Wednesday, July 29, 2009


WIKIpedia is a controversial topic for me. It is a site where anyone can add to or create items for the free online encyclopedia. I use WIKIpedia for my own learning about trivial things like famous people or events and I often use it as a starting point for topics I'm not familiar with. However apart from this assignment I have never quoted it for a University assessment piece. It was acceptable to use WIKIpedia in high school however we were encouraged to find other sources for information. I guess WIKIpedia is controversial for me because of the double standards placed on its use (OK for primary and high school, do not use it at University or do so at your own risk!).

For students wishing to use WIKIpedia (or any other piece of research) my advice is to use the CARS method.
  • C - credibility - is there enough evidence to support the claims? Where is the evidence coming from?
  • A - accuracy - how does it match up to other articles? Is the date recent? have things changed since time of publishing?
  • R - reasonableness - who has produced this? Are they being objective? Are they using objective language?
  • S - support - has the author supported their work with references? Is any contact information provided?
In the Student Centred Technologies on Moodle it suggests that students could contribute to WIKIpedia. This to me is a much better idea as students will have to become thorough researchers. Students would be able to work together to come up with a class page on a topic. This would require them to co-operate with each other an would also provide students the opportunity to work with students that they may not usually associate with. As well as collaborative work experience students will also be participating in a task with an authentic focus. Kiersley and Schneidermann (n.d) suggest that as students are participating in learning with an authentic focus "students learn skills and knowledge with higher transfer to work settings". They also state that team work skills can also be acquired as well as skills for client interaction "that are often not taught in courses (but probably should be)".

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