*Times of India : " Editing Wiki is now part of CoEP's syllabi"*

*PUNE: Over 800 students from seven engineering disciplines of the College
of Engineering Pune (CoEP) will now engage in editing Wikipedia pages, as a
mandatory activity for first semester of their B.Tech programme. *
*"Articles written by students for the web-based free content encyclopaedia,
will carry weightage in terms of internal evaluation at the end of
semester," said CoEP director Anil Sahasrabudhe on Wednesday. "The exercise
is aimed at developing research, writing and review skills, critical
thinking and collaborative work ethics among students," he said. *
*Students from mechanical, electrical, electronics and telecom, production,
computer, infotech and mathematics disciplines will work on select topics,
under the guidance of trained faculties, for writing articles. Most topics
relate to their respective engineering branches. *
*"In all, 843 students from seven disciplines and 10 courses have been
identified for the content writing activity. Details of topics have been
posted on the Wikipedia site, which can be accessed by going to search for
`WP:INDIAEDU' or `Wiki India Education Program'," said Sahasrabudhe. *
*Wikipedia, which ranks among the world's biggest and most referred
encyclopaedias, have signed an agreement with the CoEP to facilitate
training of students as well as faculty in content editing and article
writing aspects. *
*Incidentally, the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the online free
encyclopedia, has chosen Pune as the first place outside San Fransico, US,
for a pilot program in India that aims at promoting web-based free content
writing as a tool of learning in higher education. *
*"Apart from CoEP, we are working with the Symbiosis School of Economics;
Progressive Education Society's Modern College of Engineering; and Shrimati
Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) University," said Hisham Mundol,
Wikimedia's national programs consultant for India. *
*As of now, Wikipedia has over 400 million users worldwide including 8
million in India. The free encylopedia logs 12 billion page requests every
month. Yet, it presents a unique model of content development through
writing, editing and re-editing entirely by community members, who share a
strong passion for various subjects. *
*Mundol said, "The advent of internet has only ensured that accessing
information has become easier, but on the flip side, it has also given way
to intellectual laziness that was first recognised by professors and
teachers at leading US institutions in terms of paper writing by their
students. This also led to skepticism and hatred for the online
encyclopedia." *
*To dispel doubts, Wikimedia launched a pilot project called 'Public Policy
Initiative' to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a
teaching and learning tool in higher education, he said. *
*"Professors at Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley and
Georgetown University, among other institutions, have implemented Wikipedia
into their class curricula, asking their students to create and improve
articles on the English-language Wikipedia. The success of this programme
prompted us to undertake similar projects elsewhere," he added.*

Tinu Cherian
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