KYIV, Ukraine — Click on a Wikipedia topic about optometry in the Polish language or Newtonian mechanics in Ukrainian and the article that pops up may well be a college student thesis.
That’s because universities in Poland and Ukraine are exploring new requirements. Instead of cribbing research from Wikipedia for papers that will probably only gather dust, advocates of the idea say students would be better off writing their own Wikipedia articles.
Although critics warn that Wikipedia articles are no substitute for rigorous academic papers, supporters say more than simply putting more information at public disposal, erasing boundaries between the internet and academia will invigorate scholarship by enabling it to benefit everyone.
“Contributing to Wikipedia considerably increases students’ motivation since their articles can be read by the whole world, not just their teachers or supervisors,” argues Sergei Petrov, one of the Wikipedia project coordinators in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute ran a test program during its last fall that produced 23 new or expanded articles on Wikipedia Ukraine....