Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Professor Youtube


Middlebury’s ban on Wikipedia citation is old news now, but the New York Times reveals a figure who merits a closer look.

Jason Mittell, an assistant professor of American studies and film and media culture at Middlebury, said he planned to take the pro-Wikipedia side in the campus debate. “The message that is being sent is that ultimately they see it as a threat to traditional knowledge,” he said. “I see it as an opportunity. What does that mean for traditional scholarship? Does traditional scholarship lose value?”

I’ve been trying to figure out an equation for this, but have had some difficulty

Traditional scholarship = Expectation of complete truth
Wikipedia scholarship = Hope for a truth level around 80%

I don’t see much of a difference either! The former standard is clearly far too high for our students.

Mittell isn’t merely talking though, he’s putting html where his words are:

For his course “Media Technology and Cultural Change,” which began this month, Professor Mittell said he would require his students to create a Wikipedia entry as well as post a video on YouTube, create a podcast and produce a blog for the course.

The internet had better brace itself for a coming wave of luminous scholarship.


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