Wikipedia talk:Course pages

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On the off chance anyone who might know is watching here: is there some reason why preview is not allowed for editing course pages? More broadly, an expanded explanation of the new tech and how to use it would be helpful - is this available at meta/outreach or anywhere else? Nikkimaria (talk) 21:18, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

There's a basic walkthrough of getting started with course pages at Wikipedia:Training/For educators/Setting up your course. Some basic how-to instructions for specific actions using the extension are at Help:Education Program extension. If there's something you were looking for that's missing, either post here and I can try to help, or just edit things.
Preview and other typical editing features don't work because these pages don't get treated like normal wiki pages, since they have non-wiki content included. We're working on fixing that, but it probably won't happen until between terms (both because it's a major revision of the software for the developer to do, and because we don't want to introduce huge changes in the middle of a term).--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 21:25, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. Another thing: if Special:MyCourses is going to include activity by OAs, many of whom are active Wikipedians outside of the Education Program, it's very quickly going to get overwhelming for profs and CAs to look at. When I'm looking at that special page right now, I'm pretty much seeing a long list of my own contribs with a couple of entries from profs thrown in. This was a problem raised with the old Course Info tool, and if we're going to be encouraging the use of MyCourses we should find some way to exclude OAs (and possibly profs/CAs, if they're active Wikipedians). Nikkimaria (talk) 21:30, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
And another: there was talk that the extension would eliminate the need for talk-page banners. Did that end up happening, and if so how does it work? Nikkimaria (talk) 21:33, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
A patch for Special:MyCourses to only show activity by students has already been written, and it should deploy somewhat soon.
As for getting around the need for talk page banners, the current software has some features that let people know which students are editing which articles, but we don't have anything like automatic talk page notifications (yet). The two things we do have are Special:Articles, which shows all the articles students are signed up to edit, and whenever a student signs up on a course page to edit a specific article, it creates a log entry (example), which will show up on your watchlist if you are watching the article.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 21:47, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
In that case, are we still using banners, or just relying on watchlists for notifying the editors of an article? Nikkimaria (talk) 21:52, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Last term, in most of the classes (almost all the US ones, but not the Canada ones) the course pages didn't include any instructions to add banners. In general, banners have only been put on a modest portion of articles students are editing each term (unless someone dedicates themself to adding all the missing ones, like I did during the Public Policy Initiative). So I'm not really sure; I think it's a good thing to do, but not worth trying to enforce systematically. I don't think it matters hugely one way or another, although when I build an extension-compatible course page template (probably this coming week or the week after), I'll leave the banner instructions. But not everyone uses that (it'll probably be primarily used for the Canada classes again). If you've got strong opinions on the issue, you might try to start a discussion at the education noticeboard on it.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 22:04, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't, particularly, but I know this has come up before in discussions with non-EP editors, some of whom expressed the desire to be able to easily tell whether students were editing an article. Nikkimaria (talk) 03:18, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It's an easy copy paste step to add a banner to the talk page that shouldn't be neglected by the students, in my opinion. I've included it as a basic requirement in my template course page: User:Biosthmors/Course page. And if coupled with the basic requirements I propose in that course page, it can efficiently point an interested editor to a developing draft in its early stages. Organization like this should only help the program, in my opinion. Biosthmors (talk) 03:37, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Nikkimaria pinged my talk because talk page banners and sandbox notifications were two things that I've said all along would make both mine and the student editing experience better. If I'm reading/understanding previous discussions correctly, Sage Ross is saying they are no longer essential since as soon as a student signs up to work on an article, it should show on my watchlist (?), but if as Bio says keeping the suggestion in the course material is easy, why not? We help students by making them aware that they should do all they can to encourage collaboration with established editors, which includes letting them know they're editing, being open to help and suggestions, and pointing the talk page to their sandbox so they aren't working in a vacuum. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:29, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The point I was making above is that it's not easy to make it a requirement (and even when it's been a requirement in the past, many students don't end up doing it). However, I still think it's generally a good thing to do, and I agree that we should make it part of recommendations and training. I'll add a page about adding {{educational assignment}} article talk pages to the student training. (When a student adds an article on a talk page, it will indeed show up on your watchlist. You can experiment with this if you like by enrolling as a student in this example course and then adding an article that you are watching.) --Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:37, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it's easy to make this a requirement, as has been done here in a course page I've helped with. It says "Create your user page (so that your user name is no longer red like this). Make sure there is a link (see WP:CHEAT for basic linking advice) to the course page at the top. Your user page can be as simple as copy and pasting this: "I'm editing Wikipedia as part of [[Education_Program:Saint_Louis_University/Signal_Transduction_(SP13)|this assignment]] and here's a link to [[User:Your user name/sandbox|my sandbox]] ... fill in "Your user name" with your user name and feel free to personalize. That should take a student less than a minute to do. Making this a basic requirement for the professor to be affiliated with the Education Program is a choice the Education Program can make. Biosthmors (talk) 15:44, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's easy for the person setting up a course page to add it as a requirement for an individual class. It's not easy to reliably make it a requirement for all courses, since we don't have a strictly regimented way people must set up their course pages or assignments. (That approach was tried, in the second and (I think) third terms of the Public Policy Initiative/Education Program. From what I've seen, the difference it makes doesn't justify the cost of trying to enforce it. Better, in my view, to focus on improving the training and guidance we give to professors so they can figure out what makes the most sense for their own class without falling into the common pitfalls, and work towards having everything that really should be a requirement be enforced by software. On that note, it should be possible to make a bot that automatically posts banners on talk pages whenever students sign up for articles. I will look into the possibility when the more immediate items on my todo list are finished.)--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 16:20, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

