Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Wikipedia News

Journalism Students Assigned To Write On Wikipedia 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the putting-wasted-research-to-use dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "eCampus News reports that at the University of Denver, journalism students are assigned to write Wikipedia entries as part of a curriculum that stresses online writing and content creation, and students have so far composed 24 Wikipedia articles this year, covering topics from the gold standard to the San Juan Mountains to bimetallism, an antiquated monetary standard. Journalism instructors Lynn Schofield Clark and Christof Demont-Heinrich say students are told to check their sourcing carefully, just as they would for an assignment at a local newspaper. 'Students are leery about mentioning Wikipedia, because they might be subjected to criticism. But I tell them it's an online source of knowledge that just has some information that might be questionable, but that doesn't mean you have to dismiss all of [its content],' says Demont-Heinrich, who first assigned the Wikipedia writing to students in his introductory course taught during the university's recent winter semester. He said the Wikipedia entries didn't require old-school shoe leather reporting — because the online encyclopedia bars the use of original quotes — but they teach students how to thoroughly research a topic before publishing to a site that has over 350 million unique visitors and gets over 10 billion page views a month. 'I see journalism as being completely online within the next two to five years,' says Demont-Heinrich. 'If you're not trained to expect that and write for that, then you're not going to be ready for the work world.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Journalism Students Assigned To Write On Wikipedia

Comments Filter:
  • A course on manipulating Slashdot?

  • Non-Notable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:04AM (#31626548) Homepage

    Given Wikipedia's propensity to delete articles as non-notable [wikipedia.org], I consider this a very, very bad idea.

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      Maybe, but it depends. On the surface, it's a bad idea to try and judge what is notable and what isn't. On the other hand, historical and scientific stuff is almost always kept (unless it's totally inaccurate), it's usually people creating praise-filled articles about themselves that are slapped down.
    • Re:Non-Notable (Score:4, Interesting)

      by delinear (991444) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:14AM (#31626718)
      Maybe they can work with Wikipedia, by asking for a list of article stubs or proposed articles Wiki would like to see researched and written. It could be something that benefits both parties.
      • Re:Non-Notable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:25AM (#31626920)

        Maybe they can work with Wikipedia, by asking for a list of article stubs or proposed articles Wiki would like to see researched and written. It could be something that benefits both parties.

        Excellent. Then the students will know what to write, and the Wikipedia admins will know what to expect so they can delete it. Everyone wins!

    • Re:Non-Notable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:17AM (#31626772) Journal

      I consider this a very, very bad idea.

      Really? I consider it a very very wonderful idea. If an article is deleted, big deal. The student will most likely retain their own copy when they submit it to the professor.

      Let's take my report on Carl Sagan in high school and my lengthy paper on the pros and cons of the EU's end of the year reallocation between countries in my Macroeconomics course. The former is probably better documented on Wikipedia already but might have served as a decent seed article. The latter I cannot find anything on and am not even sure if it still goes on. Regardless, you have no option of reading any form of my two works. Any information or references I had accumulated are lost to the ages. Just like if the articles had been deemed non-notable.

      I like the idea of being able to produce something useful out of what seems like an inane exercise and to allow students the pleasure of disseminating knowledge responsibly.

      I maintain it's a great idea with no bad consequences when you compare it to the old way. The only bad thing would be if you made a very embarrassing error and it was stored in wikipedia's history for eternity. Oh well, better learn early about the foreverity of the internet. Just like my Slashdot comments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bakkster (1529253)

        If an article is deleted, big deal. The student will most likely retain their own copy when they submit it to the professor.

        Personally, I would think this could affect your grade. As a journalism student, a valuable skill to have is picking the notable stories from those that are non-notable. Your future employer will want you to write about stuff people care about (particularly your publication's target audience), so you better be able to accurately judge that for yourself.

        I like the idea of being able to produce something useful out of what seems like an inane exercise and to allow students the pleasure of disseminating knowledge responsibly.

