Meta:Training/Meta

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These trainings are built with a page structure and templates that make it relatively easy to use the same content in multiple trainings, add new content, and rearrange existing content.

The basic elements of a training topic are:

  • The index (e.g., Project:Training/For students/Editing index): a list of pages that make up a topic, such as the "Editing" topic within Project:Training/For students. The title of the index should be a subpage at the same level as the individual content pages, and takes the form "Project:Training/<something>/<topic> index". The contents of the index are used by Module:TrainingPages to determine how many pages are in the topic, what the page number of a given page is, and what the previous and next pages are. Thus, pages can be added, removed, or reordered within a topic simply by changing the index.
  • The header / footer templates on each page (e.g, Project:Training/For students/Citing sources): each training page uses {{Project:Training/header}} at the beginning and {{Project:Training/footer}} at the end. The basic parameters are topic (used in both header and footer, indicates which index to use), title (used in header, shows up above the main content), and pagestyle (used in header, determines how wide the main content is, main options are 400-width, 600-width, 800-width). By default, the color scheme is determined using the name of the topic, via {{Project:Training/colors}}; the default color for a new topic can be added by editing that. Alternatively, the color parameter can be used with any valid CSS color.
  • Page content (e.g, Project:Training/core/Citing sources): the content of each page can either be added directly between the header and footer, or transcluded (e.g., from a Project:Training/core page). Depending on the pagestyle set by the header, this will get squeezed into the training page format with a maximum width of 800px or less.

How to port trainings to another wiki

To port trainings to another wiki, start by transferring over all the templates used in the trainings, as well as a Lua module. (An administrator on the other wiki can import them using Special:Import.)

Main templates
Additional templates that may be useful

Once you have the main templates transferred over (and translated, if necessary), you can either transfer the training content en masse from Category:Wikipedia training and the [|Special:PrefixIndex/Meta:Training/core/ content pages, which start with "Meta:Training/core/"]], or you can start building a training from scratch (beginning with the steps above) and port individual pages as needed. You may contact User:Sage Ross (WMF) for technical assistance.

Using Special:Import

An administrator can import all the pages at once using Special:Import, if the receiving wiki is configured for interwiki import from Meta.

  1. Check whether import from Meta is enabled for Special:Import. If it is not, contact User:Sage Ross (WMF) about enabling it (or file a bug and let Sage know).
  2. Import the page Module:TrainingPages. (You do not need the history.)
  3. Import the page Meta:Training/Meta with the option to import all included templates.
    You do not need to import the history.
    To avoid overwriting any of the conventional templates included on Meta:Training/Meta, you should select Wikipedia: or the equivalent Project: name as the target namespace. This will create misnamed duplicates of the few templates in the Template: namespace used in the trainings, namely: Template:!, Template:-, Template:Clickable button 2, Template:Documentation, Template:Documentation subpage, Template:Documentation/core, Template:Documentation/core2, Template:TOC right, Template:Tl. You can then move any that are not already present into the Template namespace.
    The import will probably produce a timeout error after about 30 seconds. This is okay; the importation will continue.
  4. You should now have a functional copy of the trainings, which you can begin to translate and modify however you wish. If there are problems with this import procedure, report them at m:Meta talk:Training).

How to create a new training

  1. Make an outline of what the training will cover.
  2. Pick a name, and create a menu such as Project:Training/Example. (Use the inputbox below to use {{Project:Training/menu}} as a starting point.) The training pages will be subpages of this.


  3. Based on your outline, create an index listing the page titles for all the pages that will be part of the training as a subpage of the menu. The index subpage should take the form /<topic> index, such as Project:Training/Example/Welcome index. The pages listed should also be subpages of the menu, with descriptive subpage names. (If your training will be broken up into several topics, create a separate index for each topic.)
  4. Create the first page listed on the index, such as Project:Training/Example/Welcome, using the header and footer templates. It should look something like this:
    {{ Project:Training/header | topic = Welcome | title = Welcome to the Example training }}
    This is the content of the first page.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
    {{ Project:Training/footer | topic = Welcome }}
  5. If everything is in order, that first page should draw from the index to automatically link to the next page. Create each page until you've done all the pages in the index.
  6. You can reorganize the training by editing the index (and creating any additional pages as needed).
  7. To connect one topic to another, you can use the next and previous parameters in the footer to specify the appropriate page to link to.
  8. Specify the color for each topic by adding the topic and CSS color code to Project:Training/colors.

Additional features

optional template parameters
  • next / previous – In the {{Project:Training/footer}} template, the next and previous parameters ( "next = Project:Training/Example/foo" ) specify the page linked respectively with the forward and back arrows. If these parameters are absent, the footer template will the topic index to calculate the next and previous page. Using them with no value ("next = ") will make the respective arrow disappear.
  • page – In {{Project:Training/header}}, using the page parameter ("page = 7(b)") will replace the page number calculated by the index. It can be used for pages that aren't part of the index but are still within the topic.
  • link – In {{Project:Training/header}}, using the link parameter ("link = [[Project:Foo|Foo]]") will insert the link specified into the top right of the training page. For example, see Project:Training/For educators/Improve research skills 2.
  • quote / source – In {{Project:Training/header}}, using the quote and source parameters ("quote = I love Wikipedia. | source = Jimmy Wales") will present the quote with nice formatting, using the topic color for the quotation marks. For example, Project:Training/For students/valuable contribution.
  • week – In {{Project:Training/header}}, using the week parameter ("week = 2") will insert {{Project:Training/syllabus links}} into the footer. This is probably only useful if you are porting over the example 12-week syllabus as part of the training. For example, see Project:Training/For educators/Week 2.
other features

Wikipedia Training <translate> For students</translate> MenuResources

This orientation for students editing Wikipedia as a class assignment consists of four main modules:

  • Welcome, a short introduction;
  • The Core, an overview of Wikipedia's core principles;
  • Editing, a tutorial on the basic mechanics of editing pages and communicating with others; and
  • Advanced, some selected advanced topics to help you get off to a good start with your first article.

In total, the four modules should take about one hour to complete.

Start the training.

<translate> Welcome</translate>

<translate> The Core</translate>

<translate> Editing</translate>

<translate> Advanced</translate>

<translate> Background</translate>

  Wikipedia Training  
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Menu
     
Resources


Contents

Getting started

Printable guides

These printable PDF documents have instructions related to the basics of Wikipedia.

  • Wiki markup quick reference – a one-page quick reference (included in the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure) to help you remember the most frequently used wiki markup codes.
  • References – explains why references are important, what the expectations for sourcing on Wikipedia are, where to place references, and the basics of adding "ref" tags.
  • Reference formatting – explains in more detail how to create footnotes for citing sources, and how to cite the same source multiple times.
  • Using talk pages – explains how to use talk pages to communicate with other editors.
  • Choosing an article – explains the Dos and Don'ts of choosing an article to work on.
  • How to get help – explains the recommended way to get help and feedback. It also includes a glossary of additional help resources you can avail yourself of.
  • Avoiding plagiarism – explains what plagiarism is on Wikipedia—including "close paraphrasing"—in addition to why and how to avoid it.

On-wiki tutorials

Tutorial videos

Editing basics: Sandboxes Editing basics: bold and links
How to start an a sandbox page to play around with wiki markup or start an article draft (1m 16s) How to use the most basic features of wiki markup to create bold text and links to other pages (3m 37s)
How to use a watchlist How to use talk pages
How to use a watchlist to keep track of pages you are interested in or have edited (2m 16s) How to interact with other editors using talk pages, including article talk pages and user talk pages (2m 43s)
Editing basics: citing sources Citing sources with RefToobar
How to add citations using "ref" tags (2m 3s) How to use the "Cite" tool for inserting automatically formatted references (2m 25s)
Adding images
Uploading files such as images to Wikimedia Commons, using the upload wizard, and adding them to articles (2 min 41 sec)


Writing articles

Printable guides

Article-writing tutorial videos

Article creation Article improvement
A demonstration, recorded live, of how to create a Wikipedia article (7 min 50 sec) A look at how to assess the shortcomings of an article and improve it (4m 22s)
Article assessments Article evolution
An exploration of the standard article assessment system, with examples of each quality level (11m 30s) A trip through the history of an article, from humble beginnings to Good Article status (6m 25s)


Getting help

For most kinds of help on Wikipedia—technical questions; policies and guidelines; etiquette; conflicts with editors; feedback and reviews of your work—the first place you should turn is the "Discussion" tab of your course page. On the course talk page, you can also see what questions and requests for feedback your classmates posted, and you may be able to learn from the answers they got or answer their questions yourself.

  1. Go to your course page, click the “Discussion” tab, and post your question or request in a new section. (Be sure to sign your post with four tildes — ~~~~ — and enter an edit summary before you save it.)
  2. If you don't get a response within a day or two, ask your instructor.

Places to get help

Discussions in the right places

  • Article talk pages – The talk pages of articles are typically where discussions about the content of articles take place. Other editors may leave messages about your work here. If someone reverts changes you make to an article, the talk page is where you should start a discussion. Put it on your watchlist!
  • Wikipedia Campus or Online Ambassadors – If your class is working with one or more Wikipedia Ambassadors, the Ambassador(s) to meet with you or talk with you by email to discuss problems and questions about Wikipedia.
  • Course talk page – This is the main place for discussing your assignments, posting problems or questions that come up, and giving and receiving feedback about your articles. Put it on your watchlist!
  • WikiProject talk pages – These are message boards for users interested in editing articles about particular topics.

Static help

Interactive help

  • The Teahouse - A place for new editors to introduce themselves, asks questions, and find support from other editors
  • The Help desk - Where you can ask questions about how to use and edit Wikipedia
  • If you place {{Help me}} (including the curly brackets) "then your question" on your talk page, a volunteer will visit you there!

Immediate help

Button Icon Violet - CLICK HERE for live help.svg

Looking for immediate help? Click the big purple button on the right.

Enter your Wikipedia username, fill out the CAPTCHA, and click "Connect" to enter chat. Then explain what you need help with. There are usually experienced Wikipedians around who can try to help you.

Other problems

  • If you have conflicts with another editor that you don't want to post about publicly, try talking with your instructor or any experienced Wikipedians your class is working with.
  • For subject-specific questions related to your course, talk to your instructor(s), teaching assistants, and classmates.

Analyzing your contributions

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Welcome to Wikipedia

We are ecstatic that you're here!!

If you are part of a course that involves contributing to Wikipedia, you've come to the right place. This orientation will help you and your fellow students learn to contribute effectively.

To begin, press the forward arrow below to go on to the next page.

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About this Orientation…

The program has been divided into three key modules, each sharing a piece of the Wikipedia experience:

1 Core: This module discusses the core policies and guidelines that govern content development on Wikipedia.

2 Editing: Here we'll share with you the technical skills needed to edit Wikipedia. Since editing on Wikipedia does not happen in a vacuum you will also be introduced to the Wikipedia Community.

3 Advanced: This module goes into a little bit more detail on some specific editing topics that are relevant to students editing Wikipedia for class, including advice on picking a good topic.

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Navigating this orientation

Let's talk briefly about how this orientation works.

Menu Tab
Click on "Menu" at the top of the page and you will be taken to a new page where you can select another module. You can click "back" on your browser to return to where you were in the training.

Forward and Backward
The arrows at the bottom of the page will allow you to move forward and backward through the current module and will take you to the next module in the sequence.

Links
In order to reduce the possibility of you having to go back and forth from the orientation, we have purposely limited the number of links that you may encounter. Most of the links will be found under the Resources tab.

NOTE: If you click on a link you will be taken away from the orientation. To navigate back to the orientation, you will need to use the back button on your web browser.

