[Air-l] Trusted Wikipedia

Julie Cohen jec at law.georgetown.edu
Thu Sep 21 08:42:26 PDT 2006

Alex Halavais wrote:

>In practice, students are being told by teachers all around the world
>that they shouldn't trust Wikipedia. That would be great, if they were
>also telling them not to trust anything else published. But this
>appears to be skepticism mis-focused. By bridging the divide between
>what are traditional technologies (techniques) of establishing
>authority and new forms of communal authority, I think we allow for
>more people to access and engage in collaborative knowledge building.
>My aim is practical. I worry that many who could benefit from
>Wikipedia, and who could benefit Wikipedia, are ignoring it because
>there is no bridge from traditional sources of knowledge authority to
>this new source. My hope is that such a resource would provide that
Wouldn't it be a lot simpler to generate a statement of best practices 
that explains to students (and teachers) the difference between 
"relying" entirely on Wikipedia and using it appropriately in 
combination with more traditional research methods?  Wikipedia stands in 
a dialogic relationship with "traditional sources of knowledge 
authority," and also with traditional forms of academic disciplinarity.  
Wouldn't teaching students to recognize those dialogues have greater 
educational value than creating yet another means for certifying static 
content according to disciplinary norms?


Julie E. Cohen
Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
V 202-662-9871
F 202-662-9410
jec at law.georgetown.edu

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