For Instructors

Over nine terms of running the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada, we’ve helped more than 300 instructors implement a Wikipedia assignment. Through their experiences and feedback, we’ve put together some assignment design guidelines and online training for instructors and students.

If you’re interested in using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in your classroom, here’s the information you need to know. Have questions not answered here? Reach out to us at contact(at)wikiedu.org.

Learn the basics

The instructor training and the instructor basics brochure will walk you through the editing basics and community norms on Wikipedia, information instructors find crucial for designing assignments that set students up for success.

Training for educators

Training for educators: start here to learn how to get involved with Wikipedia and how to design a successful editing assignment.

Instructor Basics PDF

Instructor Basics: how to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. This PDF brochure gives an overview of how the Classroom Program works and how to run a Wikipedia editing assignment in your class.

Assignment planning

If you haven’t spoken to a Wikipedia Education Program representative about your assignment plan yet, the next two resources will be helpful. Our Case Studies collection highlights various models and learning objectives for incorporating Wikipedia into a course. The Syllabus collection provides detailed information on how instructors have run successful assignments. In particular, the model 12-week syllabus represents our best recommendations for running a full-term Wikipedia research and writing assignment.

Case Studies PDF

Case Studies: see what others have done, and add your own case study.

The Syllabus PDF

The Syllabus: a model full-term “write a Wikipedia article” assignment, and a collection of real syllabi from past terms.

 

Motivating students

The “Listen to Wikipedia” website is a fun way to generate excitement and introduce a class to the pace of change on Wikipedia. Article traffic statistics are also great for motivating students at the beginning of a Wikipedia assignment.

Listen to Wikipedia

Listen to Wikipedia: musical tones and visualizations for every edit made to Wikipedia, live as it happens.

Article traffic statistics slim

Article traffic statistics: see how many views an article gets each day.

Teaching tools

All students should go through the Wikipedia training for students, which takes about an hour. Completing the training is usually the first required step in any Wikipedia assignment.

We also have a range of print (or PDF) resources you might find useful, depending on the details of your assignment. The trio of brochures—Editing Wikipedia, Illustrating Wikipedia, and Evaluating Wikipedia—are general resources for newcomers, while the packet of classroom handouts has specific, detailed instructions for the key steps in common Wikipedia writing assignments: from choosing an article, to creating a new article from scratch, to requesting help. (If you prefer, you can download any of these handouts individually.)

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Training for students: we recommend that you assign this training to your students. They’ll learn the rules, practice the basics of wiki markup, and review encyclopedic writing styles and citation standards.

Classroom handouts: the full suite of our handouts for your course in a single .pdf file. These seven handouts offer our best advice on the topics student editors need to know to get started on Wikipedia.

Editing Wikipedia brochure pdf

Editing Wikipedia: a 20-page brochure that introduces newcomers to the basics of contributing to Wikipedia. It covers the basic rules, how to write in encyclopedic style, and how to use and interpret wiki markup.

Illustrating Wikipedia brochure pdf

Illustrating Wikipedia: a guide to contributing photos and other media to Wikimedia Commons, and adding those contributions to Wikipedia articles.

Evaluating Wikipedia brochure pdf

Evaluating Wikipedia: an 8-page primer on taking a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of a Wikipedia article, exploring its history, and learning from its related Talk page discussions.

Subject-specific handouts

Some areas in Wikipedia have topic-specific guidelines for contributors. This can range from Wikipedia-specific details on sourcing or citations, or ethical or legal guidelines specific to that field. Over time, this section will include a variety of handouts with guidance for editing within particular subject areas on Wikipedia.

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Editing Wikipedia Articles on Psychology: this handout tackles the specific requirements of editing psychology-related content on Wikipedia, with detailed advice on sourcing and citation practices.

Classroom handouts

These handouts explain specific Wikipedia policies and procedures in a way student editors can understand. You can download them individually below, or download the full suite of our handouts in a single .pdf file.

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Using Talk Pages: students will use talk pages to interact with course pages, each other, and Wikipedia editors. This handout addresses the technical aspects of how to find, use, and sustain basic etiquette on their talk pages or those of articles they’re working on.

Choosing an article: advice from students and instructors on how to find an article topic worth adding or expanding. Divided into a “Do” and “Don’t” column, topics include comparing available literature to the literature presented on Wikipedia, how to find articles related to their topic area, and advice on starting their articles from scratch or from stubs.

Choosing an Article: how to find an article topic worth adding or expanding. Topics include comparing available literature to the literature presented on Wikipedia, finding articles related to a topic area, and starting articles from scratch or from stubs.

Citing sources: citations are the backbone of Wikipedia, and of most Wikipedia-based classroom assignments. This is a practical and advice-driven guide on identifying good sources, and how to cite those sources using Wiki markup. The handout introduces the citation toolbar and other areas to check for help.

Citing Sources: citations are the backbone of Wikipedia. This is a practical and advice-driven guide on identifying good sources, and how to cite those sources using Wiki markup. The handout introduces the citation toolbar and other areas to check for help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding plagiarism: this guide introduces plagiarism policies on Wikipedia, with examples of appropriate and inappropriate (“close”) paraphrasing. We find students are often confused by Wikipedia’s paraphrasing policies. This handout contextualizes and offers examples for doing it right.

Avoiding Plagiarism: this guide introduces plagiarism policies on Wikipedia, with examples of appropriate and inappropriate (“close”) paraphrasing. This handout contextualizes and offers examples.

Moving out of your sandbox: once students have created a few well-sourced paragraphs for their article with a good overview, they’re encouraged to move it out of the safety of their sandbox and into Wikipedia’s article namespace. This guide provides a technical description of how to do that through Wikipedia’s interface, and offers some guidance on what to expect once it enters the article namespace.

Moving out of your Sandbox: this guide provides a technical description of how to move their article into an article namespace, with guidance on what to expect.

Polishing your articles: this brochure explains some final steps for making a Wikipedia article better. Two topics are tackled: Uploading images to their article from Wikimedia Commons, and adding links to and from their article and other articles on Wikipedia.

Polishing your Articles: this guide explains how to improve an article, such as uploading images from Wikimedia Commons, and adding links to and from other articles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Did You Know” Submissions: advanced classes may want to submit their article to Wikipedia’s “Did You Know” (DYK) process. This guide shows you how.

Selecting article topics

A lot of instructors find it useful to select the articles for the class based on their own expertise and any obvious scholarship gaps relevant to the course topic. If you have decided to allow your students to select their articles, please distribute this handout and review notability guidelines and reference requirements in class. You may want to ask your Ambassador or a Wikipedia editor within an appropriate WikiProject to approve new article topics.

Course pages

The course page system on Wikipedia lets you and other editors monitor student contributions throughout the term. You can use our Course Page Wizard to customize your own course page, such as this one from an experienced instructor in our program. To create a course page, you can follow these steps in the training.

Get in touch with us!