Goals for your students

Why it is important to define and communicate goals


When students sign up for a course that is working with Wikipedia, they might have no imagination about the outcome of their work and not much experience in writing for an encyclopedia. They might expect to write about recent or original results. Even writing new articles in a well established scientific area is not always the best choice for every student or course. However, false expectations could lead to a motivation decline. Therefore, the teacher should develop and communicate appropriate goals for the course. This way goals could function like a road map and help to structure the coursework. They could also help to sustain motivation and measure progress.

Below is a description of possible goals and a brief overview of the requirements and the estimated expenditure of time of each stage. Each example is designated for a six week course.


A clear definition and well understandable explanation of the target will help your students to reach their goals.

Your students should always work on scientifically well-established topics. If you are not sure about a possible choice, please ask your facilitator or the local community.


Beginner level: Work on established short articles

  • Editing of low quality articles (of low frequented themes) is a good way to start if your students take their first steps on Wikipedia. It allows them to make experiences and mistakes without facing too many formal requirements.
  • In addition the attention of Wikipedia wizards is not as high so conflicts between them and your students could be minimalized.
  • The work on these articles allows a simple evaluation of the individual performance of every participator.

Intermediate level: Establish a new subject area

  • Pick a topic which is well covered by textbook literature, but underrepresented in Wikipedia and a draw item to every student.
  • You can work with the local tutor or cooperate with the community of the project directly to solve editorial questions like redundancy or disambiguations.

Advanced level: Provide a firm footing for articles of central themes

  • Your students will need more interdisciplinary skills and sometimes the expertise of the Wikipedia contributors in the range of your selected topic to balance the different aspects of such an article.
  • You can use the Wikipedia Peer-review to generate more discourse, too.

Expert level: Generate good/featured-rated content

  • If you want to use the benchmarking systems for article of the Wikipedia projects, please notice the timelines for Wikipedia's Peer-review process. Furthermore there is a timeline for the polls of an article. A request for the "Lesenswert"-rating on the German Wikipedia, for example, takes ten days.
  • This goal needs a higher level of scientific methods and skills. Your students must check more literature, discuss with the community and pass the local poll processes of mention.


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