As an activity for one of my English classes, my professor asked us to contribute to a Wikipedia page. Although I was aware of the fact that anyone can edit Wikipedia posts, I never thought I would ever actually make a contribution to a Wikipedia page. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t know how to do it or maybe it’s because I just never thought of taking the time to do it.
As I was researching topics on Wikipedia and viewing what types of edits people typically make to Wikipedia pages, I came across many contributions that were made by people that were passionate about that specific topic. When I think about what I am passionate about, I automatically think of education but I also think of my school: Chapman University.
Chapman has become my home in the United States and I decided that it would be fitting for me to contribute to the Chapman University Wikipedia page. As I scrolled through the page, I was surprised to see that the College of Educational Studies (CES) section had a mere three sentences describing the whole college. Since I am part of CES as a student and a part-time receptionist in the main office, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to test my knowledge of CES. I thought it would be beneficial to add more information under the CES section of the page because although CES has their own website, people are usually more inclined to go straight to Wikipedia since it’s easier to access and navigate.
The process of making a contribution to Wikipedia was not as tedious as I had previously expected. All I did was look at the original College of Educational Studies section on the Wikipedia page and look for information that was missing. I then went to the Chapman College of Educational Studies website and found information that I thought would be helpful to include. Adding information to the Wikipedia page is as simple as opening an account and clicking the edit button at the top of the page.
The ease of editing Wikipedia pages was alarming to me because it made me think that anyone can edit a Wikipedia page! However, I soon realized that there are many people that monitor the Wikipedia pages and people aren’t able to easily get away with adding false information or information without a credible source.
Wikipedia can be seen as a constructive hypertext because it has the capability to change, since anyone can make a contribution to Wikipedia. Because education is a constantly evolving subject matter, Wikipedia is a perfect platform to use because information is constantly being added and updated. Although many professors say that Wikipedia isn’t a credible source, I think it is monitored and regulated enough for it to be used as a source for acquiring basic and fast information.
In this sense, Wikipedia is similar in some aspects to that of a fast food restaurant. For instance, at a fast food restaurant you expect cheap food that will satisfy your hunger, a meal that is prepared both promptly and with little effort, not one of great quality. The same goes for Wikipedia. When you utilize Wikipedia, you are able to access information at an instant and with minimal searching. However, this instantaneous gratification comes with a price. Although it is easy to use Wikipedia, the information may not be entirely accurate or it may be incomplete. Thus, Wikipedia should only be used to provide the most basic understanding of a subject or area.
I encourage everyone to experiment with Wikipedia and make a contribution!
Feel free to check out the Chapman University Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapman_University