Writing teachers can give high-level writers better awareness of the practical implications of using Wikipedia as a reference, with an exercise that highlights academics' reaction to it.
High-level writing students are often aware of the value of Wikipedia as a resource, and may even be in the habit of using it regularly, as many American students are. Like American students, however, they are often only vaguely aware of why academics might object to its use as a reference or trusted authority. In fact the whole problem of evaluating online sources looms as huge for students entering academic classes, and teachers must constantly find new ways to remind students of the disastrous consequences of failing to evaluate, or evaluating poorly, the sources they choose for their research. This writing exercise introduces and highlights this problem by making Wikipedia itself the topic of inquiry, encouraging students to see both sides of the debate over its value, and expecting them to take sides on the question, in the form of an essay that uses quotes about its merits and defects as a resource. When the exercise is over, students are better at not only documenting the sources they use, but also evaluating them before the process starts.
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Wikipedia & Critical source evaluation Bibliography
Original practice final assignment