This article describes a sequence of assignments to guide students through an informed effort at making contributions to Wikipedia that persist, and suggests ways this set of exercises in social informatics may also serve a number of common goals in a variety of writing, literature, and other courses: analyzing and writing for explicit editorial guidelines (“standards” in information science, “house style” in editorial practice); understanding, conforming to, and even negotiating conventions of genres and subgenres; collaborating online; writing for an audience that not only is real but also talks back; and developing deep understanding of revision and the writing, editorial, and publication processes. Students first learn Wikipedia policies and practices and analyze the historical development of articles before they make contributions. The pedagogical opportunities arguably outweigh the concerns of those who doubt the credibility of an open-authored encyclopedia.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.