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 | edit source]

First steps:

Make a wiki homepage for your class.

First choose a category name with your class code and title, e.g. Category:Engr205 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:


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 | edit source]

  • 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 | edit source]

  • 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 {{Engr305 in progress notice|date}} have dates in 2009 or earlier, can the tags be removed in late December 2009? --Chriswaterguy 15:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 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 | edit source]

Substandard articles[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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

Notes[edit | edit source]

  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 "" tags will let a bot to identify pages that are in need of category tagging.

Discussion[View | Edit]

Some renewed (2014) questions re using Appropedia in Higher-ed Service Learning from a 'newbie' perspective[edit source]

Thanks for this guide page guys. A really good informative beginning.

I've been chatting to Chriswaterguy about also using Appropedia as part of future courses, including transport policy and/or GIS (where e.g. students either profile some transport planning issues in-depth, and-or do a small 'action research' project involving researching a transport planning issue and suggesting improvements.

Some questions I'd have about this - and I think would be good to integrate into this page, or even to create a 'FAQ' spinoff, are:

  • In Assessment: How do you ensure that AP pages created by students are actually created by them?
    • I.E. for a single person project :- I guess Appropedia keeps a good edit history of every page - so you can, if needed, check who made what contributions. 2 scenarios I can see potential issues arising:
    • For single-student projects - I guess once could get the scenario of other Appropedia pages wanting to change the content while the assessment is still 'live'. Perhaps low-probability, but possible.
    • But are there any IT tools to assist in this? E.g. to give a report of how many lines of content contributed by each person (ideally in the current version, but also a summary of all revisions over time). I know for software version control using systems such as Subversion, there is the capability, as in the somewhat tongue-in-cheek subversion command svn blame.
    • And also :- perhaps one could put a disclaimer note at the top of the page - asking for normal Appropedia users to refrain from modifying the article until a certain date? (Though adding to the Talk page would be welcome). Is there any facility to auto-add such a disclaimer/note to the top of every Appro page in a certain sub-wiki?
    • The second scenario I see this issue as important would be in group assessment. IE for a larger project, you'd need to assign groups of 3-6 to take them on (doing group projects is quite popular in university anyway). Again how do you assess contribution of multiple students to a page? Perhaps you could even allow students to nominate different 'roles' in the project so some do more of the design/development anyway. Certainly this issue already exists in group projects using non-online writing media like MS Word, but I wonder if people handled differently on Appropedia anyway?
    • Or I guess a 3rd scenario - has anyone ever tried an assignment where students were required to _improve existing_ Wiki pages as part of a project? Probably this is quite challenging, but with good version control it would be feasible I guess - e.g. get them to archive a PDF copy of the page before they started, then discuss issues with the page, their research on how to improve them - the contributions they made as a result of their research, and then the final version as a result. Including how they handled discussions with others. This is probably a bit over-ambitious though, as it probably requires students to be quite strong in 'wiki culture', which takes a while to learn.
  • Re Copyright/IP:
    • How does the CC-by-sa license for Appropedia content (See Appropedia:Copyrights) interact with using it as part of formal pedagogical assessment? I guess the terms of that licence shouldn't be too problematic but its the sort of qtn I can imagine skeptical University research management staff asking before ok-ing a course ;) If there is no intention to re-publish the material in any form anyway then I don't see a big issue with this. I guess it is a matter of making students aware of this at the start of the course. And then perhaps to have in reserve, if students _really_ object to doing their work under this license - to allow them to present the work as a conventional PDF.

Also:- I suggest a Publications list at the bottom of this page might be beneficial - to relevant papers of using Appropedia directly, and perhaps others from broader Wiki community, like WikiSym.

Cheers - --PatSunter (talk) 23:25, 5 February 2014 (PST)

Tidying up[edit source]

I want to keep track of work done and to-do here.

I hope that classes/instructors will arrange these things ASAP:

  • Create class tags or make them standard (include categories in the code, "inprogress" in the name, and end date as a parameter).
  • Create class attribution templates, and

But most other tasks I can do with the bot:

Categories and templates to be processed:

Any other questions about the bot work, please ask on my bot's talk page: User talk:ChriswaterguyBot - you're also free to ask anything on my own talk page. --Chriswaterguy 17:45, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Informative class names?[edit source]

Should there be a standard format for class names, e.g. mentioning which year or semester? If I see that a person or project is in "321 Chemistry" for example, I don't know whether that's a current or past class (or more likely unspecified).

How about 321 Chemistry Spring 2009, for example? Then that could be a subcategory of 321 Chemistry, which is a subcategory of "Smithville University". (Although using a season e.g. spring only makes sense when you know whether the class was in the northern or southern hemisphere, I can't think of another concise way of ]describing a class...)

To be fully informative it would need to be something like "Smithville University 321 Chemistry February-July 2009" for example, but I'm looking for more concise ways. Ideas? --Chriswaterguy 01:03, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.