Tag Archives: Wikipedia

To Wikipedia , or not to Wikipedia…

Convincing students, even in higher education, of the validity of Wikipedia can be challenging, so I (Cathy) use a little humour to introduce the debate. I like this cartoon because it is an adult telling the child the information must be correct.  But then, my grandparents believed everything they read in the newspaper. Everything.  It was in print and therefore had to be true. They never considered the possibility that newspapers were political institutions with bias opinions.  Never.  Now our students have to consider the possibility the information on the internet may be a practical joke .  I have personally spoken to people who find it amusing to change information on Wikipedia so that it is incorrect. Yet, I still use Wikipedia to access quick information.  However, I do so with caution.  The information age is interesting, but it can have its challenges.   Discernment and constant checking is key.

hudson

 

Anti-Plagiarism Tools

plagarizing

At my (Cathy’s)  institution,  like most HE schools, plagiarism is an  issue.   According to Wikipedia, “Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry, it is a serious ethical offense.”  I deliberately quote Wikipedia because that (sadly) seems to be a popular source for many students these days.  As the cartoon to the left implies, is copying from the internet plagiarism?  The many new sources for plagiarism checking indicates “yes”.  My institution supports a plagiarism locator called Turnitin.  It is a relatively simple tool to use. Once the text is submitted to the Digital Learning System, the tool highlights all words in sequence that can be located on the www and Google Scholar.  Hence, copying the words from Wikipedia becomes as evident as copying a paragraph from a journal article.  The professor has to look at the text and determine if the highlighted parts have been properly cited.  If not, the text is  plagiarized.  Although professors have access to this and can use it to check for plagiarism, it is used instead as a formative feedback took to encourage students to monitor their own work and how they are sourcing. Regarding Turnitin, Jennifer Haber, Professor of Communications at St. Petersburg College shares this email from one of her students:

Keeping an eye on the similarities percentage area keeps me aware of possible situations where I may be using too much (or even too little) outside resource information. Due to its ease of use and instructive benefit, I would say the service has played a significant part in my becoming a more improved writer. I would favorably recommend its use to any institution of learning.

This kind of feedback has sold Professor Haber on the use of this tool.  Besides Turnitin, many more of these tools are popping up on the internet.  Two popular sites are:  Best Plaigerism Checker and Proofreader  and  Plagiarisma.Net (links provider below).  With these kinds of free tools available and the  bad press plagiarism has been receiving, its  wonder that students still plagiarize.  Perhaps these tools will help reduce it happening in our schools.  Let’s hope so.

https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarismq=plagiarism&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Search&utm_content=52804488846&utm_term=anti%20plagiarism%20checker%20free&matchtype=b&placement=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQjwmqyqBRC7zKnO_f6iodcBEiQA9T996EnCSJjGkjD4jvmQoquTIiBnRIyTkIHwt38N908eAMMaAvLd8P8HAQ

Plagiarisma.Net

http://www.turnitin.com/en_us/resources/blog/517-turnitin-educator-network/2381-what-students-say-about-turnitin

The Wikipedia Gender Gap

Wikipedia is  believed, by many, to be a democratic model of content creation because of WIKIit’s design which allows anyone to create/edit content. While listening to CBC Radio’s Spark, I (Pooja) learned that Wikipedia suffers from a severe gender gap. In fact, a study in 2011 conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation, found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors were women, making men the overwhelming contributors to Wikipedia.

Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, uses comments posted by women on articles related to the wiki gender gap to explain reasons women do not contribute more to Wikipedia:

1)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because the editing interface isn’t sufficiently user-friendly.

2)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are too busy.

3)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they aren’t sufficiently self-confident, and editing Wikipedia requires a lot of self-confidence.

4)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes fighty culture.

5)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because the information they bring to Wikipedia is too likely to be reverted or deleted.

6)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they find its overall atmosphere        misogynist.

7)     Some women find Wikipedia culture to be sexual in ways they find off-putting.

8)     Some women whose primary language has grammatical gender find being addressed by Wikipedia as male off-putting.

9) Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because social relationships and a welcoming tone are important to them, and Wikipedia offers fewer opportunities for that than other sites.

Like many, when I want to learn the basics about anything, Wikipedia is often the first place I go. However, before listening to the Spark radio show on Sunday, it never crossed my mind to edit or contribute to a Wikipedia page. Some of the reasons Gardner presented resonate with me, while others not at all. So what is it that’s keeping me (and you) from Wiki’ing?

Listen to CBC Radio Spark on the Wikipedia Gender Gap:

http://www.cbc.ca/spark/blog/2014/03/16/wiki-gender-gap/

Read Sue Gardner’s blog here:

http://suegardner.org/2011/02/19/nine-reasons-why-women-dont-edit-wikipedia-in-their-own-words/