Documentation:Effective Practices for Wikipedia Assignments

From UBC Wiki

Wikipedia-based assignments can engage students in an authentic learning experience that involves open collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge building for a global audience. When students write or edit in Wikipedia, they are not using the same format or skills that they would in writing a research paper or persuasive essay – they are applying new strategies to produce knowledge that people will use in the real world and they are building digital literacies.

Why are you using Wikipedia?

  • Rationale: What is the value for students in writing for Wikipedia? How does it relate to your course goals?
  • Support: What support will you require? Consider both assignment design consultation (CTLT) and classroom support (CTLT, Writing Centre, Library): wiki editing orientation for students; research support; technical support. etc.
  • Rubric: How will you evaluate the contributions students make to Wikipedia? Criteria?
  • Digital literacy: Is it important to move students along a continuum from consumers to creators of knowledge?


  • Core content guidelines: Does your assignment fit with Wikipedia's Core Content?
  • Time: Assignments typically need scaffolding over time in the course - however this depends on the assignment type.
  • Community/Culture: Wikipedia can be viewed as community engagement. Wikipedia has a highly engaged community of editors with their own culture.
  • Instructor Engagement: Helpful if instructor is engaging with the Wikipedia community.
  • Learning Environment: It expands the learning environment beyond the UBC community. Community editors support student learning and may challenge current biases on Wikipedia (gender-related, notability guidelines, etc)
  • Purpose: Wikipedia is a encyclopedia. It requires encyclopedic type of writing.
  • High Visibility: Wikipedia is highly publicly visible and editable.
  • Copyright: All work has to be CC (Creative Commons) licensed and needs attention to copyright.
  • Affordance: Instructor understands the structure and benefit of Wiki.
  • Iterative: There is no final draft in Wikipedia. The articles are always in development
  • Preparedness: Course that has well-defined goals and intention can integrate well with Wikipedia.
  • Generalist Orientation Students do not have to be expert in the subject matter. They are summarizing existing knowledge on Wikipedia.


Basic overview of Wikipedia

Wikipedia in Academia

Wikipeda on itself

Instructor Resources

Resources for group work

Using Wikipedia in the classroom requires a lot of collaboration from students' side and it is group-work based. Being able to understand your role as a group work facilitator is a key to the success. Below are tips on how to facilitate group work:

See Also