Working with Wikipedia teaching with "the sum of all human knowledge"
April 21, 2017
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).