As instructors, we know that our students consult Wikipedia when they want to learn the basics of a topic.  And while this practice can sometimes be concerning, especially if the students solely rely on Wikipedia rather than using it as a springboard for deeper learning, there are many ways to engage the students with Wikipedia that can advance their engagement with the content knowledge.  Here are some ideas for doing so:

  • Have students use the bibliography of a Wikipedia article as the basis for their literature review on a given topic
  • Assign students to evaluate the quality of a Wikipedia article
  • Encourage students to add references to an article on Wikipedia where the citations are lacking
  • Create an assignment that requires students to author their own Wikipedia article on a specific topic

For those of us who don’t regularly work on Wikipedia, any of these types of assignments can be daunting.  But fortunately the Wikipedia Foundation offers a great deal of support for instructors who desire to use Wikipedia in their classrooms.  In my office I have informational booklets available to anyone who would like to try a Wikipedia-based assignment, and I can also provide mentoring support for Chapman faculty who wish to do this with their students.  If you’re interested, please drop by (Smith Hall 20A) or give me a call (x7934).