Wikipedia       A Tool for Teaching       (Skeptical) Research                        Presented by:           Loren Kleinm...
Wikis & Wikipedia   Wiki – collaborative Web site edited by the    user community   Theoretically, always a work in prog...
What we hear from faculty   ―I don’t allow my students to use    Wikipedia.‖   ―Wikipedia is not a valid source for    r...
Myths & Fears about Wikipedia   Full of inaccuracies    – Anyone with Internet access can edit    – Articles are constant...
Realities about Wikipedia   Wikipedia is the largest collaborative writing    project in human history   Well-Monitored ...
Embracing Wikipedia   Generally well-cited     – Leads to other sources of information     – Citations for information of...
Title V Writing Initiative at PCCC(2007-2012)   40 sections of Writing Intensive general education courses    (Compositio...
Incorporating Wikipedia into theFirst-year Experience   Every section of the First-Year Experience has an    Information ...
Composition, WAC &    Wikipedia   Don’t have to use Wikipedia as a reference    source; use it to bring authentic, immedi...
Case Study   Robert Cummings, author of Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in    the Age of Wikipedia and an assistant profes...
Using Wikipedia                     in Class   Make sure your students understand how it    works   Demonstrate (or have...
Collaborative Learning   Wikipedia can support collaborative    learning for students and faculty:               Students...
What We’ve Learned   Wikipedia sparks conversation!   Students are going to use it no    matter what, and it’s our job t...
Questions / Comments   Has your perception of Wikipedia    changed?   Would you continue this conversation    with colle...
Works Cited   Cummings, Robert. ―Are We Ready to Use    Wikipedia to Teach Writing?‖ Inside Higher    Ed. Web. 25 Feb. 20...
Wikipedia: A Tool for Teaching (Skeptical) Research
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Wikipedia: A Tool for Teaching (Skeptical) Research

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Wikipedia is one form of social media, and often at the bull’s eye of “new media myopia” (Obar, 2012). When asked to do research, Wikipedia is usually the first place students look. While we might want to teach students that Wikipedia is one place to start, it usually is not the one place where we want them to end. Therefore, incorporating Wikipedia into classroom instruction is a powerful way to teach students how to analyze the sources they use. This presentation will introduce educators to possible ways Wikipedia can be utilized in the classroom as a teaching and learning tool.

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Wikipedia: A Tool for Teaching (Skeptical) Research

  1. 1. Wikipedia A Tool for Teaching (Skeptical) Research Presented by: Loren Kleinman, Director, Writing Center, Passaic County Community College Ken Karol, Technology Resource Specialist, Passaic County Community College Elizabeth Nesius, Director, Academic Foundations English, Hudson County Community College
  2. 2. Wikis & Wikipedia Wiki – collaborative Web site edited by the user community Theoretically, always a work in progress, never perfected Wikipedia – free, multilingual online wiki/encyclopedia (hence ―Wikipedia‖) – Over 4 million articles – Nearly half a billion unique visitors per month – Essentially, the default encyclopedia of our time
  3. 3. What we hear from faculty ―I don’t allow my students to use Wikipedia.‖ ―Wikipedia is not a valid source for research.‖ ―Wikipedia is not accurate and the entries are not complete.‖ ―Wikipedia is the source for misinformation.‖
  4. 4. Myths & Fears about Wikipedia Full of inaccuracies – Anyone with Internet access can edit – Articles are constantly being changed Loss of control – Academics and librarians no longer gatekeepers – Not vetted by ―professionals‖ Too easy
  5. 5. Realities about Wikipedia Wikipedia is the largest collaborative writing project in human history Well-Monitored – Inaccurate information will not last long; repeat offenders’ accounts disabled – Insignificant information (e.g. vanity entries) will not be published Information must be verifiable to stay While it is easy to access (in multiple senses), readers are directed to more sources for deeper information
  6. 6. Embracing Wikipedia Generally well-cited – Leads to other sources of information – Citations for information offered or requested if unavailable Neutral voice – Having multiple contributors leads to a consensus Provides good topical overviews – Better than most free Web sites It’s timely – Updated more often than traditionally published encyclopedias – Updated more often than most other websites
  7. 7. Title V Writing Initiative at PCCC(2007-2012) 40 sections of Writing Intensive general education courses (Composition 1 prerequisite) Portfolio assessment of writing, critical thinking, and information literacy – Info lit assessment had already been conducted for 10 years in PCCC’s first-year experience course Information literacy weak spots: citation and evaluation of sources Problem not that students were using Wikipedia but rather they weren’t citing it and weren’t exploring other sources Students were using it even if they were told not to (and then simply didn’t cite it) However, instructors often did not suggest alternative outside sources of information
  8. 8. Incorporating Wikipedia into theFirst-year Experience Every section of the First-Year Experience has an Information Literacy module Librarians present during one class period Students complete an Exercise for homework and a Project that is 25% of their final grade for the course Inspired by findings in WI course assessment, Wikipedia incorporated into Exercise and Project – Students find Wikipedia entry on their selected research topic – Students cite the Wikipedia entry in MLA format – Students explore one of the citations included in the original entry
  9. 9. Composition, WAC & Wikipedia Don’t have to use Wikipedia as a reference source; use it to bring authentic, immediate audience for student writing (Cummings). Wikipedia assignments offer the chance to consider student writers responsibilities in topic selection (Cummings) Use it as a teaching tool as part of the Bookshelf Project. Creating knowledge rather than consuming it Use as an opportunity to teach critical thinking. Teach the importance of credibility and clarity in writing.
  10. 10. Case Study Robert Cummings, author of Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia and an assistant professor of English and director of First-Year Composition Program at Columbus State University, in Georgia. Robert Cummings says, ―As a class we then observe how Wikipedians react to our contributions and get advice from each other to develop effective rhetorical strategies before we respond to our audience online. Lastly, students are asked to compose an essay where they reflect on the experience of writing for this large audience, and how the experience fails or succeeds in helping them to develop their writing skills. Their grade is determined mainly by their participation in these offline writing assignments, and not the text contributed to Wikipedia itself.‖
  11. 11. Using Wikipedia in Class Make sure your students understand how it works Demonstrate (or have them try) changing an article—can you get through a lecture without the changes being reversed? WID – Form carries out purpose: Articles on different topics look different – Gives context to the rules of discipline-specific writing
  12. 12. Collaborative Learning Wikipedia can support collaborative learning for students and faculty: Students Faculty Support peer-to-peer interaction Engage in the student writing in virtual spaces process on a deeper level Distribute and share knowledge Connect student learning with what they will most likely be doing after graduation Students as writers, editors, and Promote and foster instructional contributors rather than change readers/consumers
  13. 13. What We’ve Learned Wikipedia sparks conversation! Students are going to use it no matter what, and it’s our job to make sure they use it well.
  14. 14. Questions / Comments Has your perception of Wikipedia changed? Would you continue this conversation with colleagues at your college or university? Would you be willing to integrate Wikipedia into your research or writing lesson planning?
  15. 15. Works Cited Cummings, Robert. ―Are We Ready to Use Wikipedia to Teach Writing?‖ Inside Higher Ed. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. Patch, Paula. “Meeting Student Writers Where They Are: Using Wikipedia to Teach Responsible Scholarship.‖ Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v37 n3 p278-285 Mar 2010. National Council of Teachers of English. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

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