Theme: eLearning
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Enthusiasm vs. study requirements: motivation of students to take part on contributing to a wiki-based textbook and quality of result
Authors: Institutions: Charles University in Prague, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Czech Republic
 
Background

WikiSkripta (www.wikiskripta.eu, in English WikiLectures, www.wikilectures.eu) is a wikibased textbook for medical students running in Czech and Slovak language. It is available to all medical schools in the Czech and Slovak Republics. Today, it is the most used educational web for undergraduate medical study in both countries. It is completely opened both for reading and writing new articles.

Summary of Work

WikiSkripta are still more used by medical teachers to stimulate students for active learning.
Some teachers ask students to write an article for WikiSkripta as a requirement for obtaining a credit.
However, the quality of articles created in this way seems to be lower than quality of similar articles written by students spontaneously.

We compared references listed in student articles that were written spontaneously and in articles that were written as a seminary work required for credit.

Summary of Results

Articles written by students spontaneously cite more relevant sources. Most references are textbooks, monographs and papers from peer-reviewed journals.

In contrary, articles written on demand of a teacher contain most frequently only one relevant source.
Potentially inaccurate sources prevail in this case:

  • web presentations of commercial companies,
  • non-reviewed web pages and
  • Wikipedia.

The number of references to peer-reviewed sources differs significantly between articles written spontaneosly and articles written on demand.
Spontaneously written articles contain in average 2.7 peer-reviewed references while articles written on demand contain in average only 1.1 peer-reviewed reference.

Fig. 1: Average number of references to peer-reviewed sources in articles written for WikiSkripta by students.
Articles that were written spontaneously contain significantly more references to peer-reviewed sources (left)
than articles that were written on demand of a teacher (e.g. as a requirement to obtain a credit).

Conclusion

It seems always controversial to allow students to write study materials for them. We demonstrated that enthusiasm as motivation leads to more reliable results than requiring a text for awarding a credit. Checking the article by teacher does not seem to improve it. Therefore, WikiSkripta are going to introduce a peer-review process.

Take-home Messages

Students can significantly contribute in writing educational materials when they do it spontaneously.

Forcing them for similar contribution leads to texts of inferior quality. 

Background
Summary of Work
Summary of Results
Conclusion
Take-home Messages
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