There is a common classroom refrain, “Don’t use Wikipedia; it’s unreliable.” Unfortunately, this simple dismissal of the world’s largest repository of information fails to engage students in a critical conversation about how knowledge within Wikipedia is constructed and shared. Wikipedia is available in almost 300 languages, it is the top result in most Google searches, and it provides free, well-sourced, information to millions of people every day. However, despite these positives, there is uneven geographic, historical, and cultural representation; there are well-known information gaps related to women, gender, and sexual identity; and the majority of Wikipedia editors are white, Western, men. Engaging students in complex conversations about this information source is one way to improve students’ information literacy skills.
This poster will describe the class, Wikipedia and Information Equity, a 2-credit honors class at Oregon State University taught by two librarians. The class: (1) Leads students in thoughtful readings, discussions, and presentations about Wikipedia and its place and importance in the information ecosystem globally; (2) teaches students how to analyze Wikipedia articles by having them develop, write, and publish their own Wikipedia articles. We hope this poster will encourage more librarians to engage with Wikipedia as an educational tool.