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Open Education Resources: Wikipedia

A curated list of open education resources. The guide also contains information about licences and copyright as it pertains to open education resources.

Wikipedia in Education


Image: Wikimedia - CC-BY-3.0 

Wikipedia is viewed more than 8000 times a second by half a billion people each month. It started in 2001 when Larry Sanger coined the name from the Hawaiian word for "quick" which is "wiki" in combination with "encyclopedia" to form Wikipedia. Mike Dickison shares some history and tips for editing in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is just one project of the  Wikimedia Foundation.

Can I use Wikipedia for my assignments?

You should never reference Wikipedia articles due to the ease anyone can edit it but YES you can use it to:

Wikipedia article quality levels

For any article you can also check the "Talk" tab to see related edit information.  For example:

  • Bronze Star - the article on Kate Sheppard has a small bronze star in the top right corner which indicates it is a Featured Article and the "Talk" tab identifies nominations and discussions leading to this rating.
  • Green Circle - the article on Treaty of Waitangi has a small green circle in the top right corner which indicates it is a Good Article and the "Talk" tab identifies nominations and discussions leading to this rating.
  • The University of Otago has a brochure called Why not Wikipedia? with more about these levels of credibility.

Note: Even if an article is either classed as featured or good in Wikipedia it is advisable not to reference it due to the ease of editing and therefore susceptibility to vandalism at any point in time. However they are potentially a great source of credible evidence on your topic if you check the reference list.

Add and edit Wikipedia articles

Wikipedia for teachers and teaching

Join a Wikipedia group

At Ara we run monthly Wikipedia meetings for students and staff who:

  • are aspiring to be Wiki editors and contributors 
  • are already Wiki editors and contributors
  • are teaching and interested in learning how to use Wikipedia in the classroom.
  • email for the next meeting.

You can also join: