The Wikipedia Project

During this second semester of college of mine, I finally reached a milestone that I had previously only heard about my fellow college students experiencing: I had my first incident in which I hyperventilated and teared up over a project. It was at this time that I sunk to a level I never thought I would reach, as I then manically sent an email late on that Easter night to my professor. And yet, I would say that this project was quite a beneficial experience for this amateur blogger, whose writing of questionable quality you are currently ingesting.

Throughout this entire semester, I have been working on a research project. No, it did not culminate in a single essay (although I did write a very lengthy reflection essay); instead, all of the work I did is showcased in a Wikipedia article entitled “Educational entertainment.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Essentially the entire class was focused on improving a Wikipedia article. Although such a project may seem bizarre, it is actually a lot more sensible for students like me than one may think, which I hope to demonstrate throughout this entire blog post. (If more information/perspectives are desired, check out this NPR article, which I stumbled upon and read at the start of the semester.)

It is actually fitting that I create this post, as I received my push to finally create this blog of mine from the English class I took last semester, which was taught by the same professor. The writing assignment I completed in association with the class and published on this blog can be found here, if anyone is interested.

By the way, if my professor and/or any students are reading this, I offer greetings to you. How are you today? I hope this blog post will not tarnish your opinions about me.

Anyway, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I first seriously thought to create a blog post about this entire project, but once I developed the idea, I knew I had to execute it; even if no one would read it, it would surely still be a way for me to reflect on the work I conducted throughout this semester. Being able to reflect on my past self is basically what drove me to start this post, since when I am nervous about anything, I tend to write little notes to myself, such as on my phone or on a random piece of paper. Doing so is in hopes of not only relieving some of my stress, but also of being able to look back on what I wrote later on and feel a sense of accomplishment and advancement. Consequently, when I was worried about editing my Wikipedia article, I felt the need to write out my thoughts and reactions, and what better way to do so than on a blog post draft, for people to possibly read in the future? Subsequently, as I will explain, the possibility of helping others gain perspective on this type of project and letting others who are simply curious about this unique project know about its promise would become extra layers of motivation for me.

Speaking of sedentary blog post drafts, I might as well introduce my Wikipedia article and why I chose the topic I dedicated my semester’s work to.


My Introduction to the Project

Let me just state that one of the first drafts I ever planned out for this blog, which is still in existence six months later, is entitled “‘Edutainment’ Is Important.”

Yes, I have proof. (I fixed the “is” to “Is” recently, though, so now it does not read as my oldest draft, sadly.)

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 2.25.53 PM

Within this proposed blog post of mine, I hoped to explain my experiences and overall opinions on the importance of “edutainment,” which is a concept with content that combines both educational and entertaining elements. As a Sesame Street fan as a child, lifelong Disney Parks (and especially Epcot) geek, and somewhat new fan of educational podcasts, I have realized that I have a sort of passion for the concept; my increased awareness of people discounting this kind of content drove me to creating the conclusion that the intended title exemplifies.

Of course, though, I never got around to working on or posting the blog post I had intended on making. Once I recently realized that this blog post was still in my drafts, I deduced that my lack of effort toward the post was likely due to my fear of the kind of work I would have to put into it. With a topic that is heavily involved with pedagogy, it was intimidating to even take on the concept with my seemingly feeble mind. As a result, it just rested in my drafts. Here is where the Wikipedia project comes into play…

Toward the end of my English class last semester, I became aware that my next English class would be research-based, and quickly realized that I would love to have my topic be “edutainment.”

As time passed, I was still not informed about what the class would actually entail. Soon before our first class meeting, though, the website (which incorporated the syllabus for the class) was made available, and I subsequently frantically read through it before I left for class. When I saw that I would primarily be working on Wikipedia throughout the semester, I was definitely intrigued; I do not remember feeling much apprehension toward the project at all. In fact, I quickly looked through some Wikipedia articles in order to see if any topics I am fascinated by had articles that would clearly need some work. The “Educational entertainment” article was one of those I glanced over, and let me just say, I had never before been so happy to see an underdeveloped article on Wikipedia. A wave of relief washed over me, as it was quite satisfying to already have an idea of what topic I would be spending all semester on.

