Currently, there is widespread interest in how Web 2.0 tools can be used to improve students’ learning experiences. Previous studies have focused either on the advantages of wikis or on concerns over the use of Wikipedia. In this study, we propose to use Wikipedia as a classroom wiki. In doing so, we discuss how students can improve their standard written assignments using Wikipedia instead of a module wiki. Compared to traditional essay assignments, students’ submission of articles to Wikipedia can address many of the problems faced by instructors of traditional assignments, such as students’ poor writing skills, lack of primary source research, and poorly balanced discussions. Our study was based on our experience in teaching an upper-level economics module at the National University of Singapore over two semesters: 121 students who were enrolled in semester 1 submitted a traditional writing assignment, while 124 students enrolled in semester 2 contributed two short entries to Wikipedia. The results showed a large increase in the number of students checking their assignment feedback. Further, students’ writing quality improved noticeably in the Wikipedia assignment, and they were able to put forth more balanced discussions of relevant issues and include a greater number of primary sources. Despite the challenges faced when using Wiki markup language, the students enjoyed the overall experience.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Good_article_criteria (last accessed: September 5, 2013).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YiNongDai (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Foxgui.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_for_Social_Research (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Deanlist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroff_Foundation_Trust:_Livelihood_Security_and_Drudgery_Reduction (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of EC3371 NGO19.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistance_of_Education_in_Cambodia (last accessed: February 5, 2014). See the contributions of NGO43.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_China (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Chidev.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour_in_India (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Brycelam.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Indonesia (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of NGO29.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Indonesia (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of NUS-NGO10.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ActionAid_Ethiopia (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Development economics 1.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_China (last accessed: February 5, 2014). See the contributions of Developmentecons and Developmenteconomics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour_in_India (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of Brycelam and Ec3371grp.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WaterAid (last accessed: February 7, 2014). See the contributions of NGO7, U0900568, and Dev ngo33.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Laos_%28post-1990%29 (last accessed: February 5, 2014). See the contributions of 3371.NGO26.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Nigeria (last accessed: February 5, 2014). See the contributions of Group 14.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_scarcity_in_Africa (last accessed: February 5, 2014). See the contributions of U091800L.
Allen, M., & Tay, E. (2012). Wikis as individual student learning tools: the limitations of technology. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 8(2), 61–71.
Becker, W., & Watts, M. (1996). Chalk and talk: a national survey on teaching undergraduate economics. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 86(3), 448–453.
Borgman, C. L., Abelson, H., Dirks, L., Johnson, R., Koedinger, K. R., Linn, M. C., et al. (2008). Fostering learning in the networked world: The cyberlearning opportunity and challenge. A 21st century agenda for the National Science Foundation. Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning, Office of Cyberinfrastructure and Directorate for Education and Human Resources. Washington: National Science Foundation.
Chen, H. (2010). The perspectives of higher education faculty on Wikipedia. The Electronic Library, 28(3), 361–373.
Cohen, A., & Spencer, J. (1993). Using writing across the curriculum in economics: is taking the plunge worth it? Journal of Economic Education, 24(3), 219–230.
Crowe, D., & Youga, J. (1986). Using writing as a tool for learning economics. Journal of Economic Education, 17(3), 218–222.
Cummings, R. E. (2009). Lazy virtues: Teaching writing in the age of Wikipedia. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
Davidson, L. S., & Gumnior, E. C. (1993). Writing to learn in a business economics class. Journal of Economic Education, 24(3), 237–243.
Dynan, L., & Cate, T. (2009). The impact of writing assignments on student learning: should writing assignments be structured or unstructured? International Review of Economics Education, 8(1), 62–86.
Greenlaw, S. A., & DeLoach, S. B. (2003). Teaching critical thinking with electronic discussion. Journal of Economic Education, 34(1), 36–52.
Grunin, L., & Lindauer, D. (1986). Economic analysis in plain English: a course in economic journalism. Journal of Economic Education, 17(3), 223–228.
Hansen, L. W. (1993). Teaching a writing intensive course in economics. Journal of Economic Education, 24(3), 213–218.
Hansen, L. W. (1999). Integrating the practice of writing into economics instruction. In W. Becker & M. Watts (Eds.), Teaching economics to undergraduates: Alternatives to chalk and talk (pp. 79–118). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Jaschik, S. (2007). A stand against Wikipedia. Inside Higher Ed. http://www.insidehighered.com/print/news/2007/01/26/wiki Accessed: 2 September 2013.
Lichtenstein, S., & Parker, C. M. (2009). Wikipedia model for collective intelligence: A review of information quality. International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 5(3), 254–272.
McElroy, J. L. (1997). The mentor demonstration model: writing with students in the senior economics seminar. Journal of Economic Education, 28(1), 31–35.
Palmini, D. J. (1996). Using rhetorical cases to teach writing skills and enhance economic learning. Journal of Economic Education, 27(3), 205–216.
Perkins, D., Radelet, S., & Lindauer, D. (2006). Economics of development (6th ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Petr, J. L. (1998). Student writing as a guide to student thinking. In W. B. Walstad & P. M. Saunders (Eds.), Teaching undergraduate economics: A handbook for instructors (pp. 129–140). New York: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Roussinos, D., & Jimoyiannis, A. (2011). Blended collaborative learning through a wiki-based project: a case study on students’ perceptions. International Journal of Digital Literacy and Digital Competence, 2(3), 15–30.
Shen, X., Cheung, C. M. K., & Lee, M. K. O. (2013). What leads students to adopt information from Wikipedia? An empirical investigation into the role of trust and information usefulness. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(3), 502–517.
Todaro, M., & Smith, S. (2009). Economic development (10th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
Tsai, W., Elston, J., & Chen, Y. (2011). Collaborative learning using wiki web sites for computer science undergraduate education: a case study. IEEE Transactions on Education, 54(1), 114–124.
Wigstrom, C. W. (2011). A survey of undergraduate economics program in the UK, INET UK Economics Curriculum Committee. http://ineteconomics.org/sites/inet.civicactions.net/files/existing_undergrad_econ_curriculum_UK.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2014).
Wright, J. (1999). Using electronic data tools in writing assignments. Journal of Economic Education, 30(1), 21–27.
The authors are grateful to participants at the International Technology, Education and Development Conference 2011, the 2011 International Conference on Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, and the 2013 Developments in Economics Education conference for their comments and advice.
About this article
Cite this article
Freire, T., Li, J. Using Wikipedia to enhance student learning: A case study in economics. Educ Inf Technol 21, 1169–1181 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-014-9374-0
- Web 2.0
- Higher education