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Description Explore a case study of the “classic” Wikipedia writing assignment: students work individually or in small teams to create or expand Wikipedia articles on a given topic.

When students can distill course topics into the essential information, translate that for a general audience, and then post that information in a public place – that feels good.

While most students in the Classroom Program have written innumerable term papers, few had ever contributed to Wikipedia before joining our program.

The Wikipedia assignment differs from the more traditional writing assignment in several key ways, which is why it’s critical to set expectations early on in the term.

Students understand the real world implications of their work and are more motivated knowing that millions have access to it.

As Thais Morata and Erin Haynes’s student gushed, the brand new Wikipedia article she created had already been viewed by 246 visitors even before she presented about her work in class at the end of the term.

We also hear from students that they use it anyway and their teachers know they do.

So we ask instructors, instead of turning them away from the site, why not give them skills to critically evaluate what they read there?

Critical thinking is at the core of research and inquiry, not to mention the process of revising something–anything.

See also 249 Bloom’s Power Verbs for Critical Thinking In the linked article above, Terry Heick says that, “To think critically requires you to aggregate knowledge, form some kind of understanding, get inside the mind of the clockmaker, judge their work, and then articulate it all for a specific form (e.g., argumentative essay) and audience (e.g., teacher).” A Wikipedia article can be neither researched, revised, or newly created without this kind of evaluation. Case study: A student’s perspective A 12-week course 5.

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