Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it

Eduard Aibar (Department of Arts & Humanities, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Josep Lladós-Masllorens (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona , Spain)
Antoni Meseguer-Artola (Department of Economics & Business, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona , Spain)
Julià Minguillón (Department of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunication, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona , Spain)
Maura Lerga (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona , Spain)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Publication date: 3 August 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate university faculty perceptions and practices of using Wikipedia as a teaching resource.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a large survey to all faculty members in two large public universities. A total of 913 valid responses were collected through an online questionnaire with 9 control variables and 41 Likert-scaled questions.

Findings

The results do not support an overwhelming sceptical attitude among faculty towards Wikipedia. The overall quality of Wikipedia articles is highly valued and most faculty are regular users, just as students are. Though most faculty show a positive view on the teaching usefulness of Wikipedia, few of them actually use it for teaching purposes. A certain conflict has been detected between standard academic procedures of knowledge building and the open collaborative model on which Wikipedia rests. In the end, two important factors play a role in shaping faculty views: their colleagues’ perceived opinions and practices, and academic disciplines.

Research limitations/implications

The survey has only been conducted in two universities. More institutions are needed to broaden the scope.

Originality/value

The authors have gathered a greater number of answers than those collected in previous studies. The questionnaire is also very extensive. The survey has been addressed to all faculty members at one online university and at one standard brick-and-mortar university.

Keywords

Citation

Aibar, E., Lladós-Masllorens, J., Meseguer-Artola, A., Minguillón, J. and Lerga, M. (2015), "Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it", The Electronic Library, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 668-683. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-12-2013-0217

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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