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Old 05-10-2009, 06:53 AM   #76
Alexander Turcic
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Well I support open source textbooks and I think the Wikipedia experience lends credibility to open source textbooks.
You stating that thibaulthalpern is a bad teacher has nothing to do with the Wikipedia experience nor with this discussion.

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It was unavoidable. If somebody says "I do X" how do you then write "X is bad" without the strong possibility that it is unnecessarily interpreted as personal?
???

If one member tells another member that he or she is a bad teacher merely because that other member has a different belief in the accuracy of Wikipedia, than this is personal.

Another reminder: This discussion is about open source textbooks and not about what makes a teacher good or bad.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:15 AM   #77
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???

If one member tells another member that he or she is a bad teacher merely because that other member has a different belief in the accuracy of Wikipedia, than this is personal.
It was the action of telling students something that was being criticized.

What do you mean by personal? Do you mean it is bad to be personal in the way you describe? My point was that the person saying he do some action X is the one that starts being personal. How should you then respond to this without being criticized for being personal?
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:26 AM   #78
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Being good at any job usually requires you to be proficient at all kinds of things. Being a good teacher certainly requires you to master a multitude of skills.

So to call someone a bad teacher just because you disagree with how they advise (or indeed dictate to) their students on one issue is hardly cause to tell them that they are bad at their job.

Sirbruce could easily have said they he disagreed with thibaulthalperns opinion of wikipedia and asked him to clarify what he though of printed media and how reliable that was in comparison. Or just asked him to explain his reasoning more fully. A sensible and less argumentative discussion could have followed. That's how I would of done it. No need to start telling people they are bad at their job. It's just bad manners and not what I've come to expect from this forum.

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Old 05-10-2009, 07:43 AM   #79
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But does anyone know how these textbooks will be compiled? Who will be writing the early editions?
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:53 AM   #80
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But does anyone know how these textbooks will be compiled? Who will be writing the early editions?
A good question, Wikipedia works because it is mainly just a general encyclopedia, people can contribute as much or as little as they like and in any area they feel qualified to write about. However course text books have to meet much more exacting standards, especially in California. They need to cover a subject in much more detail. Haven't projects like this been attempted before? and failed miserably? I just can't see how they could possibly have this done by the fall.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:55 AM   #81
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What do you mean by personal? Do you mean it is bad to be personal in the way you describe? My point was that the person saying he do some action X is the one that starts being personal. How should you then respond to this without being criticized for being personal?
One more reminder: This discussion is about open source textbooks and not about criticizing a member's professional skills.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:58 AM   #82
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But does anyone know how these textbooks will be compiled? Who will be writing the early editions?
Good question. I found this article on open-source textbooks and how supply is still rather small.
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Old 05-10-2009, 01:33 PM   #83
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Are there any studies that prove your claim?

At least where I studied, Wikipedia was not considered a trustworthy source for academic papers. Our professors made that perfectly clear to us.

Here I give you one example why. You say, as soon as someone wrongfully edits a Wikipedia entry, "a moment later, it would be corrected." That may be true for popular topics and entries. But it is most certainly not true for entries of lesser interest that receiver fewer hits by visitors.
I remember reading a Wiki entry on Nigeria and was very surprised to see one of the colonial flags of Nigeria being displayed. For a moment I doubted my knowledge and thought, maybe I haven't been following the news closely enough to realise there was discussion over the change of Nigeria's flag! So I scouted other sources and confirmed that the entry made was vandalised. It was still up the next day. So, I think you're right that very popular entries will get more monitoring while many other less popular entries won't.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On to a separate point, not related to what TadW said at all:

This is not to say that Wikipedia cannot be used for research. My point all along was that Wikipedia should not be CITED in an academic paper. That's way different than saying it shouldn't be used to gain some knowledge about something as one begins the initial stages of research.

Apparently, there has been some logic fallacy in some posts above that conflate what's appropriate to use for preliminary research and what's to be cited in an scholarly paper. What this suggests to me is that whoever made that conflation (who shall be nameless) doesn't engage much, if at all, in professional and published research because that kind of conflation is not often, if at all, made by people who do published research.

