Talk:Using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education (Bookshelf)

From Outreach Wiki
Latest comment: 13 years ago by Sageross in topic Presentation/workshop on the subject
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Talking points[edit]

  • Using Wikipedia for research
    • Evaluating sources and citations
  • Contributing to Wikipedia
    • No shared (role) accounts
    • Plagarism, citing sources (and citing all claims, no matter how small)
    • Images and copyright concerns
      • Free sources, such as US Government photos (not state government)
    • Update early, update often to collaborate with others
    • Create an account and use edit summaries!
  • Advantages of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool (Teachers)
    • Improving encyclopedic coverage of a topic/subject area.
    • Teach students the importance of revision to good writing.
    • The assignment grade could be determined by collective, public, peer review, and not by the professor's personal judgement.
  • Advantages of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool (Students)
    • Engage students in a real world project with real world interactions
    • Students are held accountable to a global audience for what they are doing, and thus feel more devoted to the assignment as a whole
    • Students experience that others will build on their work and continue with the article after the assignment has ended
    • Students learn the difference between fact-based and analytical writing style
    • Students strengthen their ability to think critically and evaluate sources
    • Students learn how to work in a collaborative environment
    • Students gain insights in the creation process of texts on Wikipedia. This enables them to draw conclusions for which purposes Wikipedia can be used (and for which not)
    • Students gain insights in the creation process of texts on wikis in general, an increasingly essential skill in a modern IT workplace (that can be put on one's CV)
    • Students understand that they not only consume information, they help to create it
  • Recommended Model/Models (for assigning Wikipedia articles for classwork)
    • Model A
      • ...
    • Model B
      • ..
  • Potential pitfalls and solutions/Best practices
    • Students might end up in unconstructive and even perhaps discouraging edit wars. An edit war is, in essence, a pushme-pullyou debate between editors who cannot agree as to what should be in an article. Quickly, as elsewhere in online interactions, such disagreements can become bad-tempered and provoke the intervention of Wikipedia administrators who may decide to "block" one or both of the offending individuals.
    • Students prevented from continuing his or her assignment due to a Wikipedia block.

Example assignments[edit]

[This is a list of various well-documented assignments, so that we can compare what works well and what realistic timelines are like]

Goal: Featured articles

  • Shaping the Modern World SP2010 (2010)
    • Course level: lower division
    • 1-2 students per article
    • 4 months
    • results: not documented; see instructor's talk page archive for traces. It seems like articles typically reached the B-class to GA range.
    • notes: We should ask the instructor if there is a list of all the articles students worked on, and ask about how it went. This was an ambitious project, if the assignment page saying there were 40 students is accurate.

Goal: Featured articles or Good articles

Goal: Good articles

Goal: Did You Know articles

Goal: Modest improvement of film articles

  • Robert Cummings' assignment - pp. 55-58 of Lazy Virtues (2005)
    • Course level: year 1
    • 1 student per article
    • 3 weeks
    • result: instructor considered student learning outcomes to be significant; improvements to Wikipedia relatively minor

Goal: Add or revise 250 words worth of biography content using scholarly sources

Goals and time commitments[edit]

  • Featured articles and good articles - 2-3 months (often more) (example: Murder, Madness, and Mayhem)
    • Most FAs are between 2000 and 6000 words; most GAs are between 1000 and 4000 words.
    • Most inexperienced researchers should expect to rewrite most of their initial work to reach GA or FA status
    • Learning wiki formatting, for both text and references, is an additional hurdle, although small relative to the research and writing itself
    • Good Article reviews sometimes accumulate a backlog of a month or more, although students could review other Good Article nominations to reduce the backlog
    • The featured article candidates process can take several weeks, and is usually only started after an article has been through a peer review and/or a successful Good Article review.
  • Understanding Wikipedia and making basic edits - 2-3 weeks (example: writing assignment by Robert Cummings, pp. 55-58 of Lazy Virtues)
    • In assignments like this, most effort is spent evaluating Wikipedia content and reflecting on how it is created and what can be learned about writing, scholarship, and knowledge. Direct contributions to Wikipedia are relatively minor.


Before the assignment begins:

  • Create an account yourself, and begin constructing a page for your course on the wiki
  • Advertise the assignment across Wikipedia in appropriate places
  • Review the Five Pillars of Wikipedia, the basic rules of the project
  • Familiarize yourself with some of the key tasks your students will perform, including quality assessments, adding content to articles, wiki-markup, and talk page discussion.

