Wikipedia:WikiProject AP Biology 2010

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Past Projects: Wikipedia:WikiProject AP Biology 2009 and Wikipedia:WikiProject AP Biology 2008

Join us at WikiProject AP Biology 2011 .

Croatan's mascot -- an interesting choice for a coastal community

A high school class in North Carolina - Croatan High School in Newport, North Carolina - will contribute to Wikipedia until May 20, 2011. The collective goal is to write biology related articles and bring them up to featured article status (or, good article status). This is done as part of an Advanced Placement Biology course. The lead editor is Jimmy Butler. This project is a followup performance of our 2008 and 2009 efforts. The 2008 Wikipedia AP Biology Project was marked with much success. Our efforts in 2009 Wikipedia AP Biology Project, were less broad in scope; yet, none-the-less generated two FA articles; strangely, both on turtles! The 2010 season should pose an even greater challenge, with only 8 potential contributors; they all must step up and be counted. As always, we are prepared to adapt:

  • The entire class will adopt one or perhaps two articles as opposed to each student flying solo.
  • The time frame will continue to be one semester; however, I plan to insert more deadlines that are linked to grades to reduce procrastination.
  • The final grade will be based on their portfolio, containing the student's contributions - content research, interaction with the Wikipedia community, content contribution via direct edits, formatting, images, as well as the dreaded citation formatting. This portfolio will be reviewed in a conference setting, giving the student the opportunity to justify the grade they desire.
  • There will be no connection between the student's grade and FA or GA status. I will be evaluating contributions, not outcome. This marks a dramatic change and hopefully reflects a more equitable form of evaluation. FA status will hopefully be an outcome of our efforts; however, it will not define student success.

Feel free to discuss this project. Please notify me of any concerns, especially if they involve the behavior of my students on Wikipedia. With a little patience, this should be an inspirational experience for all.

Goals / Motivation[edit]

  • To improve Wikipedia's coverage of selected articles in Biology.
  • To submit these articles to Wikipedia review processes, such as peer review, good article nominations and featured article candidates.
  • To increase the number of featured articles in this area.
  • To introduce students to the concepts of "reliable sources" and how to properly cite them.
  • To develop the social skills necessary to navigate through the world of academia while attempting to build consensus.
  • To improve upon writing skills - emphasizing the need for efficiency, clarity and accuracy.
  • To develop some basic computer skills and confidence with technology (despite popular opinion - many students are computer illiterate).
  • To master the "comma", and "semicolon"; as well as those, other annoying; little grammatical - tools (that) I too: struggle with.
  • And as an added bonus, to become an expert on a biological topic. Yes, I am now one of the world's leading authorities on the "Bog Turtle"!!!!

The dreaded “Research Paper” is a standard hurdle for most AP programs. Rightfully so, since many college courses require such publications to validate your existence. As a consequence, I have graded literally hundreds of papers with the same enthusiasm as my students proclaimed during their creation. In the end, they were rewarded for their effort or destroyed for their incompetency; some even caught by the highly feared anti-plagiarism software. The papers themselves merely contributed to our bloated landfills. Hence, my excitement over this new approach to constructing a scientific document. Rather than researching for a paper that is destined to the circular bin, let us contribute to the world-wide data base for others to benefit.

Phase II: Evolution Theme[edit]

This is a second semester follow-up to the 2010-2011 Project. As always, I am seeking ways to improve the experience by implementing new strategies. In this case, the student's goal is to improve evolution related articles by making a series of minor contributions. In the process they will become more acquainted with the subject of evolution as they review the literature and web resources.

The emphasis on less dramatic edits on numerous articles as opposed to focusing on a single article is a shift from past strategies. If this is successful, there may be merit in switching the order on the 2011-2012 Project. We could begin with accumulated small edits on a shared theme during semester I and then push for success on a single article within that theme in semester II - just thinking ahead.

The bulleted list below outlines the methods of accumulating points. It too is a marked change in protocol. The new strategy should reduce procrastination and minimize the impact of a single grade on the student's overall average. There is flexibility on point assessment. Ultimately, points awarded is based on my judgment. If I deem the content insignificant, the prose changes inappropriate, the references not to standard or the images unworthy of the article then points may be denied. Monday morning, at the start of class, will mark the beginning of a new grading cycle - the expectations are a maximum of 10 pts. per week. Points do not carry over. I am open for expanding the table to include additional avenues of contribution.

