Help:Editing - Wikipedia
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The class focus is on improving several articles; the students usually work in groups, each group works on a different article.
This is the most common approach. The entire class focuses on improving one article; the students may work individually or in groups, assigned to different sections of an article.
One student — one article. The class focus is on hundreds of articles; each students works on his or her own article. This is an approach for some introductory courses, with relatively low focus on Wikipedia. Several interesting approaches have been pioneered for classes where language is an issue primarily, for language classes, and for classes where students have two or more different native languages.
For students writing in non—native languages, a buddy system with teams of two can be used, where one student specializes in translation, and another, in content creation.
Students proficient with more than one language can compare different language Wikipedias and translate articles between them. A crucial item to consider is whether the students will work individually, in teams or in larger groups. Basically, the students have two options.
Then, once the article is ready, they can move it to the mainspace. The advantages and disadvantages of working in a draft space are similar — the articles will not not be seen by any regular users, and neither will they come to the attention of most regular Wikipedians. It means it will not risk being listed for deletion if the students first attempt is a mess, but it also means that the students interaction with the community will be vastly limited. In my experience, if the students receive proper guidance prior to creating their first article primarily by having some experience doing smaller edits, and by being told in the assignment what is expected of their first articlethe deletion is a very unlikely occurrence.
I agree with instructors who voiced the following sentiment: Similar sentiments where echoed by Wadewitz, et al. When will the students work on Wikipedia? The importance of deadlines Learning how to edit a wiki takes a little time. Designing a course with that in mind is important, so that students will have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills before embarking on a larger assignment. If students will not be required to learn how to edit early on, many will likely not do it until the very deadline, when they realize that editing a wiki is a skill that takes more than five minutes to learn, leading to frustration and poor quality work.
Here is a simplified timetable [ 15 ] from one of my past course that is designed to start with warm—up exercises leading to a major group project: While you can put such a page anywhere on the Internet, note that Wikipedia will gladly host it as well.
Hosting your course page on Wikipedia has several advantages: The wikisyllabus is designed in the form of a template that can be easily copied and adapted to a course in most fields [ 16 ]. Part of a sample wiki—syllabus from http: Tips and tricks First tip: Help is available for everyone — students and instructors alike. In addition to the volunteer assistants campus and online ambassadorsand interactive help pages on Wikipedia such as the desks and noticeboardsthere is a 24—hour, real—life chatroom help available in the form of the wikipedia—en—ambassadors IRC channel at http: Students love to procrastinate.
Design the course to fight that tendency. Regular graded wiki activities and graded deadlines on larger projects will keep them from putting everything off till the last few days. Consider making your writing assignment a community reviewed project. Involving students in those processes will teach them about quality, give more precise information as to what is expected from them, and increase the level of community involvement with your project. Currently the above practice is not common practice, found in less than 10 percent of all assignments.
Where utilized, however, it results in above—average articles. The two most effective procedures to incorporate into a course are the Did You Know and Good Article reviews. Did You Know requires that an article is relatively recent created no more than a week before the nomination or expanded within the same time frame five—fold.
Such an article should be also larger than a stub roughly, containing at least 1, characters of proseproperly formatted and with inline references at least for key claims. Such an article should be listed at the Did You Know nominations page http: As some reviewers just leave their comments at that page, students should monitor it daily, till the review is passed, to address any issues raised.
A more challenging process is the Good Article reviews. Compared to Did You Knows, Good Articles are usually much longer, required to be a relatively comprehensive treatments of a given subject, and are subject to a much more detailed review of prose, comprehensive and reliable sourcing.
Good Article reviewers will provide a much more detailed review, and will expect a much higher level of interaction than the Did You Know reviewers. The procedure of nominating an article for a Good Article is relatively simple and covered on the Good Article Nomination page http: Numerous other students or groups have achieved a Did You Know status, particularly with the help of the Campus and Online Ambassadors [ 18 ].
Note that Good Articles often have a backlog of several weeks from nomination to review. This makes them problematic for assignment with tighter deadlines, but this can be easily rectified.
On the talk page of the Good Article Nominations page http: In all cases I have asked for reviewers, volunteers agreed to review my class articles within few days and kept good on that promise. It is not required, but in good form, for an instructor and his assistants to agree to review some other Good Articles nominees, to reduce the workload that the educational assignments put on Good Article reviewers.
You will also surely want to review the students articles yourself. Wikipedia offers a useful tool — the Peer Reviewer http: Encourage the use of discussion talk pages. As Reilly notes, those interactions can be one of the most constructive and motivating elements of the Wikipedia assignment. Those pages serve as primary communication venue on Wikipedia. When students edit an article, they should monitor its discussion page for comments from other editors.
Also, each editor has their own public discussion talk page. Top of a Wikipedia article, read mode. Note the talk tab to the left, and edit and view history tabls to the right. Wikipedia netiquette has evolved in such a way that it is expected that editors will conduct most of their public discussion through discussion talk pages, rather then through e—mail.
If students ignore those pages, they will likely fail to spot or respond to inquires, suggestions and reviews from other, more seasoned Wikipedia editors.
