This exercise is a Wikipedia project in which students first create/edit a biographical Wikipedia page for a scientist and second create/edit a scientific Wikipedia page. The content is meant to supplement other instruction in the course it is used in. The student handout describes how the project has been used in an instrumental analysis laboratory, the biographical page created is to teach students how to use Wikipedia, the scientific content can be tied to course materials, such as advanced analytical methods or instrumentation that can be difficult to incorporate into an undergraduate laboratory, however, the document can easily be adopted as a writing/research assignment for any course. Students are asked to synthesize material from the primary literature for this assignment.
The benefits of Wikipedia editing projects are numerous, and are popular with students, as this has clear impact outside of the classroom and even the semester in which the assignment takes place.
There are formal Wikipedia editing projects (wiki.edu), but adoption of these approaches can be limited in terms of application to courses and often require significant planning prior to the semester. This project can be implemented easily and can be used for remote classes. Some thoughts on Wikipedia editing as an assignment from external sources can be found at the links below.
“Why we’re editing women scientists onto Wikipedia” (Nature Careers)