Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘academia’

US, Canada students contribute massive amount of quality content to Wikipedia

43.4 million bytes. That’s how much content students from the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada have contributed to the English Wikipedia in the three years of the program’s existence.

What does 43.4 million bytes look like? It’s approximately 29,000 printed pages, 58 reams of paper, 9.6 million words — or the equivalent of 17 full copies of War and Peace.

Wikipedia Ambassadors provide in-person and online support for students and professors who incorporate Wikipedia assignments.

The Wikipedia Education Program started as a small pilot in fall 2010, with about 200 students who contributed content to Wikipedia in place of a traditional research or term paper in one of their university classes. Professors found students were more engaged with the Wikipedia assignment, and students found they worked harder, learned great research and writing skills, and were proud to show off Wikipedia articles they’d written to family and friends. Volunteer Wikipedia Ambassadors helped students learn the basics of how to edit Wikipedia.

In three years, the program has grown dramatically. Now, more than 1,200 students in the U.S. and Canada participate in the program each term. Classroom-based activities are taking off globally, with efforts led by Wikimedia chapters, individual professors, and dedicated volunteers underway in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The U.S. and Canada programs are still going strong, with more than 70 courses incorporating Wikipedia contributions as part of the coursework in the spring 2013 term. Even more professors are expected to use Wikipedia assignments in the fall 2013 term.

The potential for future development is high; dedicated volunteers from the U.S. and Canada program have recently created a new nonprofit, called the Wiki Education Foundation, which will work to coordinate, improve, and increase Wikipedia’s use as a teaching tool in higher education. The volunteers running this organization care deeply about both the qualitative impact on Wikipedia as well as the learning experience student editors have during their assignments.

Student work from the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada is having a major impact on the English Wikipedia. Research shows the students are adding high-quality content. Some students’ articles get hundreds of thousands of page views, and the sheer amount of knowledge students have added to Wikipedia articles over the last three years is astonishing. After all, 17 War and Peace’s worth is a lot of knowledge.

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

Students learn about history as a living, changing thing

One of my favorite responsibilities at Brooklyn College is teaching a two-term course surveying Western theater history (ancient Greece to the present) for aspiring artists and arts administrators. In many ways, this course is a hard sell. Inevitably, a few students believe that this course will not be “useful” to them as actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, or managers. So, I constantly ask myself, “How can I get my students to feel personally invested in this subject?”

Professor Amy E. Hughes

As an experiment, I recently piloted a Wikipedia-based assignment in my graduate-level theater history course. It was a small pilot, involving five students who created or revised a Wikipedia article related to theater history. I thought they would find this digital project more interesting and practical than a research paper (the customary assignment in my course), and that they might appreciate the opportunity to add to the world’s sum of free knowledge by contributing to Wikipedia.

First, the students learned the mechanics of wiki-editing and the cultural and editorial conventions of Wikipedia. Then, they conducted research—consulting at least ten secondary sources—and sought peer reviews of their written work from online editors as well as their classmates. At the end of the semester, each submitted an e-portfolio documenting his or her work, including a short paper reflecting on the experience overall.

My students discovered that many theater-related Wikipedia articles are far from complete (and sometimes inaccurate) and learned what they could do to change that. They also testified that they appreciated interacting with members of the Wikipedia community. In most classrooms, students only get feedback from the instructor; if they are really lucky, they might also receive comments on their work from a classmate. In contrast, students engaged in a Wikipedia assignment have access to a host of readers, ranging from Online Ambassadors attached to the course (in our case, the amazing Yunshui) to random, anonymous individuals. As the instructor, I, too, felt supported by the concentric circles of community that make Wikipedia the unique resource that it is.

Perhaps most importantly, my students learned a crucial lesson: theater history—indeed, all history—is a living, changing thing. I always push my students to read textbooks and scholarship with a critical eye, because what we tend to call “history” is really historiography—stories about the past written by people. Peer-review processes at publishing houses ensure that the books we read are accurate, well researched, and authoritative; but even the most respected and skilled scholars can get the story wrong. Other scholars must come along, armed with newly discovered insights or evidence, to revise these histories. On Wikipedia, the challenges involved in writing history are fully visible. My students learned that resources like Wikipedia are only as good as the careful, thoughtful contributions that people choose to make.

