Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a database containing over 17 million free educational media files that can be used by anyone for any purpose. Commons hosts content that is freely licenced and public domain.

The aim of Wikimedia Commons is to provide media content for instructional and informative educational purposes that would reduce duplication across all Wikimedia projects.

The main content policy for content uploaded to Commons is that it must be potentially useful on any of the Wikimedia projects in all languages. Community members may reuse material; contribute by uploading files and edit Wiki pages. Content under open content licenses can be freely reused without contacting the licensor, but there are some licences that do require the following:

  • the creator be attributed
  • the specific licence be identified
  • any work modified must be similarly freely licensed
  • GNU Free Documentation License
  • Creative Commons Attribution
  • Attribution/ShareAlike licences

Wikimedia Commons does not allow fair use or uploads under non-free licenses.Commons is easily navigated and the community portal page provides a snapshot of the website’s features:

  • News
  • Policies and decisions
  • Communications
  • Recommendations and tutorials
  • Content organisation

A new improvement to the search functionality on Commons includes the following:

  • Featured pictures – works are nominated and voted by community members including third parties
  • Quality images – only accepts works by Wikimedia users
  • Valued Images – is a third assessment project that recognises ‘valued illustration of its kind’
  • Picture of the day
  • Media of the day

Users can also download the new Wikimedia Commons mobile app, both on iTunes and Google play.

The benefits for online educators in using Wikimedia Commons are twofold. Online educators can freely reuse the media on Commons to create learning content for curriculum but also integrate Commons as a tool with which students can engage with open content media which will also teach students the desired technical skills for engaging with this platform. Online educators can use Wikimedia Commons to design educational projects for students.

Educators can source images for their educational content as long as there is author attribution. Online educators can create a positive social learning environment for their students. By assigning students to generate new media, they can:

  • share their work on and get feedback on the quality of their images
  • demonstrate their knowledge on a subject by creating diagrams
  • learn about media restorations

Using Wikimedia images, videos and audio cannot only enrich the quality of the online learning materials but the learner’s experience. Students can be assigned tasks:

  • demonstrate their knowledge on a subject by identifying media objects
  • develop language skills by describing and or translating descriptions
  • learn copyright skills by confirming or improving copyright tags

Wikimedia Commons encourages active participation and can be used as an efficient teaching tool which benefits online educators through participation in the Wikimedia community by contributing useful improvements to new media and improving current content. They can create projects where students can improve and restore digital images, identify images that are unclassified and improve or translate media descriptions.

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