        Agreed, if you're going to go through that much effort to colelct the information you might as well publish it somewhere it could be read.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wealthychef (584778)

          As a journalism student, a valuable skill to have is picking the notable stories

          I was going to say, yes, but here it's just a small committee at one business deciding what's notable, instead of the public, but then I realized, that's probably how it's done at a newspaper too.

          • by Bakkster (1529253)

            Exactly, it's either a useful skill or a harsh life lesson. Either way, it's worthwhile to learn while still in college.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jonadab (583620)
          Wikipedia's idea of what's notable doesn't necessarily jive with a journalist's idea of what's notable.

          Being an encyclopedia, and thus a tertiary source, Wikipedia is mostly looking for articles for which numerous secondary sources can be assembled. (An AP article is one example of a secondary source.) Note that an encyclopedia does not reproduce the content from the secondary sources, and it certainly doesn't compete with or "scoop" them. It summarizes them, and (apart from maybe a handful of footnotes)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Assuming they write an article that cites reliable sources, it's incredibly unlikely that will happen. If it's a 20 kilobyte article about a minor video game/manga character, maybe. But if it's a historical or political article that's neutral and well-cited? I'll give you 20:1 odds (and that's only because it's a single case; amortized, I'd be willing to give much longer ones). Of course, if they stray too close to Wikipedia's unofficial official positions on controversial issues, the odds fluctuate a bit,
    • I recommend they have majors in Journalism and minors in Political Science.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Warlord88 (1065794)
      In my opinion, if the paper does not conform to the Wikipedia guidelines for notability, it is not worth writing it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I think you worry too much.

        Wikipedia has tons of non-notable articles, like an article about the VHS v. Betamax War (they're both dead - who cares?), a list of Kim Possible episodes, characters from the Star Trek universe (one article per character), and so on. I see no harm in adding articles about the gold standard, San Juan Mountains, and bimettalism.

        • by daten (575013)

          There could be historical value in something such as an article on competition between the VHS and Betamax formats. The details could be interesting to someone who wasn't around at the time to have personal experience with the subject. It could also be of interest to someone who was. It may be valuable to compare that format competition with older and newer format competitions. Lessons may have been learned in VHS vs Betamax that could be valuable in Blueray vs HD-DVD.

          Information about television shows

    • It's not as bad as you might think. It also means that people have to pick a subject THAT MATTERS, so you can't just pick a paper about nothing. And your creative writing skills mean you make it interesting for the editors. But thats just for whole new articles. The idea of Wikipedia for school projects isn't new.

      My girlfriend does Ancient Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Calgary. One of her assignments last semester was either a large paper (which she chose) or you could edit an existi

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      That might discourage journalists from taking up the profession altogether, especially considering the amount of non-notable tech journalism on the internet these days. And - horror of horrors - might subject them to actual quality standards. I recently emailed a journalist about the low quality of their article [tomshardware.com] and learned that major tech blogs don't actually have an editorial staff.

    • by Otto (17870)

      Perhaps you should try creating something notable. I've created dozens of articles on Wikipedia. None of them has been deleted.

  • by Ltap (1572175) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:05AM (#31626558) Homepage
    People are very negative about wikipedia, but generally it is accurate. It is also valuable simply to see where the writers of the articles got their information from, so it's a good starting point for researching a topic.
    • I think most people who go to a Post Secondary that takes researching seriously all agree with your point of view. The thing is that for a paper you normally want either a primary source or a peer-reviewed piece. Wikipedia is a great source of knowledge but its none of those - as much as they TRY to be a peer-reviewed source of information they lack the structure to ensure it is that way.

      What they need to do is make an application process so that if you want to be an editor for a specific field, you need a

      • by Otto (17870)

        Having a doctorate in a field doesn't mean you know anything about that field.

        Having known many PhD's, I'd say it's quite the reverse, in fact.