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Let's begin…

We hope the material found in this orientation will provide you with practical information to help you get started on Wikipedia. We also hope that this will help you find your own place in the Wikipedia community. This is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and the way it gets better is from people like you editing to improve it.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 1 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Advanced Editing

Click on the forward arrow to go on to learn about the Core Policies of Wikipedia.

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An introduction to Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines

This module is intended to provide an overview of Wikipedia’s core policies and guidelines. You'll get to know a little about the basic rules for how Wikipedia works.

By the end of this section, you should be able to answer:

  • What are Wikipedia's core policies and guidelines?
  • How are copyright and plagiarism handled on Wikipedia?

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An introduction to Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines

Although anyone can edit Wikipedia, article development is not a chaotic, random process.

Wikipedia has many guiding principles as well as a governance structure that shape the content development process.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars

These five guiding principles are key to how Wikipedia works.

Wikipedia's Five Pillars:

  1. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia
  2. Wikipedia has a neutral point of view
  3. Wikipedia is free content
  4. Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner
  5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 1

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.
It incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazettees.

  • Wikipedia is NOT a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, an indiscriminate collection of information, or a web directory.
  • It is NOT a dictionary, a newspaper, or a collection of source documents; that kind of content may be better suited for Wikimedia sister projects.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 2

Wikipedia has a neutral point of view.

  • Strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view in a balanced and impartial manner.
  • Avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them.
  • In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in other areas we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context, and NOT presenting any point of view as "the truth" or "the best view".
Please note: All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy. That means citing verifiable, authoritative sources, especially on controversial topics and when the subject is a living person. Unreferenced material may be removed. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong here.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 3

Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute.

  • Respect copyright laws, and do not plagiarize sources. Non-free content is allowed under fair use, but strive to find free alternatives to any media or content that you wish to add to Wikipedia.
  • Since all your contributions are freely licensed to the public, no editor owns any article; all of your contributions can and will be mercilessly edited and redistributed.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 4

Editors should interact with each other in a respectful and civil manner.

  • Respect and be polite to your fellow Wikipedians, even when you disagree.
  • Apply Wikipedia etiquette, and avoid personal attacks. Find consensus, avoid edit wars, and remember that there are about four million articles on the English Wikipedia to work on and discuss.
  • Act in good faith, and never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point.
  • Be open and welcoming, and assume good faith on the part of others.
  • When conflict arises, discuss details on the talk page, and if needed, follow the dispute resolution process.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 5

Wikipedia does not have firm rules.

  • Rules in Wikipedia are not carved in stone, as their wording and interpretation are likely to change over time.
  • The principles and spirit of Wikipedia's rules matter more than their literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making an exception to a rule.
  • Be bold (but not reckless) in updating articles and do not worry about making mistakes. Prior versions of pages are saved, so any mistakes can be corrected.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Beyond the five pillars, there are a few more important guidelines to keep in mind. First:

Verifiability

Since Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, for content to remain in Wikipedia it must be verifiable, which means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that information comes from a reliable source.

This video explains the importance of "Neutral Point of View" and "Verifiability" and how they work on Wikipedia.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Notability

Is the subject of the article you want to work on notable enough for an encyclopedia? This guideline helps to clarify the notability question. In some cases, you may need to justify to other Wikipedians why the article topic is notable and should remain in Wikipedia. Coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject is the key to notability.

Hundreds and hundreds of pages are added to Wikipedia every day. Volunteer Wikipedia editors work hard to review each of these pages to determine whether they are appropriate for an encyclopedia. Notability is one of the key criteria for their decisions.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Notability

The basic requirement for a topic to have its own article is: significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.

  • significant coverage means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention but it need not be the main topic of the source material.
  • reliable sources, for the sake of establishing notability, generally means at least two independent secondary sources from reputable publishers. (These need not necessarily be in English or available online.) Multiple sources from the same author or organization are considered a single source for establishing notability.
  • independent of the subject excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject or its creator. For example, self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, the subject's website, autobiographies, and press releases are not considered independent.

Verifiable information on topics that do not meet the notability guideline may still be included within articles on broader topics.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

No original research

Wikipedia is a tertiary source of information—based on a collection of secondary sources writing about a primary source. Simply put, Wikipedia is not a place to publish original research, but rather is a summary of what has been written in reliable sources about the original topic or research.

Typical college papers require students to do original research, have a point of view and argue it. However, Wikipedia is a tertiary source—a summary secondary information about a given topic.

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Copyright and plagiarism

Wikipedia is a live publishing platform. As such copyright and plagiarism issues are taken very seriously by the English Wikipedia community.

Except for brief quotations, copying content from copyrighted sources onto Wikipedia is against policy. Whether direct copying or close paraphrasing, plagiarism and copyright violation are disruptive and time-consuming for volunteers to clean up. It can also result in real life implications for those involved such as academic demotion or expulsion at some Universities.

The following dialogue underscores the seriousness of copyright violation and plagiarism issues and how the Wikipedia community works tirelessly to keep Wikipedia free of both.

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Copyright and plagiarism


"If I copy only a
couple of paragraphs
from a book, is that ok?"






"You may be violating copyright laws as well as Wikipedia copyright guidelines."






"Also, if you add these paragraphs, a fellow contributor will need to come along and remove this content."






"Even if you're working in your sandbox, please don't do it. Copyright and plagiarism policies apply to everything on Wikipedia—including sandboxes."

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Want to know more about Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines?

Check out [[ WP:POLICY ]].

In the next module you’ll learn how to edit Wikipedia.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 2 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The Core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Advanced Editing

Click on the forward arrow to go on to learn about Editing Wikipedia.

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With a traditional assignment, your only audience is often your professor, or at most your professor and your classmates. I really liked the fact that this assignment gave me an opportunity to write for a broader audience and make a valuable contribution to a resource that I often use myself.

Joseph Lapka, San Francisco State University

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Editing Wikipedia

This module focuses on the basic editing skills necessary to successfully contribute to Wikipedia and collaborate with other editors.

By the end of this section, you should be able to answer:

  • What basic editing skills do I need to know to contribute to Wikipedia?
  • What is important to know about the site (anatomy)?
  • Where can I practice editing?
  • What role does the Wikipedia community have in editing content?

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Getting started

The best way to learn how to edit Wikipedia is just to jump in and get started.

If your class has a major Wikipedia component, the instructor may have set aside time in class for a hands-on introduction to wiki mark-up. Alternatively, you can open Wikipedia in another browser window and follow along with the example exercises as you continue this orientation.

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Getting started: Basic tasks

Some of the typical editing and formatting tasks you can try out to begin with are:

  • Bolding and italicizing text
  • Creating headers
  • Editing subsections
  • Creating bulleted and numbered lists
  • Creating links
  • Creating references
  • Starting a sandbox page

You should also familiarize yourself with:

  • The distinctions among article pages, talk pages and user pages
  • The use of talk pages

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Getting started: Creating an account

If you haven't done so already, it's time to create your Wikipedia user account. If editing basics are being covered in class, be sure to create your account ahead of time. Each individual editor must have their own account.

  • Take a moment to look at Wikipedia's username policy and consider how anonymous you would like to be on Wikipedia. You need not use your real name, although many Wikipedians choose to do so.
  • When you've chosen a username, click "Create account" at the top right and follow the instructions.
  • Adding an email address to your account is strongly recommended; this allows you to send and receive emails with other editors. (Your email address is not revealed when other users contact you.) You can also receive email notifications whenever pages you are interested in get changed, if you wish. And if you forget your Wikipedia password, you can have it emailed to you — but only if you add your email address to your account!

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Working in a sandbox

A user sandbox is a personal wiki page(s) where you can experiment, practice editing, plan out articles, or begin drafting articles before moving them into the article "mainspace” on Wikipedia—where live articles are read and edited.

To go to your default sandbox page, simply click the Sandbox link, which can be found at the top right whenever you are logged in.

Open up your sandbox and try writing something. Anything. This is a place to experiment. Play around.

You can try making links to Wikipedia articles, adding bold and italic text, dividing the page into sections using headers, and creating footnotes.

Don’t forget to click on "Save page” when you're done editing.

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Congratulations on creating a sandbox!

Later on, you can use that sandbox (or a new one — you can create as many as you need) to work on content for Wikipedia.

If you leave the template code at the top, {{User sandbox}}, you can use the link in that template to easily submit your sandbox work to be moved into Wikipedia as a new article.

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Text editing: '''boldness''' and [[links]]

Now it's time to get started editing! You can navigate to your own sandbox page in another browser window to try it out for yourself.

The wiki code for bold text is like this:

'''bold''' = bold

Creating a wikilink to another article looks like this:

[[bold]] = bold

That link to the article bold will redirect you to Emphasis (typography). To link to an article with a different name than the text, used a piped link, like this:

[[boldness|bold]] = bold (with the link to boldness)

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Citing your sources

This how to create citations manually on Wikipedia in order to cite appropriate sources.

Any editor can remove unreferenced material, and unsubstantiated articles may end up getting deleted. When you add information to an article, be sure to include your references, preferably in the form of inline citations. Citations allow other editors and readers to verify the information.

Adding an inline reference is easy:

  1. Go to the bottom of the page and add a Notes Section. Type: ==Notes==
  2. Add the text {{reflist}} under your "Notes" section header.
  3. Now click after the text you would like to create a reference for.
  4. Now type in <ref> tag before your reference and type </ref> after your reference. Wiki software will automatically add your inline reference number.

You can also use the Cite gadget, described on the next page, to insert the <ref> tags and citation details.

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Citing your sources

This video demonstrates the use of the "Cite" gadget in the edit toolbar.

You can also use the Cite gadget in the editing toolbar to automatically create the wikicode for citations.

  1. Click Cite in the toolbar at the top of the edit window.
  2. Position the cursor where you want to add a citation.
  3. Click the Templates pulldown, then selection the type of source: general webpage, news article, book, or journal article.
  4. Fill out the details of the source.
  5. Click Insert.

If you enter a Ref name, you can reuse the same citation elsewhere in the article without needing to re-enter the details. Click Named references to re-use a citation that includes a Ref name.

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How are talk pages used?

Watch this video if you'd like an overview of how to use talk pages.

Every page on Wikipedia has talk page associated with it. For example an article has a talk page, a userpage has a talk page, a sandbox also has a talk page. Click on the "Talk" tab in the upper left corner of any page and you will be on the talk page.

A lot of discussion takes place on user talk pages and article talk pages. Wikipedians will want you to respond to messages left in these locations, and you can use them to leave messages for others.

You can leave an indented reply to someone else's message by beginning a line with one or more colons, and be sure to sign your messages with four tildes (~~~~) to mark it with your username and a timestamp.

:Leave an indented reply like this.--~~~~

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How to use a sandbox for existing articles

For revising an existing article, consider drafting the first significant edits (e.g., a new or heavily revised section) in a sandbox. This is more effective than fully rewriting an existing article in a sandbox, then replacing the article all at once, which may antagonize other editors.

If you use a sandbox, you should place a notice on the talk page of the article with a link to the sandbox. This allows interested editors to post suggestions to the talk page before work starts. Once you are happy with the draft you can place another notice on the talk page of the article with a link to the sandbox, asking for comments before editing the article itself.

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How to use a sandbox for stub articles

For expanding a small article (known as a stub), beginning from a sandbox can be helpful. Here you can write and rewrite before going "live."

Small articles that are expanded by a factor of five within a short period (and are well-referenced) are also eligible as "Did You Know" entries; working in a sandbox until reaching that threshold may be a good idea.

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How to use a sandbox for new articles

For starting a new article, you may first want to draft the article in a user sandbox named after the topic, such as

User:Stan Lee/Project X,

just as you would when expanding an existing article. When you are ready to make it live on Wikipedia, consider submitting it to the Articles for Creation process first so that experienced editors can check it over. In general, the sooner you move out of a sandbox, the better.

