Activities, assignments and assessment/Student publishing

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There are various ways to consider student publishing as an activity or assignment for assessment. It could be an assignment for assessing competency and proficiency in academic writing and scholarly standards, an activity for making complex ideas more accessible to a general public audience, or a communicating instructions, methods of ideas to a professional audience.

Below is a growing list of examples of student publishing. Please feel free to add to this list if you have something to share.

Student lead journal at University of Otago[edit | edit source]

Student publishing. Russell Butson gives a quick overview and definition of student publishing, then gives some examples from student publishing projects undertaken at the University of Otago. Copy on Youtube.

Academic journals are a core component of scholarship, playing a crucial role in the continuation of our knowledge base, the maintenance and enforcement of the norms and values of the scholarly community, and the advancement of individual members of the community. However many graduate students remain unaware of the purpose, organization, and workings of academic journals, of the function of these journals within academia, and of the process of knowledge gathering and dissemination.

Unpacking the communication process that academic journals facilitate gives students a clear idea of knowledge production, evidence gathering, interpretation, assessment and dissemination in academia, all of which have been traditionally overlooked or de-emphasized as viable topics of study in the university setting. It is imperative that students develop a critical perspective on the theory and structure of research as a scholarly endeavour.

By engaging students in the journal production process we can help demystify the practice of research and offer solutions to the emerging challenges of their foreseeable publishing careers. For instance, by exposing students to the experience of producing journals, students will improve a number of academic skills that are applicable to their professional career. They come to see the methodological and theoretical structure of their disciplinary knowledge with its ethics, values, and politics from an intimate, critical, and practical perspective.

Writing news stories for Wikinews[edit | edit source]

David Blackall overviews a project that asked journalism students at the University of Wollongong to write Wikinews stories. Copy of this video, and an audio version, at

Throughout the teaching sessions of 2011 & 2013, journalism students at the University of Wollongong were assigned tasks of researching & writing Wikinews stories. They were assessed with a system of rolling marks, each submission earning small increments of marks. The final grade determined at the last moment, giving them the best chances for publication, a difficult process, which is immediately awarded with a High Distinction. This process was summed up in our joint paper:

Write a textbook on Wikibooks[edit | edit source]

James Neill describes the assignment he set his undergraduate psychology students in 2010 - to write a book on Motivation and emotion. Copy of video on Youtube.

There are other significant public information projects running along side Wikipedia. Wikibooks for example, strives to create free and open textbooks. Consider replacing your essay assignment with writing a chapter to a Wikibook. Take your expensive textbook, devise an improved table of chapters, and ask participants to select a chapter as their assignment. Watch the free and open textbook emerge, and each year ask the new participants to expand or improve on the previous year's efforts. Printing a book out of Wikibooks via PediaPress is especially rewarding.

Baltzersen, R. K (2010). Radical transparency: Open access as a key concept in wiki pedagogy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(6), 791-809.[1]

Students using Wikibooks and Youtube in Dietetics[edit | edit source]

Students using Wikibooks and Youtube in Dietetics. Youtube,

Sharon Croxford and Adrienne Forsyth have been recently asking students in their Dietetics subject to use Wikibooks and Youtube for their assignment work. The goal is to establish a form of relevance and reach for the work of students, by taking their traditional assignment developing educational programs and information pamphlets for target communities needing diet and nutritional advice, and making it publicly available on commonly used channels. While we wait to see how the students fair in their efforts, we spoke with Sharon and Adrienne about how they set this up, why they did, and what issues and challenges did they encounter through the first semester of running this changed subject.

Evidence in Oral Health Practice[edit | edit source]

Mark Gussy - Evidence in Oral Health Practice. Video interview on Youtube and

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 scenario, and to use what they found to compile a website using Wikispaces. Mark highlights how no help was given in the use of Wikispaces, and that the platform's ability to record edit history and individual contributions helped to address some of the problem of groupwork, where some students do far less than others. Mark then goes on to outline his plans for the subject next year, were the investigation compares the credible scientific information against the popular and readily available information on channels like Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Youtube. He's considering asking the students to prepare resources and information to make an intervention on those channels (if/where needed), using the credible evidence they've collected.

Collaborative group lecture notes[edit | edit source]

Dumisani Ndubane talking about his use of Wikiversity for electrical engineering. Copy on Youtube.

Some of the most valuable knowledge a teacher has is the keywords to use in search. If a teacher prepares a slide presentation with only the keywords on each slide then speaks to those concepts in a lecture format, then small groups in the class can be asked to produce notes from the presentation. If a collaborate authoring platform like Wikiversity is used, these notes can be made useful for others, and evaluated by other groups. One or two members of the note-taking group make initial text notes, others follow up with links to useful resources and extended information, and others add diagrams, images, videos and other illustrative media. If a new group takes on the task each week, the others in the class can rate their work, as a form of peer assessment. Over time, valuable lecture notes can be created that may even replace a textbook, or produce a text that is contextually more relevant to the course.

Other ideas[edit | edit source]

Publish a paper through Wikiversity. Take your essay assignment and turn it into a "published paper" assignment. Use Wikiversity to set up a Journal, and ask your participants to submit proposals for papers to that journal. With accepted proposals, ask the participants to develop their papers on their Wikiversity Userpages, and submit the link when completed. Set up an editorial board to select the best papers to be listed in the Journal. For an example of this, see the writing assignment for the subject, Business, politics and sport.

The open essay. A traditional essay assignment is essentially a confidential document between the essay writer and the assessor. It has no direct benefit to public information, presents little opportunity for peer and networked learning, and its closed nature leaves substantial room for error at assessment. An alternative approach would be to assign the writing of the essay here in Wikiversity, where the first sentence is public information through to the last. Privacy can still be maintained through alias identity, and quality and accuracy can be assured through assessment (including peer review) and promotion. In this way, the essay assignment has an opportunity to become a more formative form of assessment, and where appropriate - a collaborative form of assessment. For an example of this, see the writing assignment for the subject, Business, politics and sport.

Make an illustration. Creating a diagram, graph, infographic or other image can be an effective way to come to terms with a complex system, data set, or range of data sets. Create an image of this type and load it to Wikimedia Commons for wider use and association with similar works.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Baltzersen, R. K (2010). Radical transparency: Open access as a key concept in wiki pedagogy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(6), 791-809.