      • Wikipedia is a great source of knowledge but its none of those - as much as they TRY to be a peer-reviewed source of information.... What they need to do is make an application process so that if you want to be an editor for a specific field, you need a Doctorate

        The purpose of Wikipedia is not to provide peer-reviewed source of information, and they are not TRYING to do that. They are using a wisdom-of-the-crowds model to provide very good but not guaranteed information to as many people as possible and

    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:57AM (#31627334)

      but generally it is accurat

      For non-controversial subjects.

      • by welcher (850511)
        It's very accurate for all sorts of subjects. Look at the article about the Israel-Palestine conflict [wikipedia.org] or articles about political figures. It's great how these things often reach an equilibrium where both sides of a debate or opposing views are presented.
          • This article is a stub
          • This article needs to be wikified
          • This article needs to be cleaned up
          • This article does not cite any sources

          It's very accurate for all sorts of subjects.[citation needed] Look at the article about the Israel-Palestine conflict or articles about many [weasel words] political figures. It sucks how these things never reach an equilibrium where both sides of a debate or opposing views are presented.

          Fixed that for you.

        • Israeli–Palestinian conflict was nominated as a Social sciences and society good article but did not meet the good article criteria at the time.

          You mean that one? :)

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Well, what do you want, a conclusive, objective ruling on whether George Bush was a good president? look at his article [wikipedia.org], there is an incredible amount of factual information and citations there, with plenty of ammo for making either case. Now that is a good information source.
        • I'm not sure why you brought up Bush... I would have brought up someone not quite so controversial... like, say, Michael Moore. Last time I checked, there was almost nothing negative and there was no "Controversy" section... because, apparently, most major figures don't have those sections. Even though they do. The "Discussion" pages for these pages is quite enlightening.

          How about some sort of controversy section for Obama? There's plenty of negative stuff on Bush... and yet, appears to be no section de

    • by Mashdar (876825)
      It seems scary to me that a bunch of know-nothing journalism undergrads (or undergrads of any sort, frankly) would be forced to write on a website used for informational purposes. Granted, some of them will do a great job, but many of them will be lazy, sloppy, and far less credible than the typical Wikipedia authors.
      • by Locklin (1074657) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:24PM (#31628978) Homepage

        Who cares whether *they* are credible? What matters is if their *sources* are credible -and that is in plain sight.

        • And that’s the thing: Just like the terms and conditions of a contract, nobody checks them. I bet a big part of them are complete bullshit, if properly analyzed.

          The fact is, that credibility is completely unrelated to truth. Just ask your virtual Cesar about Brutus and trust. (Or anyone who got betrayed.) The arguments must be logically sound, and the paradigms must be accepted by both. And then it’s still only OK, if those paradigms can themselves be tracked back to basic quantum physics &

          • by Locklin (1074657)

            What the f*** man? It's an encyclopedia. It's supposed to document and categorize the current state of knowledge, not question and critique that knowledge. Thats for Science and Philosophy. You want to do that, read peer reviewed literature.

            Btw. I'm in the process of asking a "tough question." I'm three years into a five year process of doing that and I would suggest you don't try that for every single topic you come across.

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Granted, some of them will do a great job, but many of them will be lazy, sloppy, and far less credible than the typical Wikipedia authors.

        The fact they actually have college training in writing articles, and are having to document their sources, actually makes them more credible than the average Wikipedia author.

    • It is also valuable simply to see where the writers of the articles got their information from,

      A problem I have been noticing lately is that many of the references in older articles are dead links. I am unsure what the rate of articles with dead references is across Wikipedia as a whole; however, it seems to be quite high across the small subset of articles I have read.

      While this isn't really any concern for references that originate from a printed source, a number of them appear to originate from, and exis

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AkaXakA (695610)

      Adding well researched articles to Wikipedia makes it more accurate on the whole; that's a good thing!

    • generally it is accurate.

      Outside of the science and non controversial topics, yeah. Its "generally" accurate. But it has many glaring holes where its only about as "generally" accurate as your average coffee table book or Discovery/History channel program on the subject.

