Wikipedia:Education noticeboard

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This page is for general discussion of items that relate to student assignments and the Wikipedia Education Program. Please feel free to post, whether you're from a class, a potential class, or if you're a Wikipedia editor.

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See also
  • Special:Courses (a list of courses using the Education Program extension)

Copy-paste merging versus history-merging[edit]

Followup to the already archived Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Archive 16#Proposal for update in the student instructions for moving drafts into mainspace. See Wikipedia talk:Merging#When to request a histmerge. You might consider making the archiving of this page a little less aggressive, so I'm not forced to create a fork of a discussion that's less than a month old. – wbm1058 (talk) 15:59, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

@Wbm1058: 7 days is rather aggressive, isn't it. I think that's a hold-over from when course announcements were all posted here rather than a subpage, making the page fairly unwieldy when not archived frequently. I've changed it to 30 days -- we'll see how that works. And thanks for the link. I'll take a look at this on Monday, but wanted to comment that this is definitely something we want to spend time on this summer, revising training materials prior to the fall 2017 courses starting. I've added DNAU to this thread to ensure it's here at that time. Also want to ping Shalor (Wiki Ed), the content expert working with that class in particular. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:29, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/688809 Memory/Archive. We need adequate notice of student editing, and course instructors shouldn't be assigning the task of writing multiple content forks of the same topic, leaving it for overworked volunteers to clean up. – wbm1058 (talk) 12:22, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

I apologise for dropping the ball on that one, I started preparing the page about the course but didn't share it on the announcement noticeboard. Advance notice of editing would certainly have helped, but the students' accounts remain blocked. Please could the blocks be lifted? Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 12:29, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't think just an announcement on a noticeboard is sufficient. Most editors are not monitoring these noticeboards. There should be some indication on the editor's user or user talk page, such as Template:Student editor (e.g., like this). It should link to their assignment, so we can see what their objective is. wbm1058 (talk) 12:48, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Note how Wikipedia:Wiki Ed/Rutgers University/Languages in Peril Section II (Spring 2017) lists each student in the class, along with the titles of the Wikipedia articles that they are working on.
Wikipedia:Outreach Dashboard/Swansea University/LAA319 - Competition Law doesn't have a similar list of students and articles. – wbm1058 (talk) 12:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
OK, I see that course runs until 28 June 2017. Can these closely related articles either be merged, or clearly differentiated using WP:summary style so that it's clear they are not forks covering the same topic? wbm1058 (talk) 13:18, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Just to comment on noticeboard announcements, though wbm1058 has since clarified that's not necessarily the question here, I don't think there's a formal process for announcing Education Program classes in general. Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Wiki Ed course submissions is a page of notices automatically (or semi-automatically) generated by the Wiki Ed Dashboard), but I don't think WMF has incorporated an equivalent into the Programs and Events Dashboard (classes outside the US/CA), so the best way to stay up on that would probably be to keep tabs on the Dashboard itself. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 12:51, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Btw, Wbm1058, I don't know if you saw this, but from the page you linked you can click the "Dashboard" link at the top and then go to the "students" tab to see the list of students and assigned articles (though it looks like most have not added an article yet -- perhaps that's what you mean). --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 13:32, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, no I didn't find that until you pointed it out. But there I see "Assignment End: 2017-05-10", so it's not clear to me whether the course is still active, and whether the students will return to editing if their accounts are unlocked. Sockpuppet investigations isn't an area I'm active in administratively, so I'm unclear on proper procedures for reopening an investigation and unblocking editors... if we can wait on User:Bbb23 to do it then I'm sure it will be done the right way. – wbm1058 (talk) 13:43, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I'll keep an eye on students doing this. This summer we're going to be working on refining some of our handouts and instructions, so this will definitely be something we look at. :) Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 12:55, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Frankly, folks, Wiki Ed drives me crazy. You have no idea how many cases are brought to WP:SPI from which, understandably, blocks ensue and then along comes someone to say, oh, these are students. How are we supposed to know that? There should be a clear notice on their userpage as to who they are and a link to the program. It would be better for you, the students, and the various unsuspecting editors at Wikipedia who become involved. I'm not going to spontaneously look at a Wiki Ed venue every time I evaluate a case. Unless you start cleaning up your procedures, this won't be the last time this happens. I will unblock the four accounts and remove the sock tags from their userpages (no need to reopen the case). Someone else can deal with the undeleting of any pages that were deleted. BTW, Richard, you should not have edited the SPI archive. Instead, you should have gone to Wbm1058, to me, or to an SPI clerk to make your request. I'm sure Wiki Ed is a lot of work and you, of course, provide a valuable service to Wikipedia and to the outside community, so I apologize for being, uh, brusque.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:22, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • @Bbb23: Every class working with Wiki Ed (the Wiki Education Foundation) should have a list of students on the course page, a tag on every student's user page, and a tag on the articles they work on (there are some exceptions to the latter based on the way sandboxes are handled). I think that you're probably talking about the parts of the Education Program that aren't Wiki Ed? That seems like it could be addressed by incorporating the templating procedures into the P&E Dashboard. @Sage (Wiki Ed): who is the best person to ask about that at WMF (or otherwise)? --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:41, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • If the P&E Dashboard was set up to automatically create a page on-wiki listing editors involved that would be very helpful. Currently it has to be manually set up which relies on my (very much fallible) memory. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:41, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • @Ryan (Wiki Ed): Are you saying that this program with these users was not part of Wiki Ed?--Bbb23 (talk) 14:45, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Ah, I'll try to remember that. And here I thought the only Foundation I had to bitch about was the WMF. A new target for my irritation.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:59, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I see that m:Education is a disambiguation page. It would be nice, and less confusing for unaffiliated, independent editors and administrators, if the Wikipedia Education Program, a program of Wikimedia Outreach (why is that page tagged as "historical" if the Education Program still uses their logo and Outreach has its own wiki?), had all of their chapters, including WMUK, using the same standards and procedures developed by the Wiki Education Foundation, which I presume is no longer a proposed Wikimedia thematic organization, as the disambiguation page still claims? wbm1058 (talk) 15:45, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
@Bbb23: WikiEd haven't done anything wrong here (and do an excellent job) this course is under my auspices rather than theirs. I agree that student accounts should include a note on their user page that they are taking part in an educational course and I will make sure that happens. Thank you for taking the time to unblock the accounts. I apologise for the extra work this has created and appreciate that it is taking up your volunteer time. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
@Richard Nevell (WMUK): Not to worry, many of my comments are tongue-in-cheek, although I have had some negative experiences in the past. This is the first time I've learned something useful, i.e., the division of responsibility. Happy teaching.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:44, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
@Bbb23: Yes, there are different hubs of activity. For future courses (not just this one but others I'm involved) I'll be making sure students have a notice on their user page and on talk pages as Ryan said is compulsory for WikiEd courses. Currently I recommend it for courses WMUK assists, but it should be a requirement rather than a recommendation. Please could 826540MAH (talk · contribs) 838181CDC (talk · contribs) 838463swanseauni (talk · contribs) Elinahh (talk · contribs) Nfyfe826276 (talk · contribs) also be unblocked? Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 16:00, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
 Done.--Bbb23 (talk) 16:37, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
An important responsibility for any class assignment, no matter which program advises it, is to put Template:Educational assignment on the talk page of every article being worked on. That's the first and foremost way to let other editors know that these are student editors, and not something else. Then, as also mentioned above, students should put Template:Student editor on their own userpages – and of course there should be a course page that clearly identifies the instructor. These steps can go a long way towards preventing such problems as mistaking student edits for socking, and also help a lot with keeping communication open with other editors. I think that all programs that work with student assignments should try to make these things clear to all classes they work with. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:27, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

Automatic edits from Programs & Events Dashboard[edit]

@Richard Nevell (WMUK), Wbm1058, Bbb23, and Ryan (Wiki Ed): I'm currently mentoring User:Medhabansal for an internship project to enable edits from Programs & Events Dashboard, which would let us enable some of the edits that the Wiki Ed Dashboard makes on a wiki-by-wiki basis. The project just started, but hopefully within the next few months we can have the automatically-updated course pages and the userpage templates like for Wiki Ed courses. --Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:58, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

That's a very encouraging development. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:14, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Dashboard timeline revisions[edit]

Hi all,

In recent months, there have been a few discussions in which people made suggestions regarding the tools and materials Wiki Ed uses to support instructors and students editing Wikipedia. Since the discussions came up during the time when students are most actively editing, we pledged to return to them over the summer.

