This week was Wikis. I think everyone must be familiar with Wikipedia, so long as you've been on the internet for more than an hour in your life, so the concept was very clear. I personally find Wikipedia very useful as a starting point on all assignments. Obviously one must be careful to not take the information posted on there as gospel, but for general facts and a starting point, is there a better site? Probably not, as I don't recall not finding a post on a topic that I searched. And for many of the more "scholarly" pages, contributors have done it right and cited their work, giving access to great resources for you to use on your papers. Just the vast size of Wikipedia is difficult to comprehend, as it has "38 million articles in 285 languages" (K12Learning20.com, 2013). That's massive!
Wikis once again highlight collaborative learning. However, unlike Evernote or Google Docs, Wikis have an even wider application. The previous two work well with small groups, but everyone has to know everyone to access the work. A wiki is free for anyone to edit, with a much more streamlined permission process. It allows experts to come in from various fields, work on the wiki, and leave without anyone ever asking or expecting the help. This is a huge bonus! Literally millions of people can come together to create a massive vault of information, like Wikipedia, free for everyone to use as they need. But Wikipedia is just the start. During this lesson, I became aware of just how far people have taken Wikis, from in depth video game assessments and guides, to online tutorials for school subjects like math and chemistry. I think Wikis are actually one of the greatest signs of the online community coming together to create something very positive and useful.
The "anyone can edit" function has some drawbacks though. Trolls can use Wikis for malicious intent, either as a harmless joke or sometimes more serious. A few weeks back someone was accused of editing the Wikipedia page of a girl who had committed suicide after sexual assault, trying to write a different account of how the assault took place. It ended up being one of the accused father's who did it. But for the most part, Wikis are used for good, and incorrect or harmful information is swiftly corrected.
Another news day, and unfortunately another sad story. In recent months and even recent years, there has been a large spotlight on a horrible problem in India; that is, sexual violence towards women. Rape is rampant in many parts of the country, despite seemingly widespread condemnation from the international community, local government, and tribal leaders. It seems like a lot of talk over action. Just this past week, a nun in her 70's was raped. Perhaps it shouldn't matter who the victim is, but the fact that these animals so viciously attacked a helpless women who lives a life dedicated to peace and helping others really gets to me. I don't know what we can do about it, but perhaps the best we can do is not let this recurring story get swept under the rug. This is a huge crime that must stop. You can get the story here http://nyti.ms/1AoSaj9