Wednesday, April 23, 2008

wikipedia- practice final

EAP2WW Practice Final Name _________________

If you are going into academia, you should know about the Wikipedia controversy and why academics mistrust it. The controversy is basically whether students should be allowed or encouraged to use or cite Wikipedia, and it's interesting, if only because it can be seen as a battle between the forces of collective wisdom, the combined wisdom of the masses, and academic wisdom (wisdom that has been reviewed and approved by qualified authorities). Read for yourself; choose any side you like; use three of these quotes in an argument essay. Use at least one quote and one paraphrase. Make a complete reference at the end. You may use the quotes in the introduction or in any of the arguments, but use them effectively with proper citation. A CAR is not necessary. Some of the reference information gives you more than you really need. All sources Retrieved on April 23, 2008.

Meredith Byers, Controversy over use of Wikipedia in academic papers arrives at Smith, Sophian, Smith College, 3/8/07.

Middlebury College, a prestigious liberal arts school in Vermont, recently announced that its history department had banned the citation of Wikipedia for history papers and exams. para. 1

Don Wyatt, chairman of the department, said a total ban on Wikipedia is not practical, as it is too useful of a resource to expect students to never consult it. para.2

Approximately 38 million people visited the English language version of the site in December 2006. Wikipedia is also easy to find; it frequently appears at the top of many Google searches and access is completely free. para. 3

Jason Wolverton, Wikipedia Wisdom, Valley Vanguard, Jan. 22. 2007

While encyclopedias and journals are generally authored by scholars and peer reviewed before publication, Wikipedia articles can be written and edited by anyone at anytime, bringing about a debate over the risk of giving those outside academia the power to create and contribute to articles on scholarly subjects. Furthering this, users can add, alter, or remove information without registering a user account, giving those who visit the site free and anonymous reign over the available information. para. 7

Contributing to the debate is the speed in which Wikipedia has grown. While many scholarly and academic sources have decades - if not centuries - of history, Wikipedia's popularity has surpassed all of them in a matter of just six years. para. 8

Launched Jan. 15, 2001, it is already the ninth most popular Web site in the United States, according to Alexa Internet, a company that monitors Web traffic. para. 9

It is not the number of articles available on Wikipedia that is up for debate, though. The argument amongst scholars is that the information available on Wikipedia is not necessarily accurate and that the articles themselves are particularly susceptible to Internet vandalism. para. 11

Jim Lengel, Authority, Teaching with Technology, 2/07/2006,

(Wikipedia) is an encyclopedia compiled by the voluntary contributions of hundreds of writers and editors. Anyone can write an article and post it to the Wikipedia; anyone else can come along later and edit the article. It's a kind of open, voluntary, work in progress. As such, it's the most up-to-date encyclopedia you'll find. para. 6

The emergence of the World Wide Web as a source for student research is for many educators a worrisome development. "Anyone can post anything they want on the Web," explained one librarian, "and make it look respectable. para. 1

The Internet will never be like the school library. Nor should it be. It's value as a communication medium lies in its openness and diversity. But these same aspects make it problematic for our students. They, like many of us, were brought up to trust what we read in a library book, or in the newspaper, or on television. These communication channels were for the most part well-mediated, and so over the years developed a respectable authority. para. 12

Now comes the Internet, which appears to be a respectable source, but is in fact unmediated and clearly not all of it authoritative. And it's left to the Internaut (Internet users) to separate the wheat from the chaff, to determine the respectability of each site. Our job as teachers is to prepare our students to make that determination. para. 13

David Parry, Wikipedia and the new curriculum, Science Progress, Feb. 11, 2008,

This website has grown into an immensely useful resource for background information on a wide range of scientific subjects, and can serve as a quick reference for any number of scientific facts. What is perhaps more important and useful, though, is the extent to which Wikipedia also preserves the debate and discourse around a particular subject. para. 6

Literacy in modern society means not only being able to read a variety of informational formats; it means being able to participate in their creation, with Wikipedia serving as the marquee example. para. 9

Edward Bilodeau: Weblog. Academic banning of Google and Wikipedia misguided. January 14, 2008.

As for Wikipedia, I would agree that, for a variety of reasons, it is probably not a proper source for an academic work. Many professors would not accept an encyclopedia entry as a citation in a paper, regardless of which encyclopedia it came from. Some might accept it as a source of a definition, perhaps, but in those cases, it would have to be an encyclopedia recognized in that field. Wikipedia, in a general sense, wouldn't make the grade. para. 8

Academics who ban students from using the web, Google, Wikipedia, or similar resources are doing those students a grave disservice. Students need to learn how to assess the relevance and authority of information sources independent of their media. They need to learn what constitutes an authoritative source, in academia and especially in their field of study. They need to learn how to navigate the complexities and ambiguities of the information at their disposal. para. 11

Nicole Martin, Wikipedia clamps down on 'unreliable' editors,, Jan. 21, 2008, 2007/09/20/wiki120.xml

Under the current system, anyone can edit an entry at any time, which means that people often post inaccurate and sometime malicious information. para. 5

Wikipedia, the internet’s most popular encyclopaedia, has become an online phenomenon since it was launched six years ago. para. 12

Seven per cent of all internet users now visit the site every day. para. 13

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