After class that day, in which an overview of the class was given, I made my professor aware of my idea of working on the “Educational entertainment” article. So, yes, I maybe was just a bit ahead of the rest of my classmates by already having a fairly set idea of my plan for the semester.

I will admit, though, that I was a bit overconfident at the start in regards to actually contributing to Wikipedia, as we were first presented the idea of publicly displaying our efforts during the first couple of class meetings. I thought my experience of publishing my own peculiar content on this blog to viewers across six continents and thirty countries would give me an upper hand on the situation, and would make me feel comfortable publishing my research for others to see and collaborating with other Wikipedia contributors.

Well, I was wrong. (Getting one’s page flagged will make a person realize that, as I will explain later on.)

Regardless, I spent the first portion of the semester focusing on finalizing my Wikipedia article choice, by way of analyzing an article of choice, learning more about knowledge as a concept, and conducting preliminary research.

As for my analysis essay, I chose to evaluate the “Educational entertainment” article. From my work, and by basing my analysis off of the six “good article criteria,” I realized that the article really was not of great quality at that point. Not only was it officially categorized as a ‘Start-Class‘ article, but it also seemed to be lacking (or at least overlooking) certain ways in which the concept of edutainment is applied, was somewhat biased in its portrayal of the concept’s reception, and even hosted a simple spelling error. Furthermore, regardless of its decent prose, the article only contained sixteen references at the time, had a somewhat questionable method of organization, and its lack of images showed me that it was not taking full advantage of its ability to connect with viewers.

By finding these (and some more) flaws in the article, it became clear to me that there would be many opportunities for me to boost the quality of it, and that its somewhat poor condition would not scare me away too much. With the Wikipedia project, though, it is not necessary for an individual’s article of choice to be of low quality; in fact, an article does not even have to be in existence at the start. As long as there is some way in which one believes they can substantially improve Wikipedia‘s coverage of a topic, the topic and corresponding article that is chosen can be valid. (Nevertheless, do not be afraid to ask for feedback or advice.)

As I mentioned before, as a class, we also discussed in-depth the true meaning of knowledge. I will not spoil the conversations and and pondering we all had, but I will say that my first perceived definition of the word itself was certainly much different at the start of the semester than it is now. Through lecture, discussion, and writing in our own “writing journals,” this change was brought about in me (and in my classmates as well, I assume).

So, once we had more time to explore our other options regarding our Wikipedia articles of choice and discuss them with each other (both in person and on Google Plus), it was time to begin our actual research process, as we were instructed to look through different types of sources for information regarding a topic. It was not required that our topic be our official choice for the entire project, but I made sure to put some thought into my choice. After a bit of debate, I decided to officially choose the concept and article of “Educational entertainment.” As I looked through different types of sources, such as scholarly articles, books, videos, newspaper and magazine articles, opinion-based articles, and other Wikipedia articles, my ideas in regards to what my entire research process would look like developed to a great extent. If any readers are working on this Wikipedia project, take the preliminary research seriously; being able to narrow down your most helpful types of sources to look through truly helps make the entire research process less overwhelming. Through my efforts, I realized that scholarly journal articles, books, and magazine & newspaper articles would be the best sources for me to focus on during my in-depth research.

Also, do not be too afraid of using sources that are not traditionally used as ones for other research projects. As long as they can be seen as credible when put under a critical eye (think about the authors, where the work is published, the date of publication, if references/notes are offered, and any potential biases or goals of persuasion) and offer beneficial information, they can likely be used as sources. As a matter of fact, there were even some scholarly journal articles and books that I decided to not use as sources, based on potential biases and studies published that did not seem extensive enough to include in the “Educational entertainment” Wikipedia article.

Next on our agenda was our actual project proposal, and this assignment essentially becomes an overview of each individual’s officially-chosen topic & corresponding article and a plan of action as for how they will actually improve the article. I spent a somewhat substantial amount of time on this proposal, and I would definitely recommend doing so; not only does it help the professor understand one’s plans and offer helpful feedback, but it also helps the student gain a clear view of what the rest of their semester will look like. In fact, I think I had the proposal form open in a tab on my laptop for the next month or so, as it was a way to look back on my plans and the feedback I received.

