Monday, May 17, 2010
Wikipedia formally began in January 2001, as a project to produce a free content encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute. Nine years later, Wikipedia pages seem to turn up near the top of almost every Google search. Wikipedia has become the first place millions of people go to get a quick fact or to launch extensive research.
I encourage you to use Wikipedia in your course. You may incorporate Wikipedia writing assignments into your classes. You are free to post questions for experienced Wikipedia volunteers at the talk page and share your experiences with them. Many of the projects have resulted in both advancing the student's knowledge and useful content being added to Wikipedia. "An advantage of this over regular homework is that the student is dealing with a real world situation, which is not only more educational but also makes it more interesting ("the world gets to see my work")". Wikipedia will give the students a chance to collaborate on course notes and papers, and their effort might remain online for reference, instead of being discarded and forgotten as is usual with paper coursework, or classroom systems which are routinely reinitialized. You can find some best practices guidelines to support educational and academic projects in this link.
Wikipedia:School and university projects
The guidelines are designed to accommodate editors at every level of experience. If you’re just starting out, that’s fine: The early chapters will make your editing experience more productive as well as enjoyable. Nor do you have to be a computer whiz. The really great editors are good at one or more of several things, including research, editing and writing, organizing, and working with other editors; technical matters are simply one realm of specializing as a Wikipedia editor.