Furthermore, there has been serious misunderstanding about how scholarly work gets published. We don't just hit "print" and it gets published. A journal article and book goes through numerous review processes, passes through the eyes of numerous reviewers and editors before it gets printed. This is NOT to say the source is necessary correct. After all, we academicians argue about framework, theory, interpretation, and epistemologies all the time.

Anyway, time for me to disregard some of the posts on this topic!
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Old 05-10-2009, 01:43 PM   #84
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More on the accuracy of Wikipedia:
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/11/8296.ars
http://nowherenorth.wordpress.com/20...encyclopedias/

For what it's worth, I tell my students that they are entirely free to consult Wikipedia, Brittanica or any other general encyclopedia that they wish. However, I require references and citations that are as close to the primary source as possible.

The result is that an unreferenced encyclopedia entry is not much use to them. If they find a useful Wikipedia article which has references, then they are expected to go to them and check them out. As far as possible, I would expect them to do the same with general textbooks too.

Many people end up in careers far removed from their degree subjects. (This is especially try of Humanities degrees.) But I would hope that they learn scholarly skills such as the ability to analyse and weigh up sources.
EXACTLY. That's what I tell my students too.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:12 PM   #85
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And a moment later, it would be corrected.

Meanwhile, you could RIGHT NOW go write a printed academic publication and make drastic and erroneous errors and once it's in print that erroneous information could be cited FOREVER for academic papers.
When using wikipedia there is a simple step that anyone should take and that is to look at the bottom of the screen and note when the last change was made. If it was just a few minutes ago then do not cite that page or use it for a reference unless you verify what was changes. This is also easy to do by looking at the history of the page. Like any source you need to validate the data yourself before trusting it. You need to understand how something works before blindly trusting it. A wiki is easy to check by looking at the date of the change and verify the validity of the change.

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Old 05-10-2009, 08:15 PM   #86
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One potential worry is a possible editorial bias. If the Californian authorities are commissioning the books and strongly advising that they are to be used, they might want to suggest how the content is presented.
There is some advantage in having a choice, especially as most subjects have controversial areas.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:46 PM   #87
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One potential worry is a possible editorial bias. If the Californian authorities are commissioning the books and strongly advising that they are to be used, they might want to suggest how the content is presented.
There is some advantage in having a choice, especially as most subjects have controversial areas.

I think it will vary widely due to subject matter. For example, basic arithmetic, algebra or trigonometry shouldn't have problems, but Bioscience, history, and literature will have lots. And social sciences - oh my!
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:18 PM   #88
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Good question. I found this article on open-source textbooks and how supply is still rather small.
Interesting read.

Not every discipline has a propensity towards textbooks. In cultural anthropology, we often do not use textbooks at the college level. There are a few universities where for cultural anthropology introductory classes do use textbooks and of course many 2-year colleges do too. But for the most part, we don't assign textbooks and instead we assign course readers which are our own compilation of various articles, book chapters, and so forth, along with actual books. The textbook portion of the course comes in the lectures given. That is, the lectures provide the framework and narrative for tying the course together which essentially a textbook does.

I've always found using textbooks in certain disciplines such as history and cultural anthropology very odd and often inappropriate--although I do want to qualify that in some situations it does demand it such as when you have many EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students where textbooks are easier to follow and takes much less work for the student to tie the course together.

In general though, I think it's more appropriate in fields such as say physical anthropology, maths, and so forth where a bulk of the learning comes from actually having to regurgitate some "hard facts" and information. In cultural anthropology, that often is not the case. Instead, our production of knowledge comes through examining theories, frameworks and putting ideas into conversation with each other rather than having to remember some hard facts.

If I were to teach about the Black Atlantic (black diaspora) there is no reason for a random student taking the class to have to remember details about the history, but what's more important is to understand the theoretical approach, frameworks, assumptions, and claims used in envisioning and creating a Black Atlantic. Those kinds of approaches do not lend itself to traditional textbooks and perhaps textbooks would be very dampening in those arenas of learning.

Perhaps more common for cultural anthropology is what we call readers. These are pre-assembled published compilation of articles for a particular subject in the field. These are no different than the readers that are compiled by the instructor themselves except that the former is published and distributed widely and the latter is only printed for the course being taught.

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