Once I completed the project proposal, I started my more thorough research. I definitely did not want to procrastinate this important step, and so I actually spent a sizable amount of time throughout spring break researching. I am clearly a very exciting person. Anyway, by doing so, I was able to conduct research without feeling too much time pressure; as someone who is easily intimidated and overwhelmed, especially by an abundance of information that is available to me, I was glad to research at my own pace.

As time went on, I started to organize the information (and corresponding citations) into a Google Doc, with sections regarding each area that I was focusing on for the Wikipedia article. I would strongly recommend doing the same, as my document was a fantastic way to see what kind of progress I made and to see which areas I needed more information for. Also, I must add that I tried to paraphrase the information in my sources right at the time I added it to my Google Doc instead of copy-and-pasting it into my document or just posting a link to it. Once again, please consider taking this step. The effort put into paraphrasing (and thus making sure that the information is actually understood) will pay off, and one will be glad that they already did so in the future, as it will allow them to just focus on organizing and further editing what was written to prepare for its transportation to the actual Wikipedia article. Especially since I did not feel too much time pressure, it was extremely helpful to write out succinct summaries at my own (AKA, my slower) pace instead of spending hours doing so at the time of editing the article. As I would find out later, simply reorganizing the article with my information would take enough time already.

Overall, once I was satisfied with the depth of my research, I found that my predictions of the types of sources I would rely on were fairly accurate. I used about nine scholarly journal articles, seven books (some in-print, a few being e-books, and a couple found through different articles I read), and nine newspaper/magazine articles. Throughout my research process, I actually found myself using websites as well, those being of organizations and groups like the Walt Disney Archives and World Bank. I was quite hesitant toward using such sources at first, but I then realized that using them would be vital for my goal of proving the existence of the work that was done by these groups, and showing that these types of organizations really did and/or do have goals and information in regards to edutainment. Yes, these kinds of websites may be biased in their opinions on the concept itself, but I solely wanted to use them as proof that these kinds of organizations have a certain stance relating to educational entertainment in the first place. In the end, I ended up using about twelve websites as sources (after making sure they were credible, of course).

Toward the end of spring break, I set up a meeting with my professor, in which I would explain my research efforts and plans, and then receive some feedback. In said meeting, I actually made my first edit to the “Educational entertainment” article (I fixed the aforementioned spelling error), was told that I would likely be done researching at that point, and was given advice as to how to start editing the article.

Soon afterward, and for the next couple of weeks, I wrote drafts of my proposed edits to the Wikipedia article. I will not go too in-depth into every decision I made, but I hope to give an overview of my thought process that will show the extent of my work. And, as mentioned before, I had already paraphrased the information from the sources I wanted to cite, which made my job of writing a bit less strenuous.

By the way, all the while, group presentations were worked on and had in class, with each group having a topic about Wikipedia to explain to the rest of the class. My group’s topic was “View history,” and I am glad to say that my group worked pretty well together. If any readers are doing a presentation of this type, please take it seriously and put much thought into it, because the ability of each group to help their fellow students manage their way around Wikipedia is consequential.


My Edits

On my “Sandbox” page, I practiced writing out and formatting my changes. The first section I wrote out was a “History” section, with the subsections of “Concept” and “Terminology.” The article already had sections entitled “Roots” and “Terminology,” but its use of the “Roots” section was questionable, as it only referenced instances of the implementation of the concept of edutainment from the 1970s and onward. Furthermore, by making an overlying “History” section, I thought that my “Concept” and “Terminology” subsections could make more sense to readers. With the help of the original content of the sections, I took the information I gained from my research and pieced it all together in order to create a somewhat comprehensive history of edutainment (no one source I found while researching contained a summary of this kind).