Amy E. Hughes, Assistant Professor of Theater History and Criticism, Brooklyn College (CUNY)

Physics professor assigns students to edit Portuguese Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages:
Português 7% • English 100%

In English:

Professor Rafael Pezzi

Professor Rafael Pezzi, a professor at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, read about a new program to support university faculty members in Brazil who were interested in incorporating Wikipedia editing into students’ assignments. Rafael was intrigued by the idea, and thought it might be a good idea for his physics course for engineering students.

“Wikipedia makes it explicit how knowledge is built: a never-ending dynamic process with conflicting opinions in a lively discussion,” he says. “Although this process is fundamental, it is ignored in the standard textbook-based class where knowledge is just given, considered as an absolute truth.”

Rafael was impressed with the level of support he received in the program, both from colleagues and from the Wikipedia community. Fabio Azevedo and Israel Rocha served as Wikipedia Ambassadors for his class. They introduced Wikipedia and motivated the students to participate in the assignment. They were also very supportive on-line, clarifying technicalities of the Wikipedia interface and introducing the participants to the Wikipedia community.

Professor Rafael Pezzi and his Campus Ambassador, Fabio Azevedo

For Fabio, an editor since 2007, becoming a Wikipedia Ambassador and supporting Rafael’s class was a natural choice.

“I was motivated by using a modern teaching technique at my university, improving free content in my language, and helping Wikipedia to grow,” Fabio says. “I gave a talk on Wikipedia editing for his students in the first or second week of class. After, I replied to some emails, helping students with editing question and uploading images.”

“I must say that the help of the Ambassadors was key to making it happen,” Rafael says. “Without them it would not have happened, as I am not an experienced editor and created my Wikipedia account for this project.”

Rafael’s students really took to editing, creating or significantly expanding several important articles about physics related topics on the Portuguese Wikipedia, including articles such as Thermometer, Supercritical fluid and Interference of waves. In fact, five of Rafael’s students enjoyed the assignment so much that they volunteered to be Ambassadors for the current term.

“Basically traditional writing assignments are read once or twice and then sits in a drawer or folder archive in the professor computer,” Rafael says. “It is of limited value and does not really motivate the student apart from getting a good grade. With Wikipedia, the students have the real publishing experience and the feeling that what they write can help others understand what they are studying. Some get really motivated by this challenge.”

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

(more…)

Student assigned to read a Wikipedia article that she wrote

Every graduate student gets assigned a lot of reading, but not every graduate student gets assigned to read something they’ve written. That happened to Jacqueline McCrory in fall 2012, thanks to the Wikipedia Education Program.

As a master’s student in Environmental Management at the University of San Francisco and an employee at environmental consulting firm Analytical Environmental Services (AES), Jacqueline knew a lot about habitat conservation plans (HCPs) — but there wasn’t anything on the topic on Wikipedia. So when she enrolled in Professor Aaron Frank’s Environmental Law class in spring 2012 and discovered that Professor Frank assigned writing a Wikipedia article on a course-related topic, Jacqueline gravitated toward creating one.

Jacqueline McCrory

“I chose this topic because the existing article had very limited information and the concept is important for conservationists as well as environmental planners,” she explains. “The legal documents pertaining to HCPs can be extensive and somewhat convoluted to read through, so I wanted to create a source that would clearly provide the need-to-know information to interested readers.”

Jacqueline was excited by the prospect of writing something that would have a global audience, and further her study of the conservation of special status species. She had support from two veterans of Wikipedia assignments: Professor Frank has participated in the Wikipedia Education Program since its pilot in spring 2011, as has Campus Ambassador Derrick Coetzee. With their assistance, Jacqueline and a fellow classmate created the article on Habitat Conservation Plans.

Other professors at the University of San Francisco noticed that the article on such an important topic to their field of study had been created, although they didn’t realize it had been written by a student in their program. One such professor assigned the article as required reading for students in his fall 2012 Natural Resources Management course. Little did he know, the author of the article was taking his class that term.

“When I informed the instructor that I had actually written the article, he acknowledged the depth and quality of the article and invited me to prepare a guest lecture on the subject material for my own class,” she says.

Jacqueline didn’t just receive kudos for her Wikipedia article at her university: her supervisors at AES recognized her expertise in the subject, and gave her related assignments. She’s grateful for the opportunity that Professor Frank’s class gave her, as she says she would never have edited Wikipedia without that nudge. And she recognizes how beneficial Wikipedia assignments are to students.

