Wikipedia verbessert studentische Performance

Die wiss. online-Zeitschrift First Monday hat in diesem Monat gleich mehrere Artikel zum Thema Wikipedia.

Zu den interessanteren Resultaten gehören zwei Studien: die erste, How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-related Research zeigt, dass Wikipedia die Bedürfnisse von Studenten für Hintergrund-Recherche erfüllt, weil sie eine Mixtur von Berichterstattung, Verbreitung, Komfort und Verständlichkeit liefert, die von keiner anderen einzelnen Quelle so bereitgestellt wird.

Bleibt die Frage, ob und wie Wikipedia beim Lernen wirklich hilft. In einem Artikel über Individual Focus and Knowledge Contribution untersuchen die Autoren anhand sehr umfangreichen Datenmaterials die Beziehung zwischen Schwerpunktsetzung (bei der Sichtung von Informationen) und der resultierenden Qualität der Beiträge und vergleichen als Quellen der Recherche von Studenten wissenschaftliche Artikel, Patente, Wikipedia und Online Foren. Sie finden eine kleine aber signifikante positive Korrelation zwischen Schwerpunktsetzung und Qualität. Sie können damit zeigen, dass sowohl auf dem Niveau von Gruppenarbeit als auch von Einzelarbeit “Breite” über “Tiefe” triumphiert.

Im Bereich des Forecasting ist dieser Effekt als “Foxes beat Hedgehogs” bekannt: “Füchse” (foxes), die viele Dinge wissen (aber möglicherweise nicht so genau) machen im Mittel zutreffendere Aussagen über die Zukunft als “Igel” (die auf eine Sache fokussiert sind, die sie sehr genau kennen).

Diese Ergebnisse können natürlich nicht dazu dienen, Wikipedia als ausschließliche Wissensquelle zu positionieren – sie rücken die globale Enzyklopädie, die kollektiv erzeugt und gepflegt wird aber in die Nähe traditioneller Methoden der Wissensbeschaffung. Und vielleicht viel wichtiger noch: Wikipedia kann man nicht nur lesen, man kann daran teilnehmen, wenn man möchte.

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Ein Gedanke zu „Wikipedia verbessert studentische Performance

  1. Thanks for linking to the First Monday article by Dennis and Al-Obaidi, which I think raises important questions of epistemology. But I must say that I found it difficult to relate to my teaching in any practical way. We Anglo-Americans are always wanting to operationalize things, God help us, but these days I’m planning my courses and so constantly asking what might be of practical benefit to me and my students.

    So I fired up my (DevonThink) database (where I store bookmarks and notes so I might get a head start at moments like this), nosed around my Georgetown University (CNDLS, the technology in education department) bookmarks looking for something related to writing and roughly comparable, and within minutes found an article, Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines that adds significantly to our conversation on transformative learning and offers a number of accessible illustrations, for example:

    “…A threshold concept may also involve a performative element. Sproull points out how the gaining of aquatic confidence in Sports Science students leads to a dramatically enhanced appreciation of water as a sporting and exploratory environment. This would be an interesting example of an ‘enactive’ concept in Bruner’s sense (Bruner, 1966).”

    Achieve that in Second Life (which has yet to happen to me), and we newbies are IN, or?

    In the meantime, here’s how I see this approach set up in the Heads First, “Data Analysis” chapter that I like so much (and will use for my Intro to Business Information Systems class). They walk you into a data analysis problem (water), you read it completely wrong and fail the test (you drown and have a near-death experience), they then show you how to analyze and examine critically your premises (get the lead out of your pockets, unfog your goggles), learn an important strategy for discovery (figure out which way is up and how to claw, paddle your way there), read the date creatively (kick), and come up with a far more compelling explanation (reach the surface, enjoy a breath of fresh air).

    Here’s what they say about this book on the Head First Labs page: “This is a learning experience, not a reference book…,” this book “is about how to be a data analyst,” and most importantly, I think:

    The activities are NOT optional. The exercises and activities are not add-ons; they’re part of the core content of the book. Some of them are to help with memory, some are for understanding, and some will help you apply what you’ve learned. Don’t skip the exercises. The crossword puzzles are the only thing you don’t have to do, but they’re good for giving your brain a chance to think about the words and terms you’ve been learning in a different context.

    I think this “hands-on”, Head First approach is just great. Starting with that first chapter, I’m led through activities that have turned my head around, that I have wanted to read a second time to be sure I understood them and might apply them, have left me feeling I’d gotten into some higher level of understanding the subject, and which have helped me to keep thinking of solving problems in this way when confronting related problems.

    So, the First Monday article was a great help. First, it set a high standard and worthy direction, but an abstract one that, to be of practical use I had to figure out how to apply: it posed a great question. Second, it led me to slice through my database once again, move things around, put my bookmarks into better shape, and head off looking for more: it led me to remember and recover my research on these kinds of questions. Third, I ended up finding articles that were both more abstract/sophisticated AND more practical and hands-on: it helped me add to my knowledge and confirm more precisely why I am going to use the Head First text in my class.

    Thanks!

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