I asked my students to write a short (2–5 page) reflective essay on their experiences using Wikipedia. The reflective paper was graded based on the thoroughness and depth with which they reflected on their experience, but the paper was also used as a lens to evaluate their final project.
Their final project was to add 1,200 to 2,000 words to a stub article related to the course. The were expected to create an info box, add images, and add at least 20 relevant and authoritative citations. While I was able to use the article history to evaluate the objective quality of each student’s contributions, it was very useful to see the shifts in subjective self-awareness and perception that is a large part of why I had my students write on Wikipedia. I was able to confirm from the student’s own voice the transformations I had witnessed (or believed I had witnessed) via the text they added: it empowered them, it transformed their research skills, it was rewarding for them to do something that was for the greater good, and most importantly, it made their writing better and kept them academically honest.
(CC-BY-SA 2.0) by Anna M Campbell Photography