More problems for Wikipedia

On the way back from a teaching conference in London yesterday I read another article in The Indepedent about a sham poster for the site. This person had the gaul to pass himself of as a university Professor and as specialist in Religious Studies. The article can be found here: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2331980.ece

The problem was that he was no expert and was relying on one basic text to produce his information. The reason I mention this was because at the conference I was at yesterday I had an intriguing conversation with Professor Eric Evans over what I described to him as the ‘Wikipedia Culture’ and he replied that he found it useful. Now I will admit myself to having used it. However, I think the difference is for professional historians and lecturers is that we are able to identify or question the source and vet it accordingly, something, which my students certainly find difficult.

However, I have increasingly had to deal with student citing Wikipedia as there only source. At the level that I teach these students just do not have the skills necessary to identify a problem. They tend to rely on single sources and are not bothered about cross – referencing their sources, a skill, which AS/A2 Levels are supposed to develop. Therefore, Wikipedia really has got to tighten its publishing control or vetting procedures in order to ensure that people who are using it as a learning tool can rely on it. I have to admit this is not limited and a similar discussion has occurred on the H – War discussion board. Wikipedia could be a great source but they need to act now before faith is lost by the teaching profession as to it validity.

Advertisements

One response to “More problems for Wikipedia

  1. Ross, I doubt that Wikipedia will ever be able to tighten their standards to a point where we can rely on the site as a single source. I think it is more practical and more important for students to develop the skills where they can question sources.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s