Crowdsourced pedagogy: Editing Wikipedia and the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Courtney Stine


Although often used by students for academic research, Wikipedia has historically been ignored or shunned by librarians in the information literacy classroom. However, as one of the most popular websites worldwide, Wikipedia matters. Visitors frequent Wikipedia to get free access to information, reference articles for background information during current events, and as a starting point for further research. Librarians can implement Wikipedia as a crowdsourced pedagogical tool for teaching students the six information literacy threshold concepts in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Writing and editing Wikipedia articles showcases the research process, requiring students to understand how information is created, ask questions to identify information gaps, use strategic searching to find information, evaluate articles for authority and inclusivity, properly use and cite sources, and connect with other researchers. The editing process reinforces how to find, use, and critically evaluate resources. Editing Wikipedia also has benefits for users, since contributions make knowledge accessible, mirror scholarly literature for a general audience, and correct wrong or misleading information. Since Wikipedia is an open access resource students already know and use, editing activities can be easily adapted for in-person or remote instruction sessions.

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