February 26, 2007
A recent article in the Crimson echoes similar stories from Cornell and Tufts, all in relation to the Middlebury ban. The slant in the beginning of this one focuses on the shift by some profs to actually include Wikipedia articles as part of their syllabus.
Here, again, the balance seems to exist. Some professors assign their students to author and edit Wikipedia entries–a good way to create the “editors” that Will Richardson always advocates for.
One professor, who assigned articles for reading, admitted that-due to the ‘unstable’ nature of the entries–”perhaps I should re-look at the entries from time to time.”
Isn’t this what we should do with all our teaching resources? Just because a photocopied article (shhh!) has worked well for years, is it still relevant? The best I can find to illustrate a point? This, to me, is just good, reflective practice…regardless of the inclusion of Wikipedia in my course materials.
Harvard Hebrew Literature and Philosophy Professor Shaye J.D. Cohen, in commenting on the need to be skeptical about Wikipedia, said:
“Wikipedia represents all that is great and all that is dangerous about
the Internet. It is incredibly powerful and readily
available, and yet can mislead the unwary and spread disinformation.
One hopes that a good undergraduate education will enable students to
assess what they are reading.”
One hopes that, if we are doing our 21st century jobs correctly, a good secondary education will enable them to do so as well.