How I discovered the backstage of Wikipedia WikiMOOC

Wikipedia is one of the most visited sites in the world, the seventh to be precise. It is hosted by a non -profit foundation. I went behind the scenes of Wikipedia through WikiMOOC.

How I discovered the backstage of Wikipedia WikiMOOC


French version of this post

Wikipedia editor


This is probably one of the most popular sites and I think that all bloggers have, one day, added a link to a Wikipedia page. This is probably the largest free encyclopedia available on the web.

In numbers this online encyclopedia includes more than 36 million articles in 280 languages. More than 1.7 million articles published, are available in French.

That said, the running of it was totally unknown to me, so when consulting an article I saw a « sidebar » MOOC offering training on the subject I registered.

Today I am going to share with you this training and will give you a Feedback Experiment (REX).


The objective of this five weeks training period was both to know Wikipedia, but also to learn how to contribute, meaning to correct articles or write articles.

The course included for example non-valued activities and assessment quizzes enabling (60 % success was required) to get a successful completion certificate with this training. Indeed, in training you have to differentiate the attendance certificate proving that you were present, to the successful completion certificate attesting that you have met the objectives of the training.

The program

Introduction – Course Overview and platform

Week 1 – Discover Wikipedia

Sequence 1: Discovery of the founding principles of Wikipedia; history of Wikipedia; presentation of the Wikimedia action; entry on Wikipedia

Sequence 2: Interface Overview; discovery editing tools; to present oneself; first interaction with a Wikipedian


Week 2 – Learn how to contribute
  • Sequence 1: Statuts of contributors; in depth studies of editing techniques; cancel modifications
  • Sequence 2: Discovery of the sources role on Wikipedia ; insert sources
  • Sequence 1: Discovery of organizing pages on Wikipedia ; Use discussion pages on articles; presentation of community spaces
  • Sequence 2: Structuring an article; use an encyclopedic writing style; add portals and categories to the articles
  • Sequence 1: Choosing an eligible topic; Choosing a title; preparation of creation
  • Sequence 2: Creating the draft; proofreading; publication
  • Sequence 1: Discovery of the other Wikimedia projects; use files (pictures, in particular) present on Wikimedia Commons; import files on Wikimedia Commons


Week 3 – Write and collaborate
Week 4 – Create an article
Week 5 – Explore the Wikimedia galaxy

REX from bernieshoot


First of all, not to have the question in the comments, I successfully completed this training and the article I produced is online on Wikipedia. It is not for me to promote it; perhaps you may find it someday.


My comments do not address all the points raised, it would be pretentious from me to summarize five weeks of training in a few lines.

Video and text

I especially liked the course to be available as video and text. I’m a bit old school and I confess that I have worked a lot with the text of the course. To seriously make this training I spent a bit more than four hours per week on average and more to create the article, that requests content, references and formatting.

Wikipedia account

This is one of the first things I had never noticed, it is possible (and recommended although it is not required to contribute to create an account on Wikipedia).


To create your account simply click on the top right on « Register » and you arrive on the page below. A few more clicks and you get your account.

wikipedia account


Articles from one language to another


As I said more than 280 languages are available on Wikipedia. So you have items that are available in French and for example, in English. Are both products identical? The answer is no!


In each language, the article has its own life according to the different contributions. So it is very useful when you do a search and if you speak several languages, to go reading the articles in different languages, you will have much more complete information.

Sources Reliability and quality


This is clearly what makes the value of the articles. First reliability will allow favoring sources that provide analysis, synthesis, interpretations and explanations necessary for writing


For quality, an article published in a reputable scientific journal will be worth more than a simple opinion or testimony on a blog.

The articles

We are in an encyclopedia so I stopped the bloggers who left, hurrying writing an article to promote their blog: this is off topic and the article will thus be quickly removed.

Articles must provide encyclopedic interest with reliable and proved information (a blog is not a relevant source) .

The article should be written in present tense, in a neutral style meaning, without taking parts and citing opinions even if they are not ours, such as in a result of elections.

Producing an article in a style that is almost the opposite of the style of a blogger, was probably for me the most difficult part.

The layout is quite codified, which is normal in order than such encyclopedia does not become a big mess.


MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Racing. It is therefore of training available online, often free and open, in most cases, without prerequisites. The « massive » aspect is related to the amount of people who can follow in the same time a MOOC training.

The higher education institutions of course take this type of course very seriously.

I had planned for some time to experiment a MOOC. Clearly I continue because it is a true freedom to take the training when it suits us most.

I did not feel as a student or a trainee during the course, but rather as a learner and this is this state of mind that suits me best.

Fun to form in Liberty

Fun se former en liberté

Fun is the platform that served as support for the WikiMOOC . This is a Public Interest Group (GIP) launched by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in October 2013.


The main themes proposed are:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Health
  • Law and Legal
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Science
  • Economy and Finance
  • Data processing/IT
  • Management


This article would not have been possible without the supports of WikiMOOC training and platform Sun. For the latest news WikiMOOC on Twitter and Facebook :

French version of this post

Translated by Carrie

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Moi, c'est Bernie. Incubateur d'actualités pour vous informer autrement.

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