This is problematic, as proper use of discussion pages can be very beneficial. One of the educators remarked on this issue: I think that may have been the greatest challenge and lesson they learned — not everyone will bend over backwards to spare their feelings, and they are unable to control what everyone says about their work.
I also required that they take ALL feedback, good and bad, into account. This was tough for many, but it made them better writers.
To ensure that the students utilize the those pages, I employ four solutions in my courses: This can be achieved through RSS http: Some potential problems with discussion pages include: This is likely to assure their goodwill ahead of time.
In either case, students encountering unfriendly editors are reported to be a very rare occurrence, consistent with my own experiences Ehmann, et al. Thus student posts on them may not elicit any reply, potentially damaging student motivations. Think about student motivations. Explain to them that by doing assignments on Wikipedia they are learning valuable twenty—first century computer literacy skills, something to include on their resumes.
Further, it is worth stressing that they are learning about the reliability of the most popular source of information in the online world, and their work will become a digital artifact, helping others and that they can point to now and in the years to come.
One of the students who participated in such assignment commented on their finished product: Term papers I have handed back end up in a binder than eventually sits under my bed and files sit on my computer unopened ever again. This wikipedia page will be seen and likely used by others in the future. After all, I am quite confident that the references list is a comprehensive list of nearly everything published in English on the subject. Now that is something truly amazing! Check the preferences page for many useful settings.
Receiving e—mail is disabled by default. If you do not have the habit of checking your talk page daily, enable e—mail, and you may advise students to do the same.
Virtual image - Wikipedia
As Reilly notes, it is a good idea to encourage student use of the edit summary tool while editing. When making edits, all editors are advised to add helpful summaries of what they have done, visible from the history and contribution tabs. This helps the instructor, but also the students, as it may force the student to spend more time rethinking and improving their edits, increasing chances their edits will be positively received by others.
In addition to thinking about plagiarism, think about copyright in general. If the owner is your institution, check that you have permission to submit it. Consider this advice from Cory Doctorow Wikis make monitoring student activities easy. Make sure you are familiar with page history and editor contribution tools.
The editor contribution tool http: User contributions for a student, showing exactly when the student has been active, and on which article. An in—depth view of a specific student contribution, showing exactly what the student has changed in an article. Referencing Referencing Wikipedia article is likely among the most useful tasks students can do, outside writing them which involves referencing in any case.
Acquiring referencing skills opens a very useful field for student activities: Those skills are great for teaching students about reliability of sources in general and the reliability of Wikipedia and its limits in particular.
Until earlyreferencing involved learning a little bit of code, making it rather more complex than most other edits.
Recently, however, interface improvements made referencing a much more friendly task. The Journal citation pop up, that once filled will the generate the appropriate wiki code, and place it in the article when needed. There is no need for an editor to do anything to the code, however, it will be visible. Students often do not realize what makes a source reliable or not, and learning this constitutes a valuable skill certainly applicable outside Wikipedia. In particular, students should reference most sentences — thus they will be less likely to get away with plagiarism or using unreliable sources.
Images Adding an image to article can be tricky, but rewarding, particularly if it is an image students have taken or created themselves. When uploading an image to Wikipedia, one needs to keep in mind that the image has to be available under a free license or exist in public domain.
This is a great learning opportunity to teach students about the increasingly important issues of free culture and copyright Lessig, When the students are ready to upload an image, they should do it through the Upload Wizard http: The image will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free media for Wikipedia and its sister projects; the Wizard will provide a code that needs to be added to the article so that the image will appear.
Finding images tutorial http: While the Upload Wizard prompts editors to select a free license and describe the source of the image, in my experience, students often ignore that requirement, leading to their images being deleted as copyright violations. If your students will be uploading images or other media, make sure to stress the importance of free licensing and a demonstration of how to upload an image may be helpful.
Tables and infoboxes Tables and infoboxes specialized tables found at the beginning of many Wikipedia articles are unfortunately rather code—heavy. Therefore I do not require my students to use any of them. Infobox pages will be useful.
Even if you do not require students to use tables of infoboxes, at the very least, just like with referencing, students should realize that in the editing mode, when editing an article with tables or infoboxes, they can encounter blocks of code [ 22 ]. Next, show them that they can edit the text in the infobox, as well as underneath it, just like anywhere else.
However, students can just ignore it, or ask experienced Wikipedians for help. Common problems with Wikipedia assignments Over several years, I observed that common problems with teaching with Wikipedia can be classified into two categories: Either way, this leads to deletion of articles due to either original research or plagiarism.
Having your students work disappear can be a serious blow to their motivation. Two courses illustrate this, with as much as half of the student—created content deleted within days of creation, due to being plagiarized, unencyclopedic or merged upon identification of already existing articles on the same subject [ 24 ].
In my experience, once the structure and purpose of an encyclopedic article is explained to students, they find it rather easy to grasp this idea. The problem of plagiarism is much better known throughout academia. Fortunately, I found a way to reduce those misunderstandings to almost zero. First, assume that the students do not really know much about plagiarism, and what they may know is likely incomplete. Explain to them what plagiarism and copyright violations are.
