Great initiative, read via Peter Suber.
“…Traditional teaching saw students laboring to produce essays that to them felt onerous and oftentimes pointless. Once read by the lecturer their writing was generally consigned to the dustbin….
[T]he online reference encyclopedia project Citizendium, in collaboration with expert teachers and lecturers, has launched Eduzendium. The Eduzendium project allows students to write their assignments online on the Citizendium on a given topic allocated by their teacher.
Students can take responsibility for their work for course credits, and teachers grade the finished work based on the quality of the final article produced from each student’s input.
But students not only get to earn grade credits, they add to the global store of [OA] knowledge….
Perhaps best of all, students actually get to learn in a highly collaborative real-time way, enjoying direct online access to highly competent help with their work, in the form of the Citizendium authors and expert editors. The community is small, but growing and quite lively. It is also polite, in no small part because real names are required. For these reasons, the Eduzendium program differs crucially from using Wikipedia in a similar way.
And many basic topics are still wide open….
The Eduzendium initiative was proposed by Dr. Sorin A. Matei (Purdue University). In collaboration with Dr. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia and now Editor-in-Chief of the Citizendium, and a group of Purdue graduate students, he has designed a set of template policies, rules and educational methods that allow incorporating wiki style collaboration in the educational process. The policies have been pretested at Purdue and will soon be released to the educational community through Eduzendium….
Matei believes that the early tests were a success….”Eduzendium is a wonderful way of training our students, making their knowledge matter and helping students and professors reconnect with the broader societal issues that surround them. Our initiative is somewhat similar to the SETI project. Just like the famous initiative, which harnesses the idle cycles of our computers, crunching data behind screensavers, we hope to recover some of the passion, energy, and creativity invested by our scholars and students in papers or assignments that are meant to be read only once by one person,” says Matei….
According to [Lee Berger, an educator at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa], â€œWhat we found almost immediately was that students responded well to the online approach of CZ. Not only were we delighted to find that their articles as a whole were better written than traditional essays, but the students benefit–and most importantly learn from–the constructive guidance of others,” says Berger, who is on the Executive Committee of CZ and was among the first to test the program with his fourth year Honours class last semester….
Berger said grading assignments was no problem as the wiki software makes it easy to verify how much students have contributed to each article.
Following the success of the EZ pilot, the experiment is now being tried with larger classes–up to eighty students at University of Colorado and Temple University–and with students at varying levels of education. So far academics at six major Universities in Africa and the United States have tried, or are about to try, the EZ experiments in classes ranging from Anthropology to Finance…. “