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It turns out that teachers use Wikipedia much more often than U.S. adult internet users at large (87% vs. 53%), according to a Pew Research Center study, "How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms" released on February 28, 2013. "Wikipedia is really an encyclopedia that presents information from consensus," says Renee Bangerter, professor of English at Saddleback College in a Turnitin webcast entitled What's Wrong with Wikipedia. She goes on to say, "But it is what it is, a general encyclopedia, and in academic writing we really want students to be moving towards primary or secondary sources."Teachers have been known to often discourage students from using Wikipedia because of concerns about the accuracy of user-generated, crowd-sourced content. Despite this, students still commonly make Wikipedia their first stop when starting their online research. If students are to use Wikipedia, they should use it to familiarize themselves with a quick summary of a topic before moving on to other more credible sources.Turnitin recently made available The Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER), as a free interactive PDF that you can use to score any website you want. You can use it to evaluate student sources, or better yet, have your students use it to self-evaluate the sources they use.
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