Education/Archive/Materials for Teaching

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On this page, we have collected a lot of materials that you can use when you are teaching Wikipedia in the classroom. There is also a main bookshelf where you can find materials about various aspects of Wikipedia that you may find useful. Please refer to "The Syllabus" for tips on when and how to teach these various topics during the semester.

Introducing Wikipedia


These materials include resources for getting students excited about Wikipedia, as well as coverage of the basics of how Wikipedia works.

Inspirational videos

User Name Nice People Edit Button Nice Feeling
This video shows some of Wikipedia's contributors, explaining their user names. This video focuses on the motivations and passion of Wikipedians, and ends with a comment by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales about what makes the project special. This video is a direct invitation by Wikipedians to "click that [edit] button and see what happens". In this video, Wikipedians talk about the joy of being part of a global community of editors.

Tools for generating excitement

  • Wikipedia Vision – an animated map that highlights live edits from users around the world as they happen, demonstrating the global nature of the project.
  • Wikistream – a visualization showing a stream of edits to the most popular Wikipedia projects.
  • Listen to Wikipedia - a musical representation of real-time edits to Wikipedia
  • Live feed of all edits – a feed that outputs every new change to English Wikipedia, demonstrating the pace of Wikipedia's evolution: 1–2 edits per second. Requires an IRC client to view.
  • Wikipedia article traffic statistics – a tool for charting how many hits any given article gets, great for comparing different kinds of articles at different times, e.g., Genetics (in the school year) vs. (in the summer), or YouTube (with weekend spikes) and Simpsons (with spikes when new episodes come out). Students can also use it to see how many people are reading their articles over the course of the class (and beyond).
  • Manypedia - a tool for comparing a specific Wikipedia page from a language edition Wikipedia (for example, English) with its equivalent page on another language edition Wikipedia (for example, Arabic), exploiting automatic translation and additional statistics about both pages such as number of edits and editors.
  • WikiTrip - a tool for visualizing the animated evolution in time of two kinds of information about the Wikipedians who edited the selected page: their location in the world and their gender.

Introductory literature

Welcome to Wikipedia Ten Simple Rules Introduction to free licenses Evaluating Wikipedia article quality
This 17-page guide covers creating a user account, editing basics, communication, and how articles evolve and are evaluated, and includes a quick reference to help you to remember frequently used wiki markup. This editorial focuses on how to contribute effectively as an expert, and is great for setting expectations before students begin editing. This brochure helps you understand the basic concepts of free licenses, as well as terms like "CC-by-SA" and "public domain". This reference guide covers specific steps you can take to get the most out of Wikipedia, as well as a look at how its quality system works.

Mechanics of editing Wikipedia


Instructional handouts


These printable PDF documents are designed to be handed out to students, either as part of a packet at the beginning of a Wikipedia assignment, or throughout the term at appropriate points.

  • Wiki markup quick reference – This one-page quick reference (included in the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure) helps you to remember the most frequently used wiki markup codes.
  • References – This handout explains why references are important, what the expectations for sourcing on Wikipedia are, where to place references, and the basics of adding "ref" tags.
  • Reference formatting – This handout explains in more detail how to create footnotes for citing sources, and how to cite the same source multiple times.
  • How to get help – explains the recommended way to get help and feedback for classes supported by Wikipedia Ambassadors: by posting on their course talk page and notifying their mentor. It also includes a glossary of additional help resources students might use.
  • Plagiarism – explains what plagiarism is on Wikipedia—including "close paraphrasing"—in addition to why and how to avoid it.

Sample assignments


These simple exercises are intended to familiarize students with the basics of Wikipedia before they begin a major Wikipedia writing assignment.

  • Create a username and userpage – A short assignment asking students to create user accounts and edit their userpages, as well as read a few key Wikipedia policies.
  • Basic editing tasks – A short assignment asking students to create userpages, improve the clarity of a sentence in an article, upload an image, add a reference to an article, and select a mentor.
  • Sourcing assessment – asks students to assess the sources in a new Wikipedia article. It can be adapted to require participation on the talk page of the article.
  • Copyediting – asks students to copyedit a new article.
  • Encyclopedia comparison – asks students to compare and contrast a Wikipedia article on an author with another encyclopedia's entry. It can easily be adapted for any discipline with relevant tertiary sources. It requires no knowledge of wikicode.

Tutorial videos

Starting a sandbox article Basic editing: bold and links How to use a watchlist How to use talk pages
How to start an a sandbox page to play around with wiki markup or start an article draft (2m 11s) How to use the most basic features of wiki markup to create bold text and links to other pages (3m 37s) How to use a watchlist to keep track of pages you are interested in or have edited (2m 10s) How to interact with other editors using talk pages, including article talk pages and user talk pages (2m 30s)
Basic editing: citing sources Citing sources with RefToobar Uploading files to Wikimedia Commons
How to add citations using "ref" tags (2m 3s) How to use the 'Cite' tool for inserting automatically formatted references (2m 24s) Uploading files such as images to Wikimedia Commons, using the upload wizard (2 min 48 sec)

Writing articles


Instructional handouts

  • Plagiarism – explains what plagiarism is on Wikipedia—including "close paraphrasing"—in addition to why and how to avoid it. Hand this one out twice.
  • Moving out of your sandbox – walks through how to move an article draft from a userpage sandbox into Wikipedia.
  • Submitting an article to the Did You Know process – walks through how to submit a new or newly expanded article to the Did You Know process so that it will appear on the Main Page.

Tutorial videos

Article creation Article improvement Article assessments Article evolution
A demonstration, recorded live, of how to create a Wikipedia article (7 min 50 sec) A look at how to assess the shortcomings of an article and improve it (4m 22s) An exploration of the standard article assessment system, with examples of each quality level (11m 30s) A trip through the history of an article, from humble beginnings to Good Article status (6m 25s)
Bookshelf Project

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