Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Whither the Wikis?


"Of all the Web 2.0 tools that have become de rigueur on college campuses, wikis fundamentally embody the Internet’s original promise of pooling the world’s knowledge — a promise that resonates loudly in academe.

And yet higher education’s relationship with wikis — Web sites that allow users to collectively create and edit content — has been somewhat hot-and-cold. Wikipedia, the do-it-yourself online encyclopedia, vexed academics early on because of its wild-west content policies and the perception that students were using it as a shortcut to avoid the tedium of combing through more reliable sources. This frustration has been compounded by the fact that attempts to create scholarly equivalents have not been nearly as successful.

However, academe’s disdain for the anarchical site has since softened; a number of professors have preached tolerance, even appreciation, of Wikipedia as a useful starting point for research. As the relationship between higher education and wikis matures, it is becoming clearer where wikis are jibing with the culture of academe, and where they are not."

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