prof replaces term papers with Wikipedia contributions

Professor Martha Groom at University of Washington – Bothell has shifted the evaluation scheme from the term paper to Wikipedia in her environment courses (Environmental History and Globalization; Conservation and Sustainable Development). As the article reports, “Instead of letting her students rely on Wikipedia as a source, however, Groom has turned it into a destination for their classwork: in place of a term paper, her students were required to create Wikipedia entries.”

Students, apparently, loved it and became more invested in the course.

“This assignment felt so Real! I had not thought that anything I wrote was worth others reading before, but now I think what I contributed was useful, and I’m glad other people can gain from my research.”

Wikipedia? Not so much.

One article didn’t survive for 24 hours following its introduction, and four additional ones were ultimately deleted following extensive discussion, their contents merged into existing entries. Groom also noted that some of the comments in the ensuing discussions “were delivered rudely.”

In addition to learning the Wikipedia culture, there were technical hurdles of learning the wiki markup language. And the students had to do a lot more work to ensure that entries had a high encyclopedia standard.

Me? I think we’ll stick with blog posts for the near term.

(h/t Peter J)

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