(Articles for Creation often has a considerable backlog, so you should not wait around for a submission to be reviewed. If your submission has not been reviewed, go ahead and create your article once you're sure it meets the basic requirements for a Wikipedia article.)

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My watchlist and how to use it

A personal watchlist is an easy way to keep track of all the pages to which you are contributing. You can use your watchlist to monitor article changes, conversations and editor collaboration.

You can also set your email preferences to receive email whenever pages on your watchlist are changed.

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My watchlist and how to use it

By default, your watchlist will show only the most recent change to a page you are watching. You can change your watchlist preferences to show all changes, not just the most recent; this can helpful if you're collaborating intensely on just one or a few pages.

You can watch this video if you'd like a more detailed overview of the basics of creating and using watchlists.

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The Wikipedia Community


English Wikipedia has about 30,000 active editors (as of 2013). We range from niche editors who build articles in a particular subject area, to "WikiGnomes" who work quietly formatting pages and tying up loose ends, to vandal fighters who monitor recent changes and revert bad edits, to reviewers who help run Wikipedia's peer review processes, to administrators who clean up messes and block disruptive editors, to policy wonks who analyze how Wikipedia works and discuss ways to improve it—and many more roles.

What we have in common is that we care—often very deeply—about Wikipedia. Although we come from different perspectives (and often disagree!) we're all here to try to make Wikipedia better.

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Decision-making by consensus

Consensus is the main way decisions are made on Wikipedia, both in terms of article content and how Wikipedia itself is run. Wikipedia's concept of consensus doesn't necessarily mean that everyone agrees, but it involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

When disagreements occur, we resolve them through discussion—usually on the relevant Talk page. Since Wikipedia articles should be written from a neutral point of view—fairly describing significant viewpoints on a subject without endorsing any of them—it is almost always possible to reach consensus about article content, even if editors themselves have fundamentally different points of view on the subject.

The ideal Wikipedia article on a controversial topic is one where partisans on both sides would read it and say, "my viewpoint is described accurately".

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The Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle

The Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle is one good way to think about the consensus editing process.

1 Be Bold: If you think you can make an article better, but you aren't sure whether others will disagree with the changes you want to make, you should start by boldly editing as you think best.

2 Revert: If your edit gets reverted by another editor, that's okay! You've now identified an editor with a different view about the article. Check the edit summaries and the Talk page to see why the other editor reverted your edit. (Do not simply make your edit again; that's the beginning of an edit war.)

3 Discuss: Start a discussion on the Talk page (if the other editor has not done so already). Explain how you think the article should be improved, and why. Work with the other editor(s) to develop consensus. When you've found some agreement, start making edits again.

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Tips for effective discussion

For productive discussions, remember to:

  • Use descriptive edit summaries to explain what you are doing with each edit. That way, others will be able to follow the action when they click on the "View history" tab.
  • Assume good faith: Assume other editors are trying to improve the project.
  • Read all the messages people leave on the talk pages of articles you are editing.
  • Be polite, and discuss article content rather than editors. Do not make personal attacks.
  • Always sign your posts on talk pages using four tildes so that others can follow who is saying what. Put ~~~~ at the end of your message (not in the edit summary box).
  • When you intend comments for a specific editor, leave a message on their User Talk page (with a link to the comments, if the discussion is happening on a different page). That way, they'll get a notification about your message.

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Where to get help

Now you have a basic overview of how to contribute to Wikipedia. But there is a lot more you'll learn along the way as you get started. You can find a variety of written help materials and additional videos in the Resources tab of this training.

If you need help, here are some places you can go:

Static help
  • w:Help:Contents is the main help page that will guide you in the right direction. The help page may be reached at any time by clicking help displayed under the Interaction tab on the left side of all pages.
  • w:Help:Contents/Directory is a descriptive listing of all Wikipedia's informative, instructional and consultation pages.
  • Wikipedia: The Missing Manual is a converted book that covers most subjects, split into 21 chapters.

You may wish to bookmark or print out a copy of the editing cheatsheet for a quick reference on wiki syntax.

Interactive help
  • The Teahouse, a place for new editors to introduce themselves, asks questions, and find support from other editors
  • The Help desk, where you can ask questions about how to use and edit Wikipedia
  • If you place {{Help me}} (including the curly brackets) "then your question" on your talk page, a volunteer will visit you there!
  • The help channel for live chat help from other Wikipedians

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Wikipedia Training: Module 3 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Advanced Editing

Click on the forward arrow to continue on to the last module.

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Editing articles: advanced topics

This module goes into more detail on some of the trickier aspects of writing for Wikipedia and some common pitfalls for students doing Wikipedia assignments

By the end of this section, you should be able to answer:

  • How do I choose the right article to work on?
  • What is expected from a good Wikipedia article?
  • How can I get an article on Wikipedia's Main Page?
  • How can I get feedback on my article?

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Choosing articles

Choosing the right first article to work on—and finding the right title for it, if it's a new article—can make a big difference.

Here are a few guidelines for the kinds of articles that may be appropriate to start out on, and what kinds of articles to avoid. These guidelines were created based on feedback and experiences of professors, students and Wikipedians.

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Choosing articles

Not such a good choice
Articles that are "not such a good choice" for newcomers usually involve factors such as a lack of appropriate research material, highly controversial topics that may be well developed already, broad subjects or topics for which it is difficult to demonstrate notability.

  • You probably shouldn't try to completely overhaul articles on very broad topics (e.g., Law).
  • You should probably avoid trying to improve articles on topics that are highly controversial (e.g., Global Warming, Abortion, Scientology, etc.). You may be more successful starting a sub-article on the topic instead.
  • Don't work on an article that is already of high quality on Wikipedia, unless you discuss a specific plan for improving it with other editors beforehand.
  • Avoid working on something only sparsely covered by literature. Wikipedia articles cite secondary literature sources, so it is important that you have enough sources to provide a neutral point of view and be verifiable.
  • Don't start articles with titles that imply an essay-like approach (e.g., The Effects That The Recent Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis has had on the US and Global Economics). These type of titles, and most likely the content too, may not be appropriate for an encyclopedia.

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Choosing articles

Good choice

  • Choose a topic that is well established in its field, but only weakly represented on Wikipedia. The best choice is a topic for which a lot of literature is available but which isn't covered extensively on Wikipedia.
  • Gravitate toward "stub" and "start" class articles. These articles often have only 1-2 paragraphs of information and are in need of expansion. Relevant WikiProject pages can provide a list of stubs that need improvement.
  • Before creating a new article, do an in-depth search of related topics on Wikipedia to make sure your topic isn't already covered. Often, an article may already exist under another name, or the topic may be covered as a subsection of a broader article.

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Help with choosing articles

If you would like some guidance choosing a good topic to work on, here some options:

  • Ask your instructor, who may have compiled a list of potential topics and may know which topics have appropriate sources available.
  • Post a question at the Help Desk or the Teahouse. The more specific you can be about what you're interested in writing about and what potential topics you're looking at, the better. You'll have to check back later to the page where you post your question to see what suggestions people have for you.


Here are some ways to browse for articles to work on:

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The "Did you know" process

Getting your new article to appear on the Main Page of Wikipedia as a "Did you know" entry is a great first goal, as soon as you move out of a sandbox. To be eligible, an article must:

  • conform to Wikipedia's core policies regarding verifiability, neutral point of view, and copyright;
  • have been created (or expanded five-fold) within the last five days;
  • be about 3 or 4 paragraphs long, at the least;
  • be supported with citations to reliable sources.

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The "Did you know" process

You can read more about the Did You Know process in general, or check out the step-by-step instructions if you think you'd like to try it.

Be sure you understand the requirements and conventions of the "Did you know" process before submitting your article. Your instructor or any experienced editors working with your class may be able to help; for large classes, it's often best to spread out nominations over a few days or even a few weeks, to avoid overburdening the review process.

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The perfect article

The checklist for a perfect article starts out simply enough:

  • Fills a gap
  • Has a great title
  • Starts with a clear description of the subject

...

But it's a long list. And the last thing on it is...

...

  • Is not attainable.

So don't worry about making your article perfect. Take it one step at a time.

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From stub to Featured article

Wikipedia articles usually start humbly, developing and improving gradually over time — even when they are largely written by just one or a few contributors.

Typically, you start by making a stub, just a paragraph or two that serves to identify the topic, with enough sourcing to assure readers that it ought to have its own article. As you expand the article — perhaps nominating it for DYK along the way — you divide it into sections on different aspects of the topic. Once the article is relatively comprehensive — at least touching on the major aspects of the topic — should get some advice from others. After incorporating that feedback, if you think it meets the Good article criteria, you nominate it for Good article status, working with the reviewer(s) to fix any major shortcomings. After more polish and more research to cover every significant aspect of the topic, you can attempt the Featured article process. If, by the end, article meets the more stringent Featured article criteria, then the article will be eligible to have its day on Wikipedia's Main Page, where it draws the attention of tens of thousands of readers.

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Article grading scheme

Wikipedia has a grading scheme for articles, which can useful for figuring out how to improve your article. These are the basic quality levels.

FA The article meets the featured article criteria and has gone through the FA candidates process.
GA The article meets the good article criteria and has gone through a successful good article nomination.
B The article is mostly complete and without major issues, but requires some further work to reach good article standards.
C The article is substantial, but is still missing important content or contains a lot of irrelevant material.
Start An article that is developing, but which is quite incomplete and may require further reliable sources.
Stub A very basic description of the topic.

You can check out the full grading scheme for more detail about these quality assessments.

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Adding images and other media

Most articles on Wikipedia can benefit from an appropriate illustration. To find an image (or a video or sound file), try browsing related Wikipedia articles as well as doing some searches on Wikimedia Commons. If you have an original image you created, you can upload that to Wikimedia Commons and then add it to Wikipedia articles.

The basic code for adding an image to a Wikipedia article is like this:
[[File:Example.jpg | thumb | This is the caption. ]]

This video walks through the process of uploading a photo and adding it to an article. For more advanced image syntax, check out the picture tutorial.

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Barnstars and other WikiLove

If you want to recognize another editor for doing good work, or you want to say "thank you" for their help, or you just want to be friendly, you can share WikiLove with another editor. Just go to the person's userpage and click the heart icon to bring up the WikiLove tool. You can select what kind of award to give them, add a personal message, and automatically add it to their talk page.

This video gives a little bit of background on barnstars, the traditional symbol of appreciation for good work on Wikipedia, and shows how to award them with WikiLove.

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Specialized help pages

There is much more help material available on Wikipedia, much of it specialized for very specific types of articles or specific editing tasks. Here are a few help pages that are particularly relevant to students working on Wikipedia:

  • How to edit medical topics — Medical topics have particularly stringent rules for the proper use of sources, so if you're going to work on medicine-related articles (including psychology), this is a helpful primer.
  • Citing books — If you're working primarily from books as your sources, citing different pages at different points in the article, this guide shows how you can format the citations.
  • Module 5: Background — If you want to learn more about Wikipedia and its history, you can check out the optional fifth module of this orientation.

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You've completed Wikipedia orientation. Congratulations!

Please take a moment to certify that you completed the orientation and let us know what you thought about it. Click the "Certification and Feedback" button below.

Be sure that you are signed in to your Wikipedia account first. If not, log in now. Otherwise, there will be no record that you completed the training.


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What I liked

...

What I didn't like

...

What was missing

...

What was unnecessary

...

--~~~~

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How a ragtag band created Wikipedia

EnwikipediaGom.PNG

Click the image to go to the video on YouTube. You will need to press 'back' on your browser to return to this module.

