I see that the History Department at Middlebury College has banned the use of Wikipedia in student papers. This is a truly incredible response to an apparent error that appeared in Wikipedia and that several students had cited. Wouldn't it be a lot better to teach students to evaluate research findings and conclusions regardless of where they come from rather than dictate that certain reference materials can and others cannot be used? And I find it a little surprising that other institutions have not criticized the actions of Middlebury. Are they giving up on teaching students critical thinking, to evaluate what they read and hear whether it comes from the New York Times, a college student's blog, or a commercial website? Perhaps someone should tell the History Department that all assertions, all conclusions, need to be evaluated, not just those from Wikipedia. And, to members of the History Department and to Middlebury in general, if you're not teaching your students to evaluate information, what are you teaching them? You have set education back to the Dark Ages and should be ashamed of yourselves.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Great point Dr. D! I read this same article over the weekend in the Bowdoin Orient, and thought the same thing. Students should be allowed to fail by using flawed research and hopefully they learn from their own mistakes. Remember always cross reference and check the validity of your sources Wikipedia Away!