“Most papers that we write for undergraduate and graduate level courses end up being read by the professor grading the assignment and remain in electronic folders to be deleted as trash at some point in the future; however, when published as Wikipedia articles, these academic papers can be viewed and used as resources and references for countless other people and may continue to serve a purpose,” Jacqueline says.

LiAnna Davis, Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

Multilingual learning through the Wikipedia Education Program

Anne Nelson's class at Columbia University

Anne Nelson’s class at Columbia University

In the summer of 2011, I got an invitation to attend the Wikimedia Foundation’s education summit in Boston. The summit opened my eyes to the ways other professors were using Wikipedia in the classroom, and to the additional potential suggested by the Wikipedia community.

I came back to New York energized and determined to work a Wikipedia component into my syllabus. My classrooms are unusual in several respects. First, we study the workings of digital media projects with an emphasis on evaluation, content which doesn’t easily lend itself to writing traditional Wikipedia articles. Second, my students tend to be about half international students. Third, it’s hard for me to devote more than a single class to a given tool or platform. Students have been publishing class wikis on the Columbia platform from the course’s inception, but this material is not directly transferrable to Wikipedia content. (See http://newmediadev2011.wikischolars.columbia.edu/) Finally, I was limited by the lack of a Wikipedia Ambassador. Whatever I tried had to rely on my own stretched resources, plus the students from the class.

All of my 25 students used Wikipedia, but only one or two had ever edited. But one of them, Michelle Chahine, volunteered to spent time with Wikipedia’s instructional tools and boil down a simplified version for class use. I then asked students to write, edit, or correct a Wikipedia article in English about an area of special knowledge and expertise, and record the process.

Then they performed the same exercise on a Wikipedia article in an additional language. This was where things got really interesting. First, my students had assumed that Wikipedia content on the same subject would be similar in different languages. This was often not the case. One student from Eastern Europe had extensive experience in minority rights. She looked at the Wikipedia article on Roma (or gypsies) in English, and added a minor edit. But the entry in her native language disturbed her with its negative language. She performed an edit with full citation, but it was immediately taken down by the lead editor of the page, who had written the problematic content. This showed us how powerful the correction process could be in a large language group, but also signaled problems in in small language groups (in this case, about 10 million people) or countries with less experience in creating content.

This year, the most interesting result came from an Asian student who had grown up in a rural area, and strongly believes in the mission of Wikipedia to bring information to areas that lack printed resources. This student reviewed the entry about women who had been captured by the Japanese army during World War II and forced to sexually service the troops. My student found that the English page used accurate language to describe their plight, but the entry in his native language used a term closer to “prostitute.” He performed an edit, and at least initially, it held. But the class was struck by the importance of the terminology, given the likelihood that the victims’ grandchildren would read this version of their families’ wartime experience.

I shared student papers on these topics with the Wikimedia Foundation (with the students’ permission), and I’m eager to see where these assignments will go in the future. I can already see one major advantage: there is an absolute difference between being a passive Wikipedia reader, and performing even a single minor edit. Once a student (or a professor) gets his “feet wet” with an edit, he crosses the boundary into being a contributor, and takes the capability along wherever he goes.

Anne Nelson is a specialist on international media and an award-winning author and playwright. She teaches at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Design professor encourages students to improve Portuguese Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages:
Português 7% • English 100%

In English:

Iara Camargo had one term of teaching experience when a professor in her Ph.D. program at the University of São Paulo forwarded her an open call from the Wikipedia Education Program in Brazil. The program was looking for faculty members who were interested in assigning students to write Wikipedia articles as part of their coursework. Iara, excited by the prospect, signed up.

Professora Iara Camargo

“I got very excited about the idea of writing articles with my students on Wikipedia,” she says. “I think most academics have a little prejudice about Wikipedia, saying that some information could be not quite real. But I’ve always used Wikipedia as a starting point to research a subject. The idea is not to use it as a reference, only to have some idea about the subject. Then, when I started to look at it more critically, I found many good articles in my research field… and of course some poor ones.”

Iara asked her students in her Editorial Design course at Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco to improve those poor articles. Her students researched and wrote articles ranging from famous designers like Bea Feitler to concepts like legibility to publishers like Penguin Books. Iara even started an article herself, on book design.

“I like incorporating Wikipedia in my class for these reasons,” she says. “First, to stimulate the students to read and write more. Second, I believe that is good because they are actually publishing something, it is not a paper that they are writing just to me to have an evaluation. Third, they have to be conscious and judicious to write well, because a lot of people might use it in the future.”

