Wikipedia is a tool that supports two of my passions in instructional design and pedadogy.  The first is integrating multiliteracies into the curriculum and the other is using and creating open educational resources or OERs.  Before getting into OERs, I wanted to share some questions to help you get into the design mindset of multiliteracies.

How do you integrate Wikipedia into your instruction?

  • Do you use it as an example of an unreliable source?
  • Do you ask students to analyze the content for inaccuracies?
  • Do you use it to demonstrate how to check reliability for online sources?
  • Does the class compare Wikipedia content to the content in your textbook?
  • Do you use multiple Wikipedia articles to demonstrate how to and how not to cite sources online?
  • Do you view the history of a selected Wikipedia article to demonstrate how public information is negotiated?
  • Do you use Wikipedia to teach computer-specific or Internet-specific vocabulary?
  • Do you use Wikipedia as an example of how a selected article is subjective and/or carries with it a certain ideology?
  • Do you use Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons to show students how and where to find media that is public and freely-licensed?

How do you allow students to use Wikipedia for learning?

  • Can they use Wikipedia as an entry point for a research project?
  • Can they compare and contrast a Wikipedia article with another online source, such as Yahoo! Answers, for the purposes of information literacy?
  • Can they write a report on how Wikipedia helps them learn (the content of your course)?
  • Can they use Wikipedia as an example of understanding collaborative writing and research?
  • Can they demonstrate how Wikipedia is a better source of information than the textbook for particular assignments or inquiries?
  • Can they demonstrate how one Wikipedia article helped lead them to another more relevant or engaging Wikipedia article on a similar subject?
  • Can they use Wikipedia as a source for inspiration to create a product or service?
  • Can they use Wikipedia as a source for inspiration to create art?
  • Can they critique a selected Wikipedia article for leaving out important details, facts, or criticism

The questions above should help you get thinking about the depth and breadth of possibilities using Wikipedia as a primary, secondary, and tertiary source in the classroom.  Wikipedia is an example of an open educational resource, or OER.  Please click on the link to learn more about that exciting concept and visit Kirkwood’s very own resources at http://guides.kirkwood.edu/opentextbooks and https://oeratkirkwood.wordpress.com/.  Stay tuned for more exciting opportunities regarding OERs coming soon.

Are you interested in learning more about how to integrate Wikipedia into your classroom?

Bouncy Wikipedia logoWikipedia can help through its own online tutorials at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Training/For_educators.  These tutorials feature a walkthrough of the best practices and examples for using Wikipedia assignments in the classroom.  If you’re not ready for that, you can always contact us here at KCELT to learn how Wikipedia best fits your pedagogical needs and style.

For more examples and information on Wikipedia in the classroom, visit:

http://www.tonahangen.com/2011/10/teaching-information-literacy-using-wikipedia/ – a blog post written by a US History professor

http://crln.acrl.org/content/75/1/32.full – tips for developing research skills from College & Research Libraries

http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-guide-to-wikipedia/ – a basic guide to Wikipedia, mainly for K-12 educators

We welcome your questions, comments, and concerns about using Wikipedia in classrooms at Kirkwood Community College.

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