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Appropedia:Service learning/Guide

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Service learning projects are highly valued on Appropedia. The Appropedia community and especially the admins are here to support instructors and students in making the most of their course and of Appropedia.

Getting started[edit]

First steps:

Make a wiki homepage for your class.

First choose a category name with your class code and title, e.g. Category:Engr215 Introduction to Design. When this category is placed at the bottom of a page, the page is listed in the category. Create a homepage for your course. Some instructors like to do this on the category page itself.

  • Optional: Copy and paste from one of the other classes' homepages if you like, to make a start on the structure. (see Service Learning Courses)
  • Edit the page as needed, and save. (You can save it at any point, and continue adding to it later.
Identify the topics you intend your class to write about. Either
  • Refer your students to the Suggested topics list, or
  • Make your own list of topics - either add to the suggested topics page, or make your own on your class's wiki homepage. List your own topics and/or copy relevant topics from the "Suggested topics" page.

Use this format for each line:

* [[PAGENAME]]

Pages that don't exist yet will appear as redlinks, and clicking on it will let you start editing that page.

Introduce your students to the structure of a wiki article. The exact structure will depend on the requirements of your class assignments, but as a general rule
  • Description
  • Discussion of context. E.g. the value of any solution in sustainability, global health or poverty reduction will vary according to where or how it is applied - it may be a perfect solution in one context, and counterproductive in another.
  • Alternative perspectives. A good article explains at least two perspectives or differing opinions, preferably more.
  • References. Preferably use inline references, of the form: ...article text<ref>Link and date, or footnote.</ref>
  • "See also" links - do a search on Appropedia for related articles of interest.
  • At least one good link under "External links." One of the best things about a good wiki page is that it links to the best resources, saving having to dig through the many results of a web search and assess their validity.
Warn about plagiarism and copyright.
  • Plagiarism. Copying someone else's ideas without credit A good wiki article is well referenced.
  • Copyright. Copying material verbatim, beyond a sentence or two, is a copyright violation. (Even copying a sentence isn't good practice and won't impress the instructor.)
Set the students to work
  • Each student or group should create a page with the intended name. (Use lower case for general topic articles.)
  • If working in a group, different students can take the lead on a different perspective, while collaborating on the article as a whole.

Categories[edit]

  • Have your students add suitable topic categories, as well as page type categories (Category:How tos, Category:Projects...)- this ensures their visibility to people browsing the site, and increases their prominence in search engine results. You can find them by browsing the Category Tree.

Tagging[edit]

  • Use a class tag.[1] The tag should:
    • Contain the string "inprogress" if the pages are not intended as open edit pages. Bots can be instructed to not edit pages with templates containing this string. Human editors will generally notice the tag's request not to edit.
    • Transclude Category:Project pages in progress and a category for the class name (e.g. Category:PH261.[2]
    • Use a date as an argument, so editors know when the page will be complete (or at least open to editing by others).
  • When a class has finished and tags[1] should be removed, teachers/instructors should either ensure that they are removed, or have it done by a bot. (You can leave a request at User talk:ChriswaterguyBot, with a clear definition of which tags or pages are to be processed. It is strongly preferred to request, say, "all 123inprogress tags" or "Category:XYZ" but a list of pages can be done if needed.)
    • Can I confirm - when tags like {{305inprogress|date}} have dates in 2009 or earlier, can the tags be removed in late December 2009? --Chriswaterguy 15:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Avoiding bot edits: To request bots not to edit pages while they are in progress, the standard method is to use a class in progress tag[1] which contains the exact text "inprogress" in lower case. The bot will check each page for this text inside the template brackets "{{ }}", and if it is found, the page will not be edited. (If something goes wrong and a bot edits it, contact the operator of the bot via the bot's talk page.)
  • A "class attribution" notice can/should be placed at the bottom either in the beginning or when the class is complete, e.g. ... {{attrib 305}}. This can also be done by a bot if desired, while removing the "in progress" tag.

Finished articles[edit]

Substandard articles[edit]

Some instructors wish substandard articles to be deleted, so as not to reflect on the quality of the class project. This is certainly the best approach if the page has no substantial content at all (e.g. all content removed due to copyright issues). Alternative approaches may be preferred when there is something of value, even a few sentences:

  • Leave it where it is, but remove reference to the course. A {{stub}} and/or {{cleanup}} tag may be added as appropriate. Stub articles are welcome on Appropedia, as it is easier to build on a stub than to start a new article.
  • Userfy these pages, moving to the creator's userspace, E.g. move article "Pagename" to [[User:Jodie1/Pagename]] and (in this case) probably delete the redirect created in mainspace. Remove class tags.

However the instructor's preference is taken into account here. If you wish an article to be deleted, place a delete tag on the article, with the reason and course title, e.g. {{delete|Inaccurate content - Communications XYZ101}}. You may enter DELETE in the edit summary so that an admin is more likely to see and act on the request quickly. Note that if the article already existed before the class began, it should not be deleted, but rather be rolled back. (Rolling back is done via the history tab - view the desired version, edit then save.)

Examples[edit]

  • The Arcata Marsh has pages, most of which are of a good standard.

Notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 There are several notice templates associated with academic class projects.
  2. Transcluding is much preferred, as then a bot can detect if there are no topic categories. The lack of actual "[[Category:...]]" tags will let a bot to identify pages that are in need of category tagging.