Students in Iara’s classroom work on their Wikipedia assignments.

In particular, Iara says, her students get more from the Wikipedia assignment than they would from many traditional assignments in the design field. Since design is mostly a visual medium, students do not have the chance to develop as much researching and writing skills, but those are critical skills for their careers. Iara believes the Wikipedia assignment helps students learn these skills while teaching them the fundamentals of the discipline.

“It is great in terms of writing, you have to be impartial and write objectively, which is in some ways scientific writing because you cannot add subjective writing to Wikipedia,” she says. “And I think it is great because they really have to find reliable sources instead of using the argument ‘I’ve heard it is like that’ or ‘I thought it was like that’.”

A Campus Ambassador helps one of Iara’s students.

Iara’s department head Professor Paulo Durão enthusiastically supported her and her students as they worked on the Wikipedia assignments. In fact, the institution’s academic director Professor Alexandre Uehara liked the idea so much that Iara and her Campus Ambassadors, Cauê Henrique Rodrigues, Denise Akemi Matsuda, and Maira Rodrigues, were featured in a video shown in the school cafeteria for one month. Iara and her students also had help from two Portuguese Wikipedians serving as Online Ambassadors, Vitor Mazuco and Gabryelsl. The wikicode was initially scary for Iara, but with the help of the Ambassadors, she learned how to edit Wikipedia and is even excited about using her wikicode skills.

“My favorite part was the challenge of working with it!” Iara says. “It’s a wonderful tool and Wikipedia is not only a website, it is a very important cultural phenomenon. We are in a different time and maybe learning and studying nowadays has to be integrated with this new Internet life we are living.”

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

(more…)

Psychology student achieves Good Article status through encouragement from longtime editors

“Editing Wikipedia is an enormous responsibility — one that I welcome,” says Ingrid Haugen.

Word had made its way to Ingrid in 2011 about the Association for Psychological Sciences Wikipedia Initiative — a project calling upon APS members to improve the information available on Wikipedia about pyschology-related topics, either by editing themselves or by asking their students to edit. Ingrid had been hoping that one of her classes at Roosevelt University in Chicago would participate in the APS initiative, so that she could learn how to edit Wikipedia. She got her wish in her final term before she graduated, when she took Lisa Lu’s course Brain and Behavior, which was participating in the APS initiative and the Wikipedia Education Program.

Professor Lu identified several articles about psychology related to brain and behavior on the English Wikipedia that needed improvement, and asked students to pick ones they were interested in working on, then assigned small groups to articles based on their selections. Ingrid was particularly interested in learning more about electroencephalography techniques, so she was glad to be assigned to the article Mu wave.

Ingrid Haugen

Ingrid Haugen

“I really enjoyed using code to add references, wikilinks, images, and so on,” Ingrid says. “I realize that most of my classmates found the code to be sufficiently opaque so that they had trouble using it effectively, but I found it engaging.”

Because she became so hooked on Wikipedia editing, Ingrid took the lead with her group — adding most of the content to Wikipedia, rewriting sections to achieve similar style and tone throughout the article, and interacting with editors, which she had been nervous about.

“After learning about edit wars and so on, I was unsure of how our edits would be received,” she explains. “I was relieved to find that the editors who had been following our article were interested in seeing us succeed more than anything else. One editor in particular, Tryptofish, was very active and helpful. This editor actually performed an article merge for us; the merge had been discussed on Mu wave’s talk page but I was nervous about executing it myself. This same editor gave me an editor’s barnstar when our project was completed. Receiving the barnstar actually inspired me to submit the article for the Good Article review process. I have found the community of editors to be intelligent, dedicated, and helpful.”

With input from classmates, Online Ambassador Smallman12q, and other editors, Ingrid set out making the article better throughout the duration of her course. In mid-December, Mu wave passed the Good Article review process.

“Almost every aspect of the project involved new skills, from finding secondary sources to dealing with computing code,” Ingrid says. “That made it challenging, and I enjoy challenges because they mean that I am learning a great deal by meeting them. It was exciting, if a bit intimidating, to make our writing immediately available to anybody with an internet connection. Unlike a traditional project that might never be read again after it is graded, the fruits of this assignment have the potential to live on and make a real contribution to the popular conception of the area each group addressed.”

