Using Wikipedia to Teach Critical Thinking and Information Literacy


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Using Wikipedia to Teach Critical Thinking and Information Literacy

Course Contents

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My name is Sarah Morehouse, and I'm the instructional designer. Welcome to this learning environment and learning community surrounding the topic of Using Wikipedia to Teach Critical Thinking and Information Literacy. For short, The WikiInfoLit Course.

Who is this course for, and what is its purpose?

The WikiInfoLit Course is meant for high school and college instructors, instructional designers, and instructional librarians who want their students to learn critical thinking and information literacy concepts like cognitive authority, the reasons behind citing sources, neutrality, objectivity, and peer review. Wikipedia provides highly relevant, engaging material for inquiry-based and authentic task learning. This course will present the concepts with particular regard to Wikipedia so that you'll be prepared to address both its advantageous and its problematic aspects.


Because the target audience of this course is practicing professors, instructional librarians, and high school teachers, I have made some assumptions about your knowledge and skills.

I assume you already have some experience creating lesson plans including learning objectives/outcomes, learning activities, and assessments. If you do not feel comfortable with those tasks, there will be some links to helpful supplemental resources whenever those skills are called for.

I also assume you have some familiarity with constructivist learning theory, authentic tasks and assessments, and inquiry/problem/project based learning. If you would like a refresher or to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, here are some supplemental resources:

Expectations for Participants

There are six units of content in this course, each of which has some assigned readings and viewings with questions for reflection, which do not require posting the answers. Each unit also has two activities that are meant to be submitted to the Google Group. The first activity of each unit is a set of discussion questions and the second is a mini lesson plan.

When you submit your discussions to the Google Group, I ask that you write in complete sentences, and that the sentences flow in a logical, coherent structure. This is not only for the benefit of your readers, but to compel you to organize and analyze your thoughts. If English is not your primary language, it may be helpful to you to compose your answer in your native language and then translate it. If you are not comfortable writing, please feel free to submit your answers verbally using Vocaroo.

By the end of this course, you will have a set of lesson plans for teaching critical thinking and information literacy skills to your own students, so please keep that practical goal in mind as you complete Activity 2 of each unit.

Assessment and Completion of the Course

I am happy if you come and take what you need from this course without completing it. However, I will eventually be setting up badging for completion of the activities within each unit and for completion of the whole course. Answering the discussion questions in the Google Group will be helpful to me as a means of formative assessment for the course, and it will also give you an opportunity to learn from one another.

Here are the rubrics on which your discussion questions and lesson plans will be assessed:

Providing the course doesn't become too heavily trafficked, I will respond to your posts with feedback. Please do respond to one another's posts with the goal of creating a civil discussion that generates knowledge and ideas.

An Open Educational Resource

This course is licensed CC BY. In other words, you are free to share, copy, and adapt it as you wish, as long as you attribute me and link back to the original. There is one caveat: I link to and embed content that isn't my own intellectual property. Respect those separate copyrights and licenses!

Please connect with one another and with me

  • Our Google Group
    • This is where you will post your answers to the two activities in each unit. Ideally this will also become an ongoing discussion of the topics covered in the course, as well as a place where you can get help and answers to your questions!
  • Our Diigo Group
    • A place to share critical thinking and information literacy web resources with one another
  • And of course our Twitter hashtag is #wikiinfolit
    • Spread the word and find each other!

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