This week we begin the first phase of this process, looking at how the Dashboard timeline could be improved. The timeline acts as a sort of extension of a class's syllabus, breaking the assignment into a series of steps, incorporating milestones and supplemental assignments, linking to training and other resources. Please note that the timeline does not itself include the training or handouts, which will be the subject of subsequent threads.

An overview of the Dashboard timeline:

When an instructor creates a course on the Dashboard, they go through a series of steps to generate a timeline. Anyone so inclined can go through these steps by logging into the Dashboard using OAuth, though first-time users (almost always new instructors) have to go through an orientation. Here's the gist of the steps it involves: entering basic information about the course, selecting an assignment type (the standard "create or expand an article" can be supplemented or replaced by smaller assignments like an article critique, copyediting, or contributing to Commons), questions about assignment specifics like whether students will work in groups, and options for additional off-wiki assignments like a blog or reflective essay.

If you would just like to see a timeline with nearly every module included, here is an example on our Dashboard testing site.

Though any feedback regarding the timeline is appreciated, at this time we are looking for ways the text and/or organization of material could be improved in the timeline, rather than adding new technical features, etc.

Pinging users involved in semi-recent discussions. Apologies if I omit anyone, and please let me know if you would rather not be pinged in the future. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:36, 11 July 2017 (UTC)


@Bri, David Tornheim, Excirial, Fuhghettaboutit, I am One of Many, Jytdog, Kingofaces43, Marchjuly, NewsAndEventsGuy, Opabinia regalis, and RexxS: @Robert McClenon, Seraphim System, Seraphimblade, The Wordsmith, TonyBallioni, Train2104, and Tryptofish:

  • That's a lot of work, thanks. I didn't study it carefully but it looks good at a cursory pass. I only looked at the timeline example. In week 6 that imagines students will move their work from sandboxes to mainspace. Somewhere in all the materials, have you warned students about 3RR and interacting with regular eds? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:52, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
Super. Look forward to looking back after a couple years. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:48, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Ryan, thank you very much for doing this, and yes please continue to ping me throughout these discussions. What I've done is to read carefully the Dashboard testing example page. I did not attempt the creation process, and I did not click through to any of the links on the example timeline page.
  1. Week 2, the optional line in the evaluation section: Whether it's on the timeline or somewhere else, students should have guidance on how to format their talk page comment, particularly in terms of putting it at the bottom and not the top, and in using an appropriate section header. Also, before getting to that stage, they will need to have indicated to editors reading that talk page that they are part of a class assignment, probably by putting the template at the top of the talk page. Also, remind them to watchlist that talk page.
  2. Week 3, images: If they upload a file to Commons, they should watchlist the file page and set their preferences at Commons to get an email if someone else edits the file page.
  3. Week 3, choosing a topic: I don't know if it goes here or elsewhere, but we need to start actively guiding students and instructors away from topics where there are discretionary sanctions. For me, this is a big deal.
  4. Week 4, thinking about WP: When asking what they think about our definition of "neutrality", perhaps you should blue-link to WP:NPOV, even if that's also done elsewhere.
  5. Week 6, moving work to WP: About "copy text from your sandbox", that line sounds like copying and pasting the entire sandbox, contrary to the two bullet points before it. Maybe change to "copy pieces of text from your sandbox". The wording also sounds like the review beforehand is "peer review", meaning other students, but I would really want either the instructor or the WMF Content Expert, and not just fellow students, to check it first.
  6. Week 7: Does DYK really work well here?
Those are all the nitpicks that I could find. Overall, it looks excellent! --Tryptofish (talk) 19:44, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
  • OK, I hope this doesn't screw anything up by signed up an instructor, and am going through the orientation: I am going to offer comments and suggestions for each page of the instructor orientation. Please feel free to ignore, or use, as you like. I am writing too much and more than you will probably use, to try to get the feel across....
    • at "what we will cover. The last paragraph here says: "You might want to complement this overview by taking the student training later on. That way, you’ll learn greater details about editing, and see the Wikipedia training for your students." About this... I think it might be good to say something here like: "If you have never edited Wikipedia or only edited a little, please be aware that there is a learning curve to editing Wikipedia well, especially for sophisticated topics. We encourage instructors to get experience editing Wikipedia themselves before they try to lead a class into Wikipedia; an inexperienced instructor leading inexperienced students into Wikipedia can become very difficult. If you do choose to go forward, please do be aware that both you and your class will have a lot to learn about editing Wikipedia - this self-awareness is essential for a successful class effort" Something like that.
    • at the first pillar slide. What is lacking here, is that the mission of Wikipedia is to provide "the public with articles that summarize accepted knowledge" in a community of editors that any one can be part of. (per WP:NOTEVERYTHING That is not here.
This would be a great place to say something like: "the mission of Wikipedia is to provide "the public with articles that summarize accepted knowledge" in a community of editors that any one can be part of. The community has built a set of policies and guidelines that govern content and behavior, and they take some time to learn. We understand that you are teaching a class and that you have goals in mind for what you want your students to learn and do; your students will also have their own goals. Please be aware that inside Wikipedia, you and your students become Wikipedians, and Wikipedia's mission and the policies and guidelines come first inside Wikipedia. You are very welcome here! But please understand you are entering a different environment."
    • at pillar 2. Sources are mentioned last here. This is kind of upside down, especially for new editors. I suggest this read something like:
Wikipedia content has a neutral point of view. This means, that content in Wikipedia needs to reflect what reliable sources say - giving "weight" (space and emphasis) to what they say. Students should not use Wikipedia to advocate for or against any perspective that they have; Wikipedians are guided by passion to work on whatever topic they choose, but content is guided by sources, not personal opinion. As editors, students need to access the highest quality sources they can find, and read and consider them, and generate content that summarizes those sources. Using adjectives and adverbs is generally a bad thing. Neutral writing is plain, and in plain English as much as possible."
    • on the next slide, the word "balance" is deadly. Please avoid that word, as too many people come to WP thinking NPOV = "give all sides equal weight". Like the Fox News motto, "fair and balanced". This page is otherwise great.
    • civilty and the next one This one, is one of the most difficult. Many students and teachers don't understand that WP is not a bubble-extension of their classroom and of school, and they come expecting Wikipedia to be like that - a scenario in which students do their homework in private, and teachers get content directly from students without anyone changing it in the meantime. Other people editing student content feels invasive and downright rude to them. I can't tell you how many exasperated messages I have gotten from students and teachers lecturing me about civility, because they were offended they I edited or removed content. Do you know what I mean here? This is in my view one of the most important preconceptions that lead to people having bad experiences, and that the Education Program needs to overcome to help people have successful ones.
Most of this page is quite good, but I would tweak it like this:
Civility is a core tenet of Wikipedia. Basically, it calls for people to be nice and focus on the work. This is not about being "nicey nice", it is really about not being a jerk and having that get in the way of getting things done. We want to get things done here - get content written and maintained and not get hung up on interpersonal disputes. So just try to avoid doing things that create unproductive friction.
It is very easy even for experienced Wikipedians to get frustrated when disagreements with other editors arise (working in a community is always a test of character), and this can be exacerbated when students have deadlines and feel like their edits must "stick" so that their instructor can see them. It also strange for students to have their "homework" changed by someone else, and as the instructor you might find this frustrating as well. Please remember that Wikipedia is Wikipedia, not your classroom, and that once content is in Wikipedia, anyone can edit it. Please also keep in mind that your students (and perhaps you as well) are learning how Wikipedia works. So please give things time, and listen, and try to learn how Wikipedia is works. If everyone is pursuing Wikipedia's mission and following the policies and guidelines, consensus can usually be reached. It does take time, sometimes. When a student’s work is questioned or removed, they should work with the Wikipedian who edited the information to reach a consensus for moving forward.