That would be a nice feature, thanks. What are the costs in your view? I don't really see any, because a minute of editing time is negligible. Biosthmors (talk) 17:23, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The costs are, trying to make sure all the Regional Ambassadors communicate that requirement when they are onboarding professors, and then having them go through and make sure each class is doing it and reminding the ones that are not. Every additional little bit of procedure adds up; there are any number of things that might be a good idea for classes to do (and the program has tried many different things) but it's always a cost-benefit decision whether any given thing is impactful enough to try to make a requirement (and subsequently enforce as a requirement).--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 17:35, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Shouldn't there be a way to incorporate it into the default course page (as I've done in my template) or the extention to get more benefit without as much cost? Biosthmors (talk) 18:13, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we can. mediawiki:course description (I think) is what gets automatically preloaded when someone creates a new course. I didn't know this feature existed until a few days ago, and it's not in use yet. But I'm going to adapt {{Course page}} for use in the new course pages, and that will include talk page banner instructions (as the current version of that template does).--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 18:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I've got {{course page wizard}} working now, which I'm trying to get as the default preload content for new course pages with the extension. You can see what a course page built with that wizard looks like at Education Program:Example College/Test Course (2013 Q1), including the banner instructions.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 17:38, 16 January 2013 (UTC)


I just added an entry for Peer to Peer University (where I am teaching a course). The "city" and "country" fields are required, but P2PU is locationless. Can this be adjusted? (I think this will not be an entirely unique thing, either; I'd imagine OERu will want to set up pages at some point, and there are other virtual universities in existence like U. Phoenix, Western Governors College, etc. -Pete (talk) 23:55, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, we should definitely allowances for online-only institutions. I'll file a bug.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 00:01, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Request for expert help: unexplained red links[edit]

There are three red links as of today in the article. Only one has an explanation listed. I think the others should also have explanations or perhaps be removed. I don't have the expertise to handle this effectively. Sorry all I can do is point this out! Also, on this talk page at the end of the Preview section, Sage Ross gave an example in January, 2013, that is already red linked. While I think this is less important, I thought I'd point it out in case I'm wrong.

Thanks in advance and I wish I could do more, --Geekdiva (talk) 10:57, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

I take it you mean the three bolded red links on this (non-talk) page: Special:Articles, Special:EducationProgram, and MediaWiki:Course header? I'll update the page to offer some explanation; both of the special pages are currently disabled due to technical issues, but will hopefully be restored at some point in the next few months. The course header page works as described, we're just not using that feature and so haven't created the page. (I did have one created for testing, but it has since been deleted.) As for the example from January, I deleted that course, but if you want to see an example course, this now serves the same purpose: Education Program:Example University/Example Course (2013 Q1). Thanks for pointing this out.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 13:43, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Dr. Jonathan E. Snow - GEOL 3370 Mineralogy class[edit]

Hello. I'm a wikipedian (Wikipedia:WikiProject Rocks and minerals). After
I wanted to add
Is it possible and desired? Regards --Chris.urs-o (talk) 06:20, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Babu Sunder Singh Institute Of Technology And Management?[edit]

Vandalism spotted on first day of my new account?-Koverpw (talk) 13:04, 25 March 2015 (UTC)