Next, I worked on my next major section, which was one I created and titled “Application.” The article already had sections entitled “By media” and “By setting outside of the classroom” in regards to the implementation of edutainment, but I found flaws with this organization, as some of the subsections under “By media” were not, by definition, forms of media; also, I feared that the latter section could seem to readers to be implying that all other forms edutainment takes are solely inside classrooms, which would then be perplexing. Consequently, I combined all of the subsections under both of the sections under the new section “Application.” By doing so, I would be using vocabulary that is used in similar pedagogy articles in order to, in a clear way, explain how the concept of edutainment is applied in various ways. Underneath this section, I also edited some of the already-present subsections of “Audio and video,” “Film and television,” and “Museums and public access areas,” by adding an image and few examples & corresponding citations, and additionally changing some of the more questionably-written sentences into ones that made more sense. Furthermore, I changed the “Radio” subsection into a “Radio and podcasts” section by adding explanations and examples about educational podcasts, and even added a new subsection entitled “Theme parks.” With these changes, I hoped to increase the quality of coverage regarding these important ways in which edutainment is prevalent.

Lastly, I made two major additions to the article, which were sections entitled “Effects in the classroom” and “Criticism.” As I explained before, I found the article’s coverage of the perception of edutainment to be lacking; thus, with these sections, I hoped to improve the balance in coverage that was absent at the time. How to go about creating and organizing these sections was very strenuous for me, though. I had a lot of options, but after really thinking through the information I found through my research, I realized that making the “Effects” section I imagined into a more specific “Effects in the classroom” section would be beneficial. Creating a section with this focus would, in fact, be a way to both acknowledge the importance of the classroom setting (which I had partially taken away by deleting the “By setting outside of the classroom” section) and showcase the studies I found in regards to edutainment, which almost entirely had to do with academia and combined many different forms that edutainment takes. As for the “Criticism” section, I found that such terminology was also used in similar Wikipedia articles, and so I thought it would be a great idea to compile some of the more opinion-based assertions made by critics of edutainment under this new section.

Some smaller changes were made to the article as well; with help from my professor during a meeting, I changed the all-important lead section of the article (and added a citation) and added a reference to the “Corporations” subsection.


Dealing with Feedback

While I was still primarily working on my “Sandbox” page, I received my first piece of feedback from the Wikipedia community, which was quite frightening for me: It was a lengthy message that brought to my attention my use of non-free images and their subsequent deletion from the page. I had previously thought that the images I included were allowed for use, as I found them through the Wikipedia image database, but it turned out that they were not. As a result, when they were first deleted by the user (which I did not notice), I thought some kind of computer error had occurred, and so I included them on my page once again. When they were taken down soon afterward, I received the message on my “Talk” page about it, and I freaked out, as I referenced at the start of this blog post. I was in tears as I read it, and I then quickly sent an email to my professor about it, in which I apologized multiple times.

It turned out, though, that the situation was not disastrous. My credibility as a contributor seemed to not disappear, and sending a response to the message thanking them for bringing my errors to my attention, telling them that my ignorance toward their original edits was an oversight on my part, and declaring my goal of only positively impacting the Wikipedia community moving forward seemed to clear up the issue a bit. Still, I felt especially apprehensive about editing the actual “Educational entertainment” article, as I feared that I would make more dangerous mistakes. Using this fear as motivation to be more careful and thoughtful was a way to make the most of the situation, though. So, if any readers receive negative feedback on their work, please do not freak out as much as I did; stay calm, learn from your mistakes, and use it as a way to further connect with the Wikipedia community and prove your credibility as a contributor. No one is perfect.

While on the topic of future actions, I soon started to make more substantial edits to the actual “Educational entertainment” Wikipedia article. I started out small, with a few sentences and citations added to a few already-present subsections in the article. Then, after waiting to receive some feedback on the larger edits I had written and planned out on my “Sandbox” page, I started changing the article in more major ways.

As such, the next portion of this blog post will be my little “journal entries” that I wrote throughout the majority of my editing process (and moving forward). Please be aware that these little bits of writing are genuinely what my thoughts were like at the time; thus, they are neither magnificently, nor impeccably written. I hope they will show, though, the progression of my feelings and thought processes while finishing up my project (and receiving feedback from the Wikipedia community), which could possibly help other students who are a bit worried about their work feel more comfortable.


Journal Entries

After making two edits:

I am nervous. Will making my edits on a Friday night seem suspicious? Are my citations correct? Were my examples too specific? Did I not include enough information, or perhaps too much, regarding my examples? Will they get removed? Did I space out my information well in the subsections?

Overall, I feel okay, but I do not want to jinx myself. The article has been a bit active lately, and so I feel a bit anxious. I have not received any emails yet, so hopefully I will be okay.