Every article has a Talk page where Wikipedia editors discuss changes. This is where students can propose edits, ask questions, and get feedback."

    • be bold --this is one where you might want to add a brief note about choosing the article carefully... just something brief.
    • IAR slide. Hm. The first couple of paragraphs are a bit misleading here, especially for new editors, and especially for editors coming with such a strong COI. Something like:
The Wikipedia editing community has been around for almost twenty years, and the community has developed a strong culture around the mission, the policies and guidelines, and many other unwritten norms, and they cover everything from tiny details like how we format comments on Talk pages, to very large issues like protecting the privacy of living people . All of this, is what has made Wikipedia possible. The core of this pillar, is that what matters the most, is the spirit of the mission and the policies and guidelines. This is the glue that holds everything together, as well as the grease that allows us to avoid having the same disagreements over and over again, so we can actually get work done. IAR exists to help us avoid getting trapped in the details or "wikilawyering" in arguments; it is not an excuse to be sociopathic. Please do take time to learn and understand the mission, policies, and guidelines. The "rules" do matter, but their details are not the most important thing, and please remember that Picasso learned to draw before he began ignoring all the rules.

    • notability. First paragraph very much needs changing: "As students create new articles on topics relevant to your field, it may not be immediately clear to other Wikipedians that the topic warrants a Wikipedia article." This assumes that the students actually got it right. They very well may not have. Right? "If students create new articles as part of their classwork, they may make a mistake and create an article that is not "notable" and gets deleted. The mission of Wikipedia is defined in What Wikipedia is not (this is where you find the "summarizing accepted knowledge" mission statement). NOT also defines many things that Wikipedia is not, and many topics fall outside what the community has determined to be "encyclopedic content".
The rest of it is fine
    • OR. This is fine. If you choose to use bits of what I wrote above in the first pillar slide, this would be a great place to echo that, saying something like " As we noted at the first pillar, everything in Wikipedia needs to summarize what reliable sources say. It follows, that adding content to Wikipedia that is a student's own thoughts or analysis, is not acceptable in Wikipedia." Something like that. It would also be very useful to note here, something like: "Many students and instructors are used to working in the classic essay format, where the student presents a thesis, provides three pieces of evidence, and then summarizes the and restates the thesis. This is not how encyclopedia articles are written. Students should not bring their own theses into Wikipedia and they should not assemble arguments - this is a form of original research that we call "synthesis" - Wikipedia content can only present an argument that is published in a reliable source, and the content must summarize the argument, not make the argument. The work here is not creative thought, but rigorous identification of the best sources, and accurately and neutrally summarizing them."
    • COI. I would love it if this said: "As noted earlier, you have goals for your class, and your students have goals about getting a good grade from you and ultimately graduating. Please be aware that inside of Wikipedia, these are "external interests" for both you and your students, that can sometimes themselves constitute a COI and get in the way of building great content. If students and classes remember that inside of Wikipedia, the mission of Wikipedia and the community policies and guidelines are what matter first and foremost, these problems can be alleviated. It will also be very helpful if you do not grade students on what content remains in Wikipedia. Students who believe that their edits must remain in order to get a good grade, are operating under a terrible conflict of interest within Wikipedia, end up behaving badly trying to satisfy this external interest, and can be blocked from editing. This is not good for anyone. Please make it clear to students that their grade does not depend on their content remaining in Wikipedia."
    • not much to say on the assignments types, but I want to say that I love critique an article. I was delighted to find this: Students perform a literature review in a given topic, then compare their findings to Wikipedia. I have never seen that done, not once. And if students actually did this, and presented the sources they found when they did their literature review, as well as where they see gaps or UNDUE weight in an article, this would be amazingly valuable. Again, I have never seen anyone do this. Would love to.
    • going through the example of creating an article. this page says "Marguerite knows she’ll be graded based on her Wikipedia contributions and other class assignments." Yikes!!
    • i don't understand the emphasis here and here about getting things moved to mainspace urgently, and on the 2nd page there, I think going for a DYK so early on, is a bad idea. These kinds of "feathers" that people try to get, become weird status symbols, and have nothing to do with the mission, really. Most importantly, people need to learn how to walk before they can run. The bell curve being what it is, most contributions will not be very good and most people will have things blow up in their face if they move to mainspace too quickly. I am concerned that the discourse is setting most people up to get disappointed and frustrated.
this slide says nothing about other editors making dramatic changes to the article, but rather treating it like it is "Marguerite"'s article - like she actually owns it. This very much plays into the frame-of-mind that students bring into Wikipedia, and is something the training material should be working against, and not re-enforcing. And this module ends with Marguerite going for GA status. Zoiks. Somebody exceptional could maybe achieve all this, but this is not a good example to teach with, in my view.
the grading slide is... interesting. All the bullets make sense to me except the last one. "Quality of main Wikipedia contributions, as described in the student’s reflective essay". (Is the student self grading?) But more importantly... and please go slow here as this is really central. If the student is trying to work within WP under WP's policies and guidelines, then the quality being graded on should relate to those standards (how well did the content comply with RS, V, NPOV, etc). If the teacher is grading toward some other standards, then the teacher is driving students to violate the policies and guidelines. Do you see what I mean? This needs to be handled really, really carefully. This is probably one of the key place where things when awry with EJustice last spring.
OK, I don't have an interest in looking at the translation or add an illiustration assignment, so I am done.
That was a ridiculous amount of commentary and amount of detail in the analysis, I know. Jytdog (talk) 04:36, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

I don't have time to review the whole thing, and I've forgotten which discussion I participated in that would have put me on the ping list :) But if you want a general opinion, I think the most common problem with student editing (admittedly a biased sample of what I happen to notice) is not that they're unfamiliar with Wikipedia mechanics, but simply that they don't know their topic well. They tend to get a lot of templates and talk page lectures and whatnot, but the underlying problem isn't "you used a primary source and should have used a secondary one" or "your references aren't formatted right" or whatever, it's that they don't know enough about the subject to choose a source other than "I Googled and this is what I found" or "it was in the course reading list". I know that this is supposed to be the "how to edit Wikipedia" component and the instructor is responsible for content, but I really think that part of the guidance for instructors should encourage them to get students to write about parts of the course they've mastered, rather than content they'd never heard of till last week's lecture.

On the stuff in the timeline...

