Teaching with Wikipedia
The rapid expansion of fake news sites made real news headlines last year, and the public is more aware than ever that they're exposed to propaganda and misinformation. One of the world’s most widely read websites, with approximately 550 million unique visitors per month, Wikipedia articles are often the number one hit when using a search browser. Its broad public presence, open for editing to anyone, offers a unique opportunity to participate in an on-line community of practice. So why teach with Wikipedia?
As an educational tool, the development of Wikipedia articles allows students to create collaborative work with a visible impact on a global audience. Whether adding new sources to existing Wikipedia pages or creating new pages on notable topics, students gain deeper insight into their course material and learn to evaluate critically the reliability of sources. With faculty and students reporting enthusiasm and high levels of motivation for the Wikipedia assignment over the more traditional, Wikipedia assignments have the potential to deliver education that goes beyond a semester. As one UC Berkeley faculty stated “I’m not interested in students writing term papers that only I and the graduate-student instructor read. That’s not utilizing students’ potential to the fullest.”