Please do not hate me, Wikipedia people. I do not want to let you all down. I also do not want to get banned. I refuse to disappoint my professor.

Basically, please have mercy on me; I am just a student doing schoolwork on a Friday night.

4/21/17 10:40 PM

After making one edit:

I just added the first image ever included in this article, so I am a bit nervous about how well I introduced such visual elements. Will it seem like it came out of nowhere? Hopefully not. I also somewhat restructured the subsection I added the image to using my citations, so I am really hoping that I wrote it out in a similar, but improved, fashion. Even just changing a few sentences took much longer than I thought, which is why it has taken me this long between edits. I also noticed that the article was edited after my previous edits, but fear not: my edits were not controversial. Instead, someone just added a citation to a different section; it was actually one that I had actually struggled to find, so thanks, editor!

I did not feel too uncomfortable making my changes to the article this time around, but nevertheless, I do not want to jinx myself. Additionally, my large contributions and changes are the next ones on my list, so my uncomfortableness will certainly return.

Before I make those large changes, I will be meeting with my professor. So, by tomorrow afternoon, I should have a better idea of the timeline of my upcoming edits and feel more confident in how I should roll them out, especially by using the article’s “Talk” page. I am hoping that what I have planned out on my Sandbox page is not in terrible need of work.

Well, back to work I go!

4/25/17 12:41 PM

After making one edit:

I just converted an external link reference into a formatted reference. It was the one that I mentioned yesterday, although I now find it odd that the user deleted their account. The reference they left does seem credible, though. I am really hoping that my judgement is not poor.

My meeting is in less than two hours; please go well, meeting!

4/26/17 10:36 AM

After the meeting:

I feel pretty okay right now. The meeting was moved to today, and I was then able to receive feedback on my planned edits and some tips on improving the article as a whole. Since the rest of my editing to the actual article will be quite dramatic, I will likely post on the article’s “Talk” page at some point today in order to warn its contributors, and hopefully that post will only receive positive remarks. Then, tomorrow, I will probably unload all of my edits. Whew. I am definitely still nervous about what will happen, but I am also a bit excited to put my efforts out for all to see.

Please do not hate me, Wikipedia contributors.

4/27/17 11:15 AM

After posting on the “Talk” page:

I posted a message on the “Talk” page of my article about an hour ago. As no one had edited this page since 2015, I am not expecting any replies, but I believe that making this warning before making such major changes to the article will give me credibility. If anyone objects harshly to the edits I make, at least it will be known that I gave contributors a warning.

Let us hope that my edits will not be ones that can be harshly objected to in the first place.

Also, I started writing my reflection essay about this Wikipedia project; what I can say now is that it definitely mentions this blog of mine (and this post I am currently working on). I am cautiously excited, my friends!

4/27/17 5:30 PM

Approximately 24 hours after posting the message:

Well, no one has replied to me or acknowledged my post. I am nervous. Of course, not many people even saw my post in the first place, though. Regardless, I need to start putting up my large edits, and I am definitely terrified. I really, truly hope that what I have written is not terrible or dangerous, and that my large changes will not offend those who have been watching this article for a long time.

Wish me luck. (By the time anyone reads this, I will have already made edits, but STILL.)

4/28/17 3:44 PM

After making one (extremely large) edit:

Well, I did it. I simultaneously feel relieved and terrified. Upon receiving approval from my professor, I just added 19,240 bytes to the article, which just about doubled the size of the entity. I have no idea what the response is going to be like, or how/when I will receive any feedback. Wow. I am very afraid of the possible repercussions of making so many changes under one edit, but I hope I did well.

Am I overreacting? Perhaps so. Actually, I hope so.

Regardless, for the rest of the weekend, I will probably be obsessively checking my Wikipedia account. Please have mercy on me, people of Wikipedia. I put months of effort and thought into what I just added. If that amount of time was not sufficient enough to do a great job, then I will be upset.

Just…wow.

4/28/17 4:56 PM

After making one edit:

Hello. I am back; long time, no see (technically, no read). I just realized that in the caption of one of the images I included in the article, a title needed to be italicized. Therefore, I fixed it.

Okay. I do not know what else to say. My former update still represents my current feelings.

