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“Looking under the bonnet” of Wikipedia's open publication process is a chance to promote an informed, appropriately critical understanding of the free encyclopaedia that learners are already using ubiquitously. Discussing and challenging Wikipedia policies could support the teaching of general information literacy at any level. When learners improve or review Wikipedia articles, this involves them in defining established knowledge in their subjects.
To date, more than 500 course leaders in universities have set assignments in which students improve Wikipedia articles for course credit. In some areas such as psychology, management or politics, a large proportion of Wikipedia’s quality content has been produced by learners. In turn, the learners get to experience publication and review, where they are expected to read, analyse, write, and reference to a high standard.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, a great majority of students surveyed say they prefer Wikipedia assignments to traditional assignments, and find writing for a global audience motivating. On the negative side, writing for the public can be daunting, Wikipedia’s encyclopaedic style can be hard to adjust to, and Wikipedian feedback can be blunt. So a Wikipedia assignment cannot be wandered into. It needs advance planning and careful monitoring.