Medical students do their bit for Wikipedia while learning definitions

An innovative approach to teaching at the Health Science Department of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University Medical School has students learning medical terms and definitions by updating the worldwide electronic encyclopedia Wikipedia as part of their coursework.

“This method is being applied for the third consecutive year and is aimed at helping students learn their terms and analyze definitions while at the same time enriching the entries on Wikipedia,” Panayiotis Bamidis, assistant professor at the Medical School’s lab of medical informatics, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) yesterday.

According to the academic, this method also helps students become better acquainted with new technologies and their applications. He argues that traditional print encyclopedias are becoming almost obsolete since the emergence of collaborative digital efforts such as Wikipedia.

Students at the Aristotle University Medical School’s Health Science Department have already posted more than 70 articles on the site, while a project to translate the terms and definitions into Greek is also under way in order to include them in the Greek version of Wikipedia.

“The students work in groups of two or three in order to achieve the best possible result in their translations of the definitions. In the three years that we have been applying this method, 250 students have been able to leave their on mark on Wikipedia,” Bamidis said, adding that this is a popular method at other institutions around the world, most notably at the University of California. [AMNA]

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