  • Improving Prose 3 pts. / section
  • Grammar and Spelling Corrections 2 pts. / sentence or word corrections
  • Adding Images 5 pts. from Wikicommons / 10 pt. if original upload
  • Formatting Up to 5 pts. dependent upon degree of reorganization
  • Referencing 3 pts. / references (most conform to format)
  • Content Improvement Negotiable
  • Create an Audio File Negotiable


Selected Topics[edit]

Articles Progression[edit]

Featured article Featured Articles[edit]

Featured article candidate Featured Article Candidates

Good articles[edit]

Good article nominee Good article nominations


Please place this template in the discussion page of any article that is being worked on as part of this project. It will help the community identify the work carried out by AP Biology 2010. Simply copy and paste into the article's talk page somewhere near the top:

Place this template on the talk page of articles that are granted the FA star:

Planning and resources[edit]

Some information on planning and resources for the AP Biology 2010 Project.


  • Start. Get familiar with Wikipedia. Make some trial edits, however minor. Demystify the process. Leave behind any sense of intimidation. As Wikipedia puts it, learn to be bold. Learn basic editing skllls.
  • Plan. But minor edits alone won't get us much closer towards Featured Article status. We need to have a sense of what more needs to be done, and an overall plan for the article. Look at models and guidelines (e.g. guidelines for articles about novels) on how to write good and feature articles. What sections are required? What will be the article structure? What information is needed?
  • Share. We will need to divide up the tasks that we've identified in the planning stage. Who is going to do what and when?
  • Research. This is vital. A Wikipedia article is worth nothing unless it comprises verified research, appropriately referenced. This will entail going to the library, as well as surfing the internet!
  • Assemble and copy-edit. As the referenced research is added to an article, we need to ensure that it does not become baggy and disorganized, though there will be moments when it is obviously in a transitional stage.
  • Informal Review. First, informal reviews among ourselves and consultation with members of the FA-Team.
  • Further Informal Review.

There's no precise order for everything. (Wikipedia doesn't care if you skip everything and go straight for a FA nomination: as long as the article satisfies the criteria.) There's always the need for small, incremental change. But over the course of the project we're looking for radical change, in some cases seeking to create a featured article from scratch. So we need also to be methodical.

And it may turn out that not all articles will be submitted to Featured Article Review. But this should still be our goal!

Talk pages

Whenever you edit, make sure that you are signed in. Also, add four tildes ~~~~ to the end of all comments you make on talk pages. This will let people know who is talking. Please state your contributions in brief, in the edit summary!

Style guides[edit]

To get past the stumbling blocks of GA and FA, articles will have to conform to the Wikipedia style guides. The three largest barriers are:

Secondary style guide are specific to different projects. Articles must conform to these also. Conflict between any of these is inevitable and troublesome; editors simply have to work out conflicts through consensus.

You can always ask for help at:



Allow me to express my deepest appreciation to those willing to offer the students assistance on this AP Biology project. It is my intent for the students to be responsible for the lion's share of the content as well as the necessary citations. Formatting, writing style, general organization, and grammar are areas where guidance would be greatly appreciated. It's a fine line between assistance and enablement! I personally like the idea of creating a list of concerns and allowing the students to address the problems. I'm confident a balance can be achieved that assures this is a learning process for the students and they will feel a sense of accomplishment when the project ends.
I trust that the students will conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. They understand their actions reflect on the class and school and they are being held accountable. Should any concerns arise, please contact me through the email option. I am very excited about the prospect of my students working with the brilliant and dedicated members of the Wikipedia community. This is an incredible learning opportunity for which I am most grateful. Please note, some of them are rather nervous and have considerable self-doubt. In time, they will overcome ... just a little patience!
There will be no formal "pairing" of students with mentors; it seemed to have a natural flow during the 2008 Project, dependent on the topic and personalities of the authors. Feel free to introduce yourself and offer assistance on their user pages or the article talk pages as the topic list develops and they begin to edit.

Articles from prior AP Biology Projects[edit]

These articles were adopted by the AP biology class 2008-2010 as either stubs or poorly written start class articles and were elevated to the status listed below.


