This is fun. On one side are the bloggers and social media advocates; on the other side are the academics. The question is whether students should cite Wikipedia. Guess where I stand.
I think I know where you stand. Anyway majority of students always use Wikipedia to look for information. Quite often references in the end of Wikipedia’s entree go to the essay’s bibliography to avoid conflict with academics. It looks like social media popularity is having a huge impact on academic process too.
I wonder how long it will take for Leeds Met to start running the Social Media course.
Not everything that can be learnt needs to be taught. So engagement with social media is optional at undergraduate level, but I’m running a course at Master’s level including blogging as an assessed element.
The nature of wikipedia and the need to post academic or other references is its strength. From a students perspective, while I probably wouldn’t take more than a cursory glance at the content, I would use the bibliography as a basis for a wide ranging literature review.
I instinctively agreed with you Richard, but I also agree with Katya, that a canny student may well look at Wikipedia to start with but reference something more scholarly once they get into a topic.
I find Wikipedia a very useful intro to ideas which are new to me and if it makes learning accessible that’s got to be a good thing.
I also heard on Radio 4’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ programme that some people have done some fairly rudimentary comparisons and found Wikipedia entries to be more accurate than Encylopedia Britannica.
Jeremy Clarkson once famously said he checked his Wikipedia page to find 90% of it wasn’t true. The question is can be said for some academic pages? Can they be classed as safe, reliable sources?
Personally, I treat online tools such as Wikipedia as a ‘trap’ when I’m doing essays- it all seems too easy to get hold of the information! I definitely prefer take the academic approach and find the information myself rather than ‘Cache’ quotes from Websites (another trick that is popular with the last minute student!)
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