Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wikipedia? Has Mr. N Lost his Mind?

Ok everyone, most of you appear to be getting the hang of posting and commenting. I saw one comment about a student's reluctance to use Wiki as a research source after listening to me rant last year about the evils of using Wiki as a research source. If you recall, we were all working on a formal research paper, and I wanted you to use primary sources. Wiki is not a primary source for use in an academic paper. However, it IS a useful tool for gathering general information and a wonderful source for finding other primary or secondary sources. You are allowed to use it for this class unless I state otherwise.

For the assignment posted August 19th, I wanted you to get some experience navigating the blog by using some general information found easily on the web and posting some guesses into why I might have named the blog Alice's Restaurant. Some of you have done a little (emphasis on little) research and drawn some inferences to make some educated guesses as to how the blog was named. That was what I was hoping you would do. However, others have posted nothing more than comments based purely on guesswork without any research involved. I will take part of the blame for that because my instructions might have been too vague.

So, this is what I want you to do now. I want you to create a post that addresses the following prompts:

Alice's Restaurant

  1. Where was it?

  2. Who opened it?

  3. How long was the original Alice's Restaurant open?

  4. Describe its physical appearance.

The Song

  1. Why did Arlo Guthrie write the song?

  2. Describe the tone of the song? (Happy, sad, sarcastic, hyperbolic, etc)

  3. Why?

  4. What do you he means by "You can get anything you want"? Clue: It isn't drugs.


  1. Who was she?

  2. Why did Guthrie name the song after her restaurant?

  3. What is Alice doing these days?

Arlo Guthrie

  1. Describe Guthrie's background.

  2. What is he doing today?

Each of you are to post the link(s) where you obtained you information at the end of your post. I expect the posts to significantly longer. You will have to have your post up by the end of class Thursday. In addition, you are required to comment at least three times to other posts.

And by the way, a comment like the following is NOT acceptable:

pooper_scooper61 said...
well umm here is my comment. good guess.

A comment like this is more in line with what I am looking for:

Led_Floyd said...
I like the idea of having a link but not to Wikipedia. We learned last year that it is just too general and could possibly give false information. I never use Wikipedia for anything anyway. For the information I went to a lyric site to read the song and I went to a fan site to read about Arlo himself. Here they are if you wish to look at what I read:
August 29, 2007 2:02 PM

The last item I would like to address is the punctuation and spelling in your posts. I expect all posts to be spell checked and properly punctuated. Comments are fair game for using you own vernaculars.

Any questions? Come see me.

Happy Blogging,

Mr. N


KF said...

This sounds like fun. Barb and I were talking yesterday about Wikipedia. While it's not a source you would ever site in a paper, we both agreed that many times it is the first place we start just to gain a bit of information.

It's kind of a myth that there is a lot of wrong information on Wikipedia. Just a few weeks ago, there was an article in the New York Times Magazine about the people--volunteers with credentials--work to make sure the information is accurate. For the most part, as quickly as someone puts up false information, in minutes it is corrected by one of the Wikipedia editors.

I said all that to agree with you. I think it's a good place to start. But I would NEVER ever site it in a paper. People will laugh and heckle you.
P.S. When I find that Times article, I will send it to you.


Jiffeepop said...

Thanx for keeping an eye on this. I really expect the students to step up and work a little harder on their posts. I naively thought they would take the initiative and just type Alice's Restaurant into a search string and go with it, but you see the work done so far. I am figuring out how far down the path I have to walk with them before they take off on their own. I really think the quality of the posts will pick up after Labor Day and they have to start working on a more structured assignment. I am still excited by what I think will happen with this blog.