Latinx Authorship and Representation in Digital Spaces: Wikipedia as a Tool to Decolonize the HSI Classroom
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is accessed by over 1.5 billion users each month, yet remains stigmatized in the academic world. Many faculty demonstrate reluctance in allowing students to use Wikipedia as part of their research and writing projects due to the open access nature of the site and have all but banned its use in their courses. In this article, we evaluate implications of our pedagogical decision to embed a Wikipedia editing assignment into our respective undergraduate courses at a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in South Texas. First, we describe students’ initial reactions to Wikipedia as disrupting the classroom. Second, we examine the outcomes of the assignment in our Latinx students’ recognizing their work on Wikipedia as an act of decolonizing the classroom. In particular, we show the extent to which students a) claim authority, b) develop an ownership of knowledge, c) forge identities as public scholars, and d) develop a civic responsibility through their work on Wikipedia. We conclude with a discussion of recommendations for implementing assignments on digital citizenship in college classrooms, particularly in HSIs.