Wikipedia is being used in new ways. While some schools do not allow students access to Wikipedia, others, such as the University of Sydney, are using the world’s largest free encyclopedia to create new types of assignments for students. Students can try out their writing skills in front of the whole world. Some people are also using Wikipedia to brand themselves: having a Wikipedia page can add cachet to your reputation, and put some zing in your business life. But writing for Wikipedia is not as easy as it might seem.
In education today, primary importance is given to relevance, meaning the relevance of an assignment to students’ lives. Students are being prepared to live and work in today’s world. What better way to do this than to have students write articles that potentially will be read by millions? At the University of Sydney, lecturers are doing just that. Some lecturers noticed students were leaving graded essays behind, disdaining their instructor’s laborious feedback. An experiment changed the assignment to make it more relevant to their students’ lives, to be a real world assignment: students were asked to make new Wikipedia entries, to improve Wikipedia entries, and to improve the references for existing entries with necessary Wikipedia revisions. This change meant lecturers did not formally assess their students’ work; instead, the feedback came from Wikipedia editors. The audience for the students’ work increased, again making it more relevant, and the students were able to judge their performance by the real world standard of how frequently their article was viewed and referred to by others.
Some people are using Wikipedia to increase their presence on the Internet, believing profits will soon follow. However, Wikipedia has strong guidelines to create a Wikipedia page and deletes pages that appear self-aggrandizing, so using Wikipedia to brand your company can be difficult and time consuming.
Luckily, there are people who can help with that.
Get Your Wiki offers to “create, edit, update, & monitor your Wikipedia page.” The website also monitors your site, making sure any Wikipedia edits to your page are accurate, and offers translation services. Wikipedia business page creation will enhance your reputation and your business, but only if you do it right.