Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper

Title: Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper (ID: EDU07287)

Author(s): Andreas Brockhaus (University of Washington Bothell) and Martha Groom (University of Washington Bothell)

Topics: Collaboration, EDUCAUSE2007, Electronic Resources, Students, Teaching, Teaching and Learning, Virtual Community, Wiki, Wikipedia

Origin: Presented at EDUCAUSE Annual Conferences (10/23/2007)

Type: Presentations/Speeches

Abstract: The structure of the traditional term paper can limit its educational value. To make the assignment more meaningful, students published their papers in Wikipedia. This session will examine how publishing for a large online community motivated students to do better work and deal with issues of voice, knowledge, and community.




When Wikipedia Is The Assignment[]

Wikipedia: A Teachable Moment?[]

Prof Replaces Term Papers With Wikipedia Contributions, ...[ ]


Martin Pitt said...

My reservations about this practice are as follows.
(1) The possibility of harm to Wikipedia as it clogs up with student term papers - articles written by the ignorant and compelled rather than the knowledgeable enthusiast - and the burden this places on Wikipedians to moderate it.
(2) By definition, the encyclopedia article is derivative: this excludes original research and students saying what they think, which are key areas in my coursework.
(3) What happens when two or more (perhaps many more) academics from different universities set the same task at the same time? In my experience, many academics are fairly narrow in their ideas, and clashes are inevitable.
(4) It does not address the increasing problem of authorship - that is to say how do you know that the student(s) did it themselves?

I know this has already been done by a number of academics. There are some things that work if only a few people do it, but cause problems if transferred to mass usage.

Ched said...

Very interesting approach.

The one problem with this is that Wikipedia does not allow for original research. The only things that are supposed to be added are things that are common knowledge.