Teach important basics about Wikipedia
Educators who incorporate Wikipedia writing assignments into their classes should be familiar with the formal requirements for Wikipedia articles, with the technical basics of editing Wikipedia and with the workflow of Wikipedia's quality management process. This is what your students will need to know before they start to improve or write articles:
- Knowing the formal requirements for articles is by far the most important skill your students should acquire before writing a new Wikipedia article. You think that sounds weird? Remember that your student's work will first of all be examined by Wikipedia's reception control. Community members constantly browsing a list called "new pages" will discover your student's work within seconds. Only in very rare cases are these community members experts in the topic of your university course. Therefore, they will rate your student's work exclusively based on formal criteria. If your students create a new Wikipedia article which doesn't meet Wikipedia's formal criteria (e.g. no summary of the important aspects of the subject, no links to other articles, no list of publications that were used as sources in writing the article, etc.), the long-term community members discovering the article might get frustrated because they get the impression that your students don't care about Wikipedia's consensus on encyclopedic style. It is not unlikely that these community members will request the deletion of your student's article. Thus your student gets frustrated. That way, teaching your students the formal requirements for Wikipedia articles is one of the most important keys to success.
- Knowing the technical basics of editing Wikipedia is an easy tutorial of MediaWiki basics and in some courses a skill of company-owned wikis in the working life of this participants. The software basics are important for the navigation of the students in Wikipedia and a noncyclic element of every introductory speech.
- Wikipedia's quality management workflow is an element of improvement. It is useful for every user to know how the quality management works but please remember that you have selected goals with different management problems. A high quality article needs peer review and not cleanup. On the other hand, a new subject area is rather a question of cleanup and sometimes deletion discussions. Concisely explain the basics of the local quality management workflow and your special points detailed to realize your goals.
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