Jon Beasley-Murray, a professor of Spanish literature at the University of British Columbia, decided to make Wikipedia editing a class assignment, divvying up a set of articles related to the theme of his Spanish Literature class. Students who reached GA [Good Article] status would receive As, while FAs [Featured Article] would earn students an A on the assignment. Aiding the class was the FA-team, a new WikiProject of sorts whose aim is to help newer Wikipedians achieve FA status. The project consists of several editors with copy-editing and MOS [Manual of Style] experience to help guide new editors through the often-confusing process of reaching FA status. Out of 12 articles chosen as part of the project, five are currently GAs, one [El Senor Presidente] is an FA, and two more are currently featured article candidates (Mario Vargas Llosa and The General in His Labyrinth). Before the project began, a few of the twelve, including El Senor Presidente, did not exist.
The professor was interviewed for The Wikipedia Signpost as part of a celebration featuring Wikipedia reaching a total of 2000 FAs "Featured articles", the highest quality level that an article can attain.
I think that this idea of university professors assigning their students this kind of task is a superb one. It improves Wikipedia articles, it teaches the students a lot about collaborative editing in the Wikipedia culture, and it brings in more actual academics to Wiki's pool of volunteer editors. Good stuff all around! I've personally helped to bring a couple articles to FA, of which I'm most proud of "Knights Templar" and a GA status article, Fustat about the pre-Cairo Egyptian capital. I'm currently working on another article about the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which I've gotten to GA status so far and hope to bring to FA status within the month. I know how hard it is to jump through the political hoops to get articles to that level, and agree with the "A" that the university professor offered! He wrote an essay about the project, which can be seen here.
Creating high-quality Wikipedia articles helps university students get an 'A'