Oh, look: MA students at a British university are editing the Wikipedia as part of the coursework, and it counts for an eighth of their grade. I’ve thought of doing that but discarded the idea worrying that forcing uninterested students to do something like that would potentially spoil the Wikipedia – but that was undergrads; with MA students it seems like a great idea. I must try to find some of the pages they’ve edited. (found because Torger ?ge Sinnes sent me an email with the link – thanks!)

10 thoughts on “editing the wikipedia as coursework

  1. Ali

    Interesting. There’s currently a ‘discussion’ going on about this and a Russian History Wikipedia project.

    We do need to make sure that this doesn’t happen though… http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6423659.stm

  2. Luca

    My friend Fabio did the same thing with MA students here in Urbino. The experience was great both fr the final product made by the students and for the live perception of “how wikipedia works”.

  3. Rino Zandee

    We are trying to do the same thing, by first building the entries locally in a dokuwiki wiki as a trial [see: http://biology.leidenuniv.nl/ibl/S10/DesignS/doku.php ] before putting them on wikipedia.

  4. Espen

    I have done that for quite a while, see for instance this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Espen/gra6825

    Works wonders. Important that they get it early in the semester and that I bring it up in discussions. in class, not just right before they turn it in.

  5. Jill

    I’m not surprised many of you have already been doing this – Espen, I love the clarity of your assignment, btw! Might have to emulate that. What level students are you all doing it with? Are there any BAD experiences?

  6. Espen

    Bad experiences: Not really. A few students clipped in copyrighted material, fixed quickly by other wikipedians, Some students had problems with understanding the format of an encyclopÊdia, and wanted to clip in various papers they had written. A little preparation and discussion before they dive in helps resolving this.

    Student levels: M.Sc., MBA, and executive students.

  7. FG

    More or less same as Espen here. One group created a new Wikipedia entry and the entry was quickly proposed for cancellation by the community. The best was to see the surprise on students face when they started to recive comments and editing by the community just few minutes after their contribution. They discovered on their own skin why Wikipedia is really a living system and not just a website.

  8. Anne Helmond

    I am trying to comment on this post but I get the message that I am submitting a duplicate comment. Which after trying three times is obviously true, but I don’t see my own comment 🙂

  9. Anne Helmond

    Let’s try again:

    We did a similar thing in a recent MA course but instead of editing an existing entry we added a new entry on “Shocklog”. This actually stirred the anti-neologism movement within Wikipedia and our first entry was deleted because of a lack of (English?) sources. “Sources consist of a couple of foreign-language blogs and an on-line Master’s thesis.” After adding several MA theses on the subject it was deleted again on the ground of it being a neologism. We are now considering to request to merge it within Blog as a genre.

    The whole issue resulted in a blogpost titled “Wikipedia Battle Log: Neologisms, Minorities and US Centric Views” which then extended to the Nettime mailinglist.

    Using Wikipedia in the classroom sure is a great learning experience 🙂

  10. Jill

    Thanks for that story, Anne. It’s good hearing of specific experiences with this.

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