      Which is an entirely predictable outcome of having nonspecialists write articles on topics they really don't understand by stringing together citations from works they haven't the experience to know the context of. The belief that

    • by Graff (532189)

      Wikipedia is an exercise in frustration. I made several edits to articles that were similar but missing something from each other. The edits were almost immediately undone, stating that the information was uncited. I then re-made those edits, noting the other Wikipedia article which had all the appropriate references. The edits were again undone, still saying that citation was necessary. I then went over several articles and noted numerous places where it was apparently just fine to cite another Wikipedia a

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      Citation?

    • I have found plenty of inaccuracies. The quality of Wikipedia is fine for articles that have lots of contributors, but not all subjects do: look at less well known people, topics that are not popular with Wikipedia contributors etc.

    • “Accurate” as in “fits MY own version of a twisted reality nicely”.

      Sorry, but many Wikipedia admins don’t know what they are reign over, and only allow what fits their world view. Which is usually the mainstream bullshit view.

      Exactly like in democracy or in a incomplete communism (conveniently no provisional government ever finished the “transition”), as long as there are people in power over other people, they will use that power for their gains.
      It’s the natu

  • When they find their hard work replaced the next day by a 12 year old who just made something up and posted it so his buddies would laugh it!

    • by bunratty (545641)
      Anyone can just hit Undo, and the work is back within seconds. What's to be disappointed about?
      • It depends upon how much damage is done. I spent of time researching HD Radio prior to buying one, and then decided to share what I found with wikipedia. I rewrote the article and received a lot of praise.

        I came back about 6 months later and discovered most of my work had been deleted, and replaced with anti-HD propaganda (like "HD Radio blocks AM Radio reception" and "The FCC will soon remove HDR as a standard."). It was not as simple as clicking "undo" to restore my original contributions. It took abo

        • by JPLemme (106723)
          It's your own fault. You were supposed to monitor the page every hour, and get friends in different time zones to watch the page while you slept. That way as soon as somebody so much as corrected a spelling mistake you could revert it nearly instantly and discourage other hooligans from messing with your article.

          Hasn't wikipedia taught you anything?
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Yep.

            That it's a waste of time to contribute because your hard work is so easily erased by people pushing an agenda. I can understand people not liking HD Radio and adding criticisms to the article (it does in fact interfere with AM Radio during night hours).

            What I can not understand is people erasing useful information, like the stream's datarate (300 kbit/s), or how many channels can be carried per station (7), or its capabilities (text, stereo, and surround sound). Why erase that useful info? It make

            • by JPLemme (106723)
              I only got into one small edit war once and it was enough to discourage me from ever contributing to wikipedia again. The concept of deleting knowledge (not correcting or challenging it; DELETING it) just strikes me as wrong on a visceral level.

              The worst part is that it probably wasn't deleted by a malicious HD Radio hater. It was probably deleted by somebody who was too lazy to be careful with his edits.
  • Wikipedia (Score:3, Funny)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:07AM (#31626584)

    "But I tell them it's an online source of knowledge that just has some information that might be questionable, but that doesn't mean you have to dismiss all of [its content],'"

    That's very true. In fact, Wikipedia has made it very easy for me simply dismiss only those facts I happen to disagree with. In that regard it's a great tool for anyone who wishes to be out of touch with reality.

    • You're confusing Wikipedia with politics.
      • Perhaps, but journalism is politics. Since when does journalism have to have anything to do with this thing called reality?

      • by bunratty (545641)
        He's not the only one [conservapedia.com].
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It almost reads [conservapedia.com] like Uncyclopedia:

          "A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and biblical standards"

          These people are their own parody :)

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      That's very true. In fact, Wikipedia has made it very easy for me simply dismiss only those facts I happen to disagree with. In that regard it's a great tool for anyone who wishes to be out of touch with reality.

      Pha amateur. To be really out of touch with reality you should know with absolute certainty and express with fiery conviction that nothing you disagree with is a fact. Conversely everything you express is absolutely and unquestionably true. You might even have a book that says that what you say is true. Of course the book also says that it is itself true, so what more proof could anyone need?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Absolut187 (816431)

      it's a great tool for anyone who wishes to be out of touch with reality.

