Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week 8: Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

In their study, ‘How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course-related research, Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg revealed that 30 % of the participants said that they always use Wikipedia and 22 % of them said that they frequently use Wikipedia during the course-related research process. I found that this finding was very interesting but expected results. For me, if I have a topic to write about, I usually start with searching for it in Wikipedia to have a general understanding of the topic and get an idea about a direction. As Alison and Michael stated, Wikipedia can be a very useful tool to preview a topic in the beginning stage of a research process. While I was reading articles and tidbits this week, I was wondering if Wikipedia could be an academic or a primary resource for a course-related research or paper. I think Wikipedia could be a good starting point but students should not solely rely on information from Wikipeida. Because Wikipedia is a free-open-online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, there can be a misleading or subjective information especially in a controversial issue such as history. Thus, it is very important for students to verify information from Wikipedia by reading other articles, books, or journals. This is the teachers’job to educate students how to effectively use Wikipedia as a supplement tool to their classroom activities and course-related research projects.

In addition, I have been fascinated by the fundamental concept of Wikipedia that anyone can contribute and anyone can share their knowledge so they eventually help others. I think this could be connected with the stream of OER or OCW in education. Increasing number of people are participating in the movement of knowledge sharing and at the same time increasing number of people are benefiting from it beyond the the borders.  

1 comment:

  1. it is amazing, isn't it, when we look back even as short as 10 years ago and realize that there is so much more available out there for a student. While we have learned to deal with it as adults, and information was usually somewhat credible because we went to an encyclopedia program first, we must remember that our students didn't start at the beginning like us, they were thrown into the technology and have to be taught how to find reliable information. We were taught not to trust wikipedia as soon as it was released as peer edited--our students look at it and think why not instead of thinking why like we do.