I’m sitting on a flight to Bangalore and listening to the Economist’s Babbage on Wikipedia on it’s 10th anniversary.
They make an interesting point about it’s accuracy, a topic I have fairly strong views on, and will expound further in this post.
But first, back to Babbage. A skill, which Babbage says is important to kids, but which I would posit that is important for everyone; is the ability to discern the quality of a source and the knowledge it attempts to impart. After all, garbage in – garbage out.
I have serious issues with academia’s odd boycott of wikipedia as a source in the classroom, which strikes me as downright peevish.
I would not say that Wikipedia should replace more formal academic / technical sources, but I do feel that it does have it’s place as at the very least, as an initial source of information, a starting point.
To require students to not refer to Wikipedia as a source at all, smacks of cranky behind-the-times professor would rather handicap students with unrealistic rules rather than update or revise the content in consideration of Internet 2.0.
The alternative to that proposition is even scarier. Professors that could not be bothered with the classroom.
It’s also, in my cynical eyes, all the more likely.