      This is true of any source of information.

      Journalists (and students of all disciplines) should be taught to consider the source of any information critically, no matter how well-documented, no matter how well-respected the journal, no matter how thoroughly peer-reviewed.

      A quick Google search will reveal a plethora of:
      Manipulated scientific studies
      Faked peer review articles in respected journals
      History text books that are written with a

      • Re:Wikipedia (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Locklin (1074657) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:37PM (#31629204) Homepage

        I always get the impression that such strong anti-Wikipedia commenters are the sort of people who, at least used to, take anything written in ink at face value. Few people develop critical thinking skills, and when criticism is brought out into the open, they become frustrated. I read peer-reviewed scientific papers published in established and respected journals on a regular basis and I rarely find a paper that I consider entirely well written and free of obvious error.

        • Few people develop critical thinking skills, and when criticism is brought out into the open, they become frustrated.

          Exactly. Out of sight = out of mind.

          Once you openly raise the issue of bias/false info, the herd gets frightened and runs for the comfort of "closed" publications that are free from any of this "self-doubt" nonsense.

          You see the same phenomenon in politics. Few people will vote for an intelligent person who thinks cricially and questions his own actions. Many of us prefer a self-confident m

          • by Toonol (1057698)
            Many of us prefer a self-confident moron with cowboy boots

            I see this a lot... somebody makes an intelligent, well-written comment, and then will throw in a comment about 'rednecks' or 'southerners' or 'cowboy boots', which makes them seem like an ignorant bigoted hack themselves. Why did you do that? It's as if you couldn't resist making the jab, even though it's completely out of place in an otherwise smart and civilized post. Remember, there is somebody smarter than you who is wearing cowboy boots
        • Well, at least in my case, you got the wrong impression of thinking that I would only call Wikipedia wrong. I call everything wrong, that acts as if it could present “the one true reality”(TM), when physically completely relying on hearsay, which itself relies on hearsay, and so on, until somewhere past a thousand layers of human mind and sense processing full of twisting and transforming, there comes physical reality. Which themselves are relative to the observer anyway.

          One has to accept that w

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by martyros (588782)

      Wikipedia has made it very easy for me simply dismiss only those facts I happen to disagree with.

      But of course, that's the same for a newspaper article. I'd posit that as an information source, newspapers contain at least as much "questionable content" as Wikipedia. The only difference is that few people think newspapers are questionable unless they (1) disagree with what it's saying, or (2) are an expert in the subject area.

      • Sorry if it wasn't clear, but that's exactly what I was getting at. Wikipedia is, for the most part, very accurate. Like any other source, it's not completely accurate. Wikipedia's proponents make it clear that it isn't completely accurate. And that, unfortunately, is Wikipedia's undoing.

        Most people don't believe things because they're true. They believe things because they were told they were true by a convincing authority. When confronted with conflicting information, regardless of its merit, their

    • That's very true. In fact, Wikipedia has made it very easy for me simply dismiss only those facts I happen to disagree with. In that regard it's a great tool for anyone who wishes to be out of touch with reality.

      And that prepares them perfectly for a career in journalism in this age where people pick their news source based on how well it jives with their political beliefs, never having to read news articles that might challenge them.

    • You’re not a Wikipedia admin by any chance? ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:11AM (#31626662)
    I'm sure the +5 funny/insightful "But how many will be deleted for lack of notability?" is on its way. As hilarious as such remarks are, I think they misrepresent Wikipedia. I've created many articles over the years. Not one has been deleted. A few of the tragically short ones were merged into a larger article that covered the subject as a whole. You want to know my secret? Citing sources. You know, what Wikipedia policy says to do. And for good reason.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      I'm sure the +5 funny/insightful "But how many will be deleted for lack of notability?" is on its way. As hilarious as such remarks are, I think they misrepresent Wikipedia. I've created many articles over the years. Not one has been deleted. A few of the tragically short ones were merged into a larger article that covered the subject as a whole. You want to know my secret? Citing sources. You know, what Wikipedia policy says to do. And for good reason.

