Commons:Guidelines for class projects

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Everyone is welcome on Wikimedia Commons. If you're a professor, teacher, or student within the college community, we encourage you to use Commons in your course to demonstrate how an open content media-focused website works (or doesn't).

An advantage of this over regular homework is that the student is dealing with a real world situation, which is not only more educational but also makes it more interesting ("the world gets to see my work"), possibly resulting in increased dedication. Besides, their effort might remain online for reference, instead of being discarded and forgotten as is usual with paper coursework.

We offer some best practices guidelines to support educational and academic projects.

Feel free to post questions for experienced Commons volunteers at the talk page. Please, share your experiences with us and give some feedback to support the optimizing of those guidelines.

Guidelines[edit]

  1. Practice first yourself before setting an assignment. Log into Commons yourself, and spend some time editing. Do this long enough to get some feedback to your work, preferably long enough to also include negative (and, if you are lucky, unreasonable) feedback which will help you understand some of the more problematic aspects of Commons. If you are not happy about associating this with your academic name, you can easily create a pseudonym - but please create an account for yourself.
  2. Introductions. When you want to start such a project, please briefly describe what you are doing on this page under the "List of projects" heading, and if you think it is distinctive enough, feel free to leave a note on the Commons:Village pump. Leave some contact information in the event that you need to be contacted about your project. Your Commons account's talk page is sufficient if you check periodically for new messages.
  3. Account names. Please do not create numerical accounts that match your university or school account numbers. While this may be initially convenient, if your students continue to edit Commons, they may well wish to do so under a real name or a more congenial pseudonym. It also becomes confusing for other editors to review a number of edits made under very similar account names.
  4. One account for each student. When multiple students upload their work related to a class assignment using a single account it becomes very confusing to everybody. Please have each student upload their own files to Commons.
  5. Read The "Fine" Manual. Commons accepts MOST but NOT ALL media - check Commons:Project scope for details. Encourage your students to take a look at the pages linked from Commons:Help — they should answer many immediate questions.
  6. Copyrights. Please do keep Commons:Copyrights in mind. Not everything on the Web is free for the taking. This is true for both text and images. Briefly: not only most images on the Web SHOULDN'T be copied to Commons without the permission of the creator, some items out there cannot be legally photographed. Furthermore, check who owns your students' course work. If the owner is your institution, check that you have permission to submit it. If it is your students, ensure that you have their legitimate, probably written, consent to require them to add material to Commons (under a free license).
  7. Summarize and analyze. Once you have finished a project, we would very much appreciate reading

Possible assignments[edit]

There are two possible avenues to take when designing an educational project involving Commons:

  • generating new media:
  • describing/identifying/translating/categorizing media
    • students can demonstrate their knowledge of certain subjects by identifying objects on media (species, architectural elements, etc.)
    • students can gain language skills by properly describing and/or translating descriptions
    • students can learn copyright skills by confirming/improving copyright tags
    • see also: Category:Media missing information)

List of projects[edit]

If you know of a educational project involving Wikimedia Commons, please list it here.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]