Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wikipedia - To cite or not to cite? That is the question.

So - Wikipedia -

A handful of articles on the use of wikipedia bobbed up in the #edtech twitter stream this morning. Some food for thought on the use of wikipedia in education.
"Warning: Wikipedia is generally not an acceptable information source for academic papers and you may be penalized when using it as a reference. However, if for lack of time you do use Wikipedia as a source, do cite it as it is better to be marked down for using non-authoritative sources than to be accused of plagiarism."

Do you use Wikipedia?

Have you ever edited Wikipedia?


  1. I've edited Wikipedia since 2002. I'm patient with its failings and thoroughly familiar with the criticisms made, some of which have merit. I see you've edited a bit yourself over the last two years. You are from the class that often supports Wikipedia, prominent members of which are on its board and advisory board, so I actually had to check to see if you were.

    You, of course, are fishing for actual students to comment, but throwing a hook out to billions of people will sometimes hook, if not land, almost anything, thanks to Google alert.

    I'm surprised that more teachers are not regularly encouraging their students to edit Wikipedia, if only for the education it provides. Anyone who can explain something on Wikipedia, and have it pass worldwide muster, could certainly pass any test on the subject.

    I am disappointed with the millions of students who regularly consult Wikipedia while researching, but don't have the guts to cite it, indeed engage in plagiarism, by not citing it. The "professors" who encourage this game by forbidding students from looking at a convenient, easy to understand source seem misguided.

  2. Thanks for the comment Fred. Personally - I am a huge fan of wikipedia and have also been editing off and on since 2002! I very much believe it should be cited.

    I was inspired to post this when I saw a few tweets reminding me there's still a strong contingent out there dismissing wikipedia as a valuable source. Which is a huge shame.

    Here's hoping that both teachers and students might comment and take this discussion further.

    Have you seen the Edutopia Poll?


What do you think?