Reinventing Information Literacy with Wikipedia in Medical Education

Kahili-Heede, Melissa
Patil, Uday
Hillgren, K.J.
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During these unprecedented times, reliable health information is at a premium. Much evidence attests to the value of Wikipedia in the classroom but relatively few instructors challenge their students to contribute to the online encyclopedia. Increasingly, more medical schools are forming education partnerships with Wiki Education to have students develop and improve health science articles. Medical students are ideal contributors to health science-related WikiProjects due to their technical expertise and academic discipline. Additionally, editing medicine-related articles provides a novel opportunity for embedding information literacy concepts into the medical education curriculum. To this end, the presenters piloted Wikipedia editing projects over two cohorts (n=149) of first-year medical students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Each cohort received a varying combination of face-to-face and asynchronous online training over multiple weeks. Upon completion, groups were assessed on participation, article quality improvement, and perceived information literacy as well as attitudes and competencies before and after the project. Findings suggest students attained enhanced literacy skills in multiple domains. Also, structural completeness of edited health articles improved significantly, leading to increased general readership. Instructional librarians can utilize editing sessions to help connect information literacy concepts to professional work through a purposeful, beneficial assignment embedded into medical education curricula. In addition to presenting the practical conclusions of these studies, the facilitators will guide attendees through the Wikipedia article editing process. Participants will become familiar with the Wiki Education student project management platform and learn best practices for utilizing WikiProject Medicine in the classroom.
Presentation slides.
Wikipedia, Medical education
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