In particular, they need to realize that they should not only cite sources, but avoid long quotations or attributed copy pastes I lost count how often students copy and paste segments, attribute them, and think this is allowed. Others copy and paste text, intending to rewrite it later. You may want to direct your students to helpful guides on Wikipedia: Second, after explaining to them what they should not do, it is time to strike some fear into them.
I recommend mentioning academic ethical guidelines and penalties. Follow it up by showing students how easy it is to find out whether they have committed plagiarism. I usually begin by demonstrating for them how easy it is to check for plagiarism on Google, noting that Google indexes books through Gooble Booksnewspapers through Google News and journals through Google Scholar. Next, Wikipedia offers an even greater stick: Show students how vigilant Wikipedia is of copyright: Lastly, here are some common questions my students keep asking me in every course.
It is a good idea to be able to answer them quickly: What do students think about Wikipedia assignments? Students are ambivalent about whether wikis are easy, but a lecture segment on how to edit vastly improves their perception of how easy it was to learn this tool.
Students are ambivalent about wiki assignments: The students who disliked the assignment usually noted that it was more difficult than just writing a regular paper in a text editor would be.
Wikis and Wikipedia as a teaching tool: Five years later | Konieczny | First Monday
Those who liked it commented that their project resulted in an above—average group paper that would be seen and appreciated by others. At the same time, Chen and Reber reported that most students in their course appreciated the Wikipedia assignment, as did Callis, et al. I expect that the difference is due to my students being undergraduate, compared to the primarily graduate and thus, more motivated composition of the population of other studies. Students did certainly appreciate that their work is seen and useful to the wider public, and that they are creating useful digital artifacts.
This is consistent with previous findings in the literature, as students are known to be more motivated to participate in activities that they see as having a visible impact on the real world Weigert, ; Hollis, ; Forte and Bruckman, ; McNeil, ; Brundage, Students also show some appreciation for learning a new tool that they may find useful in the future work, although they may well not realize how likely it is that they will be using wikis in their future careers Tapscott and Williams, This should come as no surprise, considering most of them did not know what a wiki is before the beginning of a course Menchen—Trevino and Hargittai, Conclusions A Wikipedia assignment allows one to easily incorporate into teaching practice lessons on reliability, copyrights and free culture, as well as wikis and Wikipedia, which form an increasingly useful skillets for the new, digital literacies of this century.
There are no costs involved beyond acquiring some basic wiki editing skills that one can utilize in heeding the call for academics to contribute to Wikipedia, and more selfishly, in collaborative work on various research projects. Free help from motivated Wikipedia volunteers such as the Campus and Online Ambassadors is often more substantial than assistance promised from for—profit groups. About the author Piotr Konieczny received his Ph. He is interested in the sociology of the Internet, in particular in topics such as wikis — their impact on individuals and organizations; decision—making processes and organizational structure of Wikipedia; patterns of behavior among its contributors; relation between wikis and social movements; and, teaching with new media.
The education MediaWiki extension development page can be found at http: A version of this tool developed by me is available at http: The page for such submissions is at http: A good handout is available at http: You can read more about the discussion talk pages at http: A list of ambassadors with can be found at http: For more on educational opportunities at Wikibooks, see http: For more on educational opportunities at Wikinews, see http: For more on educational opportunities at Wikimedia Commons, see http: For more on educational opportunities at Wikiversity, see http: A number of short case studies focusing on different student activities can be found at http: Terms like stub and start are defined at http: Also, a revised, if more intimidating, version of the tool is at http: Note, also, that CatScan will return only the first 1, entries in alphabetical order.
In my case, limiting both to two resulted in a more manageable list of articles. Keep in mind that students reviewing articles will generate reviews that are too brief and general; additionally, they will be biased toward giving only positive reviews to their classmates. For a full timetable that I used in Fallsee http: Wiki markup is used extensively throughout Wikipedia for such things as hyperlinkstables and columnsfootnotesinline citationspecial characters and so on.
It is only available to registered logged-in users through an opt-in choice available through personal preferencessee the VisualEditor user guide for more information.
You can change the formatting and contents of the page by changing what is written in this box.
Screenshot showing the same article in VisualEditor. Unlike the wiki markup display, VisualEditor will show the text being edited almost as if it were already published. The Wikipedia community has developed style guidelines to make articles and facts appear in a standardized form, and Wikipedia easier to use as a whole. A basic list of wiki markup can be found on the cheatsheet. An "edit toolbar" is provided just above the edit box pictured belowwhich will allow logged-in users by selecting the option in personal preferences to automatically place and format various aspects of wiki code.
Wiki markup for more information, remember that you can't break Wikipedia, and, although there are many protocols, perfection is not requiredas Wikipedia is a work in progress. When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit box pictured below. You may use shorthand to describe your changes, as described in the legend. To see how the page looks with your edits, press the "Show preview" button.
To see the differences between the page with your edits and the previous version of the page press the "Show changes" button.