Activities, assignments and assessment/Edit Wikipedia

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A full-term sample syllabus that incorporates many of the best practices for running major Wikipedia assignments.

Review Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia is undeniably a significant public information channel. But like all channels, it needs to be looked at with a critical eye. Ask your subject participants to help review the range of Wikipedia articles that relate to the subject. An easy approach to this is by using the {{citation needed}} template. Your participants would adopt a Wikipedia article, and comb it for sentences that claim a fact, but do not include a footnote with a citation to support the claim. By adding the text {{citation needed}} at the end of an unsupported claim, other Wikipedia readers are alerted to the unsupported claim, and other editors are prompted to address the problem. This activity asks students to demonstrate their ability to read critically and recognise unsupported claims.

Improve Wikipedia[edit]

If your participants are comfortable with the inner workings of Wikipedia, ask them to work in groups and adopt a related article to attempt to edit it through to Good or Featured Article status. This extended activity asks your students to work collaboratively as a team and with a wider network of volunteers; understand and follow policies and procedures for producing a collaborative work online; demonstrate an ability to use credible sources to support claims to fact; negotiate meaning with other authors working toward a definitive text; monitor and manage work in a collaborative online writing environment; engage and work with communities.

Write a Simple English Wikipedia article[edit]

With Wikipedia now so much more developed, it is difficult to find a way in for some subjects. Another approach is to translate an existing and comprehensive Wikipedia article, into another language Wikipedia, or the Simple English Wikipedia. Creating articles in Simple English Wikipedia forces a more intense consideration of a subject or topic, and aids access to information for those who don't read English more than an intermediate level. It also aids other language translation, including machine translation - which can be the first step for people looking to translate texts. This activity asks students to comprehend complex ideas and redefine them in simple, plain language. Claims to fact are still needed to be supported with credible sources.

Illustrate Wikipedia articles[edit]

Many Wikipedia articles would benefit with multi media that illustrate the concepts. Produce and upload video, audio, images and other graphics to Wikimedia Commons and embed that media in the relevant Wikipedia articles. This activity asks students to graphically depict, represent or explain concepts. It also requires them to understand copyright and other policies and procedures that govern these collaborative online projects.

Examples[edit]

Evidence in Oral Health[edit]

Mark Gussy and Oral Health students editing Wikipedia. Copies on Youtube and Archive.org.

Mark Gussy teaches Evidence in Oral Health Practice to students of the Oral Health Therapy course at La Trobe University. In this interview, Mark talks to Leigh Blackall about the groupwork assignment, where students were asked to investigate the evidence surrounding a given Wikipedia article, and work together to improve the article. In this video you'll see examples of work completed in that assignment, and here accounts of how the assignment went, what Mark's marking workload was like, and the wider relevance of the task to industry.

2014 student works:  

 

Coverage of Health Informatics[edit]

Health Info Students Editing Wikipedia. Dennis Wollersheim - Health Informatics and a copy on Archive.org.

Dennis Wollersheim teaches Electronic Health Records at La Trobe University in Australia. In this discussion, Leigh Blackall and Dennis discuss his assignment where he asked students to edit Wikipedia.

Wikipedia etiquettes, community behaviours and student reactions and outcomes are discussed.

Help resources[edit]

  1. Wikipedia editing workshops

See also[edit]