Class assignment: Write an original Wikipedia article

I have yet to meet a teacher or professor who does not despise students who research using Wikipedia. That said, I want to meet University of Washington-Bothell professor Martha Groom, as she seems to have a completely different perspective on the online encyclopaedia. Instead of asking students in her environmental history course to turn in one big paper at the end of the semester, she requires them either to write an original Wikipedia article or to do a major edit on an existing one.

For her students, the Wikipedia experiment was "transformative," and students' writing online proved better than the average undergrad research paper. Knowing their work was headed for the Web, not just one harried professor's eyes, helped students reach higher -- as did the standards set by the volunteer "Wikipedians" who police entries for accuracy and neutral tone, Groom said. The exercise also gave students a taste of working in the real world of peer-reviewed research. Most of the articles were well received, but Groom still had to teach the students the difference between good secondary research and the average college paper.

News source: CNN Technology

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