- Course name
- BIOG 1250 Writing for Wikipedia
- Cornell University
- Mark Sarvary, Kelee Pacion, and Ashley Downs
- Course dates
- 2015-01-15 – 2015-05-20
- Approximate number of student editors
If I ask you a biology related question, where do you go to find the answer? Nearly 500 million people check Wikipedia every month to look for answers, explanations and definitions! The general population might use Wikipedia to make decisions regarding health, informing their personal beliefs, and potentially influence life choices. Did you ever wonder whether that information is accurate? This course is co-taught by Kelee Lynn Pacion from Mann library and Mark A. Sarvary from Investigative Biology, to offer you a unique opportunity to enhance your scientific literary and become an expert in a biology topic of your interest. You will write and edit biology related Wikipedia entries and use Wikipedia as a learning tool to develop stronger critical thinking and information literacy skills. Topics covered will be determined by instructors and students as they journey through Wikipedia, with the goal to expand stubs located via WikiProjects Science links.
Week 1 : Wikipedia essentials
- In class
- Overview of the course
- Introduction to how Wikipedia will be used in the course
- Handout: Editing Wikipedia (available in print or online from the Wiki Education Foundation)
Week 2 : Misinformation in Science
- In class
- The good, the bad, and the ugly: misinformation in science
- Read articles about the use and misuse of Wikipedia
Week 3 : Editing basics
- In class
- Basics of editing
- Anatomy of Wikipedia articles, what makes a good article, how to distinguish between good and bad articles
- Tips on finding the best articles to work on for class assignments
- Handouts: Using Talk Pages handout and Evaluating Wikipedia brochure
- Assignment (due Week 3)
- Create an account and then complete the online training for students. During this training, you will make edits in a sandbox and learn the basic rules of Wikipedia.
- Create a User page, and then click the "enroll" button on the top left of this 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 have Wikipedia user accounts and are listed on the course page.
Week 4 : Exploring the topic area
- Assignment (due Week 4)
- Critically evaluate an existing Wikipedia article related to the class, and leave suggestions for improving it on the article's talk page.
Week 5 : Using sources and choosing articles
- Assignment (due Week 5)
- Add 1–2 sentences of new information, backed up with a citation to an appropriate source, to a Wikipedia article related to the class.
- 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.
- For next week
- Instructor evaluates student's article selections, by Week 5.
Week 6 : Finalizing topics and starting research
- In class
- Discuss the range of topics students will be working on and strategies for researching and writing about them.
- Assignment (due Week 6)
- 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.
Week 7 : Drafting starter articles
- In class
- 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.
- Assignment (due Week 7)
- 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, create a detailed outline 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.
Week 8 : Moving articles to the main space
- Assignment (due Week 8)
- Summary or outline of project
- Begin expanding your article into a comprehensive treatment of the topic.
Week 9 : Building articles
- Workshop in class or outside of class
- Assignment (due Week 9)
- Expand your article into an initial draft of a comprehensive treatment of the topic.
- Select two classmates’ articles that you will peer review and copyedit. (You don’t need to start reviewing yet.)
Week 10 : Getting and giving feedback
- In class
- 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.
- Assignment (due Week 10)
- Move sandbox articles into main space.
- 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.
Week 11 : Responding to feedback
- In class
- Open discussion of the concepts of neutrality, media literacy, and the impact and limits of Wikipedia.
- Assignment (due Week 11)
- Make edits to your article based on peers’ feedback.
Week 12 : Finishing Touches
- Assignment (due Week 12)
- Add final touches to your Wikipedia article.
Week 13 : Due date
- Write a reflective essay (2–5 pages) on your Wikipedia contributions.
- Students have finished all their work on Wikipedia that will be considered for grading.
Completion of Wikipedia training
Early Wikipedia exercises
Quality of bibliography and outline
Peer reviews and collaboration with classmates
Quality of your main Wikipedia contributions
Summary and students