Featured article Featured Articles[edit]

Good articles[edit]


Show at own risk.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This serves as the bucket described in Wiki -AP Bio 2008. It's where I piss and moan without offending anyone. Actually, it is a place to keep my notes for future improvements or perhaps as take-it or leave-it feedback for other educators which I hope will follow.

You go back Jack, and do it again... wheels turning round and round.

  • It will be interesting to see the impact of such a small class on the project. The challenge will be to generate 100% participation so that our presence is felt. Having such a small class might actually make this possible. My first year's experience was an utter disaster due to the large numbers of individual articles. Effective and thorough critiques of their work was impossible. Last years number was ideal; however, too many felt no compulsion to edit; despite the serious consequence to their grade - a concern that requires some serious reflection.
  • I suspect that we will tackle two articles as a class; allowing the students to edit one or both freely. This should provide ample editing opportunities without becoming too crowded. It should also allow any mentors to track our efforts without demanding too much of their time. The connection between the feedback from the community and success of the article is the critical component to success. It's the student's connection with these anonymous intellects that has the greatest impact on personal growth and confidence - thus I hope all eight of them will feel that sense of collaboration. Just think, you will be the topic of conversation among teenagers at a high school lunch table a world away - cool!
  • For the first time - I'm nervous. Only one Senior in the class. So young. So few. Yet we are to met the educational demands of the 21th Century Student - the current buzz in the educational community. Text messaging in class vs. passing notes? Copying pasting from Wikipedia rather than hand copying an article from World Book Encyclopedia? Downloading illegal music from the net vs. borrowing a friends album and recording it to a blank cassette? Writing trash about people on face book as oppose to the bathroom wall? I really should move the project from the sandbox to the real world.
  • The Project Page is up! The student accounts are open (more or less) - let the games begin! Ummmm or the frustrating procrastination. I have only 8 students. With such a low number - I should be able to provide guidance and encouragement. Also, there is only one senior --- the group with the highest skill level; yet, the worst track record when it comes to procrastination. I am very excited - more so than any past year. I was especially pleased to see another project "similar" to our own. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Hopefully, they will share their challenges and solutions regarding motivation and grading - the areas of concern on this side of the screen. Perhaps, in time collaborations between schools????
  • Oh my... its a ghost town. The Baptist didn't pull it off. A plagiarized project page with fragments of our 2008 project mixed with minor modifications to individualize for a school in Maine. What a buzz-kill. Wikipedia Education Projects are good. It is one of the most engaging written assignments I've ever encountered. The perfect introduction to the publish or perish world of science. What happened - late winter storm cover their school in ice and snow? Did they all die from hypothermia? This can't be... some of our best mentors are from Canada - surly they would have mentioned such a freak climatic event? I am now more determined than ever. My elite eight will march forward, leaving a trail of bad grammar and disjointed sentences mixed with plagiarized information poorly cited. But we will learn - we will get better. WE SHALL NOT FAIL!
  • I think I will keep a running log of concepts learned from this project that expand beyond the subject being edited:
- British and English spellings often differ (meter / metre) with both forms being considered correct in a global encyclopedia. A small detail that can generate a lot of emotions!
- An image posted on the internet, does not entitle everyone to freely copy and distribute. There are things called copyright laws! No ... really? The Copy / Paste option can lead to law suites and financial retribution! Ironically, teachers "steal" images all the time for PowerPoint presentations ... do as I say .... not as I do????
  • The final outcome, two articles that showed significant improvement; yet no student willing to take a leadership role through the rigors of FA or even GA. Of interest, I held a meeting with parents where I shared the details of the project. There wee multiple objectives: 1) Pride in the project and the benefits of good PR. 2)Providing the parent's with insights on how to monitor student contributions ans if necessary provide encouragement from the home front. 3) When the hammer fell, there would be no after-the-fact defense by the parents of the child-that-can-do-no wrong. Sadly, it was option three that paid benefits; of the four average shattering "F"'s not a single parent has utter one plea or protest.

I cannot accept this. They are capable of so much more. Thinking ... pair them up and attack this from a broader perspective. Select a major theme (evolution). Then expanded upon the numerous stubs; a sentence, a section, an image, formatting; copy-editing; however, no particular attachment to one article .... Thinking.--JimmyButler (talk) 02:53, 6 February 2011 (UTC)