Students select, research, and then post an article on an inorganic compound to Wikipedia. The compounds are chosen from a list of “stubs” (short articles that need to be expanded) found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Inorganic_compound_stubs and might include such items as the synthesis, processes of isolation, structure, interesting facts about the compound in history, and/or an application of the compound. All references used come from primary literature or edited secondary literature like Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry (i.e. NOT textbooks). Students become familar with participating in a Web 2.0 community they use, become more familar with the chemical literature, and develop research and collaboration skills.
- Understand what kinds of topics fall under “Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry” and become an “expert” in the chemistry of a particular inorganic compound
- Utilize appropriate chemical literature resources, including both print and electronic sources, to prepare an accurate summary of the chemistry of a particular inorganic compound for a general chemistry audience
- Become familiar with wikis and commenting as Web 2.0 technologies, including using basic markup language and adhering to a particular community’s style and formatting conventions
A computer, access to the internet, and a good selection of chemistry journals (and/or interlibrary loan).
Here is the structure I use:
· Week 4: Students submit their topic
· Week 6: Students submit a list of 8 possible references
· Week 10: Students submit a rough draft, which is graded (for effort) and returned with comments
· Week 14: Students post their final version to Wikipedia. The rest of the students are “encouraged” to read their classmates’ articles (there will be a short section (matching) on the next exam). The final entry is graded for accuracy, completeness, citation, and adherence to Wikipedia style and format.
Challenges I've encountered:
· Depending on the compound chosen, some of the best references were old, and hard to obtain by interlibrary loan (especially if students waited too late to request them!).
o Outcome: Out of 14 students, one student changed topics, three other students were able to obtain the needed articles through other means.
· Several of the needed articles were in languages other than English
o Outcome: Students learned how to collaborate (go find someone who knew German, French, or Russian) and/or how to use Chemical dictionaries (GermanàEnglish, for example) and machine translation to obtain basic information
· Some students were unsure about the technology
o Outcome: They figured it out, and felt very proud of themselves!