Stage 1:

  • Introduce the basics of Wikipedia to the students
  • Have students create accounts and perform basic editing
  • Get students to submit several possible articles they might choose to work on

Stage 2:

  • Have students start articles and/or post outlines and bibliographies
  • Have students review existing articles according to Wikipedia's quality assessment standards, so they understand what will be expected of their own contributions

Stage 3:

  • Complete initial student drafts of articles - these should be completed and added to Wikipedia as soon as possible, to maximize the amount of collaboration and feedback
  • Have students copy-edit each other's work and review each others articles according to Wikipedia's standards

Stage 4:

  • Students revise and improve articles
  • Submit articles for evaluation by the Wikipedia community (peer review, GA)
  • Further revision to address concerns brought up by reviewers
  • More review and revision, as time allows

Stage 5:

  • Students reflect on their work and its reception, and the the broader issues of research, reliability, collaboration, knowledge construction, etc.

Copy Edit Notes and Questions from chvaza[edit]

Chvaza 23:19, 2 July 2010 (UTC) {{edits comments and questions appear in the text in double curved brackets, like this.}}Reply

EMAIL sent to Frank re notes below. Frank, Hi! I've just done an edit of the Tools for Higher Education wiki.

1) Between my two saved edits, there is an edit identified by my IP address only. (I've now learned that I have to log in repeatedly each time I change locations). I didn't know where to make a notation that the IP address was me.

2) i have several questions which we can discuss in person if you like. My questions/notes appear in the text in curved brackets {this is me talking to you regarding the content}.

Let me know how and when you'd like to discuss the questions. I will need to do more work, and I see that you still have content to create.

   * Review the pages "Wikipedia:Five pillars" and "Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not"; watch the available Wikipedia instructional videos {Searching Five pillars brings up a redirect to page entitled "Wikipedia" "(Redirected from Five pillars of Wikipedia)" which is very different from the edited page name entered here. -csv} {Search for wikipedia:instructional video produced no results with that this exact name. To which video does this refer? = csv}
   * Take a look at the sample Wikipedia Course Syllabus {where?} and adjust it to your needs
   * Set up a project page for your specific course on Wikipedia {How? or Instructions at}

Week 4

   * Ask students to create user accounts on Wikipedia and familiarize themselves with some of Wikipedia's key features {such as?} which will be important in completing their assignment
   * Ask students to create their own sandbox {define earlier or provide glossary}{how} and to use it for creating outlines for their articles
   * Ask students to write a bibliography for their topic on the selected article's talk page {are "topic" and "article" meant to be interchangeable? I was thinking that articles are a subset of topics}

Week 6

   * Teach students some Wikipedia basics {such as?}
   * Last steps before your students start to work online {what does this mean?}

Week 7

   * Engage the community {suggested methods?} to give feedback on your students' changes and sandbox entries

Note from Rémi Bachelet[edit]

This vision of Using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education covers most common use cases (the canonical course at a US university), but there can be lots of interesting variants.

Here are two that were implemented this year:

  • run a workshop with PhD students, each contributing on articles from his/her speciality. In addition, the workshop (Atelier-projet « Wikipédia et MediaWiki ») was distance learning and coordinated from the French wikiversity. 8 top-notch articles where written this way...
  • use wikipedia as a material to study community-building. This was done for a problem-based learning (PBL) course at école Centrale de Lille, where e-business students tried to establish why and how prolific editors ended up leaving Wikipedia.

--Rémi Bachelet 10 juillet 2010 à 20:04 (UTC)


There is an important point which needs to stressed about the difference between a normal student paper and a Wikipedia article: the whole point of many student papers is to assemble material and then extract from it a new and original conclusion. In Wikipedia terms this is synthesis and explicitly forbidden. The whole of en:WP:NOR, but particularly en:WP:SYNTH, needs to be introduced and explained early and often. Regards, en:User:JohnCD (talk) 22:35, 21 July 2010 (UTC)Reply

Thanks, JohnCD. This is a good point; that should be part of some of the early introductory material, and brought up again shortly before students start writing.--Sage Ross 02:15, 22 July 2010 (UTC)Reply

Presentation/workshop on the subject[edit]

You can find my presentation/workshop on the subject from 2010 Wikisym here. I hope you find it useful, --Piotrus 11:51, 3 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Piotrus, this is excellent! Lots of good advice, and I especially like the long list of possible wiki exercises you put together. It's also gratifying that your advice generally lines up with my own experience and with what other teachers have said; it make me think we're on the right track. I wish I could have made it for the live version.--Sage Ross 19:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)Reply