4/28/17 5:26 PM

Update:

Hello. My reflection essay is being read right now, and I am freaking out. It is very long. By the way, no one has edited the article since I last edited it, which gives me mixed feelings; hopefully I did not intimidate other contributors.

Anyway, I still feel nervous, but also a bit proud of the work I have done. I do not want to jinx myself, though.

Whew.

5/1/17 11:49 AM

Update:

Actually, I have not received feedback on my incredibly long essay yet. Since Monday, a bot on Wikipedia made a 1-character edit on the article; I need to look deeper into what it actually was, because am not literate enough computer-wise to see the difference at this time. I am hoping to meet with my professor soon in order to get feedback, and I also want to know if/how I should update my essay. I probably will anyway.

I feel weird.

Such is life.

5/4/17 11:40 AM

Update:

A short meeting was had, which made me feel a bit better. I likely will not have to edit my essay much, as I am not required to discuss the recent edit made, but I will probably edit the essay as a whole soon anyway. I will be receiving feedback within a few days, which I am somewhat nervous about; I hope my thoughts are portrayed well in my writing. Also, I can start preparing for the presentation that I have next week. It does not have to be much, but I am going to use it as an opportunity to practice condensing all of my material and thoughts into three minutes.

I can do this…at least I believe so.

5/4/17 1:17 PM

Update after the article was edited:

I feel weird and a bit nervous. As I was working on this blog post of mine, I felt compelled to check the “Educational entertainment” article and see if it had been recently edited, and I then found that it was, in fact, edited. The edits were not made to the actual content I added, but instead to the citations and overall formatting of them (and the entire article). I think I may need to edit my essay soon because of these changes, but I am waiting for feedback first. I did add a comment to my essay about it, though.

Hopefully these changes do not mean that I did a poor job with the article.

Ugh. Please be okay.

I will deal with it all.

5/6/17 2:47 PM

Update after the article was edited:

A small grammar error of mine was fixed. I am quite mad at myself for making such an error. Ugh. More mistakes I will likely have to insert into my essay later. Hopefully my professor’s thoughts about my work will not sour as edits keep being made to my work. Seeing only a decrease in bytes since my additions is kind of upsetting, but I just need to deal with it in the best way that I can. The changes will only benefit the article and improve upon what I did, which is what matters. I just really do not want to seem idiotic; not receiving any explicit positive feedback on my work from the Wikipedia community is tough for me, I will admit, but all I can do is learn from it.

5/7/17 11:33 AM

Update:

Hello. This update will probably be one of my last (cue the “gasp” and “aww” sound effects). I think my reflection essay went over fairly well, and I apparently am pretty much done with the class. I do still have my presentation on Thursday, which I will prepare for.

I am feeling good right now, but as per usual, I am trying to be cautiously optimistic.

I really hope this entire post of mine makes sense; if not, then I did not utilize my weekend very effectively. It really has been nice/helpful to make these little journal entires, though, over the past few weeks. Hopefully I do not seem insane to readers. I promise I am not too miserable of a person…at least I do not think so.

Okay, I am just rambling now. Back to work!

5/8/17 5:10 PM

Update after presenting:

I gave my presentation, and I think it went fairly well; I basically just gave an overview of the work I did on the article. Apparently my work was sort of impressive, but I will not let myself get overconfident. Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity to do some self-promotion for this blog, though…

Anyway, essentially, I am done with the class now (I am in my last class meeting right now), but I am finishing up an assessment of the class. I have put a decent amount of thought into this assessment already, of course, and it is due in a week.

I have genuinely enjoyed this class, and I am kind of sentimental about this last class.

Well, here is to a successful future!

5/11/17 1:41 PM


Reflection

As one can see, I was clearly worried about my work to the Wikipedia article. It really is okay to be a bit fearful, but as indicated in my writing, do not hesitate to set up meetings and ask for feedback.

At this point, even though the direct effects of this Wikipedia project have not yet subsided (they likely never will, as people will continue to edit my article of choice), I can see what my semester-long work, culminating in my edits to the “Educational entertainment” Wikipedia article, has done for me and the Wikipedia community. No, I am not flawless, and I cannot say that my work has been perfect, but I still feel somewhat proud of what I have done. By being able to contribute to the article of a topic I am passionate about, I have created knowledge for the public to see; hopefully, through collaboration with other Wikipedia contributors, my work will only be bolstered and improved upon.

