What is Wikipedia?
It is a free online encyclopedia that allows its users to edit almost any article, creating an interlinked, crowdsourced network of information.
Why Think About Wikipedia?
Learn how to navigate hyperlinked content and understand how it is digitally mapped.
Find information on an unfamiliar topic and learn new insights along the way
Learn about the positives and negatives of crowd-sourced knowledge
Explore how different topics relate to one another.
Learn how content is mapped online.
Learn about the hyperlinking on information online.
Navigate the ecosystem of hyperlinked pages in Wikipedia.
Create Wikipedia pages that improve information in the platform.
Things to Think About
Students will have the chance to critically explore the web as a hyperlinked and navigable content ecosystem. They should consider how these connections provide value and meaning.
Wikigeeks also shows us the power of people to create vast troves of information, and open a world of insight around topics big and small. Students should consider this power in their work.
Along with the power of people-sourced information is the question of credibility. Many people question the credibility of wikipedia-and wikis in general-because they are not made by professionals. This allows us to consider how credibility shifts when based on and built by people.
Distraction, Organization & Clutter
Students should consider how hyperlinking challenges traditional notions of deep reading, singular focus, and orients us towards monitorial investigation and consistently distracted attention spans.
Altruism & Wikipedia
Have students consider the motivation for people to contribute to wikipedia in the first place. Why contribute to an anonymous online encyclopedia? What benefits do we gain? What are the tradeoffs involved?
Key Questions to Ask
Was the content neutral?
Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content are generally written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately and without bias. Was this true in your navigation?
How do we assess the credibility of wikipedia content?
Verifiability means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that information comes from a reliable source.
Do any of the articles contain any new analyses of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources?
Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material must be attributable to a reliable, published source. How does this uphold in your experience navigating the platform?
How does the need to navigate information quickly impact your ability to retain knowledge?
The distraction of hyperlinks can impact how we navigate information online
How can this experience influence your perception of Wikipedia?
Crowd-funded content can be credible, and it’s important to see wikipedia as a model for people powered knowledge development