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Why Wikipedians are Weird

Steven Walling Wikipedia mascots - Ignite Portland 8 - Portland Oregon.jpg

Click the image to go to the video on YouTube. You will need to press 'back' on your browser to return to this module.

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Wikipedia Training <translate> For educators</translate> MenuResources

This orientation for educators using Wikipedia editing as a class assignment consists of four main modules:

  • Welcome, a short introduction;
  • The Core, an overview of Wikipedia's core principles;
  • Editing, a tutorial on the basic mechanics of editing pages and communicating with others; and
  • Classroom, a walkthrough of best practices and examples for using Wikipedia assignments in the classroom. In total, the four modules should take about one to one-and-a-half hours to complete.
  • Course pages, instructions for requesting user rights, setting up course pages, and using them.

<translate> Welcome</translate>

<translate> The Core</translate>

<translate> Editing</translate>

<translate> Classroom</translate>

<translate> Course pages</translate>

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Resources

Click Back on your browser to return to the orientation.

Assignment design

Course pages

For instructions on setting up a course page, see w:Wikipedia:Course pages.

Helping students get started

Printable guides

These printable PDF documents have instructions related to the basics of Wikipedia.

  • Wiki markup quick reference – a one-page quick reference (included in the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure) to help you remember the most frequently used wiki markup codes.
  • References – explains why references are important, what the expectations for sourcing on Wikipedia are, where to place references, and the basics of adding "ref" tags.
  • Reference formatting – explains in more detail how to create footnotes for citing sources, and how to cite the same source multiple times.
  • Using talk pages – explains how to use talk pages to communicate with other editors.
  • Choosing an article – explains the Dos and Don'ts of choosing an article to work on.
  • How to get help – explains the recommended way to get help and feedback. It also includes a glossary of additional help resources you can avail yourself of.
  • Avoiding plagiarism – explains what plagiarism is on Wikipedia—including "close paraphrasing"—in addition to why and how to avoid it.

On-wiki tutorials

Tutorial videos

Editing basics: Sandboxes Editing basics: bold and links
How to start an a sandbox page to play around with wiki markup or start an article draft (1m 16s) How to use the most basic features of wiki markup to create bold text and links to other pages (3m 37s)
How to use a watchlist How to use talk pages
How to use a watchlist to keep track of pages you are interested in or have edited (2m 16s) How to interact with other editors using talk pages, including article talk pages and user talk pages (2m 43s)
Editing basics: citing sources Citing sources with RefToobar
How to add citations using "ref" tags (2m 3s) How to use the "Cite" tool for inserting automatically formatted references (2m 25s)
Adding images
Uploading files such as images to Wikimedia Commons, using the upload wizard, and adding them to articles (2 min 41 sec)


Writing articles

Printable guides

Article-writing tutorial videos

Article creation Article improvement
A demonstration, recorded live, of how to create a Wikipedia article (7 min 50 sec) A look at how to assess the shortcomings of an article and improve it (4m 22s)
Article assessments Article evolution
An exploration of the standard article assessment system, with examples of each quality level (11m 30s) A trip through the history of an article, from humble beginnings to Good Article status (6m 25s)


Places for general Wikipedia help

For most kinds of help on Wikipedia—technical questions; policies and guidelines; etiquette; conflicts with editors; feedback and reviews of your work—the first place your students should turn is the "Discussion" tab of your course page. On the course talk page, you can also see what questions and requests for feedback your class has posted, and you may be able to learn from the answers they got or answer their questions yourself. You and your students have a number of other options as well.

Places to get help

Discussions in the right places

  • Article talk pages – The talk pages of articles are typically where discussions about the content of articles take place. Other editors may leave messages about your work here. If someone reverts changes you make to an article, the talk page is where you should start a discussion. Put it on your watchlist!
  • Wikipedia Campus or Online Ambassadors – If your class is working with one or more Wikipedia Ambassadors, the Ambassador(s) to meet with you or talk with you by email to discuss problems and questions about Wikipedia.
  • Course talk page – This is the main place for discussing your assignments, posting problems or questions that come up, and giving and receiving feedback about your articles. Put it on your watchlist!
  • WikiProject talk pages – These are message boards for users interested in editing articles about particular topics.

Static help

Interactive help

  • The Teahouse - A place for new editors to introduce themselves, asks questions, and find support from other editors
  • The Help desk - Where you can ask questions about how to use and edit Wikipedia
  • If you place {{Help me}} (including the curly brackets) "then your question" on your talk page, a volunteer will visit you there!

Immediate help

Button Icon Violet - CLICK HERE for live help.svg

Looking for immediate help? Click the big purple button on the right.

Enter your Wikipedia username, fill out the CAPTCHA, and click "Connect" to enter chat. Then explain what you need help with. There are usually experienced Wikipedians around who can try to help you.

Other problems

  • If you have conflicts with another editor that you don't want to post about publicly, try talking with any experienced Wikipedians your class is working with.

Places for help with course-related issues

The main place to go for help with course-specific problems that is the Education noticeboard.

Analyzing student contributions

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Welcome to Wikipedia

We are ecstatic that you're here!!

If you are an educator thinking about using a Wikipedia assignment in your classroom, you've come to the right place. This orientation will cover the basics of Wikipedia, its rules, and the basics of editing, and then walk through assignment options, best practices, and a sample syllabus for a major Wikipedia writing assignment.

To begin, press the forward arrow below to go on to the next page.

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Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool

This orientation has been designed to help you successfully integrate Wikipedia assignments into your classroom curriculum. The program has been developing since a university pilot 2010, with continual updates based on ongoing conversations, observation and feedback from over 100 professors and instructors who are currently using Wikipedia as a way to meet their learning objectives.

While the following modules focus mainly on Wikipedia, your course is most likely not about Wikipedia. Most educators are simply interested in using Wikipedia as a tool for helping to teach your course content—and improving Wikipedia along the way.

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About this orientation

The program has been divided into three key modules, each sharing a piece of the Wikipedia experience:

1 Core: This module discusses the core policies and guidelines that govern content development on Wikipedia.

2 Editing: This module covers the technical skills needed to edit Wikipedia, and how to help students learn them. Since editing on Wikipedia does not happen in a vacuum, this module also covers Wikipedia Community and how students should interact with other editors.

3 Classroom: Key to successful assignments will be how to integrate Wikipedia into the classroom. This module will walk you through a sample 12 week syllabus. It can be used as a starting point for Wikipedia assignments, or taken in bits and pieces to adapt to specific course and its learning objectives.

4 Course pages: This module shows you how to actually get started: how to set up a course page and use it to keep track of what your students are doing on Wikipedia.

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Navigating this orientation

Let's talk briefly about how this orientation works.

Menu Tab
Click on "Menu" at the top of the page and you will be taken to a new page where you can select another module. You can click "back" on your browser to return to where you were in the training.

Forward and Backward
The arrows at the bottom of the page will allow you to move forward and backward through the current module and will take you to the next module in the sequence.

Links
In order to reduce the possibility of you having to go back and forth from the orientation, we have purposely limited the number of links that you may encounter. Most of the links will be found under the Resources tab.

NOTE: If you click on a link you will be taken away from the orientation. To navigate back to the orientation, you will need to use the back button on your web browser.

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Let's begin

We hope the material found in this orientation will provide you with practical information that you can implement in class. We also hope that this will serve as inspiration for amazing adventures linking the world of Wikipedia and university educators everywhere.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 1 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Using Wikipedia in Your Classroom

Module 5: Course pages

Click on the forward arrow to go on to learn about the Core Policies of Wikipedia.

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Students do use Wikipedia, and they need to understand what it is and how to trace back to the primary sources. It is a valuable tool that is dismissed by too many people.

faculty participant

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An introduction to Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines

This module is intended to provide an overview of Wikipedia’s core policies and guidelines. You'll get to know a little about the basic rules for how Wikipedia works.

By the end of this section, you should be able to answer:

  • What are Wikipedia's core policies and guidelines?
  • How are copyright and plagiarism handled on Wikipedia?


We have designed this module primarily for professors/instructors who are either new to Wikipedia or have limited exposure to the Wikipedia community. If you already have a firm grasp of Wikipedia's core policies, you can skip ahead:

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An introduction to Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines

Although anyone can edit Wikipedia, article development is not a chaotic, random process.

Wikipedia has many guiding principles as well as a governance structure that shape the content development process.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars

These five guiding principles are key to how Wikipedia works.

Wikipedia's Five Pillars:

  1. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia
  2. Wikipedia has a neutral point of view
  3. Wikipedia is free content
  4. Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner
  5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 1

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.
It incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazettees.

  • Wikipedia is NOT a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, an indiscriminate collection of information, or a web directory.
  • It is NOT a dictionary, a newspaper, or a collection of source documents; that kind of content may be better suited for Wikimedia sister projects.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 2

Wikipedia has a neutral point of view.

  • Strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view in a balanced and impartial manner.
  • Avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them.
  • In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in other areas we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context, and NOT presenting any point of view as "the truth" or "the best view".
Please note: All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy. That means citing verifiable, authoritative sources, especially on controversial topics and when the subject is a living person. Unreferenced material may be removed. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong here.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 3

Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute.

  • Respect copyright laws, and do not plagiarize sources. Non-free content is allowed under fair use, but strive to find free alternatives to any media or content that you wish to add to Wikipedia.
  • Since all your contributions are freely licensed to the public, no editor owns any article; all of your contributions can and will be mercilessly edited and redistributed.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 4

Editors should interact with each other in a respectful and civil manner.

  • Respect and be polite to your fellow Wikipedians, even when you disagree.
  • Apply Wikipedia etiquette, and avoid personal attacks. Find consensus, avoid edit wars, and remember that there are about four million articles on the English Wikipedia to work on and discuss.
  • Act in good faith, and never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point.
  • Be open and welcoming, and assume good faith on the part of others.
  • When conflict arises, discuss details on the talk page, and if needed, follow the dispute resolution process.

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Wikipedia’s Five Pillars: Number 5

Wikipedia does not have firm rules.

  • Rules in Wikipedia are not carved in stone, as their wording and interpretation are likely to change over time.
  • The principles and spirit of Wikipedia's rules matter more than their literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making an exception to a rule.
  • Be bold (but not reckless) in updating articles and do not worry about making mistakes. Prior versions of pages are saved, so any mistakes can be corrected.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Beyond the five pillars, there are a few more important guidelines to keep in mind. First:

Verifiability

Since Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, for content to remain in Wikipedia it must be verifiable, which means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that information comes from a reliable source.

This video explains the importance of "Neutral Point of View" and "Verifiability" and how they work on Wikipedia.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Notability

Is the subject of the article you want to work on notable enough for an encyclopedia? This guideline helps to clarify the notability question. In some cases, you may need to justify to other Wikipedians why the article topic is notable and should remain in Wikipedia. Coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject is the key to notability.

Hundreds and hundreds of pages are added to Wikipedia every day. Volunteer Wikipedia editors work hard to review each of these pages to determine whether they are appropriate for an encyclopedia. Notability is one of the key criteria for their decisions.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

Notability

The basic requirement for a topic to have its own article is: significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.

  • significant coverage means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention but it need not be the main topic of the source material.
  • reliable sources, for the sake of establishing notability, generally means at least two independent secondary sources from reputable publishers. (These need not necessarily be in English or available online.) Multiple sources from the same author or organization are considered a single source for establishing notability.
  • independent of the subject excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject or its creator. For example, self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, the subject's website, autobiographies, and press releases are not considered independent.

Verifiable information on topics that do not meet the notability guideline may still be included within articles on broader topics.

