Date of Award

Winter 2-10-2013

Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Wikipedia, Post-Secondary Education, Higher Education, Education, University, College, Learning Organization, Bureaucracy, Knowledge Management, Organizational Design, Open Source, Library, Citation, Technology, Internet, Bruns, Lih, Reagle, Shirky, Winston, Alberta, Windsor




This study explores the question: How has higher education accommodated methods for organizing and disseminating knowledge during the development of the Wikipedia project? The prominence of the Wikipedia project on the Internet has caused an increasing interaction with higher education. This interaction creates an opportunity to consider how knowledge is organized and disseminated within both communities. The Wikimedia foundation has expressed their desire to make Wikipedia more scholarly and more stable. Members of the higher education community want their organizations to be more efficient, nimble, and accessible. Thematic analysis of interviews conducted with subject matter experts suggested that the use of Wikipedia within higher education is on the one hand accelerated and celebrated and on the other hand regulated and discounted. This paper references Winston’s model of change in communication technologies to show that higher education and Wikipedia have made accommodations for the way they organize and disseminate knowledge during the development of the Wikipedia project. The researcher frequently references the University of Windsor and his professional knowledge of higher education as points for comparison.


Submitted to the Faculty of Extension University of Alberta in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Communications and Technology.