      It probably also has to do with your article being notable. I could cite sources to a deer crossing Queensbury High Street (Bradford Telegraph and Argus) but I doubt that it would last long on wikipedia.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by khallow (566160)

        It probably also has to do with your article being notable. I could cite sources to a deer crossing Queensbury High Street (Bradford Telegraph and Argus) but I doubt that it would last long on wikipedia.

        Depends on the sources. If major newspapers are obsessing over the details of this alleged deer crossing, then it may well be notable even if the event itself were otherwise unremarkable.

  • It's a great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dejanc (1528235) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:14AM (#31626722)
    Both news writing and Wikipedia (encyclopedia) writing requires one to be impartial, to establish notability of the subject and to be precise. The best part about it is that those students will quickly learn in the wiki process that their writing can be much improved and that there is more aspects to their subject then they thought.
    • You're assuming that impartiality, notability or precision sells in the real world. That one hell of an assumption.

  • Quantum Theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cing (1607421) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:16AM (#31626750)
    A couple years ago my quantum theory course had 10% of our grade from "Contributing to Wikipedia's coverage of quantum physics and related math topics." http://am473.ca/ [am473.ca]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      A couple years ago my quantum theory course had 10% of our grade from "Contributing to Wikipedia's coverage of quantum physics and related math topics." http://am473.ca/ [am473.ca]

      Yes but could you tell me if its still there and how quickly it's going?

    • by Phroon (820247)
      So that's why all the quantum physics articles are written from the perspective of a senior/grad student in quantum theory. The articles all seem to jump over the introductory level and right into the higher math.
  • Refreshig (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How refreshing it is to see someone in academia who truly cares about preparing their students for the real world...

    If more of our teachers and professors actually had real world experience, we might not have a workforce that is falling behind.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:34AM (#31627022) Journal

    Rather than have students waste time producing busywork that the professor will Trashfile at the end of the year, they are contributing their efforts toward society. These Wiki articles will be picked-up by other editors and added to with new information, and someone like me will come along and read them years later.

  • Post a Comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamesyouwish (1738816) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:37AM (#31627072)
    They should be forced to post a comment on /. if they want to learn how to take criticism.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:40AM (#31627096) Homepage

    Just what I wanted. An undergraduate student writing an Encyclopedia article on monetary standards...

    • An "Encyclopedia" article on monetary standards written by a fifteen year-old on a bet made in the back of school bus that he couldn't work mentions of both John Maynard Keynes and Jenna Jameson into the same article.

      • by Geeky (90998)

        An "Encyclopedia" article on monetary standards written by a fifteen year-old on a bet made in the back of school bus that he couldn't work mentions of both John Maynard Keynes and Jenna Jameson into the same article.

        I quoted Milton Friedman extensively in one of my degree level essays, citing as my source "The Collected Playboy Interviews", as it was the most convenient source for the soundbite quotes I wanted to use. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

    • by fyoder (857358)

      Even if one only considers A grade undergraduate papers, there is a shitload of good stuff which would make great additions to Wikipedia just being stuck in boxes or worse trashed at the end of semester.

      And to those potential authors I would say don't ever mention that you're an undergrad, or people with this sort of attitude won't give your work fair consideration. Just let the work speak for itself.

    • Still better than the unemployed basement dweller of an admin, who has the time to delete stuff he doesn’t like on Wikipedia, while in his underwear, all day long. ;)

  • I like this sort of problem but it does bother me a bit when a teacher can assign his students "Give away your intellectual property" as an exercise. Writing articles, yes, using Wikipedia yes. Good skills. But even if stuff is done for a class (which you're typically paying to attend, directly or indirectly) I don't see why the school should own stuff you produce or be able to determine what you do with it, beyond requiring you to give them reasonable access so they can mark it. It's a bit different fo

  • Wikinews? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Explodicle (818405) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:27PM (#31627824) Homepage
    Wouldn't it make more sense to have journalism majors write for Wikinews [wikinews.org] instead? They could even get accredited for press passes [wikinews.org].
  • I can see how this might be interesting in that it's related to a "writing class", but it's an on-line writing class! It is good to see that they are stressing some of the basics that may be somewhat lacking in some on-line (esp. non-journalistic) writing.