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Beyond the Five Pillars…

No original research

Wikipedia is a tertiary source of information—based on a collection of secondary sources writing about a primary source. Simply put, Wikipedia is not a place to publish original research, but rather is a summary of what has been written in reliable sources about the original topic or research.

Typical college papers require students to do original research, have a point of view and argue it. However, Wikipedia is a tertiary source—a summary secondary information about a given topic.

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Copyright and plagiarism

Wikipedia is a live publishing platform. As such copyright and plagiarism issues are taken very seriously by the English Wikipedia community.

Except for brief quotations, copying content from copyrighted sources onto Wikipedia is against policy. Whether direct copying or close paraphrasing, plagiarism and copyright violation are disruptive and time-consuming for volunteers to clean up. It can also result in real life implications for those involved such as academic demotion or expulsion at some Universities.

The following dialogue underscores the seriousness of copyright violation and plagiarism issues and how the Wikipedia community works tirelessly to keep Wikipedia free of both.

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Copyright and plagiarism


"If I copy only a
couple of paragraphs
from a book, is that ok?"






"You may be violating copyright laws as well as Wikipedia copyright guidelines."






"Also, if you add these paragraphs, a fellow contributor will need to come along and remove this content."






"Even if you're working in your sandbox, please don't do it. Copyright and plagiarism policies apply to everything on Wikipedia—including sandboxes."

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Want to know more about Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines?

Check out [[ WP:POLICY ]].

In the next module you’ll learn how to edit Wikipedia.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 2 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The Core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Using Wikipedia in Your Classroom

Module 5: Course pages

Click on the forward arrow to go on to learn about Editing Wikipedia.

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Professors and trained ambassadors worked together to develop assignments that achieved the learning goals of the professor while contributing to the development of new content on the free encyclopedia.

Educause 2011

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Editing Wikipedia

This module focuses on the basic editing skills necessary to successfully contribute to Wikipedia and collaborate with other editors.

By the end of this section, you should be able to answer:

  • What basic editing skills do I need to know to contribute to Wikipedia?
  • What is important to know about the site (anatomy)?
  • Where can I practice editing?
  • What role does the Wikipedia community have in editing content?

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Getting started

While there are a variety of tutorials online about how to edit Wikipedia—including an Orientation for students that parallels this one—it is often more effective to take students into a computer lab and do a hands-on introduction to wiki mark-up.

For the students, this:

  • allows them to see editing take place "live"
  • gives them a safe space to make mistakes
  • allows them to ask questions in real-time


If you are working with a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador, he or she can help you with this lab session.

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Getting started: Basic tasks

Your lab may last an hour or two and could cover such topics as:

  • Bolding and italicizing text
  • How to create and use a sandbox
  • How to create references
  • How to create headers, bulleted and numbered lists, and links
  • How to edit subsections
  • Distinctions among article pages, talk pages and user pages
  • Use of talk pages

Please note: The content of your lab will be based on the overall class learning objectives and the specific Wikipedia assignment(s) students will be working on.

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Getting started: Creating an account

Have students create their user accounts prior to the lab. Each individual must have their own account; shared accounts are not allowed on Wikipedia.

  • This allows them to read Wikipedia's username policy and consider how anonymous they want to be on the site.
  • It also avoids triggering the automatic limits placed on creating numerous accounts from the same location in a short time period.
  • Adding an email address to your account (for both instructors and students) is strongly recommended; this allows you to send and receive emails with other editors. (Your email address is not revealed when other users contact you.) You can also receive email notifications whenever pages you are interested in get changed, if you wish. And if you forget your Wikipedia password, you can have it emailed to you — but only if you add your email address to your account!


If you're working with a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador, he or she can help with this.

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Working in a sandbox

A user sandbox is a personal wiki page(s) where you can experiment, practice editing, plan out articles, or begin drafting articles before moving them into the article "mainspace” on Wikipedia—where live articles are read and edited.

To go to your default sandbox page, simply click the Sandbox link, which can be found at the top right whenever you are logged in.

Open up your sandbox and try writing something. Anything. This is a place to experiment. Play around.

You can try making links to Wikipedia articles, adding bold and italic text, dividing the page into sections using headers, and creating footnotes.

Don’t forget to click on "Save page” when you're done editing.

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Congratulations on creating a sandbox!

Later on, you can use that sandbox (or a new one — you can create as many as you need) to work on content for Wikipedia.

If you leave the template code at the top, {{User sandbox}}, you can use the link in that template to easily submit your sandbox work to be moved into Wikipedia as a new article.



Please remember that even when the students are working in their sandboxes, all Wikipedia copyright and plagiarism policies still apply.

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Text editing: '''boldness''' and [[links]]

Now it's time to get started editing! You can navigate to your own sandbox page in another browser window to try it out for yourself.

The wiki code for bold text is like this:

'''bold''' = bold

Creating a wikilink to another article looks like this:

[[bold]] = bold

That link to the article bold will redirect you to Emphasis (typography). To link to an article with a different name than the text, used a piped link, like this:

[[boldness|bold]] = bold (with the link to boldness)

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Citing your sources

This how to create citations manually on Wikipedia in order to cite appropriate sources.

Any editor can remove unreferenced material, and unsubstantiated articles may end up getting deleted. When you add information to an article, be sure to include your references, preferably in the form of inline citations. Citations allow other editors and readers to verify the information.

Adding an inline reference is easy:

  1. Go to the bottom of the page and add a Notes Section. Type: ==Notes==
  2. Add the text {{reflist}} under your "Notes" section header.
  3. Now click after the text you would like to create a reference for.
  4. Now type in <ref> tag before your reference and type </ref> after your reference. Wiki software will automatically add your inline reference number.

You can also use the Cite gadget, described on the next page, to insert the <ref> tags and citation details.



As you do with other research projects, you will want to discuss with your students where to find an acceptable, trustworthy and authoritative source.

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Citing your sources

This video demonstrates the use of the "Cite" gadget in the edit toolbar.

You can also use the Cite gadget in the editing toolbar to automatically create the wikicode for citations.

  1. Click Cite in the toolbar at the top of the edit window.
  2. Position the cursor where you want to add a citation.
  3. Click the Templates pulldown, then selection the type of source: general webpage, news article, book, or journal article.
  4. Fill out the details of the source.
  5. Click Insert.

If you enter a Ref name, you can reuse the same citation elsewhere in the article without needing to re-enter the details. Click Named references to re-use a citation that includes a Ref name.

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How are talk pages used?

Watch this video if you'd like an overview of how to use talk pages.

Every page on Wikipedia has talk page associated with it. For example an article has a talk page, a userpage has a talk page, a sandbox also has a talk page. Click on the "Talk" tab in the upper left corner of any page and you will be on the talk page.

A lot of discussion takes place on user talk pages and article talk pages. Wikipedians will want you to respond to messages left in these locations, and you can use them to leave messages for others.

You can leave an indented reply to someone else's message by beginning a line with one or more colons, and be sure to sign your messages with four tildes (~~~~) to mark it with your username and a timestamp.

:Leave an indented reply like this.--~~~~

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To sandbox or not to sandbox?

Why use a sandbox

  • Lower pressure, "shielded" from larger Wikipedia editor community, students feel safer
  • No risk of having work changed/deleted unexpectedly
  • Students' sandboxes are a great place for doing peer reviews of articles in progress


Why edit live (in the mainspace)

  • Exciting, immediate changes to Wikipedia
  • Collaborative editing, feedback from larger Wikipedian editing community

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How to use a sandbox for existing articles

Recommendation for students

For revising an existing article, consider drafting the first significant edits (e.g., a new or heavily revised section) in a sandbox. This is more effective than fully rewriting an existing article in a sandbox, then replacing the article all at once, which may antagonize other editors.

If you use a sandbox, you should place a notice on the talk page of the article with a link to the sandbox. This allows interested editors to post suggestions to the talk page before work starts. Once you are happy with the draft you can place another notice on the talk page of the article with a link to the sandbox, asking for comments before editing the article itself.

Your role as the expert

The sandbox stage is a good opportunity for you, as their instructor, to highlight major problems and point students in the right direction to fix them. Make sure students are using high-quality sources, and make sure they are rewriting information in their own words rather than copying the sources or committing plagiarism through close paraphrasing.

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How to use a sandbox for stub articles

Recommendation for students

For expanding a small article (known as a stub), beginning from a sandbox can be helpful. Here you can write and rewrite before going "live."

Small articles that are expanded by a factor of five within a short period (and are well-referenced) are also eligible as "Did You Know" entries; working in a sandbox until reaching that threshold may be a good idea.

Your role as the expert

Again, make sure students are using high-quality sources, and using them properly. This is most easily done early on, when students just begin writing the articles.

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How to use a sandbox for new articles

Recommendation for students

For starting a new article, you may first want to draft the article in a user sandbox named after the topic, such as

User:Stan Lee/Project X,

just as you would when expanding an existing article. When you are ready to make it live on Wikipedia, consider submitting it to the Articles for Creation process first so that experienced editors can check it over. In general, the sooner you move out of a sandbox, the better.

(Articles for Creation often has a considerable backlog, so you should not wait around for a submission to be reviewed. If your submission has not been reviewed, go ahead and create your article once you're sure it meets the basic requirements for a Wikipedia article.)

Your role as the expert

In addition to guiding your students on the use of good sources, be sure to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's coverage in the topic areas students are writing about. For new articles in particular, students may run into problems because their topics are already covered in sections of existing articles.

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My watchlist and how to use it

A personal watchlist is an easy way to keep track of all the pages to which you are contributing. You can use your watchlist to monitor article changes, conversations and editor collaboration.

You can also set your email preferences to receive email whenever pages on your watchlist are changed.

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My watchlist and how to use it

By default, your watchlist will show only the most recent change to a page you are watching. You can change your watchlist preferences to show all changes, not just the most recent; this can helpful if you're collaborating intensely on just one or a few pages.

You can watch this video if you'd like a more detailed overview of the basics of creating and using watchlists.

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The Wikipedia Community


English Wikipedia has about 30,000 active editors (as of 2013). We range from niche editors who build articles in a particular subject area, to "WikiGnomes" who work quietly formatting pages and tying up loose ends, to vandal fighters who monitor recent changes and revert bad edits, to reviewers who help run Wikipedia's peer review processes, to administrators who clean up messes and block disruptive editors, to policy wonks who analyze how Wikipedia works and discuss ways to improve it—and many more roles.

What we have in common is that we care—often very deeply—about Wikipedia. Although we come from different perspectives (and often disagree!) we're all here to try to make Wikipedia better.

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Decision-making by consensus

Consensus is the main way decisions are made on Wikipedia, both in terms of article content and how Wikipedia itself is run. Wikipedia's concept of consensus doesn't necessarily mean that everyone agrees, but it involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

When disagreements occur, we resolve them through discussion—usually on the relevant Talk page. Since Wikipedia articles should be written from a neutral point of view—fairly describing significant viewpoints on a subject without endorsing any of them—it is almost always possible to reach consensus about article content, even if editors themselves have fundamentally different points of view on the subject.

The ideal Wikipedia article on a controversial topic is one where partisans on both sides would read it and say, "my viewpoint is described accurately".

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The Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle

The Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle is one good way to think about the consensus editing process.

1 Be Bold: If you think you can make an article better, but you aren't sure whether others will disagree with the changes you want to make, you should start by boldly editing as you think best.

2 Revert: If your edit gets reverted by another editor, that's okay! You've now identified an editor with a different view about the article. Check the edit summaries and the Talk page to see why the other editor reverted your edit. (Do not simply make your edit again; that's the beginning of an edit war.)

3 Discuss: Start a discussion on the Talk page (if the other editor has not done so already). Explain how you think the article should be improved, and why. Work with the other editor(s) to develop consensus. When you've found some agreement, start making edits again.

