Term papers on Wikipedia

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Term papers on Wikipedia

brian.mcneil-2
A U.S. professor assigned her students the task of creating entries on WP
instead of term papers.

 

Presentation: http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=11073
<http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=11073&PRODUCT_CODE=E07/SESS089&
bhcp=1> &PRODUCT_CODE=E07/SESS089&bhcp=1

News report:
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071030-prof-replaces-term-papers-with
-wikipedia-contributions.html

 

I know I will get complaints on Wikinews about doing another WMF story so
soon, but apart from the little donation I put in I think plugging the
projects is a good way to help the fundraiser.

 

 

Brian.

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Nikola Smolenski
On Tuesday 30 October 2007 16:23, Brian McNeil wrote:
> A U.S. professor assigned her students the task of creating entries on WP
> instead of term papers.

We're actually doing this in Serbian Wikipedia for a while :)

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Katie Chan
In reply to this post by brian.mcneil-2
On Tue, 2007-10-30 at 16:23 +0100, Brian McNeil wrote:
> A U.S. professor assigned her students the task of creating entries on WP
> instead of term papers.
>
> .........

There's a thread on WikiEN-l about this:
  http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-October/084463.html

(I have no idea why the original message isn't displaying in the
archive.)

KTC

--
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
  - Heinrich Heine

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

brian.mcneil-2
This is the other link to look at...

http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2497

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Kwan Ting
Chan
Sent: 30 October 2007 16:45
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Term papers on Wikipedia

On Tue, 2007-10-30 at 16:23 +0100, Brian McNeil wrote:
> A U.S. professor assigned her students the task of creating entries on WP
> instead of term papers.
>
> .........

There's a thread on WikiEN-l about this:
  http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-October/084463.html

(I have no idea why the original message isn't displaying in the
archive.)

KTC

--
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
  - Heinrich Heine


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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
On 10/30/07, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tuesday 30 October 2007 16:23, Brian McNeil wrote:
> > A U.S. professor assigned her students the task of creating entries on WP
> > instead of term papers.
>
> We're actually doing this in Serbian Wikipedia for a while :)

A number of other courses have done this as well (including one that I
managed, and hopefully another one this coming Spring); see WP:SUP and
WikiProject Classroom coordination.  But the more attention this kind
of thing gets, the better.

From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
of their work over the semester).

For someone willing to seek out and contact a good number of professor
who have run Wikipedia assignments (there are a lot out there that
don't appear in news articles but can be found with creative web
search queries), there is definitely a good Wikinews story.  I did
something similar for the Signpost last year (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2006-12-26/Wikipedia_and_academia
) but since then I think the number of people running such assignments
has increased substantially.

-Sage

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by brian.mcneil-2
On 10/30/07, Brian McNeil <[hidden email]> wrote:
> This is the other link to look at...
>
> http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2497
>

And this, a more substantial piece:
http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/29/wikipedia

-Sage

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Sage Ross
On 30/10/2007, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:

> From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
> have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
> screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
> and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
> community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
> of their work over the semester).


Yes. Rather than just telling the students "go write something", send
them to a wikiproject's list of redlinks, or to the missing articles
project:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles

With university research facilities onhand, writing some decent
articles with good references shouldn't be much work at all. We'll get
more good content and they'll get a good introductory experience to
Wikipedia.


- d.

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
David Gerard wrote:

> On 30/10/2007, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
>> have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
>> screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
>> and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
>> community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
>> of their work over the semester).
>>    
> Yes. Rather than just telling the students "go write something", send
> them to a wikiproject's list of redlinks, or to the missing articles
> project:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles
>
> With university research facilities onhand, writing some decent
> articles with good references shouldn't be much work at all. We'll get
> more good content and they'll get a good introductory experience to
> Wikipedia.
Indeed, and this sort of thing should be encouraged, and we need to
accept that some contributions will be dogs.  Nevertheless, the social
graces of some of the people who review these contributions leave much
to be desired.  They do little to help these people to improve their
contributions.

There was a time when the primary outside criticism of Wikipedia had to
do with the accuracy of contents.  I seem to encounter more these days
about the social environment.  It would be great if more Wikipedians
understood the implications of that.

Ec

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

David Goodman
We also need to emphasize transparency on the talk pages, so we know
whom to contact. Some of the teachers involved have reported
considerable difficulty in finding encyclopedic topics, and anyone
with experience at WP could surely help them there. There's a tendency
to try for traditional term paper topics, which can often end up as
OR, when things like bios of people involved in whatever the course
topic is can be more suitable. And of course everyone involved must
realise there is no way of preventing others from editing during the
term.  But if they pick out-of-the-way people, this shouldn't be a
real difficulty.
It also appears to my continuing dismay --but certainly not surprise
---as a librarian, that many of the teachers involved haven't the
least idea of how to do references, or sometimes even the need for it.
I say "teachers"--for it is not the fault of their students.

On 10/30/07, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:

> David Gerard wrote:
> > On 30/10/2007, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
> >> have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
> >> screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
> >> and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
> >> community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
> >> of their work over the semester).
> >>
> > Yes. Rather than just telling the students "go write something", send
> > them to a wikiproject's list of redlinks, or to the missing articles
> > project:
> >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles
> >
> > With university research facilities onhand, writing some decent
> > articles with good references shouldn't be much work at all. We'll get
> > more good content and they'll get a good introductory experience to
> > Wikipedia.
> Indeed, and this sort of thing should be encouraged, and we need to
> accept that some contributions will be dogs.  Nevertheless, the social
> graces of some of the people who review these contributions leave much
> to be desired.  They do little to help these people to improve their
> contributions.
>
> There was a time when the primary outside criticism of Wikipedia had to
> do with the accuracy of contents.  I seem to encounter more these days
> about the social environment.  It would be great if more Wikipedians
> understood the implications of that.
>
> Ec
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


--
David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.

