Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Another defense of Wikipedia, this one looking at the backlash from academics against the online encyclopedia. "The academic community pointed to this case and went 'See! See! Wikipedia is terrible! We must protest it and stop it! It's ruining our schools!'" I have already responded to this post that such opinions do not reflect the entire academic community, and that many support wikipedia and distributed media in general (many of who are reading this post). But I will say here as well that the sentiments identified in this article are real (just look at the slanted Chronicle coverage, from a journal that has harangued against online learning as long as I can remember (see for yourself)). The fact is, the contributions of non-experts are every bit as valuable as those by experts - and as evidence, consider that fact that while most experts have refrained from contributing to Wikipedia, the encyclopedia is still on a par with Britannica. How could that happen, if only experts are qualified to adjudge knowledge? Will Richardson, citing Boyd, writes, "We should be correcting inaccuracies that we find rather than protesting the system. We have the knowledge to be able to do this, but all too often, we're acting like elitist children." Also, from Terry Freedman: "But really, how far are these arguments relevant to the central educational issue anyway, which seems to me to be the necessity to make students question everything, and to demand proof." And Clarence Fisher: "our knowledge will never be perfect, but it is good enough for today, for here."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jul 02, 2022 01:44 a.m.