Go to the Wiki Pages

Assessment will take the novel form of asking each student to contribute towards creating a Wiki(pedia) comprising about 20 articles about named molecules. This is modelled after the Wikipedia itself, where each article is created by the communal efforts of a team of individuals. Each individual's addition to any article will be carefully recorded by the system. Go see the Wikipedia article on e.g. Aspirin, and view the history of the article to see individual contributions. The status of the Wiki articles, and each individual's contribution to them by December 7th and no later, will be used for the project assessments.

Here, our Wiki contains initially 16 (initially empty) pages each with a different molecule theme, and from week 8 a further eight pages. Your task is as follows:

  1. To learn how to use a Wiki. This is pretty simple, and will be demonstrated during the formal lectures in lecture 6.
  2. You can decide to focus on two molecules, and use the CIT techniques shown during the coursework and lectures to research facts about them.
  3. You will then distill this information into the Wiki page. Anyone can add information to any of the 20 pages. Obviously, someone will have to add initial information, to which others can annotate/expand. You can even correct, or in the extreme delete someone else's entry, if you feel its incorrect. The fact that you deleted it (and that they originally contributed it) is however recorded in the history of that article, so gratuitous but anonymous abuse of the article is not possible! We expect most people will take a common sense approach to this.
  4. If you feel like starting a new article on an entirely new molecule (topic) then please do so.
  5. You should not just copy/paste lines and paragraphs of text directly from other web pages (or wikipedia articles), this being plagiarism. You should interpret the information you have found, and then place it in the Wiki page using your own words.

The kind of information you may wish to add to the article could be of the type:

  1. Some of the molecules are identified only by the non-systematic chemical name. You may wish to associate a molecular structure with this name, and then add the systematic name and a 2D drawing to the Wiki article page.
  2. You might be able to add at least one synthesis (or metabolic pathway) of the molecule, citing which information source(s) were used, and if possible the original literature reference to the wiki article.
  3. If appropriate, you add some physical/spectroscopic properties of the substance, i.e. most trivially a melting or boiling point, and if possible spectral information such as NMR, MS, UV etc.
  4. There may be structural information about the substance, ie 3D coordinates derived from a crystal structure. You should endeavour to obtain these, for display in the wiki page. A special technique needs to be followed to do this, which will be shown in greater detail in the course lectures.
  5. Most of the substances suggested for articles are functional or active in some way, as drugs, in their physiological and biological effects, involving perhaps metabolic processes, possibly inhibiting enzymes, acting as catalysts, or perhaps just having unusual properties such as emitting light. If you identify some of these interesting properties, and the chemical reactions associated with any of these properties, then add them too to the page.
  6. We are seeking evidence that a level of chemical discrimination is used in screening which information to present in the report. It will NOT be quantity that counts, but quality, and self-consistency of discussion in the article.

How much time will it take?

We expect each student to spend up to about 5 hours contribution to the articles. You can if you wish spend more, the carrot being that if the final result is good enough, it might prove possible to submit it to the real wikipedia. The purpose is to demonstrate that you have acquired skills in finding chemical information in the literature, and have proved yourself capable of transcribing that to a coherent article.

How will your contribution be assessed?

As noted above, each Wiki page has a history, indicating the (login) identity of each person who has modified or added to the page in some way. A difference between two pages reveals what was changed. Assessment will be based on the sum of the contributions you have made to this Chemical Wikipedia. The Wikipedia example contains much more than you would be expected to produce; it having accreted the information over several years rather than just a few weeks. As a rough guide, something which is 20-30% of the length of the aspirin article might be appropriate.

  1. The best contributors will be graded of First Class standard. They will have made a substantive contribution to at least two articles, ie two or more paragraphs of text, including original sources of information, or 3D coordinates as a rotatable display, or a synthetic reaction scheme, etc. You could choose to provide less information on more articles if you wish.
  2. Contributors will be awarded an Upper Second if they have made a substantive contribution of the type above to one article and more modest contributions to one or more additional articles.
  3. Contributors will be awarded an lower Second class if they have made a significant contribution of the type above to only one article.
  4. Contributors will be awarded an third class if the sum of their contributions amounts to only a modest addition to one article.
  5. If no modification under your name is found for any article, a fail will be allocated.
  6. Please note that plagiarism, namely copying verbatim text from other sources and passing it off as your own work is not acceptable. If you copy images, you must indicate your source for them.
  7. Important: Anyone can edit any molecule page, and this of course includes deleting or modifying existing information. However, you should not worry that if someone else deletes your carefully crafted page, you will get no credit for it. Your original contribution, and the identity of any person who may have deleted it are carefully recorded in the history of that page. If it was deleted because someone else thought it wrong/inappropriate, your entry will be re-assessed during the grading, and credit allocated as appropriate (i.e. if it was not rubbish, this will count positively, and if it indeed was complete tosh, it will count negatively! An exception to this is if you yourself write drivel, and then decide to delete it yourself. We will overlook such a lapse!). If it was deleted maliciously or gratuitously, then you will still get full credit for the original entry. The person deleting it may have this count against rather than for their own overall contribution to the project.

Wider Exposure

If the communal effort above manages to produce one or more articles on the suggested molecules which are considered of a high enough standard, then consideration will be given to contributing (with the agreement of the substantive authors of that article) to the real Wikipedia.

Go to the Wiki Pages

©H. S. Rzepa and ICSTM Chemistry Department, 1994-2007.