Welcome to my class plus a fine article about Wikipedia

September 3, 2014

Hi Class,

I hope that your summer was great: as productive and as relaxing as you wished it to be.

As we get to know each other, I believe that you will find that I am very fond of reading, and I am interested in new digital technologies. In particular, I like to examine digital tools that can help students work more efficiently. One such digital tool is Wikipedia. Hardly a week goes by when a friend, or a parent of a college student, or a colleague rips into Wikipedia (a new digital research tool) for its flimsy research, its weak documentation, its biased approach. Well, I’ve always thought that Wikipedia keeps gaining ground on other encyclopedias, and it looks like it has truly reached the tipping point, especially when esteemed historian William Cronon gives it the thumbs up:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/one-of-the-nations-top-historians-decides-its-time-to-embrace-wikipedia/252576/

Try this exercise: look up the terms “immigration”and “Brooklyn Bridge” on Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia and tell me which one is more complete with more footnotes and more resources.

My next point:

Summary Blueprint:

a.  Author’s thesis. Identify the author’s name and the title of the writing

b.  Author’s more specific thesis and plot outline (if applicable)

c.  Author’s examples, evidence, structure, and style

d.  Author’s conclusion

 

Cheers and welcome to my class,

Prof. Scanlan

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