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Title: Wikipedia in Higher Education: an Empirical Study on Faculty Perceptions and Practices
Author: Aibar Puentes, Eduard  
Lerga Felip, Maura
Lladós Masllorens, Josep  
Meseguer Artola, Antoni  
Minguillón Alfonso, Julià  
Keywords: wikipedia
higher education
faculty perceptions
2.0 tools
Issue Date: 1-May-2013
Publisher: PREPRINT - Edulearn 2013 Proceedings
Abstract: Despite the initial sceptical attitude of university faculty towards Wikipedia as a source of reliable information - mainly because of its unclear authorship - an increasing number of teaching experiences using Wikipedia have begun to appear at different universities around the world. These experiences show, in most cases, very satisfactory results and a substantial improvement in various basic skills, as well as a positive influence on the students' motivation. We are undertaking a research project in order to systematically analyze, using a comprehensive empirical study, the perception and attitudes of university faculty from different scholarly areas towards Wikipedia. The study aims (a) to investigate relationships between these perceptions and several faculty characteristics and (b) to establish the extent to which the sceptical attitudes are related to disciplinary or generational factors on the one hand, or to an implicit conflict between the standard scientific or academic epistemological stands and the specific peer-to-peer culture of Wikipedia (as a paradigmatic example of content production in a collaborative open network), on the other. Different studies have explored and documented how a vast majority of university students use Wikipedia very frequently and for different tasks. However, studies on faculty members are scarce and often based on a very limited empirical scope. We have launched an online survey to all faculty members of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. The questionnaire was designed to measure different constructs: mainly perceived quality of Wikipedia, teaching practices involving Wikipedia, usage experience, perceived usefulness and use of 2.0 tools. Control items were also included for gathering information on gender, age, teaching experience, academic rank, area of expertise, etc. This work presents and discusses the main preliminary results obtained by the survey. Though most faculty members have got a positive view on the teaching usefulness of Wikipedia, few of them engage in actual teaching uses. Passive use is much more frequent than active and contributory practices are scarce. Nevertheless the proportion of registered users is big and the quality of Wikipedia contents is mostly positively judged. Our analysis also deals with other institutional, professional and individual factors affecting attitudes and practices on Wikipedia.
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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10609/24741
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