  • The account registration part should mention that a) students should identify themselves as part of a class on their userpage, and b) they should be careful about using their real names as usernames.
  • I like the "evaluate Wikipedia" idea - this is actually a really effective way to engage people who are still learning the material themselves - although IIRC some people find the resulting talk page posts annoying. (I don't really get this; people post this stuff on talk pages all the time. The downside is that in all likelihood, nobody except the other students will ever read it.)
  • I noticed that the "add a citation" assignment in the timeline preceded the "thinking about sources" part, and that seems backwards. Their shiny new citations may well be reverted if they haven't learned much about sources yet, e.g. people show up on medical articles citing something they saw in the newspaper all the time, thinking that's a perfectly good source.
  • Seems worthwhile to teach them about diffs and old versions. A really common antipattern with students is that they think their work is gone and won't be graded if it gets reverted or edited over.
  • Elaborate on that point about leads vs introductions. The hallmark of student editing is undergrad-essay-ish intro paragraphs, "Ever since the dawn of time, humans have wondered about Topic X. [Socrates|Benjamin Franklin|Gandhi] once said, "Topic X is very important."<ref></ref> Topic X influences everyone's lives in many ways."
  • It may be part of the stated purpose of DYK to encourage new editors, but I would never direct a newbie there, especially a student under time constraints.

Opabinia regalis (talk) 21:30, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

I agree with all that. Jytdog (talk) 18:18, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I can't believe I forgot the discretionary sanctions thing! Yes, as Trypto says above, students should be cautious about, and preferably steer clear of, topic areas with active DS (log here). But most especially the problem is in the Palestine-Israel area, which is subject to this arbitration remedy from 2015 prohibiting editing by editors without 30 days' tenure and 500 edits. (For all practical purposes, you must be extended confirmed, which few students will reach.) It isn't practical to manage large numbers of exceptions to this. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:28, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog: I left the DNAU tag in this thread because you gave a lot of thoughtful feedback about the instructor orientation before we were ready to start the process of updating it and I didn't want to lose it. Student training and the timeline was the priority, but we'll likely be able to make minor changes to the instructor orientation soon. This message is just to let you know that I'm removing the DNAU tag (this page is getting a little long), but I've gone through your feedback in detail and have pulled some concrete suggestions as well as topics for discussion from your notes. I'll give you a heads up when we follow through. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 15:44, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Thanks! Jytdog (talk) 15:49, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Impacts of student coursework on other editors[edit]

I realise that the creation of articles by students for some type of class project is beneficial to Wikipedia and instructional for the students. I am in favour of Wikipedia being used by students to further their education, but I am concerned by how some of their activities impact the rest of the community; in particular, when their activities seem to end up with the articles they have been working on being nominated to GAN or DYK.

With regards to GAN, an article produced by a student may not match up to the GA criteria. In particular, a class on say "Animal behaviour" is likely to produce articles heavy on behaviour and light on distribution, description etc., which is needed to fulfil the criterion 3a "addresses the main aspects of the topic" and 3b "stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail". A conscientious GA reviewer will likely fail their nomination as a result, but even worse, there being a considerable backlog at GAN, the student is likely to have moved on to other coursework by the time the review takes place and there will be nobody available to make any improvements necessary to attain the GA standard. For example, in the "Biology and medicine" section of GAN, a backlog of about ten articles awaiting review suddenly swelled to about forty a few months ago. This is discouraging for other members of the community who find their own nominations waiting for review for much longer periods than they otherwise would.

The situation at DYK is somewhat similar. Students do not have a QPQ requirement when they nominate their articles as they are first time nominators, so their nominations swell the backlog of large numbers of unreviewed nominations. The students do not know the DYK rules and therefore do not conform to them. Thirty or so nominations on some obscure topic (plate tectonics, social insects, etc.) tend to sit around unreviewed for some time, and when they do get reviewed, the students are no longer editing and therefore do not respond to concerns. The course requirement seems to have been nominating their articles for DYK, rather than piloting them through to promotion.

So I am fine with student projects using and contributing to Wikipedia, but find problematic the objective of nominating the articles for GAN or DYK as a course requirement. I would be interested in the views of others. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:56, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

I agree with these sentiments, and many have complained about this in the past. Students can improve articles without nominating them having to be part of the process. I have never seen a student nomination that didn't have serious sourcing and comprehensiveness problems, and I've only ever promoted one (crested auklet), after months of waiting, and after their course had ended. The rest were quick-fails, for various reasons. At the very least, there should be some page that lists what articles the students will work on, so the rest of us can be prepared, before nomination. FunkMonk (talk) 12:40, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think that GA nominations are appropriate, as the process almost always takes too long. For DYK they do stand some chance of getting through, but almost always after the end of the course, when the student mostly is not interested in responding to concerns. For past plate tectonics pages, DYK is not a course requirement, and students do not nominate the pages themselves, so that it has been me nominating and responding and doing QPQs. So there is no net burden to DYK for that. I agree it should not be a course requirement. It is just a bonus. DYK is something that has a likelihood of passing, and there is no limit on how many someone can nominate simultaneously, (Unlike GA, FA) hopefully there is something hooky enough to say. The main issues that tend to come up are insufficient references, and a separate nominator may not have access to the information the original writer had. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:45, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I also agree with the views here, and this has, indeed, been a perennial issue with student editing. Any kind of audited content review will work badly unless a student personally chooses to remain an active editor beyond the end of the course (something that is as desirable as it is rare). And it's good that more and more editors are speaking up about it. I encourage editors who are not already aware of it to see WP:NOTTA – and WP:INSTRUCTORS, where DYK and GA are explicitly discouraged. This summer, the WikiEd people have been looking at improving their own resources for class projects, and this issue is one they should make sure that they address, so as to be on the same page as the editing community. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:54, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Hi all. Several years ago, before I knew better (and before Wiki Ed), I taught a class on Wikipedia that included building an article and sending it through GAN. Four of the six made it through, but only after a good amount of stress for me, the students, and the the Wikipedians. The next time around, we used GA criteria as a rubric of sorts, but everyone was instructed not to go through GAN. :) When I started talking to the folks at Wiki Ed, relating that lesson, I was happy to learn it was already one of their standard practices to discourage instructors from requiring formal assessment processes like GAN or FAC.
Today, we discourage GAN in general, and do not support it being a requirement/graded part of a course. If an instructor/student feels particularly proud of an article, we provide some information for an ungraded extra, but try to communicate to them that it's a difficult, time-consuming process that will require them to remain involved and to keep us involved. When an instructor indicates they may be interested in GAN, the class is automatically flagged to us through the Dashboard.
We likewise mention DYK as a possible ungraded option if instructors/students are particularly proud of an article, but, again, don't want it to be a requirement. When they indicate students might go through DYK, the class is given the DYK handout and the course is flagged for us to keep tabs on. We want instructors to keep us involved in the process to try to avoid typical issues.
Few students send their articles through DYK and even fewer through GAN, and most who do so work closely with experienced instructors and/or Wikipedians. However, I appreciate that when that doesn't happen and many students are submitting articles, it can eat up a lot of time/energy. I do know there was a fairly large class this spring in which students took their articles through both processes, which may have been the impetus for this thread. I wasn't involved myself, but I know that Ian (Wiki Ed) was pinged about it on-wiki, and he and Helaine (Wiki Ed) talked with the instructor to work through the current issues and explain best practices, including keeping us involved. If you do start to see multiple submissions from the same class, perhaps it makes sense to put them all on hold and post about it here. That would ensure we can be in touch with the instructor/class. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:08, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Ryan, the current training module shows "marguerite" going for DYK as well as GA (week 7 slide and week 10 slide).... ?? Jytdog (talk) 06:49, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
As a frequent DYK reviewer, I agree with Cwmhiraeth's sentiments. By the time the nomination is reviewed (up to a month after nomination – or more, if the article is extremely technical), the student is no longer active and it's left to other DYK volunteers to address the issues. Perhaps it would be a good idea to put a 2-week limit on responding to the DYK review, after which the nomination would be failed. Yoninah (talk) 08:23, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Good point, Jytdog. We're starting to talk about training updates now (although most things are on hold during Wikimania), and in the process of updating the timeline (see section above). Most of your comments there are about the instructor orientation rather than the timeline, which is why I've tagged both that section and this one with {{DNAU}} until we can come back to it. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 18:14, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I'll echo Jytdog's point that Wiki Ed materials should never imply that DYK/GA should be routine. Another point I'd like to make in reply to editors who feel affected by submissions by students who disappear is that you should always feel free simply to reject student submissions when concerns have not been replied to. Doing so does not remove any student-generated article content, and no editor has a "right" to receive DYK/GA recognition. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:50, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't mention GAN or DYK on Wiki Ed materials at all, it's almost a WP:BEANS situation. If anything, bury it in an FAQ ("Should I submit my articles to GAN/DYK processes?" "We highly discourage it as it is dependent on volunteer time and usually requires student committment beyond the end of the course. However, in some cases it may make sense, please speak with your Content Expert before assigning or suggesting this to your class") – Train2104 (t • c) 23:08, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
It all depends on how the course is structured. Some universities run trimester and I wouldn't recommend them to go through DYK or GA unless someone in the class is already well versed in editing Wikipedia. On the other hand, I do know some that run 6 months for a term. In the latter case I have no concerns if the class puts their articles through DYK process at 3 or 4 month mark. OhanaUnitedTalk page 15:51, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm very glad to see this timely discussion and endorse the views and experiences of other GA and DYK editors, along with the practical and sensible replies of the WIKI Ed staff. I hope that these attitudes will be embedded in future courses. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:34, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

