Archive for November, 2009

Wikipedia and Academia

November 28, 2009

In October of 2007, Martha Groom, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, and Andreas Brockhaus, Director of Learning Technologies, both from the University of Washington Bothell, presented a paper at EDUCAUSE2007 entitled, “Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper”. The abstract read:

“The structure of the traditional term paper can limit its educational value. To make the assignment more meaningful, students published their papers in Wikipedia. This session will examine how publishing for a large online community motivated students to do better work and deal with issues of voice, knowledge, and community.”

Groom’s first attempt at incorporating Wikipedia into a class came in the fall of 2006, when she required her students to make a major revision to an existing article or to create one of their own, with a minimum of 1,500 words, for 60 percent of the grade. The assignment, for her course on environmental history and globalization, encompassed an initial proposal, a first draft, revisions and peer review, after which students would post the final article to the Web site. For the next semester, and after student feedback, Groom decided to lower the weight of the assignment (to 40 percent of the grade) and have students work in groups.

The notion of using Wikipedia, vilified by many an academic, will be anathema to many and an intriguing opportunity for others. For more information about this project, visit When Wikipedia Is the Assignment. This article includes a link to Groom and Brockhaus’ power point presentation to EDUCAUSE 2007. More information and commentary can be found at:

Prof replaces term papers with Wikipedia contributions, suffering ensues

Using Wikipedia to Re-envision the Term Paper

Wikipedia not good enough for you? Edit it

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Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

November 20, 2009

Every year the people behind the New Oxford American Dictionary choose a word of the year.  This year’s word: unfriend, meaning “To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.”

Read about the process behind choosing the word of the year, and check out some of the other words that were in the running.  Then let us know – what do you think should be the word of the year for 2009?