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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge

> David Gerard wrote:
>> On 30/10/2007, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
>>> have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
>>> screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
>>> and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
>>> community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
>>> of their work over the semester).
>>>
>> Yes. Rather than just telling the students "go write something", send
>> them to a wikiproject's list of redlinks, or to the missing articles
>> project:
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_artic
>> les
>>
>> With university research facilities onhand, writing some decent
>> articles with good references shouldn't be much work at all. We'll get
>> more good content and they'll get a good introductory experience to
>> Wikipedia.

on 10/30/07 11:37 AM, Ray Saintonge at [hidden email] wrote:

> Indeed, and this sort of thing should be encouraged, and we need to
> accept that some contributions will be dogs.  Nevertheless, the social
> graces of some of the people who review these contributions leave much
> to be desired.  They do little to help these people to improve their
> contributions.
>
> There was a time when the primary outside criticism of Wikipedia had to
> do with the accuracy of contents.  I seem to encounter more these days
> about the social environment.  It would be great if more Wikipedians
> understood the implications of that.
>
Yes, Ray. Besides becoming a less and less pleasant place be and to work in,
we are providing our detractors with an awful lot of fuel. And how do you
encourage someone to join the Project when you have to tell them to bring
along a helmet and padding?

A problem appears to be that any subject or posting related to the social
environment within the Project seems to be taboo. I have noticed that, on
the Wikien-L List (which is the one with which I am most familiar), the
subject that many people reject the most, and declare "off-topic", and "not
appropriate for the List" are those posts related to the Community itself.
The participants appear very uncomfortable talking about interpersonal
issues related to the Project. This has a great deal to do with the
emotional age of many of the participants. This can be solved by those who
are more comfortable with the subject raising the issues, and being patient
with those who have more trouble with it.

The more we take care of our own Community, the less vulnerable it will be
to those who would want to destroy it.

Marc Riddell


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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Mark
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
Ray Saintonge wrote:

> Indeed, and this sort of thing should be encouraged, and we need to
> accept that some contributions will be dogs.  Nevertheless, the social
> graces of some of the people who review these contributions leave much
> to be desired.  They do little to help these people to improve their
> contributions.
>
> There was a time when the primary outside criticism of Wikipedia had to
> do with the accuracy of contents.  I seem to encounter more these days
> about the social environment.  It would be great if more Wikipedians
> understood the implications of that.
>  

Hmm, what sorts of articles are students writing that leads to that sort
of argumentation? I write lots of missing articles and rarely really run
into *anybody* commenting, positively or negatively---I have some
articles I wrote 2-3 years ago that have no talk-page comments, and no
edits besides rewording and category shuffling. It seems that writing
few paragraphs with a few references on a random subject that is usually
relatively obscure (or it would've had an article already) doesn't raise
many eyebrows.

Are these getting more criticism because the editors explicitly identify
themselves as doing a term project (so people give the contributions
extra scrutiny), or are they trying to write contentious articles like
major overviews instead of more narrow stuff? If it's the latter, we
might want to guide people away from that---if you want to start writing
about, say, philosophy on Wikipedia, the easiest path IMO is to start
with a narrow, well-defined topic, or biography of a relatively minor
figure, in order to get an idea of how the process works. Starting with
The One True Overview of some broad area of the subject as a first
article is much more likely to run into trouble.

-Mark


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Re: Term papers on Wikipedia

Yann Forget-2
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
Hello,

Ray Saintonge a écrit :

> David Gerard wrote:
>> On 30/10/2007, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>  
>>> From what I've seen surveying the various classroom projects people
>>> have tried, the most successful are ones where some effort is made to
>>> screen topics for encyclopedicity and gaps in Wikipedia's coverage,
>>> and/or the assignments are focused on interacting with the Wikipedia
>>> community (i.e., content is posted early and students follow the fate
>>> of their work over the semester).
>>>    
>> Yes. Rather than just telling the students "go write something", send
>> them to a wikiproject's list of redlinks, or to the missing articles
>> project:
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles
>>
>> With university research facilities onhand, writing some decent
>> articles with good references shouldn't be much work at all. We'll get
>> more good content and they'll get a good introductory experience to
>> Wikipedia.
> Indeed, and this sort of thing should be encouraged, and we need to
> accept that some contributions will be dogs.  Nevertheless, the social
> graces of some of the people who review these contributions leave much
> to be desired.  They do little to help these people to improve their
> contributions.
>
> There was a time when the primary outside criticism of Wikipedia had to
> do with the accuracy of contents.  I seem to encounter more these days
> about the social environment.  It would be great if more Wikipedians
> understood the implications of that.

Agreed. I helped a teacher doing such an experiment in a French school
in 2005 (students aged 16-17). The subject (marketing and client
resource management) had almost not coverage in Wikipedia at that time.
However the feedback was rather agressive and not helpful, so the
experience was not repeated. The social environment in the French
Wikipedia has not improve (understatement), so I would not do this again
today.

> Ec

Regards,

Yann
--
http://www.non-violence.org/ | Site collaboratif sur la non-violence
http://www.forget-me.net/ | Alternatives sur le Net
http://fr.wikipedia.org/ | Encyclopédie libre
http://fr.wikisource.org/ | Bibliothèque libre
http://wikilivres.info | Documents libres

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