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Wikipedia Assignment

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a collaboratively written online encyclopedia openly editable by anyone. Users can edit anonymously, under a pseudonym (recommended), or their own name. All versions of pages are saved and Wikipedia editors are checking all content for neutrality and validity.

Wikipedia articles should be based on verifiable information, respected published works, and authoritative sources (Wikipedia’s Five Pillars). Because Wikipedia is a community project and work in progress, it is an excellent opportunity for students to thoroughly research a topic, critically and carefully consider the article(s) on Wikipedia and finally edit (or add) content using neutral language and verifiable sources. Sharing well researched information with an audience beyond the student's peer group allows them to contribute their knowledge to a larger audience and interact with a larger community.

Wikipedia Assignment & Initiatives

The Wikipedia assignment generally asks students to select a topic and either edit an existing page or create a new article related to the course material. The topic should be well researched and properly cited. For ideas on how you might use Wikipedia with your course, the Wikipedia Education Program has compiled case studies on how some professors are teaching with Wikipedia.

There are a few associations who have put Wikipedia Initiatives into place to encourage experts in their field help ensure that articles are up-to-date and accurate. (If you know of others please let us know so we can add them to the list.)

Outcomes

The Wikipedia assignment incorporates learning outcomes such as:

  • Working effectively in groups.
  • Utilizing critical thinking skills.
  • Demonstrating effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Applying knowledge to academic research, digital literacy, and the creation of new ideas.
  • Demonstrating knowledge and sensitivity to a diversity of opinions.
  • Enhancing capability for leadership and self-advocacy..

The Wikipedia Education Program has compiled a list of Benefits and Challenges of Wikipedia assignments.

Structuring the Assignment

This assignment can be completed in small groups or individually and can be completed mostly independent of classroom time. The assignment should be structured over multiple weeks, allowing plenty of time for students to research topics, learn about Wikipedia’s core policies and how to edit and add content. Allow for approximately 2-4 hours for learning about Wikipedia, creating an account and experimenting with editing content. 

Instructors who utilize editing/adding articles to Wikipedia as an assignment should have a good working knowledge of Wikipedia and understand the core policies. Generally the core policies are (1) neutral point of view, (2) verifiability, and (3) no original research.

Optionally, Wikipedia provides an area where you can create a course page (example course page) that identifies the instructor, students, and the articles being edited or added. The course page helps Wikipedia editors provide constructive feedback to the appropriate individuals/groups. Wikipedia also has a small number of ambassadors who volunteer their time to work with instructors and students on their projects

Review the article student assignments for complete details about using Wikipedia as an assignment.

Creating an Account/Username

This is a critical consideration for both instructors and students. Before creating user accounts in Wikipedia students should be aware of the Username Policy as well as considerations when selecting a username. Everyone should carefully review the sections Guidance for new users as well as using your real name.

Tutorials & Resources for Students

Tutorials & Resources for Faculty

 

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