Martha Groom of the University of Washington Bothell, has had her students do major edits / create new articles on Wikipedia as part of an assignment.
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 “neutral tone” did cause a few difficulties for some students, as in academia it’s expected that at some point one view point or another will be taken.
Most of the articles were well received, but Groom said some students caught heat from Wikipedia editors for doing exactly what college students are trained to do: write an argumentative, critical essay.
That does, however, give a really good learning point into different types of writing.
Via Vicki Davis’ del.icio.us feed.