The University of Wikipedia

Mike Butcher at Techcrunch UK reports on a University tutor banning her students from researching essays on the web:

The education world has pursued new technology with an almost evangelical zeal and it is time to take a step back and give proper consideration of how we use it.

Too many students don’t use their own brains enough. We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis.

Too right. Now, I’m a fan of Wikipedia and believe that, as a tool for getting a quick overview on the subject, it’s invaluable. I look stuff up on, and link to, Wikipedia time and time again. That doesn’t mean, however, that I would use it as a part of academic study. That’s no different from using Britannica as a basis for an essay or thesis, and surely nobody would do that?

The issue here isn’t Wikipedia, or Google, but the fact that the students in question are idiots.

Universities make incredible resources available to students through web catalogues in libraries, etc. However, maybe there is a lesson to be learned in terms of the ease of use of these systems – is that why students are turning to less academic sources? Or are they just being lazy?

One thought on “The University of Wikipedia”

  1. Dear Dave,
    Without wanting to do too much self advertising on this subject, but we are working on a solution to this subject in the form of twidox (www.twidox.com). The aim of Twidox is to create an online library of ‘quality’ documents which have been created and uploaded by our users; such as academics, researchers and non governmental agencies. Documents on the website will be accessible to all and will allow people to share their knowledge and help others in their work and research. This means documents will be quotable and students will be able to see the reading list from other people, allowing them to do even deeper research.
    All the best,
    Nicholas

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