Why does Wikipedia Matter from an Instructor or Librarian’s Perspective?
As an instructor, the most crucial aspect we might be concerned about is what students learned from the course. Based on our research, here are some of the answers we received from students’ feedback on what they learned from the PAAS 302 course.
What Did Students Learn According to Our Research?
Here are some key takeaways from our research on what students learned from the PAAS 302 course:
Breaking stereotypes: Instead of seeing Wikipedia as an unreliable source, students appreciated the diverse range of topics on Wikipedia that aren't typically covered in academia and mainstream Western media. They recognized the efforts of Wikipedia editors to make information accessible and easy to understand. Some students reflected on their usual information-seeking behavior and personal biases, which is essential for developing digital literacy skills.
Critical evaluation of sources: Evaluating online sources and citing them properly presented significant challenges for students. Refer to Chapter Four for more information.
Online publishing: Students identified challenges (and possible solutions) related to creating online publications, such as navigating photo copyrights and Wikimedia, web archiving, and creating more engaging online content as future researchers. They also recognized the role and power of online literature.
Censorship: Students analyzed articles, witnessed examples of censorship, and reflected on the information resources they typically use. They recognized how censorship impacts information users, such as Chinese users' inability to access Twitter.
Open access: In relation to one of the course readings, students reflected on social justice issues, highlighting how online content related to the reading was highly censored, despite access to information being a human right. They also noted that some information can only be accessed through paid databases or specific educational institutions.