I suppose I shouldn’t blog while down about the state of humanity. But I do many things I shouldn’t do.

I was just reading through some news reports of the continued misunderstanding of faculty on what Wikipedia is, how it works, and why it matters.

I doubt that you’d be able to get a teaching post somewhere without understanding how to do library research, or get tenure track position while confused about why endnotes mattered to an argument. You don’t get to teach science without understanding what the scientific method is.  But you can walk into any college in the U.S. and demonstrate rank ignorance about the process underlying the most consulted reference work in the world, and you get to teach students, no problem.

My daughter was told at her high school — a top high school in the state — that students in college who consult Wikipedia in college (not plagiarize, not cite, but CONSULT) get kicked out. We’ve dealt with that; she goes to a new school now.

But the problem stands. On the most pressing issue of our age — how we advance knowledge in the world of the read/write web — it’s perfectly fine to be ignorant and teach. No one will stop you, no one will supply professional training to help you, no one will guide you, no one will correct you. We ask why these technologies, which have such potential to do such good, have not had the impact they might have. But in this case it is certainly a case of education holding us back.

3 thoughts on “Wikiality

  1. You are so right! Thankfully i have actually seen ppl who teach writing who encourage students to *start* their search on Wikipedia. But re your daughter: How the heck can someone be kicked out for CONSULTING not even citing? How do they even trace that?
    I want to give faculty an assignment to edit a Wikipedia page for something they are knowledgeable about so they can learn the process! Works great for sports things where u might be the first person to update the data and it feels amazing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s