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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wikipedia Becomes an Educational Tool

Professors used to warn their students not to rely on Wikipedia. It wasn’t viewed as a source that always provided correct information. That perception is beginning to change.

Now, some instructors offer credit to students who contribute to the online encyclopedia, either by writing an article or editing one already on the site. For example, nearly 10,000 students from community colleges to Ivy League schools have contributed 44,000 printed pages to Wikipedia for the Wiki Education Foundation project that launched in 2010, according a report for eCampus News.

Wikipedia is still not thought of as a primary source, but the project has found students feel a sense of accountability because tens of thousands of people serving as editors and fact-checkers on the foundation site are making sure the information they provide is accurate.

“Students are recognizing the value of peer review,” said Michele Van Hoeck, a professor at the California Maritime Academy, Vallejo. “One student was thrilled that someone else on Wikipedia had edited his work. You’d think a person might feel that was a negative, but to him, it was really exciting his idea was continuing, that someone read it and made it better.”

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