Submissions:2023/Continued Relevancy in the Classroom: Using Wikipedia to Teach Information Literacy to University Students

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2023.


Continued Relevancy in the Classroom: Using Wikipedia to Teach Information Literacy to University Students



Type of session:



For the past two decades, instructors have been teaching university students how to edit Wikipedia in order to help students strengthen their writing and research skills (Vetter et al., 2019). Many students have found writing for Wikipedia to be a welcome change from traditional college writing assignments as their Wikipedia work is widely read and publicly available for comment and editing. The Wikipedia assignment's public-facing stance also helps make this work a form of service learning and an opportunity to apply principles of digital citizenship as students increase access to information and knowledge for others (Petrucco & Ferranti, 2020).

Recently, however, there have been questions about the relevancy of Wikipedia. Do students still use or care about Wikipedia in an age of large language models like Chat GPT and algorithmically-personalized social media platforms like Tiktok? Wikipedia, once roundly denounced as an unreliable upstart, is now viewed by some as a fusty and unwieldy relic of Web 2.0, burdened by consensus-based governance structures and a stubborn insistence on neutrality and verifiable information. Such worries may be assuaged as it is precisely these features — Wikipedia’s human-powered and collaborative oversight and its prioritization of verifiable sources — that make it increasingly valuable as an accessible online reference. In fact, Wikipedia may even be more relevant during this time of highly persuasive and almost indiscernible misinformation and disinformation, as it not only remains a widely-used source of knowledge, but it is now also used as a textual database that fuels large language models (Ross, 2023).

Two faculty at the University of Southern California will discuss how they plan on expanding the Wikipedia assignment by including it in a new undergraduate course on information literacy, which examines of students' roles and responsibilities as knowledge producers and consumers and the ethical use of information and knowledge (The Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016). A deep and practical understanding of the production, compilation, and dissemination of knowledge and information can help students sift through the tremendous amount of misinformation and disinformation that students see daily. This important life skill can be facilitated by researching and writing for Wikipedia, as they can glean practical experience identifying verifiable and reliable sources and responsibly producing knowledge used by millions of people and powerful large language models and tools.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (2016). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Petrucco, C. & Ferranti, C. (2020). Wikipedia as OER: the 'Learning with Wikipedia' project. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 16(4), 38-45.

Ross, S. (2023). ChatGPT, Wikipedia, and student writing assignments. Wiki Education News.

Vetter, M.A., McDowell, Z.J., & Stewart, M. (2019). From Opportunities to Outcomes: The Wikipedia-Based Writing Assignment. Computers and Composition 52, 53–64.

Author name:

Helen Choi and Cari Kaurloto

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

University of Southern California

Estimated time:

20-30 minutes

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


Okay to livestream?

Livestreaming is okay

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)