    We had assignments to write articles for Wikipedia for several years as part of an electronic music class - each student submitted several articles (totals in the hundreds over the years the class ran) on music or music technology to Wikipedia. See http: [blogspot.com]

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:41PM (#31629276) Homepage

    They "get it." Wikipedia is unique, but it is based on elements of traditional scholarship--citing sources--and journalism--the "neutral point of view."

    As for the snarky comments on notability, they are misplaced. The bar for notability is very low and easy to surmount, and the community culture tends to support inclusion if there is even a shred of supporting evidence to justify it. It is mostly a problem for those who object _in principle_ to bothering to provide evidence, to self-promoters who believe they should be free to use Wikipedia to publicize themselves and thus _attain_ notability, to people who regard themselves as experts and believe that they are entitled to contribute material without supporting evidence on their own authority. There is also principled opposition by people who have a different vision of what Wikipedia should be than the prevailing view.

    I have rescued a number of articles from deletion simply by citing sources. One example: an article, when originally created, read in its entirety as follows: "[name], AKA the Rarin Librarian. One of Library Journal's Mover & Shakers, West is best known for her 'blog, librarian.net." As such, it was ripe for deletion. What did I do? I found the source, the Library Journal article that called her a "mover and shaker" and demonstrated that Library Journal found her notable. I found that she'd been mentioned in The New York Times, as one of the "credentialed bloggers" given press credentials to attend a political convention, the first time that had been done. I found a Wired article about her opposition to the Patriot Act's library provisions. By adding these to the article, I showed that she had _some_ notability and allowed editors to gauge _what that degree of notability was_. That turned out to be sufficient to prevent deletion.

    The librarian was no more and no less notable than she was when the original article was inserted and nominated for deletion. All that changed was that I was willing to put in a little work, and show what amount of notability she had--more than me, less than Meryl Streep; what she was notable for (not just starting a blog); and who, exactly, had taken note of her.

    It is not hard to get a new article into Wikipedia. In an incident that demonstrated Wikipedia at its worst, some Dartmouth students who didn't follow their class assignments well contributed breezy articles in promotional language about their fraternities and their a cappella groups. They encountered a storm of criticism that unfortunately turned snarky, unkind, and dismissive as irritable editors saw Dartmouth article after Dartmouth article. Meanwhile, it almost passed unnoticed that other students had contributed valuable articles, such as one about an unfinished Jane Austen novel [wikipedia.org]. This was, of course, accepted, and nobody ever suggested that there was a notability problem, even though I never heard of it and I imagine you never did, either.

    • the "neutral point of view."

      GODDAMMIT! There is no such thing!!
      Neutrality is a physical impossibility for a human-like life-form! Our minds process and twist hearsay from other minds all day long. By definition, every single of those things has a “bias”.

      What is “neutral” anyway? Neurology will tell you that something completely neutral is something that the mind has no reaction or processing whatsoever to.
      What we really mean is “fits my world view, or that of my community”. So we should say that!
      It

  • Journalists at the University of Denver have their homework PENIS PENIS PENIS

  • It's interesting, but nothing new. For the Design Patters course of my CS degree, I expanded the Wikipedia article for Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software [wikipedia.org] book. That was back in July 2007 [wikipedia.org].
  • Gold theme? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:18PM (#31629948)

    Did anyone else notice that all three articles (from A to B to C) had to do with gold? I wonder if that was a defined theme for the class and what other articles got written by the same theme.

  • I just clicked on bimetallism and ended up going on a wikipedia Link Click-a-thon for a good 30 minutes and ended up reading about the "Nixon Shock", "Revenue act of 1917", "Treasury Security", and "West Germany".

    Wikipedia just isn't good for people with ADD because you can sit there clicking links all day.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

Working...