As I see it, we cannot stop any editor from nominating for DYK/GA, and the criteria may be useful for educational purposes, but we can ask the instructors not to even suggest the possibility of actually nominating the articles. That should be left to the student editor as it is left to any other editor. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:33, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

I added a DNAU tag to this section a while back pending an update. We're still in the [long] process of updating materials (instructor training is still in progress), but we've talked about this matter of DYKs and GAs quite a bit now. It looks like the primary impetus for this section was a class which did not indicate to us that all students would be going through DYK, but which then did. In general, however, we bring up DYK and GA in the training because we want to know who will be attempting these processes (which instructors often discover on their own anyway). When someone indicates interest, the class is flagged to us. Importantly, this is so that, in most cases, we can discourage them making it part of the assignment, and to ensure it's not part of students' grades (a condition that we will not support). In other words, by telling instructors about DYK/GA up front, we can intervene to ensure it's done responsibly, discourage it in many cases, and/or monitor submissions in others. When coached properly, there have been many students and instructors who have finished the class with DYKs and GAs. "Many" is relative, though, since it's uncommon they're attempted at all an even more uncommon that they're attempted without us knowing about it. As with any situation in which a class engages in an activity when we don't know about it, we can only try to then intervene with the instructor, try to help with any ongoing on-wiki issues, and try to take measures to avoid it happening again. If you see students submitting articles to DYK/GA -- or, even more importantly, if you see it built into an assignment -- please let us know here and/or ping the Content Expert linked from the course page. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:19, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Wiki Ed Dashboard no longer tagging userpages?[edit]

I've noticed that some users, who are obviously students in the Wiki Ed program, do not have their user pages tagged as such. An example is Ameliacanas, who is a part of Wikipedia:Wiki Ed/Boise State University/Introduction to Media (Fall 2017) and has edited the course page. – Train2104 (t • c) 00:23, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Train2104: There are a few reasons why the tagging sometimes fails. Occasionally, a student with a bad username gets hard blocked, which means all edits from the dashboard are blocked until the block is changed. There are also occasionally network errors the cause an isolated edit to fail, or intermittent problems with the Wikimedia servers. The dashboard only currently attempts the userpage edits once (and only tries them in the first place if the student enrolled themself in the class, rather than the instructor adding their username for them), so a few students end up without the expected templates.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:35, 21 September 2017 (UTC)


Hey educators--see the user page. Apparently the instructor is telling them to work in teams, which is fine--but they shouldn't share an account, of course. Your help is appreciated. Drmies (talk) 00:47, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

ACTRIAL's impact on student assignments[edit]

Right now, we're running the six-month ACTRIAL. It was announced at WP:VPT, but I decide to re-announce this here. How would the ACTRIAL impact student assignments? What will teachers and students who find out about the trial do about the temporary restriction on article creation? --George Ho (talk) 07:08, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Most students I see start off by drafting. I don't think this will have a significant impact. – Train2104 (t • c) 11:02, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
For the students Wiki Education works with (in the United States and Canada) it shouldn't be an issue. They should already be creating an account, going through training, and making sandbox edits over a period of time that would take them to autoconfirmed status, before creating a new article. So a message from a student that they ran into an ACTRIAL-related issue is more of a red flag that they skipped some steps in the process. :) --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:07, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

new (small) student assignment project, starting this week[edit]

Hi! I'm an old-timer -but inactive- wikipedian from es.wikipedia,org (very active for a few months, first in 2004, then again in 2010). Improving Wikipedia via assignments has always interested me, and indeed I was actually also a little involved in the early wikiversidad/wikiversity, back in 2004. I'm starting a small thing in the next few days: 40 Master students (Theoretical and Computational Chemistry), in groups of 5/6, and each group only editing a small article, so only 7/8 articles involved. My subject is tiny (6 hours!), and so will be the homework, so once the deadline comes near they won't edit for very long (unless they like the community and decide to stay on their own!). I understood (and heartfully agreed with) the pillars of Wikipedia from my first time here, so I think this will be non-problematic: the priorities of Wikipedia go first, so they will do all work on their user pages/sandboxes and only edit the real text (if at all, since this will not be required for grading) once I have verified its quality. Additionally, the class I coordinate is not about Chemistry but about Writing and Communication, so also from that point of view my priority is their ability to craft high-quality, concise texts, rather than quantity. Since I've been gone for such a long time, I only knew about WP:ASSIGN and yesterday (we're in Europe, so this is the one we should use, right?). I'll be preparing a course page today and tomorrow and have the students sign in on Thursday. Is there anything else I need to urgently take into account? Thanks! 4lex (talk) 06:04, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Welcome back, 4lex. I mentioned earlier that WP:ACTRIAL is still active for six months. If your students are new to Wikipedia and either plan to register or already have registered recently, they must know that, during the trial, "autoconfirmed" status is required if they want to create new articles. But, as said before, the trial lasts six months, so "autoconfirmed" status would no longer be required after the trial ends. However, the requirement might be reinstated if the consensus approves. George Ho (talk) 06:45, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! I can see the general impact of this, I think. In our case, if, as planned, they only create new content on their own user space, and later on use this content to improve already-existing articles, there is no conflict, or am I misunderstanding something? 4lex (talk) 10:11, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
@4lex: Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on some best practices for Wikipedia assignments. The Programs and Events Dashboard can be very helpful indeed. If you haven't yet, I'd recommend taking a look at the training modules, which are a great introduction to editing. TFlanagan-WMF will probably have a better idea of the resources available and people active in the Education Program in Spain. There are a number of PDF/handout resources on Commons in this category: Category:Wikipedia Education Program handouts. Some of them are more up-to-date than others. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 13:46, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Thanks again. It's so easy to recall why I loved it here: I leave for 7 years, come back, it's not even the same location and people still make me feel at home :) I created the course here: University_of_Valencia/XIIthTCCM-CS. I don't really know the tools I will be using, though, so I'll still be welcoming advice. I'll try to play around a bit tomorrow, and keep reading some more on the pitfalls to avoid. I do think I understand how to behave around here (as in: be useful rather than troublesome/disruptive). My only real worry is that it's 40 people I don't know and which I will meet only briefly, meaning I can't predict their reactions and personality, and I'll only have a limited influence on their behavior... 4lex (talk) 20:31, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Need a Course Page for Student project, starting this week[edit]