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Tips for effective discussion

For productive discussions, remember to:

  • Use descriptive edit summaries to explain what you are doing with each edit. That way, others will be able to follow the action when they click on the "View history" tab.
  • Assume good faith: Assume other editors are trying to improve the project.
  • Read all the messages people leave on the talk pages of articles you are editing.
  • Be polite, and discuss article content rather than editors. Do not make personal attacks.
  • Always sign your posts on talk pages using four tildes so that others can follow who is saying what. Put ~~~~ at the end of your message (not in the edit summary box).
  • When you intend comments for a specific editor, leave a message on their User Talk page (with a link to the comments, if the discussion is happening on a different page). That way, they'll get a notification about your message.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 3 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Using Wikipedia in Your Classroom

Module 5: Course pages

Click on the forward arrow to continue on to the Classroom module.

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This assignment was probably the most intense and heavily researched assignment I have ever done. When I was looking at my graduate writing on the nuclear policy history, I realized that many sources were biased or did not meet the quality standard that Wikipedia expected.

Kasey Baker, Western Carolina University

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The standard Wikipedia assignment

This module goes into more detail on how Wikipedia is typically used in the classroom, with a term-long article writing project.

It includes ideas for how educators can use Wikipedia in the classroom, as well as specific Wikipedia assignments that can be adapted for a particular class. While this module focuses in particular on a full-term Wikipedia writing assignment—in which students create or expand an article on a topic that has weak coverage in Wikipedia to build a well-rounded, well-referenced encyclopedia article—there are many other ways to use Wikipedia.

Feel free to use ideas and materials as they, or modify them to fit your needs. You can also edit the content of this module, to reflect best practices for assignment design and how to work with educators.

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Wikipedia in the classroom

This module covers approaches to Wikipedia assignment design and walks through a detailed syllabus that has worked well for many undergraduate and graduate level classes.

By the end of this section, you'll have covered:

  • The typical learning goals that educators use Wikipedia assignments to achieve
  • Tips and tricks for achieving those learning goals
  • How Wikipedia assignments might fit into a syllabus
  • A detailed syllabus, with assignments and educational materials that you can use
  • How to select appropriate articles for students and how instructors can evaluate their work

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Companion materials and resources

In addition to this online orientation, there are a number of complimentary classroom materials available such as:

  • Welcome to Wikipedia brochure
  • Evaluating Article Quality brochure
  • Introduction to Free Licenses brochure
  • The Syllabus


You can find links to these brochures as well as videos, hand-outs and more under the Resources tab.

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Goals to consider when designing your assignment

Typical learning goals of educators that are using Wikipedia as a teaching tool include one or several of the following:

  1. Develop writing skills (page 6)
  2. Increase media and information fluency (page 8)
  3. Improve critical thinking and research skills (page 10)
  4. Foster collaboration and community of practice (page 12)
  5. Develop technical and communication skills (page 14)


Click on the links above to get more detail on each goal, or click the forward arrow to explore a model syllabus.

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Writing skills development

Students can develop better writing skills through:

  • Writing for a diverse and general audience
  • Experiencing the difference between fact-based and persuasive writing styles
  • Creating topic area outlines
  • Writing and editing collaboratively with peers

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Students develop better writing skills by…

Possible Assignments

  1. Writing for a global, diverse, and interested readership, where they can't assume their readers (unlike their professors) already have a wealth of knowledge about the topic.
  2. Interacting with a unique and active community that actually "talks back”, as they receive feedback on the content they have written—for example, other editors might provide literature suggestions, question the neutrality of what was written, or suggest other ways to improve the writing—meaning they must learn to accept revisions to their work.
  3. Gaining a greater understanding of the difference between fact-based and persuasive writing style through Wikipedia's emphasis on verifiability and "no original research“ policy.

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Possible writing skills assignments

  • Copyediting
  • Research a topic and write an article
  • Translate an article



See the Writing assignments section in the Resources tab.

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Media and information fluency

Your students can increase fluency in media and information through:

  • Gaining insight as they create Wikipedia articles
  • Understanding the relationship between Wikipedia and other sources, such as news outlets, other encyclopedias, and academic research
  • Achieving an awareness of the questions of authorship, legitimacy and reliability raised by different forms of digital publishing

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Students increase literacy in media and information by…

Possible Assignments

  1. Gaining a deeper understanding of how information is both produced and consumed
  2. Reflecting on available sources and their appropriate usage via Wikipedia’s transparent and collaborative content development process
  3. Developing critical thinking skills as they analyze and evaluate all their potential media information sources, including Wikipedia articles.

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Possible media fluency assignments

  • Compare Wikipedia to other reference sources
  • Research a topic and write an article
  • Compare Wikipedia to journalism sources
  • Chart the evolution of an article over a news cycle


See the Media and Information Fluency assignments section in the Resources tab.

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Critical thinking and research skills

Your students can improve critical thinking and research skills through:

  • Researching and fact-checking content for articles
  • Reviewing available content to determine suitability
  • Applying critical analysis to the content they are considering for inclusion

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Students improve critical thinking and research skills by…

Possible Assignments

  1. Applying critical analysis to Wikipedia articles to determine how well the article covers the topic, assess what information is missing, and evaluate the extent to which the article is documented with reliable sources.
  2. Learning best practices and rules for evaluating different source materials, not just Wikipedia.
  3. Assessing an existing article and deciding what information is missing, which is very similar to the literature review process that is crucial in scholarly research.

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Possible critical thinking and research skills assignments

  • Research a topic and write an article
  • Compare Wikipedia to other reference sources
  • Use Wikipedia as a primary source for research
  • Compare Wikipedia to journalism sources
  • Chart the evolution of an article over a news cycle


See the Critical Thinking and Research Skills assignments section in the Resources tab.

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Collaboration and community of practice

Your students can foster collaboration and a community of practice through:

  • Collaborating with other editors
  • Negotiating with peers and editors as they build consensus on content
  • Engaging with a community of editors working in a similar topic area

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Students foster collaboration and community of practice by…

  1. Learning first-hand how to collaborate with a community of active volunteer editors in the development of encyclopedic content
  2. Receiving feedback on their work and negotiating with other editors in building consensus on content
  3. Interacting with other scholars who share that interest or who work in a similar field. As an example, if one of your students writes about topics related to chemistry, he or she will mostly collaborate with others involved in the chemistry community of practice.

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Technical and communication skills

Your students can develop technical and communication skills through:

  • Engaging with real-time editing and wiki software technology
  • Practicing getting the intended message across to others through communicating on Article and User Talk pages

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Students develop technical and communication skills by…

  1. Engaging with expanding wiki software technology as they learn skills necessary for today's education and tomorrow's employment
  2. Learning how real-time editing software works, and what its strengths and limitations are
  3. Communicating on wiki with others via Article and User talk pages, and in doing so, developing skills and techniques appropriate for getting their message across to their intended audience.

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12 week sample syllabus

Click the image to download the printable PDF version of this sample syllabus.

Here you can view and download a full-term sample syllabus that incorporates many of the best practices for running major Wikipedia assignments—in this case, an assignment to write a Wikipedia article.

Educators can use it as a starting point for Wikipedia assignments, or take bits and pieces to adapt to a course.

The following sections include advice on the critical step of choosing appropriate articles, and then a syllabus case study to show how a typical assignment works.

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Best practices for choosing articles

Choosing the right (or wrong) articles to work on can make (or break) a Wikipedia writing assignment.

There are two primary ways to select articles for Wikipedia assignments:

  1. Students choose articles that they are interested in working on. This provides them with a sense of ownership and motivation over the assignment. The instructor should approve article choices before students proceed to writing.
  2. The instructor prepares a list of appropriate 'non-existent', 'stub' or 'start' articles ahead of time for the students to choose from. If possible, he or she may want to work with an experienced Wikipedian to create the list. Although this requires more preparation, it may help students start researching and writing their articles sooner.


While these are not set in stone, educators are strongly encouraged to stick to the following guidelines for the kinds of articles that may be appropriate for student work and what kinds of articles to avoid. These guidelines were created based on feedback and experiences of educators, students and Wikipedians.

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Choosing articles

Not such a good choice
Articles that are "not such a good choice" for newcomers usually involve factors such as a lack of appropriate research material, highly controversial topics that may be well developed already, broad subjects or topics for which it is difficult to demonstrate notability.

  • You probably shouldn't try to completely overhaul articles on very broad topics (e.g., Law).
  • You should probably avoid trying to improve articles on topics that are highly controversial (e.g., Global Warming, Abortion, Scientology, etc.). You may be more successful starting a sub-article on the topic instead.
  • Don't work on an article that is already of high quality on Wikipedia, unless you discuss a specific plan for improving it with other editors beforehand.
  • Avoid working on something only sparsely covered by literature. Wikipedia articles cite secondary literature sources, so it is important that you have enough sources to provide a neutral point of view and be verifiable.
  • Don't start articles with titles that imply an essay-like approach (e.g., The Effects That The Recent Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis has had on the US and Global Economics). These type of titles, and most likely the content too, may not be appropriate for an encyclopedia.

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Choosing articles

Good choice

  • Choose a topic that is well established in its field, but only weakly represented on Wikipedia. The best choice is a topic for which a lot of literature is available but which isn't covered extensively on Wikipedia.
  • Gravitate toward "stub" and "start" class articles. These articles often have only 1-2 paragraphs of information and are in need of expansion. Relevant WikiProject pages can provide a list of stubs that need improvement.
  • Before creating a new article, do an in-depth search of related topics on Wikipedia to make sure your topic isn't already covered. Often, an article may already exist under another name, or the topic may be covered as a subsection of a broader article.

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Case study: See the syllabus in action

Professor Ruppel is teaching a class in Federal Indian Law and Policy. She’s decided to include researching and contributing to Wikipedia as part of the semester goals.

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Case study: course goals

Professor Ruppel has four course goals. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Critique current issues in Indian Country in legal and historical terms.
  2. Analyze Indian legal issues from various perspectives and draw conclusions based on facts rather than assumptions and stereotypes.
  3. Understand the on-going influences and consequences of colonialism for indigenous as well as non-indigenous people/s.
  4. Recognize the relative nature of all legal systems and apply this to a growing appreciation of the ideal of a pluralistic society.

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Case study: The approach

Using the four course goals as a base, the graduate students will collaboratively produce a comprehensive literature review on the subject of Federal Indian Law and Policy. As part of the literature review, the grad students will identify the major gaps in Wikipedia articles and content relative to the course goals.

As a direct result of the review and analysis, the grad students should be able to update the article namespace. They should be able to add an annotated bibliography of Federal Indian Law and Policy and an Outline of Federal Indian Law and Policy (i.e., mapping all the related articles on the subject in Wikipedia).

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Case study: A student's perspective

Marguerite is taking Professor Ruppel’s class. Marguerite sees the inclusion of contributing to Wikipedia in the syllabus. She knows she’ll be graded on the contributions she makes to Wikipedia as well as the other class assignments.

She learns that there will be Wikipedia Ambassadors to support her by explaining the basics and being there to answer questions along the way.

She’s excited about learning more about Wikipedia—how articles are actually created and who is in the community—and about having an opportunity to be a contributor herself.

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Case study: Implementation

Download the printable PDF version of this sample syllabus.

Now let’s look at how Professor Ruppel implemented her Wikipedia assignment over the course of 12 weeks.






This case study walks you through one way of integrating Wikipedia in your class. There are more case studies from other educators that you can explore, including links to real syllabi and Wikipedia course pages.

