Class Notes (08/25/08 - 08/29/08)

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Introduction to Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

  • Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger
  • The name Wikipedia breaks down into "wiki" (a collaboration of websites) and encyclopedia
  • The purpose of Wikipedia is to collect and summarize all human knowledge in every major language
  • All members of society can contribute to Wikipedia

Creating an Account[edit | edit source]

        1. In order to create an account, the user must first choose a major language
        2. The user must then click on the log in/ create account link in the upper right hand corner
        3. If the user does not have an existing account they should click on the create one link
        4. The user must enter the word(s) in the given text box that appears in order to protect against automated account creation
        5. Next, the user must fill the appropriate information such as user name, password, and an e-mail address which is optional
  • Once the account is created the user may give his/her contribution by writing their own wiki-articles or by editing the articles of other users
  • All edits to wiki-articles are permanently recorded in archives, and publicly visible in the history link of any page *(The Wikipedia contribution system is a great asset yet its own greatest flaw)

Criticism[edit | edit source]

  • Wikipedia allows its users to edit each others pages which brings a mutual responsibility to all users not to abuse the right to edit. The open nature of the system to many critics make it unreliable as a reference. On top of unreliability, the system allows for strongly opinionated editors to attempt to dominate articles. Exposure to vandalism by users who edit articles is also a critical argument against Wikipedia. Wikipedia vandalism ranges from page lengthening, blanking, spamming, user name vandalism, etc.

The Course[edit | edit source]

Plan[edit | edit source]

Vision[edit | edit source]

  • Media Wiki is an important program in that it allows its users to collaborate each others work.
  • The course will employ the Wikiversity tool. This will allow the students, professor, and teaching assistants to communicate with ease and to review each team's work so as to maximize the learning experience during the semester.
  • MIT's Open Course Wear is a prime example of knowledge shearing that is Wiki-like in that MIT students only, since access faculty is not provided, can share information with each other about their course work. MIT's OCW has proven to be a very powerful tool for students campus-wide.

Method of Work[edit | edit source]

Course Website: EML4500

  • Teams consist of six members that share the course workload. One member will be selected as the team leader. Each of the six members will complete parts of the homework assignments. Then, the team leader will compile the information into one article. That final article will be graded by the teaching assistant and assigned a grade.
  • Each member of the team receives the grade that is assigned. Team members will evaluate each others contribution and effort at each exam by giving an evaluation score based on a scale ranging from one to eight.

E-Learning[edit | edit source]

  • This tool is not like MediaWiki since it does not allow for collaboration between team members, teams, and the professor. However, E-Learning excels in passing announcements from professor to students.

Old Approach/New Approach[edit | edit source]

  • Prior to using the Wikipedia/Wikiversity system, professor Dr. L. Vu-Quoc taught EML4500: Finite Element Analysis based on a system where homework criteria accounted for 10% of a students final grade. The other 90% of the grade was based on 3 exams, each worth 30%.
  • Dr. L. Vu-Quoc's new approach allows for a greater emphasis on the students homework contribution. The Wikipedia/Wikiversity system of posting class notes/homework problems keeps students more involved and also allows other fellow classmates to benefit from having access to this information. Hopefully, in the near future students will be able to save money by not having to purchase expensive course text books. The new approach weighs a students homework criteria at 30% while 3 exams (equal in worth) make up the remainding 70%.

See Also[edit | edit source]

History of Wikipedia

Criticism of Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Vandalism

References[edit | edit source]

  • Article titled "Wikipedia" from
  • Article titled "Wikipedia: Vandalism" from
  • Article titled "Wikipedia Criticism" from