Hi, I am running a student wikipage creation project at LIUC, Castellanza, Italy. This is the fourth year we've run this, and in the past it has resulted in some excellent new pages (not without some issues!). In a past year I had an educational course page. Last year I applied for one and flagged the request on the student draft talk pages, but never heard back about it. Is there anything anyone can do to help me here, so I can just flag the draft pages up as an educational project on the respective Talk pages? Many thanks! Limelightangel (talk) 07:55, 5 October 2017 (UTC)Limelightangel

@Limelightangel: Are you a student or instructor? I'm not seeing any past information where you managed a course - can you provide more information? Normally course pages are set up by instructors. — xaosflux Talk 11:38, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Article evaluations[edit]

Please remind students explicitly that article evaluations belong in sandboxes, and that only completed articles are to be moved to mainspace. I must have moved back over a dozen article evaluations since this semester started. – Train2104 (t • c) 03:10, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

@Train2104: The typical thing students are instructed to do is to complete their evaluations in their sandboxes and then, optionally, to choose 1 or more questions/comments from that evaluation to post to the article's talk page. The idea is that, while article evaluations are typically appropriate talk page use, making it both selective and optional should minimize the number of unhelpful comments/questions. Sometimes individual instructors will edit the assignment to, say, make it mandatory, but these should be the exception and should be visible on the class's talk page. I know this came up here a few months back, but I don't think there has been a consensus that article evaluations by students should not be permitted in article talk pages, but it's possible I have missed something elsewhere, perhaps regarding new users in general? We've thrown around a few ideas based on subpages and transclusions, but nothing so far that wouldn't make for pretty non-standard talk page use, as well as a rather cumbersome technical implementation. Would love to get your thoughts on possible ways forward. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 15:52, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Ryan (Wiki Ed): I'm not referring to talk pages, I'm referring to mainspace. A couple examples: [1] [2] – Train2104 (t • c) 17:05, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Train2104: Ack! I misunderstood. Not sure why that's happening. I see that those two are from different classes. In the dozen that you've moved, have you noticed a trend in particular classes? Pinging Shalor (Wiki Ed) about this, too. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Shalor (Wiki Ed): Not exactly article evaluations, but I just moved back a few more pages that didn't look anything like articles. I strongly suggest that the training material be updated so that the students are advised to seek permission (either from Wiki Ed or their instructors/TA's) before moving anything. – Train2104 (t • c) 01:19, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Concerns about use of Citation Hunt by Education Program students[edit]

A few days ago, I was checking my watchlist and found this edit to the French Polynesia article, in which a user replaced a citation needed tag with a circular reference that had copied its text from Wikipedia. I initially thought it was reference spam, but after a bit of digging, I found out that it was a student at the course University of California, Berkeley/Berkeley Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy - Coleman Lab (Fall 2017) using Citation Hunt. I'm concerned about the use of this tool by Education Program students. I found the following similar edits from the same course:

Then, the very next day, I found this edit to Kangaroo Island from a student at the course California State University, East Bay/Medical Humanities (Fall 2017). It's a resonable source except it doesn't even mention the 2005 report that is prominently mentioned in the article text.

In general, I'm very concerned about the accuracy rate of these edits (one in six in this case) and the suitability of this tool for newer editors when used outside of their subject areas of study. Even as an experienced editor, I wouldn't feel comfortable adding citations to a random statement in an unfamiliar subject area unless it was very obvious and uncontroversial (for example <randomperson> attended XXX High School). I therefore don't think students should be given the option of using this tool (as they are on the two course pages linked above), or if they do an exercise like this, they should be steered towards subjects they know something about. I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. Graham87 06:15, 9 October 2017 (UTC) +

Goodness, that sounds like a nightmare even for some of the "older" Wikipedia users I see on a daily basis. Primefac (talk) 11:52, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Graham87 and Primefac: is there a better board for this? ANI perhaps. I agree with the concern. Doug Weller talk 13:09, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Individual usage might be better to bring up at ANI, but I think this is a Village Pump (Tech) sort of situation. Primefac (talk) 13:43, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller and Primefac: I brought it up here because it's a problem with the education program and their use of the tool, not really with the tool per se ... unless other new editors are encouraged to use it somewhere. I'd hope (but I guess can't be sure) that experienced users who use it would know their own limitations. But then there's the Dunning–Kruger effect ... hmmm. Feel free to move/advertise this discussion wherever you see fit. Graham87 14:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea how wide-spread the usage is of this script. If it's just within the Ed community, then this is a fine place. The D-K effect was my primary concern with the larger population, but if no one is using it then there's not really an issue. Primefac (talk) 14:15, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I've just searched the Wikimedia Blog and found this post that mentions it, which indicates that it's used by new librarian editors as part of the 1lib1ref campaign. That makes a bit more sense to me ... librarians specialise in collating references, after all. I could perhaps see problems with misuse of primary sources from those editors, but I'd hope they wouldn't do edits like the ones I cited above. Graham87 14:21, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Graham87: Thanks for raising these concerns here. We added Citation Hunt to an optional element of the assignment timeline (making a small contribution before getting started on something more substantial) about a year ago. We haven't actually received much feedback about it thus far, so this is helpful. We added it because several instructors expressed that they liked the idea of students making small edits to start, but that it was time consuming to find a good opportunity for a citation. By the time they come to the Citation Hunt, students should've already looked through the basic editing and evaluating brochures and taken the training that goes over reliable sources, so there's not really a great excuse for adding something like a circular reference. We don't have room to add much more text to the timeline instructions, but if issues are widespread enough it may make sense to tweak the wording (e.g. to encourage them to click "next" until they find something they can find a high-quality source for). --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:38, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Ryan (Wiki Ed): Thanks. That makes sense. I was only suggesting ANI because I've seen educational projects discussed there in the past, mainly because it has a larger audience. Doug Weller talk 18:11, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
@Ryan (Wiki Ed): Thanks, yep, makes sense. I'd take it even further to say that they should have a general familiarity with the types of sources used in that subject area ... I wouldn't expect the average American editor to know which media sources are best in Australia for example. It would also help for them to make sure that the source they've found supports the content. There's so much that could be said in so little space ... Graham87 05:20, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
I also wanted to pop in as one of the main coordinators for #1lib1ref, and concur with @Graham87:: generally we don't see any problems with #1lib1ref, and part of the reason the campaign works so well, is that librarians are super-self aware about sourcing. I also, would argue, that any disruption/mistakes that any one class is doing here, is not all that different than the kinds of mistakes that "{{citation needed}}" or "{{Unreferenced}}" would solicit more generally. These kinds of mistakes, in my opinion, should be prompting questions like "Why don't more of our readers "get" what kind of source material we use?" and "Why don't new editors know what is appropriate to site?". As I have argued elsewhere (slides), Verifiability is something we value quite widely in our community, yet is something we don't communicate very well to our audience. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 17:19, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

I've just found another student editor, this time from the course Lakehead University/Global Africa (Fall 2017), trying to add exactly the same reference to the French Polynesia article that sparked this concern in the first place. Graham87 06:13, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

And I've just checked the course's other edits from the last 24 hours, and found this edit to Arpoador and this one to Gyroscope, which are reasonable. However, this edit to Things Fall Apart just cited a page that copied its text from Wikipedia, which is doubly concerning because it's within the course's field of study. Pinging Shalor (Wiki Ed), because you're the supervisor of that course, and we've discussed these problems previously. Graham87 07:57, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I've left a comment on the latter student's page and I'm going to go do the same for the other student. I'm really sorry about this. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:35, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Talk page blanking by student editors via[edit]