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Week 1: Wikipedia essentials

Professor Ruppel knows that Wikipedia assignments work best when integrated with the theme of the course and that it’s best to introduce the Wikipedia assignment early in the semester. Therefore, she introduced the project in the first week by distributing the brochure “Welcome to Wikimedia" and showing the video “10 years of Wikipedia: An Overview”. She also assigned students to complete the a one-hour online training: WP:STUDENT.

Marguerite has plenty of time to get acquainted with the Wiki site. She gets started right away with the reading assignment and doing a bit of simple research just to see what she can find on the subject and exploring the page links to resources on the subject.

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Week 2: Editing basics

Professor Ruppel also realizes it’s important to get her students editing Wikipedia right away so they become familiar with the MediaWiki markup language. She knows there are several options: teaching this material herself, having a trained Wikipedia Campus Ambassador teach it, or contacting the teaching and technology center on campus to ask for their assistance. She opts to utilize the skills of the Campus Ambassador.

The Campus Ambassador gives an introduction to:

  • Editing basics
  • The anatomy of a Wikipedia article, and what makes a good article
  • Tips on find the best articles to work on for the assignment
  • Who the Online Ambassadors are who will also be helping the students on-wiki.

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Week 3: Exploring the topic area

Marguerite begins to exploring potential articles for improvement, the most promising of which she’ll post on her user page. Professor Ruppel had a list of appropriate 'stub' or 'start' articles ahead of time for the students to choose from. Although this took more time for her to prepare, it got her students researching their articles sooner.

The Campus Ambassador told the class that it can be tricky to find the right balance between lack of prior good Wikipedia coverage and available literature from which to build new Wikipedia coverage, and that it may take some time to find an appropriate article to work on.

Marguerite feels supported by both her instructor and the Campus Ambassador who clearly explained last week how to find help should they run into trouble on Wikipedia (e.g., live chat help).

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Week 4: Using sources

Professor Ruppel makes sure she’s weaving a discussion of Wikipedia into her course throughout the semester to help the students connect their assignment to the themes of the course as a whole.

She also explains to the class the policies around plagiarism and copyright violations, including the subtler forms such as using shorter phrases without attribution or beginning from a copied text and simply rewording it while leaving the structure and meaning intact (i.e., close paraphrasing).

Even with the just course readings so far, the class has gone over a lot of material that isn't covered in Wikipedia very well. To get the hang of using citations on Wikipedia, students are assigned to add some new information to a Wikipedia article of their choice—backed up with a citation to one of the readings.

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Week 5: Choosing articles

Professor Ruppel evaluated Marguerites’ article choices and gave her feedback, helping her choose an appropriate article for the assignment.

In class, Professor Ruppel and the students go over the articles students will be working on, and points out some key sources that will be good starting points for research.

Per her suggestion, Marguerite begins to put together a bibliography of materials she wants to use in editing the article which will be assessed by Professor Ruppel, the Campus Ambassador and other Wikipedians.

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Week 6: Drafting starter articles

Now that Marguerite has a good grip on her topic and the sources she’s going to use to write about it, she starts writing. Professor Ruppel suggested starting in the sandbox if she wasn’t comfortable editing live but she cautioned that spending too much time in the sandbox limits many of the unique aspects of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool, such as collaborative writing and incremental drafting.

Marguerite understands there are pros and cons to both approaches. She’s pretty comfortable but she decides to start initially in the sandbox so she can learn Wikipedia's rules in a safe environment before she’s puts it out to the world and other Wikipedians. She begins work on a 3-4 paragraph summary that will serve as the lead section for the full length article, and starts thinking about the overall structure of her article.

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Week 7: Moving article to the main space

Professor Ruppel realizes it’s critical to get the students working live on Wikipedia as soon as possible. She assigns students to move their work into Wikipedia, and to monitor them closely for any issues that come up. For the stronger student articles, Professor Ruppel encourages the students to write a short summary version to appear on Wikipedia's Main Page as hooks in the "Did you know..." (DYK) section. This gives students a chance to show their articles to a substantial audience and get feedback from Wikipedians, and works as a great momentum builder for the rest of the project.

Marguerite tries this. After she fixes a few issues pointed out by another editor, her new article is approved for the Main Page! Marguerite offers some help to a classmate, whose first try at starting an article ended up getting deleted.

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Week 8: Building articles

Marguerite feels like she has a clear understanding of how to move forward. She’s been getting great feedback from both Professor Ruppel and the Campus Ambassador. She finds it helps to get feedback on what is missing, what sources could be used to improve it, whether the balance is appropriate. She also appreciates the help she gets on keeping within Wikipedia's guidelines, particularly Neutral Point of View and No Original Research, which is sometimes tricky to catch.

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Week 9: Getting and giving feedback

Professor Ruppel knows collaboration is a critical element of contributing to Wikipedia, and while some students have experienced feedback from Wikipedians concerning ideas, copy-edits, or even substantial contributions to the students' articles, others have seen little editing from the Wikipedia community.

Fortunately, a class full of fellow learners is a great pool of peer reviewers. So students begin to review each others' articles soon after full-length drafts are posted, to give everyone plenty of time to act on the advice of their peers.

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Week 10: Responding to feedback

At this point, Marguerite's article is fairly complete. Professor Ruppel reiterates neutrality, media fluency, and the impact and limits of Wikipedia. She holds an open discussion amongst the class about what the students have done so far and why (or whether) it matters.

With advice and help from the Campus Ambassador they nominate some articles for Good Article status, knowing that Good Article reviews often produce high quality feedback on both style and content.

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Week 11: Class presentations

Marguerite gives an in-class presentation about her experiences editing Wikipedia. She is interested to hear the challenges that other students faced.

This week, she writes a short reflective essay on her experience with Wikipedia and what she’s learned about Wikipedia in particular and media literacy and research in general.

Her essay includes what she did or tried to do on Wikipedia, and offers a lens for evaluating and grading her Wikipedia work.

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Week 12: All assignments due

This is a basic grading scheme appropriate for a syllabus similar to this one.

20%: Participation grade (5% each) for assignments from weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4
10%: Participation in Wikipedia discussions in class
10%: Peer reviews and collaboration with classmates
15%: Presentation and reflective essay
45%: Quality of main Wikipedia contributions,
          evaluated in light of reflective essay


For other ideas on how to grade Wikipedia assignments,
see the grading case studies.

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Week 1: The Basics

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Brochure – Welcome to Wikipedia

Optional

Video – 10 years of Wikipedia: An Overview

Complete the online orientation for students (approximately 1 hour): WP:STUDENT









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Week 2: Editing basics

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Ambassador:

  • Introduction to editing basics


Handouts:

  • Evaluating Wikipedia article quality brochure
  • Using talk pages handout
  • Wikimarkup cheatsheet (included in Welcome to Wikipedia brochure)


  • Create a user page, and sign up on the list of students on the course page.
  • To practice editing and communicating on Wikipedia, introduce yourself to any Wikipedians helping your class (such as a Wikipedia Ambassador), and leave a message for a classmate on their user talk page.

All students in the class:

  • have a Wikipedia user account; and
  • have make their first edits in a sandbox.

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Week 3: Exploring the topic area

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Handouts:

  • Advice for choosing articles
  • How to get help
  • Critically evaluate an existing Wikipedia article related to the class, and leave suggestions for improving it on the article’s talk page.
  • Research and list 3–5 articles on your Wikipedia user page that you will consider working on as your main project. Ask your instructor for comment.









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Week 4: Using sources

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Handouts:

  • Referencing on Wikipedia
  • Understanding Wikipedia's copyright policy





Add 1–2 sentences of new information, backed up with a citation to an appropriate source, to a Wikipedia article related to the class.

Instructor:

  • Reviews of the students' selected article
  • Provides suggestions

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Week 5: Choosing articles

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Discuss the range of topics students will be working on and strategies for researching and writing about them.





  • Select an article to work on, removing the rest from your user page. Add your article to the class’s course page.
  • Compile a bibliography of relevant reliable sources and post it to the talk page of the article you are working on. Begin reading the sources.

Each student has selected the article they will work on.

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Week 6: Drafting starter articles

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone
  • Talk about Wikipedia culture and etiquette, and (optionally) revisit the concept of sandboxes and how to use them.
  • Q&A session with instructor and/or Wikipedia Ambassadors about interacting on Wikipedia and getting started with writing.





  • If you are starting a new article, write a 3–4 paragraph summary version of your article—with citations—in your Wikipedia sandbox. If you are improving an existing article, write a summary version reflecting the content the article will have after it's been improved, and post this along with a brief description of your plans on the article’s talk page.
  • Begin working with classmates and other editors to polish your short starter article and fix any major issues.
  • Continue research in preparation for expanding your article.

All students have started editing articles or drafts on Wikipedia.

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Week 7: Moving article to the main space

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Handouts:

  • Moving out of your sandbox
  • Submitting an article to the Did You Know process
  • Move your sandbox article into main space.
  • Optional: For new articles or qualifying expansions of stubs, compose a one-sentence “hook,” nominate it for “Did you know,” and monitor the nomination for any issues identified by other editors.
  • Begin expanding your article into a comprehensive treatment of the topic.









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Week 8: Building articles

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Demo uploading images and adding images to articles

Share experiences and discuss problems

Handouts:

  • Uploading images
  • Evaluating Wikipedia article quality brochure (originally handed out in week 2)
  • Expand your article into an initial draft of a comprehensive treatment of the topic.
  • Select two classmates’ articles that you will peer review and copy-edit. (You don’t need to start reviewing yet.)









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Week 9: Getting and giving feedback

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

As a group, have the students offer suggestions for improving one or two of the students’ articles, setting the example for what is expected from a solid encyclopedia article.





  • Peer review two of your classmates’ articles. Leave suggestions on the article talk pages.
  • Copy-edit the two reviewed articles.
  • All articles have been reviewed by others. All students have reviewed articles by their classmates.

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Week 10: Responding to feedback

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Open discussion of the concepts of neutrality, media literacy, and the impact and limits of Wikipedia

  • Make edits to your article based on peers’ feedback.
  • Prepare for an in-class presentation about your Wikipedia editing experience.









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Week 11: Class presentations

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone

Students give in-class presentations about their experiences editing Wikipedia.

  • Add final touches to your Wikipedia article.
  • Write a reflective essay (2–5 pages) on your Wikipedia contributions.









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Week 12: All assignments due

In Class / Materials Homework Milestone









Students are encouraged to keep track of their articles, and keep working with the Wikipedia community to improve them.

Students have finished all their work on Wikipedia that will be considered for grading, and have submitted reflective essays.

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Tips for grading students' Wikipedia contributions

Grading Wikipedia assignments can be a challenge. Depending on the complexity of your assignment, designing a grading rubric for it may be easy or challenging.

Three key tips that will help you when you grade Wikipedia assignments:

1.   Know all the students' usernames on Wikipedia
Without knowing the students' usernames on Wikipedia, you won't be able to grade them.
Create a page for the course on Wikipedia before the term starts. Make sure all students enroll the course page.
Once all students have signed the list, you can come back later and click on "user contributions" (in the menu bar on the left hand side of your browser screen) to review all of the student's activities on Wikipedia
2.   Be specific about your expectations
Being specific about what you expect your students to do is crucial for grading. As an example: The assignment for the students could be to add a minimum of 3 new sections to an existing article. Students could also be asked to add a minimum of 8 references to an existing article that lacks the appropriate sourcing, etc.


Note: Please do not grade students based on what stays in Wikipedia. There are many factors that may contribute to a student’s content not remaining in Wikipedia, and if students feel they must fight to control an article for the sake of their grade, this may create conflict with other editors. Remember: Wikipedia editing is a collaborative writing environment that is driven by verifiability, noteworthiness and neutral point of view – all of which have created challenges for students. Additionally, writing for an encyclopedia is different than writing a typical student persuasive paper.
3.   Break your Wikipedia assignment into key milestones
Based on experience of many educators, a milestone approach to Wikipedia assignments has proven to be useful to both assessing performance, completing the assignment and grading student contribution.
Additionally, it allows students and Wikipedia editors to engage together in the unique peer editing and collaboration process found on Wikipedia.

