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Jon Beasley-Murray
Associate Professor of Latin American Studies
University of British Columbia

Course name
Murder, Madness, and Mayhem — Latin American Literature in Translation
North of the Río Grande — Latin American Civilization and Culture
Magical Realism Reconsidered — Survey of Spanish-American Literature since the 1820s

Course level (undergraduate/graduate)
Advanced undergraduates

Learning objectives
Writing Skills Development    
Media and Information Literacy    
Critical Thinking and Research Skills    
Wiki Technical and Communication Skills    

Discipline of course
Spanish/Latin American Studies

Class size

Individual or group assignment

Duration of assignment
12 weeks

Murder, Madness, and Mayhem syllabus
Murder, Madness, and Mayhem assignment
North of the Rio Grande syllabus
North of the Rio Grande assignment
Magical Realism Reconsidered syllabus
Magical Realism Reconsidered assignment


In each of these courses, students were asked to work in groups to create or to improve Wikipedia articles related to the course topic.

These articles were usually devoted to the books and/or authors that we were studying in what was in each case essentially a literature class. In many cases, but not all, the articles already existed in some form or another, of variable quality. Students were particularly encouraged to submit their articles to Wikipedia peer review and quality processes, such as “Did You Know,” “Good Article,” and “Featured Article” nominations.

It exceeded expectations in just about every area. I was perhaps most surprised by how much this also became an assignment about writing (and revising).

(CC-BY 3.0) by Ofelia Ros