Wiki-work and your contribution

One of my students today wanted to know how I calculated grades in wiki work.

“Well,” I said… “it’s not an exact process. But I go into the wiki, do a search for each student’s name, and and do a quick assessment of the quality of your work. And then I assign that a value based on a 50-100 scale.”

“So do you have specialized editorial tools and search tools to do that? Can you show those tools?”

“sure!” I walked behind his computer, and pointedly ignored the dirtbike game he had running on his screen rather than the wiki.

“no, I meant on your computer. On the projector. I want to see your analysis tools.”

“I’m showing them to you.” I called up the wiki on his screen, got him to sign in (where he was supposed to be), and called up the search functions. Then I typed in his name.

“Whoa!” he said. “I’ve made 38 edits in the last two weeks?”

“right,” I said. “Comments get tracked separately, so I do those as a different grade. But yes, you’ve made or edited thirty-eight pages.”

“what about me?” asked another kid. “Mr. Watt, come show me.”

I turned away. “Ted*, show him how to search his name.”

Ted did. Charlie* began howling. “Nine pages. Only nine? I’ve done a lot more than that! That’s gotta be wrong.”

Little by little the outrage and pleasure filtered through the room as one student taught another taught another. I practiced with my contact juggling ball.

One kid eventually moved to the lead with 67 edits or new pages. He preened a while, decided he wanted to rub it in.

“Hey, Mr. Watt. We never see you editing pages. You always talk about how important it is to be a contributor and a reliable source online. But where’s your stuff?”

“I’m in there,” I said. “you can search me just like anyone else.”

Sounds of furious typing around the room.

Jack* got there first. “Mr Watt has 257 edits or new pages.”

Something like a sigh went around the room. “I know the rumors all around school,” I said. “I know you think I’m not reading and checking up on your work. Now you know: if you’re not constantly managing and improving your online image, you will fall behind.”

“And yes, Charlie. You have only made nine edits. You also have made six comments where you should have 15.”

The bell rang. “grades close Tuesday, people. Right as your final exam starts. Be ready.”

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