Writing Wikipedia

Last June I took part in LCC’s first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon and I’m now an active member of the College’s new Decolonising Wikipedia Network. Prior to this my wikipedia editing experience amounted to adding and removing the same word when facilitating web 2.0 workshops back in the noughties.

The network and last year’s edit-a-thon have involved LCC staff and students, including the LCC Changemakers and collaboration with WikimediaUK.

LCC’s Decolonising Wikipedia Network supports students and staff to become Wikipedia editors and creators in order to increase the visibility and credibility of under-represented and marginalised figures and topics

From: LCC Decolonising Wikipedia Network

Editing Brenda

For the edit-a-thon in June 2020 we were encouraged to find an existing page of a creative practitioner that needed improving. I was keen to find someone with an education angle. Finding a page was much harder than I thought. The people I found either had well-developed pages or no page at all. In the end I found Brenda Rawnsley. Not a person of colour but, as women are really poorly represented on Wikipedia, accounting for only 18% of biographical pages, the page fitted the overall aim of the project.

One reason to bring Wikipedia into educational settings is to help develop information and digital literacies. Wikipedia has three core content policies:

  1. Verifiability
  2. No original research
  3. Neutral point of view

Brenda Rawnsley’s page lacked citations and referrencing reliable sources is essential for the encyclopedia. I found obituaries in several newspapers as well as magazine articles about related art exhibitions. To my suprise our University library had a book on Rawnsley’s School Prints project but COVID-19 scupered my access to it! The catalogue’s Search Articles Plus option also found some recent magazine articles.

These before and after screenshots show how I was able to improve the inline citations.

Screenshot of May 2020 references - one reference.
Before: References (May 2020)
Screenshot of June 2020 references - twelve references.
After: References (June 2020)

I was aided by advice on how-to write women’s biographies from the Wikipedia Women in Red project and Wikipedia’s own detailed training modules.

Introducing Alvaro

I have just finished my first original page. In March I read an article in The Guardian about the black artists selected for The Helpworth Wakefield’s School Prints project 2021. A project inspired by Brenda Rawnsley’s original School Prints. One of the artists – Alvaro Barrington – didn’t have a Wikipedia page. He does now.

With two pages under my belt I’m looking forward to helping other member’s of LCC’s Decolonising Wikipedia Network develop and introduce further pages. I plan to do more too but may switch my focus to my own discipline of digital learning.


We’ve had excellent support from Wikimedia UK in getting the LCC Wikipedia activities off the ground. A keynote for our Academic Leaders Day in 2019 by Wikimedia UK Chief Exec, Lucy Crompton-Reid, was followed by a workshop co-facilitated by her colleague Richard Nevell and UAL Librarian Alexandra Duncan. But kudos to Lucy Panesar and the LCC Changemakers for really making this project a success as one of the college’s decolonisation projects.

Competitive Ice-breaker

I kicked off our second meeting of the UK Poll Everywhere User Group at City University, London with a competitive quiz using Poll Everywhere’s segmentation feature.

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It was a close run battle, ending in a fair 3-1/2 to 3-1/2 draw. The day as a whole went really well and I particularly enjoyed the team-based learning session expertly facilitated by Rebecca McCarter from the University of Bradford.

I have posted a full report from the day on the user group site, see 2017 User Group Meeting Resources.


Using mobile devices in the classroom

Presentation at LSE Teaching Day 2011 on the use of PollEverywhere by the Media & Communications department & the Careers Service.

At the LSE Teaching Day I contributed to a presentation Use of mobile devices in the classroom for student participation & feedback (PDF of slides) given by staff and students from the Media & Communications department & the LSE Careers Service.

Students Komal Parikh  & Ev Boyle explained how they had enhanced a class student debate on media imperialism using PollEverywhere (See audience voting tools review).  The students had used 15 questions to gauge interest, check understanding & elicit questions. Judith Baines, an LSE Careers Advisor, had used the same tool to collect feedback from multiple groups.

I love lectures

There you go, I said it.

And I can’t believe I’m alone on this. Yet, and forgive the exaggerated simplicity, the message I regularly hear* is that lecture theatres are out-dated and lectures are bad;  small group work and discussions are good.  Now, don’t get me wrong I see a great value in flexible furniture & small group discursive stuff.  But I also love lectures.  Why?

  • The biggie – they give me time to think
  • They give me time to (independently) find, look at & store related material
  • Occasionally they allow me to switch off… of course I’m not actually switching off but thinking about other stuff!

And now, thanks to the wonders of technology and social networking tools such as twitter:

  • They provide me with an opportunity to interact (as much or as little as I want to) with others who are keen to do so because they are participating in the same lecture

Let’s not give up on lectures just yet.  Instead, let’s encourage better ‘lectures’,  delivered by engaging teachers who are better supported and willing to push the boundaries in (of) the lecture theatre:

*and where do I hear this? Usually in lecture theatres…


I’ve just finished watching another entertaining & fascinating talk given by Michael Wesch at the Personal Democracy Forum in June. The Machine is (Changing) Us: YouTube and the Politics of Authenticity includes a ‘brief history of whatever’ and is definitely worth 30mins of your time.  If you’ve not come across him before take a look at my earlier post A Portal to Media Literacy for some background & links.

Wesch is one of the keynote speakers at next month’s ALT-C 2009 .  I’m really looking forward to hearing him talk and I’m hoping he’ll be saying more about his innovative approach to teaching; for example see his assessment scheme & collaborative lecture notes for next term.


I also like this quote from one of his students:

Dr Wesch taught me that teaching and learning is about asking really good questions not about finding answers