At least not if you’re a history student at Middlebury college.
The small New England school has decided that students will no longer be able to use Wikipedia as a reference source for their work.
This came after half a dozen students cited incorrect information taken from the online encyclopedia on a test.
But the errors on the Japanese history test last semester were the last straw. At Dr. Waters’s urging, the Middlebury history department notified its students this month that Wikipedia could not be cited in papers or exams, and that students could not “point to Wikipedia or any similar source that may appear in the future to escape the consequences of errors.”
That sounds like a pretty narrow minded approach to collaborative material from the web (“any similar source that may appear in the future”?).
But Jimmy Wales, one of Wikipedia’s founders, is siding with the history department.
I don’t consider it as a negative thing at all.
Basically, they are recommending exactly what we suggested – students shouldn’t be citing encyclopedias. I would hope they wouldn’t be citing Encyclopaedia Britannica, either.
Agreed. However, I don’t blame the students either. In K12 education, we don’t really teach kids how to find, manage, and validate information and they probably don’t get much of that from their college instructors either.
One part of that process is understanding that any general reference source is only a starting point in their research.
Another is, never trust a single source – especially one that I can edit. :-)