Thursday, February 24, 2011

week eight--The who, what, where, why, and how of Wikis

How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course Related Research
There are many teachers, both pre- and post- secondary that refuse to allow their students to use Wikipedia, citing erroneous information input by unqualified posters as the reason.  However, even with the professor refusing to allow it, many students still use the site.  This study tries to find out how and why the students are most likely to use Wikipedia despite their instructions otherwise.  The study focuses on college students.  With all the studies, 91% of the students surveyed admitted to using Wikipedia at least part of the time, while a whopping 30% use it always.  Many students just seem to use it as a brief overview, however, to get a general idea on a topic rather than as an actual research tool.
My first year of grad school I had to write a paper on why I though Wikipedia was a good resource to use when researching any issue.  Since that time, I have always allowed my students to use it with a few stipulations.  The first, the students had to be sure the copyright date was more than 3 days prior to their access date.  That is Wikipedia’s cutoff date for information to be reviewed and deemed accurate.  I also require the students to have at least 3 other cites besides Wikipedia in their information.  Since installing these requirements, the students complain less about not using the popular site and gather more information. 

A Window on Wikibookians: Surveying their Statuses, Successes, Satisfactions, and Sociocultural Experiences
This article is a plethora of information on how a wiki started, the different paths a wiki can take, and how it can be contributed to.  It seems to be that many wikibookians (no matter the medium) are males (97%), in the lower range of age (18-35).  It also goes into detail on the educational level of those contributing, which is at the highest percentage for the high school range.  That statistic is frightening a bit.  So many are using Wikipedia as a reliable source, but it is written by high school students?  Hopefully, the post secondary students are the editors in this scenario. 

Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia
Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LLP) is a coined phrase to explain why people get involved in the communities they do, such as Wikipedia.  While there are many reasons why a person may choose to get involved, it started out as an easy place to get work published and shared with the world.  It allowed all involved to share information and edit for each other strictly online, cutting out much of the cost associated with normal publishing efforts. 
This article was extremely long winded on many of the facts that I’ve already read in the above articles.  Perhaps I would have had better reception with it had I read it first.  However, I found myself skimming the article with less and less interest as the pages went on.  I did pick up some new acronyms, though!

Quote of the week from How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course Related Research
“Students in the sessions explained that Wikipedia entries have value in the beginning because they provide a ‘simple narrative that gives you a grasp,’ ’can point you in the right direction,’ and ‘help when I have no idea what to do for a research paper.’”

1 comment:

  1. As Alison et al. (2010) stated in their study, ‘How today’s college student use Wikipedia for course-related research’, it is true that Wikipedia can be a very good starting point to search for a subject matter and get a general understanding of it. From my experience, Wikipedia usually let me know where to start and where to go, if I have an abstract, difficult, or new subject matter. However, it is very risky to solely rely on the content from Wikipedia because basically Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia that anyone can edit, it is possible that some of information may be unreliable or incorrect. Thus, it is very important to triangulate the information with other reliable resources such as published articles or books.