis. Create good local wiki entries. Edit or reorganize what content is there. Use the 2012 guide: https://localwiki.org/cu/wikiguide. Spanish speakers in class? Brainstorm how to add/edit/reorganize Spanish language content. OR: Is there a localwiki in your town? Should there be? Want to work on that instead? That’s fine.
Prof. Williams' "Libraries, Information, Society" course includes a week spent on Wikipedia and LocalWiki. Here is the text of the assignment:
Wiki: Make two substantial contributions, one to Wikipedia and one to the local wiki cuwiki.net. Talk with two people about what you did. Summarize and reflect on the experience by answering four questions: What did you do? What reaction did you get? What did you learn? What suggestions do you have for the future of these two wikis? ~500 words.
For instructors who are considering using LocalWiki in a course
Why use LocalWiki?
This excerpt from the LocalWiki Guide developed as part of the coursework in a Community Informatics course at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library & Information Science gives a great rationale:
Are you a teacher in Champaign County? Then create an assignment for your students that will get them creating cuwiki content, doing outreach to tell others, or showing and teaching and helping other people do it. Why? Five reasons.
- Students write better when they write for each other and the rest of the world rather than for one reader, the teacher.
- They also learn a lot from talking with people and doing a little community organizing -- with whatever community.
- They really learn something when they have to teach it.
- CU Wiki has lots of room for growth and development and the community needs and wants this resource.
- The number one reason, though, is that they (and you and me) are caught in an information revolution. This means (among other things) that we can crowdsource fabulous things. Everyone gives a little and we all get a lot. The best way to learn this is to practice it. Help your class develop powerful computer literacy and be masters rather than peons in this digital age.
As a teacher, it was a breakthrough to assign something where I didn't know how it would turn out. It was a success! I'm happy to hear from teachers anywhere (K-20) on this.--katewill <at> illinois <dot> edu or leave me a note on my user page here: katewill
Literacy, or computer literacy for that matter, isn't one simple thing. Can you tell what number the next bus is? Can you figure out the bus schedule? Can you make sense of an academic article? Can you write one? Can you read the Bible? And can you write a sermon? Can you understand rap music? And can you spit rhymes? Many literacies. Some more powerful than others. In different contexts. Powerful computer literacy is the ability to create content in cyberspace, to upload and not just download. Stories, videos, databases, even software itself. Don't be a garbage can anyone can throw anything in. (You'll catch a virus.) Practice computer literacy with an attitude. Be an uploader not a downloader. Talk back. Push back! Be heard. Shape cyberspace. For more on this, see: Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick Finn.
For lots of ideas on the kinds of projects/assignments you can do with LocalWiki, check out the Oakland Wiki Educators' Portal.
Please add more here!
People you can contact for advice and to exchange ideas
Univ. of Illinois Prof. Kate Williams: I'm happy to hear from teachers anywhere (K-20) on this.--katewill <at> illinois <dot> edu or leave me a note on my user page here: katewill