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Wikipedia: Editing and Use

Background information and basic tools for editing Wikipedia, as well as guidelines for when and how to use it in your research.

About

Since Wikipedia began in 2001, professors around the world have integrated the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit into their curriculum. In 2010, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit which operates Wikipedia, started the Wikipedia Education Program to provide more support for professors who are interested in using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program.

Resources

"Wikipedia is an opportunity to teach students essential 21st century skills that most will use in their careers and personal lives. Wikipedia is a valuable public resource, and in a classroom environment students learn how to contribute and use it properly. Curricula can and should include Wikipedia!" Read more Reasons to use Wikipedia in teaching.

Visit the Portal for Educators for more information, including:

  • Examples of Assignment Design based on the experiences of hundreds of professors worldwide.
  • How to create a class Syllabus and examples of successful syllabi
  • Case Studies to help you form a plan for how you can use Wikipedia as a teaching tool in your class
  • Materials for Teaching (e.g. video tutorials for editing basics)

Helpful materials also inlcude the downloadable brochures “Instructor Basics” and “Case Studies” which describe best practices, learning objectives for assignments, and how to grade a Wikipedia assignment.

You can also view an online orientation for educators who are interested in using Wikipedia assignments in their classes.

We strongly suggest you to review these materials before you design the assignment with Wikipedia editing component. One important thing to note is that the style of students' writings needs to fit the encyclopedia style so that the articles would not get easily deleted by the community.

The experience of using Wikipedia for multiple class assignments is described in the article Improving Science Education and Understanding through Editing Wikipedia. by C. L. Moy, J. R. Locke, B. P. Coppola and A. J. McNeil in Journal of Chemical Education, 2010, 87 (11), 1159-1162.

See list of past and current courses in the U.S. under Wikipedia Education Program.

Impact

Research from the pilot of the Wikipedia Education Program shows 72% of students preferred a Wikipedia assignment to a traditional assignment. Students were excited to do a useful assignment for class, rather than a throwaway assignment that nobody but their professor would ever read.