Remember when we were taught the most important lesson of research? Do not, EVER, under ANY circumstances, use Wikipedia. Doing this is on par with plagiarism and literature sin. But, according to The Washington Post, college professors are now encouraging their students to use Wikipedia and are even assigning their students to edit and create more academic pages for educational use.
Many professors are using their classes and assignments as a way to help the Wiki Education Foundation.
The three-year-old nonprofit, a spin-off of the Wikimedia Foundation funded in part by the Stanton Foundation and Google, is determined to convince professors and students that — counter to everything they have ever been told — Wikipedia actually belongs in schools.
The foundation helps to teach students and professors how to use the interface and is their to assist in any way when it comes to writing, editing, and submitting drafts to edit or create pages.
“It’s so much better than a term paper, from a student’s perspective,” said Susan Alberts, a biology professor at Duke University who has used Wikipedia in her classroom for the past five years (to The Washington Post). “This way, when students write something, someone besides their teacher actually reads it.”
Some classes will even pick topics off of lists that the Wiki Education Foundation has compiled of topics that don't have a lot of coverage. This way, the topics that people may need more academic particulars on can be completed for everyone's benefit. This is a way to take knowledge from classrooms and bring it to the public.
This fall, the foundation will be taking particular interest in covering articles about math, science, and engineering. A lot of these subjects are searched, but there are a lot of coverage holes that would greatly benefit the public who is researching the topics.
According to a May 2016 Knight Foundation survey on mobile-phone use, Wikipedia is a more significant destination for news and information, in terms of monthly audience reach, than CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and BuzzFeed.
The problem is that many of the people who are writing these pages do not have all of the latest information that the students who are in college classrooms do.
If you are looking for something interesting to do this summer, feel free to enhance the Wikipedia pages through the Wiki Education Foundation. It would also be something that you can do as you take different classes this upcoming semester in college.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN USE WIKIPEDIA FOR RESEARCH! You can read the articles for basic information, but make sure that you are looking at the sources where the information came from before you trust any of it. Remember that college libraries also have a lot of informational resources for specific research, too.
Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons