Writing & Library Research Methods Lesson Plan: Evaluating Wikipedia Articles

Lesson objective(s):  To practice evaluating a source based on specific criteria.

Total estimated time: 40 minutes

Additional outcome(s): Become familiar with Wikipedia’s philosophy in preparation to edit it.

Course work or assignment underway: Wikipedia article assessment

Work and/or reading completed before class:

            Wikipedia: Introduction

Wikipedia: Content policies

Sequence of Classroom Activities:

1)    Break into groups of 3-4

2)    Select & read a Wikipedia article  (5 minutes—I’ll choose a short one)

3)    As a group, agree on a checklist of criteria based on the policies we have read. This involves deciding which of the characteristics are the most important.  (5 minutes)

4)    Assign one term to each group.  Have students develop some (3-4) questions that they can use to assess the article based on this criterion.  (5 minutes)

5)    Ask the questions of the article!  Students will have time to discuss how well the article meets their criterion. (10 minutes)

6)    Students will present on the success of their article.  They should point out 1-2 strengths of the article and suggest 1-2 revisions, all having to do with their criterion. (15 minutes)

Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches:

It may be better to simply decree which characteristics are the most important, but I think it’s useful to have some discussion about what each policy means for the community and why we think they are in place, to help students see how these rules are put into place.

I hope this can establish some context for a conversation later on about what our criteria for a good source are.

Posted in Sources

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