Incentives for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool

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This is a short list of the main benefits of using Wikipedia assignments in classes, according to university directors, professors, and students who have experience doing so in the past:

Institutions Teachers Students
  • Greater student motivation leads to better student outcomes
  • Pioneering in using Wikipedia as an innovative teaching tool.
  • Getting media coverage for the school, department, instructor / positive public attention for affiliation with the popular, relevant, altruistic, and highly-respected Wikipedia brand
  • Participating in an innovative teaching model increases the institution's attractiveness for students
  • Students gain research, analysis, and writing skills which employers find highly attractive
  • Your students might write the articles that students from other universities read and use
  • Enjoying students who become enthusiastic about writing for global audiences
  • Affiliated with Wikipedia, the world's 5th most often accessed web resource, and Wikipedia's high profile partners
  • Opportunity for recognition as a “Wikipedia Teaching Fellow”
  • Opportunity to correct how students use Wikipedia inappropriately
  • Working vicariously through students to improve public knowledge about your field of study; becoming a public intellectual oneself and educating students to become a community of public intellectuals
  • Experimenting with an innovative teaching model, including the opportunity to publish research papers on their experiences on student learning
  • Improving student's media literacy by placing Wikipedia in the context of other media
  • Teaching students skills that they might need in their future professional life (i.e., the use of wikis, online communication skills)
  • Opportunity to write for large, global audiences instead of only the professor or instructor
  • Receiving feedback from a "real" (and global) audience
  • Improving research, critical thinking, and writing skills
  • Improving media literacy skills
  • Improving critical assessment skills by reasoning critically about the sources of information: becoming more capable at distinguishing good sources from bad sources, at critically evaluating information, etc.
  • Acquiring first-hand familiarity with web markup; improving tech fluency in general, including how to communicate effectively in online communities
  • Creating and “publishing” something you can be proud of - something you can show your friends, family, potential employers, etc.
  • Engaging in a community of practice – interacting with global scholars interested in similar topics
  • Sharing knowledge with the rest of the world