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RTI Research Spotlight: Wikipedia Editing: Improving Information Literacy and Social Responsibility of Medical Students

Wikipedia. Love it or hate it, did you know that there is a robust community of editors editing Wikipedia's health-related content and that it is a well-suited vehicle to teach information literacy lessons? This article presents a multiyear Wikipedia editing experience with first-year medical students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. This project aimed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of Wikipedia editing to improve information literacy and lifelong learning skills and to investigate aspects of social responsibility in first-year medical students. In the article, we present the results received from student feedback and outline practical challenges, solutions, and lessons learned in teaching with Wikipedia. Overall, we are pleased to report that students showed statistically significant increases in self-ratings regarding information literacy and social responsibility after completing the program. Qualitative feedback received showed apprehension from students in the beginning but that in completing the process they learned to see the utility of the edits (and even had fun doing it!). 

*Melissa Kahili-Heede is a fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute (RTI), and this project was the focus of her research. The RTI project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-95-17-0025-17).


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