Medical students at the University of California, San Francisco, will be able to get course credit for editing Wikipedia articles about diseases, part of an effort to improve the quality of medical articles in the online encyclopedia and help distribute the articles globally via cellphones. While professors often incorporate Wikipedia work into classes, hoping that student research can live on online, the university and others say this is the first time a medical school will give credit for such work.
“We as a profession have our corpus of knowledge, and we owe it as a profession to educate the lay public,” said Dr. Amin Azzam, a health sciences associate clinical professor at the U.C.S.F. School of Medicine who will teach the monthlong elective course in December.
The course is open to fourth-year medical students and was scheduled for a month when many travel the country for interviews to arrange their residencies, so they need the flexibility to work remotely, Dr. Azzam said. Three students have signed up for the course, but he said that this time was really to test whether the concept was worthy.