Viva El Señor Presidente!

I’ve blogged a couple times previously about the Murder, Madness and Mayhem Wikipedia project (MMM) this semester, as it is the most potent cocktail of new media learning and public education that I’ve ever tasted.

As the semester wraps up, I’m thrilled to report that the objective of elevating an entry to “featured article” status has been met. Congratulations to the wiki-wranglers who took a non-existent entry for the novel El Señor Presidente (written by the Nobel Prize-winning Miguel Ángel Asturias), and created a resource so well-researched and presented that is was awarded the designation of Wikipedia’s 2000th Featured Article.

Those of you still wandering lost in the tired epistemic thickets, unable to fairly assess a resource that “anyone can edit”, are encouraged to read not only the entry for El Señor Presidente, but the other recognised MMM articles as well. Believe me, even “good article” status is not something to take lightly. Take a look at the dense layers of citations, and explore the rigorous peer review the work was subjected to via the discussion pages.

Then, please (PLEASE!) let me know if there’s a project that so effectively builds on traditional research and literacy skills, augments them with new media negotiation and interrogation (giving these students intimate knowledge of a resource they were already using), and that results in such high-quality open educational resources (most of which were nonexistent before this course) — articles that will be accessed by literally thousands of readers (in one case hundreds of thousands) and researchers per year.

FYI, the students kept individual blogs as well. And I promise you Jon, we will be able to whip up a proper course blog if you’re willing to give OLT another chance.

I still get forwarded media stories resulting from the hoo-haa when one college department banned citations of Wikipedia (a controversy that Henry Jenkins rightly described as overblown). Will this far more compelling, more inspiring and more illuminating counter-example of the academy making Wikipedia work for its own objectives get anything like the same level of attention?

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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