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Leveraging Wikipedia in First Year Interest Courses: A High-Impact Learning Model

The first year of a student’s higher education experience is an integral time to learn skills and build habits that will support students on their path to a degree. Student success at Miami Dade College is the priority of every student contact interaction both in and outside of the classroom. With this strategic priority in mind, the Miami Dade College (MDC) Hialeah Campus Library (Learning Resources) developed a plan to engage and further student success through a high-impact learning project. A review of students by faculty members and librarians found that many incoming students lacked crucial writing, research, and academic technology skills. A partnership formed with First Year Experience (FYE) teaching SLS1106 faculty and the campus library to focus on these skills by designing an inclusive curriculum that would impact student learning. SLS1106 is a natural fit as the course focuses on topics that set the groundwork for students to be successful in the academic world including critical thinking, study skills, and decision making. By adding a technological, research, and writing component, students take an active role in the topics by contextualizing the course material and creating content that will be distributed to a wide audience. The main objectives for the project include: • Introducing transferable skills that will impact all future academic courses and jobs • Developing value for research and writing supporting critical thinking early in the academic career • Connecting reliable information input and output • Bridging the gap between social media and academic software/technology skills Wikipedia, while still considered taboo in some academic arenas, serves as an ideal tool to teach students the importance of information literacy and to value the writing they create. When used to deliver information literacy instruction, Wikipedia has the potential to expose students to each of the six frames of the ACRL framework. This Wikipedia project is designed to expose students to the power of information literacy and equip them with the boldness necessary to be Wikipedia contributors. In partnership with the campus library, FYE instructor, and Wikipedia Education Foundation, a curriculum is designed to help students develop essential transferable skills required to properly research, evaluate, access, and contribute information in a real-world capacity, on a global scale. When students becoming Wikipedia contributors they create the opportunity to take action and make changes by sharing knowledge that reaches far beyond the classroom that will impact millions around the world. Students are empowered by contributing to Wikipedia and seeing their work “published”, which leads to positive writing habits that will carry over to other courses. 

Learning Outcomes: 

  1. During this webinar, participants will learn how high-impact models can be used in first-year courses to engage students and promote student success. 
  2. During this webinar, participants will learn how collaborating with with other departments on campus can provide additional layers of content and support to the classroom. 
  3. During this webinar, participants will learn how Wikipedia can be used as a resource to promote both information and digital literacy. 

Caitlin Richardson, MLIS is the Academic Support Writing Coach at Miami Dade College Hialeah Campus and serves as a librarian. She teaches library courses focused on strategies for online research at Miami Dade College. Richardson earned her master’s degree at the University of South Florida and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Le Moyne College. She is a recent recipient of American Library Association Great Stories Club grant. Richardson also serves as the Dade County Library Association secretary.

April N. Gaddis, MS serves as the associate director of learning resources at Miami Dade College, Hialeah Campus and an adjunct professor of First-Year Seminars and Experiences. She earned her master’s degree in higher education administration at Florida International University and holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Mississippi State University. Gaddis leads the Peer Mentor Task Force at her campus and she is also the recipient of the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Pacific: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Mountain: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Central: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Eastern: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm





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