[A] Week 3 Discussion

Discussion Question:

Take a look at Murder, Madness, Mayhem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Murder_Madness_and_Mayhem as well as the associated essay (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jbmurray/Madness) written by the instructor who facilitated it. 

What piece from the instructor’s essay was most interesting or most helpful to you and why?

Respond by Wednesday, 8/3

Reply to another person’s post by Friday, 8/5

7 thoughts on “[A] Week 3 Discussion

  1. Michael Lynch Salazar (He/Him)

    I found the essay extremely informative and interesting since its content is actually about a topic dear to my heart, Latin American literature. It brought me back to an 8th grade history assignment that my social studies teacher at the time had assigned to us in groups. It was to choose a 19th-century president and to make a MySpace profile for them. This was in the era before Facebook, of course. It was a project that I had forgotten about until now, but I remember we had to fill in Andrew Jackson’s personal details such as where he was born (on a ship coming over from Northern Ireland) and what he did during his presidency along with what would be his personal justifications for those actions, such as the Trail of Tears (deporting Cherokee people from the east to what is now Oklahoma).

    I think the concept of using Wikipedia as an educational tool is extremely useful. After all, Wikipedia is often critiqued for how often information can be changed and by anyone in the world. But what if it’s changed/updated by students who know what they’re talking about and who use the sources they find on Wikipedia to build upon? After all, Wikipedia is pretty good at identifying information which still needs a source to back it up, and that’s an area which I think my students would be able to help out.

    I’m not sure if I would want my students to update/change information on the 2008 financial crisis’s Wikipedia page or if I would make it a fun assignment where they have to come up with a whole new article such as “The 2020 toilet paper crisis.” As the author of this essay mentions, a lot of information gets accepted and much of it gets deleted, but having students collect sources in order to write/edit a virtual encyclopedia article can only give them more experience in the field of research, so why not try it?

    1. Michael Schoch (he/him/his) Post author

      Hi Michael,

      I liked your point that: “After all, Wikipedia is often critiqued for how often information can be changed and by anyone in the world. But what if it’s changed/updated by students who know what they’re talking about and who use the sources they find on Wikipedia to build upon?”

      I agree that it’s one thing to tell students to be cautious of using Wikipedia without cross-referencing it, but another thing to tell them it’s untrustworthy as a whole. We see all the time that certain political groups and companies can change the content or core textbooks for public schools, even when that content isn’t accurate. I haven’t done a wiki-based assignment myself yet, but I like how much it requires that students and instructors think critically about what exactly a “reliable source” is–what makes it reliable, who gives it that stamp of approval, and what are their motives? This all seems like useful stuff to be thinking about, both in academia and in the broader professional world.

    2. Andrew Hernandez


      I agree that it might be worthwhile for university instructors to shift our orientations toward Wikipedia. After all, it is a tool our students will use whether we ask them to avoid it or not. I wonder what it might be like not to necessarily have our students craft their own articles, but to practice being a Wikipedia editor, looking for those missing citations or inaccurate information. Rather than having them practice having their material be deleted, we could facilitate their understanding of what makes sources valid and accurate and thus how to better critique/contribute to OERs and other open resources.


  2. Nitza Milagros Escalera

    I was quite surprised to learn about the process for an article to be published on Wikipedia. I am one of those professors that warn students against using Wikipedia for their research projects.
    The process the professor utilized seems to be rather intensive and so using this system as a project is not appealing to me.
    Similar to the faculty member, I worry about our students’ writing skills and am always in search of tools that I can recommend to students. However, the use of Wikipedia did not appeal to me.

    Michael, I also enjoy reading books written by writers from the Spanish speaking Caribbean and the Americas. One of my favorites is USMAIL by Pedro Juan Soto.

  3. Andrew Hernandez

    Hi everyone,

    First, apologies for my lateness. Somehow I missed this third Discussion Board until I went to work on the Week 3 assignment. Anyway…

    In reviewing the linked resources for this week’s discussion board, I found myself really reflecting on the role of Wikipedia within academia. As the instructor’s essay indicates, Wikipedia has been much criticized within university circles, and yet, students (and instructors) reference the website all the time. Engaging in the act of creating a piece for Wikipedia has the potential for students and instructors to better understand how resources are created and shared, and perhaps to even better appreciate what Wikipedia has to offer/how to use it responsibly. Many instructors strive to teach their students how to sift through sources to determine their validity. As the essay suggests, these same strategies might be applied to Wikipedia itself, better helping students use it responsibly. I also think the activity of creating a Wikipedia page helps students and instructors to better practice co-creating open/shared resources. In other words, Wikipedia could be used as a tool to help in the creation of other OERs.

  4. Vedica Foster

    I found this piece very interesting, because I was born in Guyana the only English speaking country in South America and it always fascinated me that we weren’t conquered by Spain or other Spanish speaking European countries.
    As I mentioned in our class session break out rooms, I am interesting in doing a Wikipedia page myself and will definitely use the above pieces as a reference it is helpful and insight to know that this can be done by both students and teacher. I appreciate your sharing it with us and I will employee these strategies when my time comes around. Of course, sharing our concerns of double checking resources and references.

  5. Bruce Shenitz (he/him/his)

    Interesting discussion everyone! I agree that doing a Wikipedia-based project is both a way to better understand its strengths and weaknesses, and that doing such a project is likely to be very time intensive. Just a reminder that other collaboration tools (hypothes.is, Google docs) can provide some of the same skill-building and are less complicated.


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