Throughout this journey, I have had to deal with feedback in many forms, such as through positive comments, warnings, changes, and even just a lack thereof; this kind of public work and feedback is part of why I think this project is important for students. Even though I do have this blog in which I am able to be given some feedback, it is still not much, and having a larger audience from Wikipedia has been intimidating in a constructive way. By learning to deal with criticism (and realizing that changes to my work due to collaboration does not equate to being seen as completely “wrong”), I now think that I am better prepared to be a contributor to the fields I pursue in the future. Also, by not receiving much immediate feedback on my work, I have realized that I need to try to trust myself, my work, and my abilities, while also being open to the upcoming responses of others. It must also be noted that with the potential for feedback from the public, there is a high level of motivation that comes with this project; not only do students know that their professor going to read the work that is done, but the rules and expectations of other people committed to both the article at hand and the overall potential of Wikipedia also increase the sense of responsibility associated with what will be done.

As demonstrated throughout this post, many of my expectations surrounding this Wikipedia project came to fruition, such as the extensiveness of the research I would have to pursue, but some aspects of the project were more difficult than I expected. For example, the intimidation I had toward actually contributing to Wikipedia escalated much more than I thought it would, and the time it would take to make minuscule changes to the article was lengthier than I expected (one sentence I targeted in my editing took me about an hour to change in an effective way).

Something that I also did not predict would come about from my work on Wikipedia was the way in which it would affect how I view myself as a potential contributor, not only on Wikipedia, but also as an amateur blogger and member of society. As I mentioned before, I showed much hesitation toward even creating a blog post about edutainment six months ago, as the never-ending realms that are research and knowledge frightened me. Even so, by being pushed to conduct research and publicly compile and share my growing knowledge, I was then able to produce knowledge for others, and even discover that I have been facing my fears all along through this blog, in a way. Even though my blog posts often lack the opinions of experts and statistics, and they are certainly not peer-reviewed, I have been creating knowledge for the public to see since October 2016 through my explanation of personal experiences and accumulated information; thus, they may have more value than I had previously assumed.

Therefore, why should I fear the various forms of knowledge and research so much, when I can instead just embrace the potential positive impacts I can have through my work (both academic and recreational) on society through effort and dedication, which is further exemplified by the impacts that Wikipedia can have when used properly and respectfully?

So, that kind of a question is a reason why this blog post has come to life. I do not want this class that I spent a semester in to just fade away from my memory; especially with this kind of public project I did, I think it is appropriate for me to portray what I have learned for the world (but realistically, probably just a few people) to read. I truly hope that this knowledge I have gained, utilized, created, and now am sharing with you will have some kind of impact on your own knowledge, and additionally, how you think about, and act with, it.

Here are some extra/overall tips I have for those working on the Wikipedia project:

  • Ask for help
  • Pick a topic you enjoy; it is extremely helpful to have a topic about which you may already have citable sources lying around or on websites you look at recreationally
  • If you have any questions, look at the instructional Wikipedia pages, and ask for clarification from others
  • Do not be afraid to set up meetings with your professor
  • Panicking shows that you care, but try to not panic as much as I did
  • Spread out your work
  • Start out small with editing
  • Be transparent and open to feedback
  • Practice both apologizing and taking responsibility
  • It is better to be safe than sorry
  • Be proud to be a contributor, and thus do work that will make yourself proud

Of course, feel free to ask me any questions and/or give me feedback!

Also, if any of you actually read through this entire post, I thank you so much. Bonus thanks to my professor; your help and encouragement throughout these past two semesters has not gone unappreciated. I would not have written this extremely long blog post (which now has a higher word count than my lengthy reflection essay, and honestly may be the longest piece I have ever written in my life) or even created this blog in the first place if it was not for your curriculum and teaching style.

Well, I am now in tears while I finish writing this post, but for more positive reasons than the causes mentioned at the start of this blog post. Then again, I have not even received an official grade on the project yet…

-Stephanie

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5 thoughts on “The Wikipedia Project

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