Today in a tutorial I met one of the students I spoke to last summer when doing the first year portfolio reviews. I mentioned that I had blogged about how he and other students used social media, including YouTube and Wikipedia.
He then told me a story about a teaching session they had on information literacy. They had been asked to compare an article on Wikipedia with a review paper on the same topic from an academic journal. The session aimed to show the inaccuracies of Wikipedia and how it could not be trusted. But this student sabotaged the exercise. He demonstrated that the essential quality of Wikipedia is that it can be edited. Before most students had got round to the piece of work, he went into the Wikipedia article and improved its quality by updating the content and referencing the article!
He says that the organisers were not too happy, but I'm sure they were. He had demonstrated:
- Wikipedia is always changing
- It can and often is a good source of information if we all contribute
- Medical students CAN be Wikipedia editors.