Today there was a brief flood of edits via that blanked article talk pages and replaced them with just a course assignment template. This was due to a bug, now fixed, that treated API failures the same way as blank pages, combined with a edit job queue that had built up because a process needed to be restarted: when I restarted the job queue processing, it resulted in a large number of edits and API activity in a short time, which resulted in hitting a rate limit for fetching page content, which in turn led to treating article talk pages as already blank, even though they were not. The dashboard had never hit that kind of rate limiting before, so this bug stayed hidden until now. Apologies for the disruptive edits! Wiki Education staff have cleaned all the ones that other editors didn't fix already. --Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:26, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Enrollment Bugs[edit]

Hello is anyone from wikied able to get a dev to check in to phab:T166109, it was just reported again on WP:VPT. — xaosflux Talk 12:12, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

@Ryan (Wiki Ed): perhaps? — xaosflux Talk 14:03, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: Wiki Education hasn't used the MediaWiki course page extension in a couple years, since developing the Dashboard as its replacement, and I'm afraid that's not an error I'm familiar with. I don't think there's active development/support of the extension, especially since the Dashboard became available for anyone to use (as the Programs & Events Dashboard). Some still use it, but I think the idea is to try to guide people to use the Dashboard instead. Pinging TFlanagan-WMF, who may want to take a look at the issue, and also to confirm that this is advice he would give as well. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:29, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Also pinging VMasrour_(WMF), since I'm told Tighe may be unavailable. :) --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:14, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks - may be time to sunset the Courses modules here after all.... — xaosflux Talk 14:48, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Next year I will try the new system. Perhaps the old interface could get a media wiki change to recommend/link to the new system. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 08:28, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

Propose to close/merge Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Incidents to this noticeboard[edit]

I propose that Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Incidents be made a redirect to this page, Wikipedia:Education noticeboard.

@Jbmurray: established the "incidents" page from the main education noticeboard in November 2013. At the time, the Wiki Education Foundation had recently incorporated and there were many new classes coming to Wikipedia. There was hardly any training and coordination and responding to all the students and classes was impossible with the on-wiki volunteer resources at hand. Wiki Education suddenly brought lots of new classes to Wikipedia, and in fearful anticipation, the community asked them to arrange for notices to appear at the education noticeboard for each class. Since the community had been unable to adequately manage the classes already on wiki, there was great worry that an organization bringing even more classes in could do so without major community disruption. At first it was possible to look at all classes doing Wikipedia projects, but now after 4 years there are so many thousands of students participating at any time that no single human can monitor them all. Wiki Education has since moved all class notices to Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Wiki Ed course submissions because the main noticeboard had become unusable with all the bot notices. So far as I know, no one reads that page just because problems are fairly uncommon and Wiki Education oversees the groups which they recruit to Wikipedia.

Because Wiki Education class notices no longer appear at the main noticeboard, there is not much traffic there. Because of this, I would like to propose a return to Wikipedia noticeboard norms, where there is one noticeboard for any kind of general discussion. The main board and the incidents board should merge to become one discussion forum. If in the future that gets too complicated, anyone can propose to split noticeboards again. Problem incidents of the sort which the incidents noticeboard was made to identify are best on the main page, which is how most noticeboards work.

Also, to confirm, the education noticeboard should be for discussion of any class engagement in English Wikipedia, regardless of country. Wiki Education is focused on the United States and Canada, but from a community volunteer perspective, we support any class in any country which is improving English Wikipedia. Thoughts from others? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:39, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for proposing, Bluerasberry. From Wiki Education's perspective, we're fine with the change. We monitor both noticeboards now, and you're correct that they're low traffic. Your proposal to merge them, leaving open the possibility to split again in the future if it becomes problematic, makes sense. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:55, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Blue Rasberry. (And anything to make my watchlist shorter!) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:19, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Blue Rasberry. As the circumstances have changed, having two noticeboards with such low traffic no longer serves a purpose. Alex ShihTalk 01:38, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Certainly seems reasonable. DGG ( talk ) 07:07, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
  • per above an idea whose time has comeDlohcierekim (talk) 04:22, 16 October 2017 (UTC)


I see that the bot archived the proposal to merge WP:ENI into this page, before an outcome was determined. It seems to me that there was a clear consensus to do that, so maybe someone, preferably an admin, should go ahead and enact that. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:35, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

@Tryptofish: I have brought the discussion back here to be closed (preferably with more participants), I will probably drop a note at AN. Alex ShihTalk 04:15, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

George Mason University[edit]

students keep creating essays that don't even pretend to be articles on their user sandboxs. Some do pretend to be articles. And I've been deleting then per U5.03:58, 16 October 2017 (UTC)Dlohcierekim (talk) 03:58, 16 October 2017 (UTC) Someone, for instance, submitted this via AfC-- User:Idlc123/sandboxDlohcierekim (talk) 04:14, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

@Dlohcierekim: Thanks. It doesn't look like a class we're aware of/working with, but we can certainly try to reach out to the instructor to bring them on board. Could you link to the page(s) that indicate the school? Or, if that information is in the deleted pages, was there anything else to go by (class name, for example)? --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 05:28, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, @Ryan (Wiki Ed): here's one (User:Clauritzen/sandbox‎). I detagged so it will not be deleted before you see it. — Dlohcierekim (talk) 05:33, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
This one: User:Clauritzen/sandbox. The other is deleted. Thanks, Dlohcierekim (talk) 05:36, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
PS. There is this link. Interstingly, it says page not found. — Dlohcierekim (talk) 05:37, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Looks like the course is IT 104 (Intro to Computing), possibly lecture section DL1 (meaning "distance learning?"), at least based on the page at User:Clauritzen/sandbox. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:59, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
I've emailed the professor at George Mason for IT104 to let her know about this discussion.Naraht (talk) 13:50, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks all. Pinging our Outreach Manager, Samantha (Wiki Ed). Naraht if you receive a response, would you mind forwarding it to --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:46, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Ryan (Wiki Ed) I will do so, I was directed to her from a librarian on campus that I called who has a page that indicates she is a reference for the class.Naraht (talk) 16:48, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Naraht what email address did you use? I see 28 course sections listed for IT 104. I'll send a follow up of my own once I can figure out how to narrow it down. The userpages listed above are no longer active so I can't see the course identifying details. -Samantha (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:49, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Samantha (Wiki Ed) - -

@Samantha (Wiki Ed):. I'm sorry. I will retrive and post here,as I should have in the first pace,23:07, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

IT 104 DL1 is the class.
The school is George Mason University. If there is more I can try to retrieve, please let me know.23:11, 16 October 2017 (UTC)Dlohcierekim (talk) 23:11, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

wiki edu dashboard[edit]

If the user page has a link to the WikiEdu dashboard, can I assume they know how to constructively edit?Dlohcierekim (talk) 06:20, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

@Dlohcierekim: If a user page has such a link, it means they are participating in a course during which they will learn how to constructively edit. That tag is added quite early in the process, but if you follow the link to the course page you should be able to see a timeline indicating where they should be in the training. They typically wouldn't be making any nonminor contributions until they've gone through essential training materials, though. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 15:39, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
excellent.Dlohcierekim (talk) 19:27, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Things to avoid when designing assignments[edit]

Generally I think the education outreach is fantastic idea. However, the FAQ and other materials that provide guidance on designing assignments should include a section on Things to Avoid When Designing Assignments. For example, instructors should make certain students do nothing at article talk - zip zero nada - unless the assignment involves sticking around the article to make changes to article text, which may involve back-and-forth dialog with established eds who have the article watch-listed. Per the established talk page guidelines, an article talk page is only for discussions that genuinely seek to improve article text. Collecting drive by homework assignments in the form of suggestions from people who have no skin in the game of article text is outside the scope of article talk. In my view, such homework can be deleted as WP:SPAM because the ed who posts them is WP:NOTHERE to build article text but to check a box off on their class assignment. Students are not acting in bad faith of course but the practice inadvertently abuses the volunteer time being invested by real editors who have the talk pages watchlisted. Here is a current example (apologies for picking on this class and instructor... by this criticism I mean to welcome and improve your course experience and hope you do another in the future!)