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Tools for tracking student contributions

To make it easier to inspect many student edits quickly, you may want to enable some custom features (a userscript) that let you see the details of an edit (ie, a diff) right from a watchlist, article history, or the contribution history of a user. To add these scripts, just press this button and save the page (the warning message about installing scripts is normal), then refresh your browser's cache (Ctrl + reload on Internet Explorer; Shift + reload on Firefox; simply reload on Chrome or Safari).



For users who have already created a vector.js page previously (most users have not), there is an extra step. If it isn't there, paste in this line before you save:

importScript("User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/commonHistory.js");

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Barnstars and other awards

One effective way of keeping students motivated is to show them that their work is appreciated. You can do that by using WikiLove to give out awards whenever you see outstanding work—and encourage the students to do the same for each other.

You can go to a student's userpage and click the heart icon to bring up the WikiLove tool. Select what kind of award to give them, add a personal message, and it will be added automatically to their talk page.

This video gives a little bit of background on barnstars, the traditional symbol of appreciation for good work on Wikipedia, and shows how to award them with WikiLove. For many Wikipedians, barnstars in particular are a source of pride.

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Suggestions for further reading

If you'd like to explore Wikipedia's culture or best practices for assignments a little further, try these resources:

  • Advanced training modules for students - The Advanced training module for students covers some additional details about article editing.
  • Wikimedia Research Index - This is the hub for research about Wikipedia and its sister projects. You can read about recent research in the monthly newsletter, find resources for conducting your own studies of Wikipedia, and connect with an active community of Wikipedia scholars.
  • Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, by Joseph Reagle - This monograph is a great overview of Wikipedia's history, community culture, and place in the broader information landscape.

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Wikipedia Training: Module 4 complete!

Module 1: Welcome and Introductions

Module 2: The core of Wikipedia

Module 3: Editing Basics

Module 4: Using Wikipedia in Your Classroom

Module 5: Course pages

Click on the forward arrow to continue on to the last module.

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About course pages

A course page is the activity hub for an individual class. Course pages serve several purposes:

  • Identifying the instructor responsible for the Wikipedia assignment and any other editors (such as Wikipedia Ambassadors) who are helping the class
  • Describing the assignment(s) students are attempting, so that other editors can understand the context of their edits
  • Listing all participating students and the articles they are working on
  • Providing a discussion and question-and-answer space for students and other editors
  • Keeping track of students' editing and discussion activity

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Course page creation rights

To create a structured course page, you'll need the course instructor right for your Wikipedia account. (If you go to Special:Institutions and see the option to "Add a new institution", then your account already has the necessary rights.)

You should now request the instructor right by posting on the education noticeboard. Describe your course and what your students will be doing on Wikipedia. Wikipedians may offer feedback on your assignment plan, and you may be asked to revise it if your plan goes against best practices for Wikipedia assignments. (It may be somewhere between a few minutes and a few days before your request gets processed. If you're anxious to get started, try leaving a message for one of the education program Regional Ambassadors.)

After you've posted your course instructor right request, return here to continue.


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Creating your course page

This video walks through the creation and use of course pages.
You may want to open a separate browser tab/window as you follow along with these steps.

1 Check to see whether your institution (e.g., your college or university) is already in Wikipedia’s course page system by going to Special:Institutions. If not, add it. (If you are logged in and have the course instructor right, you should see an “Add a new institution” section above the list of institutions already in the system. If you don't have the instructor right yet, please continue to the end of the training and return when you do.)

2 Go to your institution page, then start your course page. In the “Add a course” section, select your institution from the pulldown menu, enter the course name and the term (e.g., 2013 Q1), and click “Add course.”

3 Fill in the details for your course including an “enrollment token” that your students will use as the code to allow them to enroll on the course page, the start and end dates, and a description of the course in general and what students will be trying to do on Wikipedia in particular—and then press “Submit” to create the course page. Instead of adding a description directly, you can simply put {{course page wizard|term=2014 Q2}} in the description field to use a wizard that helps you set up a course page like this one.

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Using your course page

After the course page has been started, instructors and ambassadors should add themselves in their respective roles in the Summary section.

Students should be given the URL of the course page along with the enrollment token. They can then sign up as students in the course (once they have created their Wikipedia accounts).

The students should enter the article(s) they are working on to the Students section of the course page, as well as their classmates' articles that they will peer review.

Use the Special:MyCourses page to see recent activity from your students. This feed can be linked from the top of the page near your username as "Courses". You can enable or disable the link by going to Preferences > Misc and selecting "Show a link to your courses at the top of every page".

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Where to get help

Now you have a basic overview of how to contribute to Wikipedia. But there is a lot more you'll learn along the way as you get started. You can find a variety of written help materials and additional videos in the Resources tab of this training.

If you need help, here are some places you can go:

Static help
  • w:Help:Contents is the main help page that will guide you in the right direction. The help page may be reached at any time by clicking help displayed under the Interaction tab on the left side of all pages.
  • w:Help:Contents/Directory is a descriptive listing of all Wikipedia's informative, instructional and consultation pages.
  • Wikipedia: The Missing Manual is a converted book that covers most subjects, split into 21 chapters.

You may wish to bookmark or print out a copy of the editing cheatsheet for a quick reference on wiki syntax.

Interactive help
  • The Teahouse, a place for new editors to introduce themselves, asks questions, and find support from other editors
  • The Help desk, where you can ask questions about how to use and edit Wikipedia
  • If you place {{Help me}} (including the curly brackets) "then your question" on your talk page, a volunteer will visit you there!
  • The help channel for live chat help from other Wikipedians

For help with your course specifically, try:

  • The Education noticeboard, a place for posting issues and problems related to courses and educational assignments
  • Your Regional Ambassador (if you're part of the Wikipedia Education Program in the US or Canada)

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You've completed Wikipedia orientation. Congratulations!




Please take a moment to let us know that you completed the orientation for educators, and tell us what you thought about it and how it could be improved. Click the "Certification and Feedback" button below.


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Wikipedia Training <translate> For Ambassadors</translate> MenuResources

This orientation—for new Wikipedia Ambassadors who will help courses that use Wikipedia editing as a class assignment—consists of four main modules:

  • Welcome, a short introduction;
  • The Core, an overview of Wikipedia's core principles;
  • Editing, a tutorial on the basic mechanics of editing pages and communicating with others; and
  • Classroom, a walkthrough of best practices and examples for using Wikipedia assignments in the classroom.
  • Course pages, instructions for requesting user rights, setting up course pages, and using them.

Experienced Wikipedians will be familiar with Wikipedia's principles and how to edit, and should feel free to skip straight to the Editing module (which includes information on helping classes of new users get started, and how Ambassadors fit into the training of students), or review all the modules to become familiar with the training materials that students and instructors are using to learn the basics. In total, the four modules should take about one to one-and-a-half hours to complete.

<translate> Welcome</translate>

<translate> The Core</translate>

<translate> Editing</translate>

<translate> Classroom</translate>

<translate> Course pages</translate>

  Wikipedia Training  
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Resources

Click Back on your browser to return to the orientation.

Assignment design

Course pages

For instructions on setting up a course page, see w:Wikipedia:Course pages.

Helping students get started

Printable guides

These printable PDF documents have instructions related to the basics of Wikipedia.

  • Wiki markup quick reference – a one-page quick reference (included in the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure) to help you remember the most frequently used wiki markup codes.
  • References – explains why references are important, what the expectations for sourcing on Wikipedia are, where to place references, and the basics of adding "ref" tags.
  • Reference formatting – explains in more detail how to create footnotes for citing sources, and how to cite the same source multiple times.
  • Using talk pages – explains how to use talk pages to communicate with other editors.
  • Choosing an article – explains the Dos and Don'ts of choosing an article to work on.
  • How to get help – explains the recommended way to get help and feedback. It also includes a glossary of additional help resources you can avail yourself of.
  • Avoiding plagiarism – explains what plagiarism is on Wikipedia—including "close paraphrasing"—in addition to why and how to avoid it.

On-wiki tutorials

Tutorial videos

Editing basics: Sandboxes Editing basics: bold and links
How to start an a sandbox page to play around with wiki markup or start an article draft (1m 16s) How to use the most basic features of wiki markup to create bold text and links to other pages (3m 37s)
How to use a watchlist How to use talk pages
How to use a watchlist to keep track of pages you are interested in or have edited (2m 16s) How to interact with other editors using talk pages, including article talk pages and user talk pages (2m 43s)
Editing basics: citing sources Citing sources with RefToobar
How to add citations using "ref" tags (2m 3s) How to use the "Cite" tool for inserting automatically formatted references (2m 25s)
Adding images
Uploading files such as images to Wikimedia Commons, using the upload wizard, and adding them to articles (2 min 41 sec)


Writing articles

Printable guides

Article-writing tutorial videos

Article creation Article improvement
A demonstration, recorded live, of how to create a Wikipedia article (7 min 50 sec) A look at how to assess the shortcomings of an article and improve it (4m 22s)
Article assessments Article evolution
An exploration of the standard article assessment system, with examples of each quality level (11m 30s) A trip through the history of an article, from humble beginnings to Good Article status (6m 25s)


Places for general Wikipedia help

For most kinds of help on Wikipedia—technical questions; policies and guidelines; etiquette; conflicts with editors; feedback and reviews of your work—the first place students should turn is the course talk page. Part of your role to as a Wikipedia Ambassador is to keep an eye on the course page and help students find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. There are a number of places you can turn to if you don't know the answers to students' questions.

Places to get help

Discussions in the right places

  • Article talk pages – The talk pages of articles are typically where discussions about the content of articles take place. Other editors may leave messages about your work here. If someone reverts changes you make to an article, the talk page is where you should start a discussion. Put it on your watchlist!
  • Wikipedia Campus or Online Ambassadors – If your class is working with one or more Wikipedia Ambassadors, the Ambassador(s) to meet with you or talk with you by email to discuss problems and questions about Wikipedia.
  • Course talk page – This is the main place for discussing your assignments, posting problems or questions that come up, and giving and receiving feedback about your articles. Put it on your watchlist!
  • WikiProject talk pages – These are message boards for users interested in editing articles about particular topics.

Static help

Interactive help

  • The Teahouse - A place for new editors to introduce themselves, asks questions, and find support from other editors
  • The Help desk - Where you can ask questions about how to use and edit Wikipedia
  • If you place {{Help me}} (including the curly brackets) "then your question" on your talk page, a volunteer will visit you there!

Immediate help

Button Icon Violet - CLICK HERE for live help.svg

Looking for immediate help? Click the big purple button on the right.

Enter your Wikipedia username, fill out the CAPTCHA, and click "Connect" to enter chat. Then explain what you need help with. There are usually experienced Wikipedians around who can try to help you.

Other problems

  • If you have conflicts with another editor that you don't want to post about publicly, try talking with the instructor or any other Ambassadors and experienced Wikipedians your class is working with.
  • For subject-specific questions related to your course, try passing the questions on to the instructor or teaching assistants, or to other Wikipedians who are experts in that subject.

Places for help with course-related issues

The main place to go for help with course-specific problems is the Education noticeboard.

Recognizing student contributions

When you're reviewing student work, you'll find some articles that are great—especially for new users. Please add any examples of good new articles, Good Articles, work that appears on Did You Know, or other forms of good contributions (videos, images, etc.) to this trophy case.

Analyzing student contributions