Wen's Woffle

An intermittent blog for work and play!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

recording of the Wikipedia debate

http://www.languagelabunleashed.com/2007/04/01/llu-19-the-great-wikipedia-debate/

This is a discussion/debate about the advantages and disadvantages of Wikipedia. One professor discusses why his history department banned their students citing information from Wikipedia. Another explains why she asks her students to use it for their research assignments. Debate follows about the value of using Wikipedia as an educational tool. They discuss its strengths and weakneses etc. There were interesting points brought up about misinformation both malicious and non malicious. How do you trust a source? Who is editing the entries and why? What is Wikipedia about?-what's its philosophy etc? Listening to this I kept thinking that people need to develop their critical thinking skills, so it simply becomes a habit, or a way of questioning the information. You apply this to any information you find anywhere. See Standard 3 of the ANZIIL standards- ("The information literate person critically evaluates information and the information seeking process"). http://www.anziil.org/resources/Info%20lit%202nd%20edition.pdf
Aha! but how do you evaluate stuff? Well here's Alastair Smith's (of VUW Department of Library and Information Studies, New Zealand) list to help you. http://www.vuw.ac.nz/staff/alastair_smith/evaln/evaln.htm

On the subject of authority he tells you to ask questions like:
  • "Does the resource have some reputable organisation or expert behind it? "
  • "Does the author have standing in the field?"
  • "Are sources of information stated? "
  • "Is the information verifiable? "
  • "Can the author be contacted for clarification or to be informed of new information? "

You can apply these questions to Wikipedia. If the writer is worth his/her salt, he/she should be stating where they from and what their qualifications are. Always check these out.

On the subject of accuracy he tells you to ask questions like this:

  • "Is the information in the resource accurate? You may wish to check this against other resources, or by checking some information about which you have special knowledge. "
  • "Are there political or ideological biases? The Internet has become a prime marketing and advertising tool"
  • "What motivation does the author have for placing this information on the Net. Frequently the answer is that the information is placed to advertise, or support a particular point of view."

The how-to-stuff is out there-folks just need to think critically about their sources. Who's role is it to teach this-the students themselves? teaching staff? library staff?...mmmm... another debate!

1 Comments:

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous leighblackall said...

http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/04/26/the-wikipedia-debate/

 

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