Digital Studies 101

A common resource for Digital Studies at UMW.


Wikipedia is one of the largest and most heavily-trafficked websites in the world, and its structure and collaborative model make the world’s knowledge available to anyone. It’s been blamed for killing off encyclopedias, for enabling plagiarists, and for making Internet users intellectually lazy. It has also been called “The greatest work of literature in history.”

Wikipedia is incredibly large, with about 4.5 million articles in just the English-language database.

All this content, power, and promise does not diminish its imbalances, omissions, and controversies. According to one research in 2013, something like 91% of Wikipedia contributors are men. And just visit the “Talk” page for a current event or controversial topic to see how messy it all is under the hood. In this module, you’ll try and do something to make Wikipedia better.


  • Learn about the scope, scale, and breadth of Wikipedia
  • Learn about how Wikipedia works
  • Gain experience editing Wikipedia
  • Learn about Wikipedia Editing
  • Apply own information to Wikipedia


Suggested Tasks

  • Learn about Wikipedia’s history and the knowledge models that it seems to have replaced
  • Learn about Wikipedia’s processes and how those encourage consistent writing and accurate information
  • Read Wikipedia’s style guide
  • Improve a wikipedia article or several
  • Look into the ways administrators remove or add content to popular pages
  • Identify an under-represented area or content domain, and organize a group editing session. Invite your friends!
  • Investigate how Wikipedia works to correct misinformation being posted, as well as vandalism of articles.

Slack Channel: wikipedia