And, she says, “it is deeply satisfying to see my work come up in a Google search, something that would never happen as the result of a term paper. To know that anybody who is curious enough about mu waves to conduct an internet search will be able to click on my article if they so choose is very exciting.”

Since completing her coursework and graduating, Ingrid has continued to make minor edits to articles, something she intends to keep doing. She says the Wikipedia assignment enabled her to feel capable of contributing something valuable to Wikipedia, and she will continue looking for opportunities to do so. She even holds out hope to have another Wikipedia assignment in a future course; she intends to keep pursuing her studies in social neuroscience at the Ph.D. level.

“I think that Wikipedia assignments are a fantastic way for students to become accustomed to thinking of themselves in a worldly, professional context rather than as on an island of very local influence,” she says.

For other examples of good work from editors in the Wikipedia Education Program, please see the trophy case.

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

Wikipedia Education Program Sweden kicks off

Herein will follow an update from the Swedish education program. Perhaps to call it an update would be to overestimate its size and current importance. A first glimpse of what is to hopefully become something rather exciting is perhaps a more appropriate label.

Workshop with pupils about Wikipedia, democracy, free knowledge, gender issues where they presented various ideas and perspectives.

To actually have as a part of the Swedish Wikimedia organisation an education program is a rather new and thrilling idea. The year of 2012 is the year where the Swedish education program has seen the light of day and where the first goals were set as to what should be regarded a good result for a first step in creating and shaping an education program.

I, Sophie Österberg, became engaged in Wikimedia Sverige as an intern undergoing a six-week internship which led to the great opportunity of being offered a job as education manager. With pride and great joy I commenced this position in the beginning of October. Let me though tell you that these two months have felt rather more like a year, be it the intensive work, the conferences, the bright ideas thrown at my table, the inspiration from beautiful minds all over Sweden and foremost, the joint motivation to create something worthwhile, lasting and qualitative, not for Wikipedia or Wikimedia solely, nor for only students or their teachers. But for us all, as a great global society. Well. That might perhaps be a goal to far-fetched to reach, but at least there is a vision in place.

We have looked at the current programs in place around the world to learn from their experiences and to gain knowledge in what we could reuse here in a Swedish context. We have mostly spoken to and looked at the German and the American examples of education programs, but we have been flirting a bit with the Indian and Egyptian as well.

To date we have met teachers at conferences, had individual meetings, lunches, coffees (coffee is huge in Sweden, read more about this here), held workshops, shared ideas to teachers about how to use Wikipedia, met public institutions, held lectures, been part of public debates, created and translated material, thought about how a program should best be organised, read about current trends in education in Sweden, been open to learn about the new Swedish curricula and find out how best to match Wikipedia in education with it.

Our Wikipedia in education t-shirts which we use at workshops, conferences and various other events. Orange is the theme colour of the educational program.

But most importantly, wee have given ourselves a face. We have become people who actually exists. It may sound ridiculous, but let me tell you that the most common comment we have been met by is ‘Wow, do you guys actually exist?”. Yes we do. We have simply been rather silent about it. But this is the end to that silence!

Hello world and at the moment, Hello Sweden! This may sound trivial, but it is not. People have found that there is someone, there are people, with whom they can build trust and communication. We exist, we are real and we are to be trusted. Let us not forget that this is the strongest currency there is between humans, no material or other physical resources may ever be as important as the intangible trust which we build between and in relation to one another.

Let me though share the more practical aspects of what have been done, in a rather sincere and honest tone. I do think that this programme initially did lack some confidence; read more about the Swedish mentality here. We didn’t have an understating of how many teachers and professors would be interested. This has led us in a rather interesting direction, which is now to be turned into something more long-lasting and fruitful.

(more…)

Improving evolution articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia through class: Professor Yuri Leite

This post is available in 2 languages: Português 7% • English 100%

In English:

Yuri Leite

Yuri Leite

“I think that the knowledge produced by high-qualified college students should be available to anyone,” Professor Yuri Leite says. That’s why he has encouraged his biology students at the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo in Vitória, Brazil, to contribute to Wikipedia as part of their course assignments.

The idea came to him one day in 2009, when he was coordinating a graduate level seminar on the Charles Darwin book “The Origin of Species.” Each week, the class discussed a chapter of the book and improved the article on the Portuguese Wikipedia about Darwin’s book as they went along. Before Yuri’s class began work, the article was what’s known as a stub — a short article without much content. By the end of the term, his class had transformed the article, with extensive descriptions of each chapter.

