Lesson Plans: Be the Authority: Wikipedia in the Classroom


Students will learn the basics of Wikipedia editing, including best practices and key policies. In an active learning session, they will make small edits to live articles in real time.

Details about this plan:

  • Designed to be at least 5-7 hours (could span multiple classes or workshops), but could easily be tailored
  • Intended audience: the general public, graduate students, undergraduate students
  • The topic should be customized.
  • Could be used in conjunction with the Wiki Education Dashboard.
  • Designed to add information to articles on Wikipedia specifically about underrepresented groups.

Proposed Session Schedule:

Note: This proposed schedule is broken into three different sessions.

Session 1: 

  • Introduction to Wikipedia (45 minutes)
    • Wikipedia on paper activity (originally developed by Margaret Smith): Organize audience into groups of 5-6. The workshop leader passes out notecards with pre-determined topics written on each card. Topics should be broad. For example: “Photography,” “Performance Art,” etc. Set the timer to ~4 minutes. Have each group write out a definition as they think it would appear on Wikipedia. After each 4 minutes, each groups passes their notecard to the next group. Groups can cross out and rewrite anything they think should be edited. Have students look at their original notecard when everyone has seen each topic. This activity gets students comfortable with their words being edited.
    • Slide presentation (see below).
  • Homework: Create a Wikipedia account. Explain the positives and negatives of using real names.
  • Optional: If using the Wiki Education Dashboard, have students enroll in the course as homework. Have them complete the suggested assignments in the course (e.g. Practice the Basics assignment and Critique an Article assignment).

Session 2: 

  • Work day: Editing Wikipedia (5 hours)
    • All students login and begin adding content or citations for at least two articles.
    • Optional for advanced: Create one stub in stub creator that is reviewed by the workshop leader.

Session 3: 

  • Review and assess work done in Wikipedia with the group (~30 minutes)
    • How did it go? What were some challenges? What surprised you?


Organizational Tool:

A tool like this spreadsheet is a great way to keep everyone on track during the editathon. Could be used in conjunction or in place of Wiki Education Dashboard.


Getting Started with Wikipedia: Example Goals and Training Schedule