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Wikipedia gains academic acceptance

July 2, 2014

Wikipedia logoIn “the old days” professors warned students about Wikipedia or flatly forbid its use. Still not recognized as an acceptable primary source, Wikipedia today is often suggested as a place to start exploring a topic. An article in Wired CampusAcademics Continue Flirting With a Former Foe: Wikipedia, includes the following quote:

“Wikipedia is the prime resource for free knowledge. If you’re not in Wikipedia, you’re not in the public consciousness.” (Dariusz Jemielniak)

College courses and student clubs – even academic departments – are systematically contributing to Wikipedia. The same can be said for professional societies in medicine, sociology, and psychology. According to Wikipedia: Too Large To Ignore Anymore, in CIO Today (June 2014),

In at least 150 courses at colleges in the U.S. and Canada, including UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco’s medical school, Boston College and Carnegie Mellon University, students were assigned to create or expand Wikipedia entries this year.

How Wikipedia is used

Award-winning author Robert Cummings is an English professor at Ole Miss and an advocate for use of Wikipedia in teaching. Below are slides he created for a February 2014 presentation at the University of Sydney’s “Wikipedia in Higher Education” symposium.

How to get started

Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies is a Senior Editor on the English language Wikipedia. He offers a six-week free online course called Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond. The live course last ran in spring of 2014, but you can also complete it on your own. This video overview can help you get started.

Wikipedia Education Program logoThe Wikipedia Education Program provides resources for educators who want their students to edit Wikipedia. It includes editing basics, tips for using Wikipedia in the classroom, how to set up a course page, and sample assignments. The excellent resources include:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2014 4:54 pm

    This is just plain scary. I am an active Wikipedia editor. My nom de plume is FeralOink. I wondered why so many young, respectful individuals were asking me for help in re-writing sections of, for example, the articles about plutocracy, AIG, trimmed beef products and Accenture (they replaced CGI as the Obamacare contractor). No, I don’t know if those requests were made by students or by lobbyists, to be honest. I DO know that item 5 of slide 18 is misleading: Wikipedia DOES have fixed rules! I’m not faulting the author of this post, nor of the slideshow for that.

    Wikipedia has many fixed rules about acceptable references, format, and appropriate article topic notability. Many academicians and practicing medical specialists have spent countless, precious hours writing articles, only to have their work reverted and replaced by pseudoscience. Eventually, it gets straightened out. Usually. As for editing for didactic purposes, college students should know how to write well enough that the abilities listed on page 14 have already been acquired. Remember, anyone can, and does edit Wikipedia! Regarding page 24: No. Wikipedia will not replace universities.

    All my complaining aside, the slide presentation does have a great deal of good advice. Also, as a college-educated adult, I find my time spent editing Wikipedia to be intellectually stimulating and worthwhile.

  2. July 2, 2014 12:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Things I grab, motley collection and commented:
    At last


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