  • Week 4 of this course "Evaluate an existing Wikipedia article related to the class, and leave suggestions for improving it on the article's talk page."
  • So far (and its only Monday morning presumably of week 4) at Talk:Climate change this has produced two distinct threads

On one hand many new sets of drive by suggestions may turn up important things to work on. The problem, however, is assigning the posting of a driveby remark is very annoying and sucks enormous time from established eds who expect to engage people who are going to actually work on articles. Alternative 1 Have students post these sorts of suggestions on their own user talk. They can still do peer review/grading of the posted suggestions. Alternative 2 Have students post proposed edits at article talk and have them graded on their follow through, however it unfolds, in the WP:BRD process. Alternative 3 in the example course I am picking on (sorry about that once again) reverse the order of the Week 4 and Week 5, to extent students could first make article edits, and later defend them if they are reverted via BRD process, or if the edits are not reverted, students could find some current WP:RFC, load the debate into their brain, and then cast a well reasoned WP:NOTVOTE. Conclusion There are probably many more alternatives, but I do think we need a Things to Avoid When Designing Assignments section and in that section frown on using article talk to post homework in the form of driveby "suggestions". Unless pagewatchers will receive salary as teaching assistants, then I might feel differently about it.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:09, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Hi NewsAndEventsGuy, I've moved this to the education noticeboard so it can get a more full discussion. (Originally posted here.) Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:31, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
    • This problem has been going on for a long time, and has been discussed at this noticeboard before. Obviously, the problem has not been solved. I agree very much that these kinds of drive-by comments are unhelpful and a time-sink, but I'll also note that, in earlier discussions, some editors have argued that any kind of article feedback is potentially useful and editors who dislike the comments can just ignore them (I personally disagree with that view). I'd be happy to see a clear consensus get established, and then implemented. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:20, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
That said, the question of what to do about unhelpful and/or plentiful article evaluations is a conversation worth revisiting. (for context for those joining in, here is a link to the previous thread).
As it happens, because I misunderstood what Train was asking in a section above, I just commented on this subject, so I'll go ahead and copy that here. :)
The typical thing students are instructed to do is to complete their evaluations in their sandboxes and then, optionally, to choose 1 or more questions/comments from that evaluation to post to the article's talk page. The idea is that, while article evaluations are typically appropriate talk page use, making it both selective and optional should minimize the number of unhelpful comments/questions. Sometimes individual instructors will edit the assignment to, say, make it mandatory, but these should be the exception. I know this came up here a few months back, but I don't think there has been a consensus that article evaluations by students should not be permitted in article talk pages, but it's possible I have missed something elsewhere, perhaps regarding new users in general?
I appreciate these thoughts about other ways forward. We've thrown around a few ideas since you initially raised the issue. For example, having students use talk page subpages, which are transcluded to the talk page for the duration of the course, but haven't found an ideal solution so far that wouldn't be rather cumbersome technically and/or make for non-standard talk page use. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 15:33, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the archived discussion. It seems to me that a significant part of the problem is not really about whether assignments are required or optional, but instead about students not understanding what distinguishes a helpful talk page comment from an unhelpful one. I tend to see two broad categories of unhelpful comments, and both are far too common. One is hey, you did a very nice job here, good work, typically in the spirit of a quid pro quo of you give me a good review and I'll give you a good review. The other category is either a meta-comment about what we would call the notability of the page topic, such as this is an important subject so it's good that there is an article about it, or book-review style comments about good points and bad points, such as the good things about this page are ABC and the bad things about the page are XYZ. (About the last of those, listing page flaws actually is very helpful, but it makes little sense to point out things that do not need to be revised.) I'd like to see students better understand how to use a talk page productively, and after all, if the assignment is about learning about editing Wikipedia, it really matters educationally that they actually learn this. I'd like instructors to set clear instructions about this, and make those instructions conform to existing community norms, and students be graded on how substantively they took that on, if the comments are in article talk space instead of user space. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:49, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
@NewsAndEventsGuy and Tryptofish: This is something that we removed from the timeline a while ago (I believe it was changed Summer 2016). It was precisely because of this problem that we changed the wording in that section. (You can see the current wording here; we now direct students to do these evaluations in a sandbox. It does come with a cost - the loss of the good that these reviews might bring.
The problem exists because it's possible for instructors to clone older courses. While it's possible for us to manually edit course pages, without knowing the magnitude of the problem, it's hard for me to say more (and obviously not something we should change mid-course). It's certainly worth looking into further. Ian (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:00, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
I looked through that link, and I do indeed see where it says, at Week 9, that the peer review should be in a sandbox because it is not done the way that Wikipedia would be doing it. I also notice that the list of things to evaluate in Week 5 actually looks a lot like the unhelpful talk page comments that editors are concerned about here. So I'm getting the feeling that students sometimes create a Week 5-style evaluation and then post it on talk pages instead of in sandboxes, even though they seem to have been told not to. Even though sandbox edits are in user space, they are still on Wikipedia, and it strikes me as odd to tell anyone to write something that is contrary to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, even if it is in a sandbox. I get it, that instructors have good educational reasons for wanting students to work on that kind of thing. But maybe putting it in a sandbox gives the misleading impression that it's OK for Wikipedia. I tend to prefer that any assignment that does not adhere to policies and guidelines should not be posted anywhere here. Better it should be handed in, in class, but not written or posted here. I think that would help students understand better, and would be good for learning as well as for editors here. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:25, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Appreciate this being moved here for wider input. I'm not deep into this project. One thing should be simple- Adding to the first stuff any intstructor sees concise bold statement that

Caution should be exercised when directing students to post to article talk pages. Per the talk page guidelines, such pages are for the exclusive purpose of improving article text. Instructors are encouraged to design course assignments which involve article edits, and potentially followup participation in the WP:Consensus process via WP:BRD procedures at article talk pages. On the other hand, drive-by "review" or "suggestion" comments are ones that are made by editors who have no intention of following through with subsequent Wikipedia processes to try to improve article text. If instructors wish to assign this type of commentary it should be posted at student talk pages or their sandboxes.

The only opposing argument I have heard is that potentially valuable ideas posted in student driveby remarks would be lost. We can solve that without cramming driveby reviews down regular editors throats and robbing them of valuable time. Simply have students include the right template or tags in their one-off comments in their userspace. If they format them correctly with the article name, we should be able to code a log of student name, course, article, and DIFF with the one-off remark, and let the header of the article talk page get an automatic template that such material exists. In this way, its all indexed and eds who want to review such material can easily find it. Sort of like an article specific hashtag "#StudentDriveBy". If these templates and tags do not yet exist, maybe an outline of the desired behavior could be posted to the technical side of VPump or other venue, trying to get help from the coders among us. Thanks for listening. The climate pages are popular target areas for this sort of thing, and that's one of my main interests so I do see this a lot. Hence my effort at reforming the way this is done. Thanks to all of you for your effort on this awesome project! I am a big fan, despite all my words over this one pet peeve. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:29, 16 October 2017 (UTC) NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:29, 16 October 2017 (UTC)