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).