“I think it is a waste of time, energy, knowledge, and often paper to have highly skilled undergraduate or graduate students write term papers that will be read only by the teacher and sometimes a TA, and will eventually end up in the trash can,” Yuri says.

He had always been interested in using the Internet as a teaching tool. As a teaching assistant at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1990s, Yuri found the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web and Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution portals inspirational.

Vitoria, Brazil

A beautiful view of Vitória city, where Professor Yuri Leite teaches.

He started using Wikipedia in his undergraduate Evolution course since August 2011. The course is mandatory for all biology students, and Yuri has about 30 students enroll each term. He says it will only take a few years to have his students make hundreds of contributions to free, high-quality knowledge available in Portuguese about the topics. He also sees better learning for students with a Wikipedia assignment in comparison to a traditional term paper.

“I believe they learn more, especially regarding proper citation, and what is original research and what is not. Both of these concepts are very important in science,” he says. “Wikipedia does a great job in terms of defining what an encyclopedia is, and how one should write an article citing appropriate sources, and this is a very important skill for students.”

And Yuri says his students feel more responsibility to produce high-quality work because they know their writing will be available to anyone on Wikipedia. He’s excited about the Wikipedia Education Program in Brazil, and he hopes that more professors will join the program and develop more teaching resources to stimulate the use of Wikipedia in the classroom. In fact, professor Aureo Banhos, one of his former biology students, has joined the program through an open call Wikimedia Foundation made in Brazil for the second school term of 2012 and is excited to collaborate with Yuri.

“I love reading the assignments and feeling like my students made a significant contribution by posting high-quality information on the web,” Yuri says.

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

(more…)

Wikipedia as a ‘miniature classroom for yourself’

In 2005, a high school freshman from Clarksville, Maryland, named Kevin Li discovered Wikipedia. Kevin was amazed that anyone would spend the time to write detailed articles on such a wide range of topics. Today, Kevin is a college senior at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has joined the ranks of those who contribute to Wikipedia.

Kevin got his start with Wikipedia editing through a class project on chronobiology where he worked in a group to improve the article on scientist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. They brought the article all the way to Good Article status, so Kevin was excited to enroll in another class, Professor Joan Strassmann’s Behavioral Ecology course, where he would be solely responsible for an article.

“I was surprised that some of the animals and behaviors we learned about weren’t on Wikipedia,” Kevin says. “The article that I am working on, worker policing, has been in the scientific literature for more than two decades and hadn’t been discussed. It’s fun to bring some of these concepts into the wiki community, since I feel that being a contributor is equally as important as being a consumer of information.”

Worker policing — the subject of Kevin’s article — is common in honey bees.

Since the topic was not yet covered on Wikipedia, Kevin created a page that contained just the title of the article. Volunteer Heather Walls tagged the article for deletion since it had no content. Kevin came by two hours later and was surprised to discover that his page had been deleted by an editor named WilyD.

“I was contacted by the editor who had marked the page and I responded to her comments,” Kevin explains. “The misunderstanding was resolved and she was even nice enough to add a picture on the article.”

WilyD came back once Kevin had expanded it, and was impressed enough by Kevin’s work to nominate the article to appear on Wikipedia’s main page in the Did You Know section. Kevin’s article appeared on the main page on October 17 and received more than 1,500 views.

“The DYK reviewer asked me to work on the leads and to clarify some of the body paragraphs, which I happily did. Afterward, we were good to go!” Kevin says. “Many of the editors have been helpful with constructive criticism. It was really exciting to see the interest that people had for the article when it went up. I’m still working on making the article better. After some more edits, I hope to get it to Good Article status.”

Kevin is glad to see something he is interested in have more coverage on Wikipedia. That’s one of the reasons he prefers Wikipedia assignments to traditional term papers. He says while the research process is similar, he prefers Wikipedia assignments because of the large audience for his work and the collaboration that comes from work with classmates and other editors on Wikipedia articles.

“Working on wiki is like constructing a miniature classroom for yourself, where you can become an expert given the proper effort. It’s also a work station where I can collect my thoughts and organize them into a product that everyone can see,” he says. “Wikipedia is really one of those sites that I still love going to and exploring what’s out there. It feels nice to be a contributor.”

LiAnna Davis
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager