Wikipedia kid: “a student who has poor research skills and lacks the ability to think critically”

Thanks to John McIntyre’s language and editing blog, You Don’t Say, I discovered the new term “Wikipedia kid.”

According to the website Word Spy: The Word Lover’s Guide to New Words, a Wikipedia kid is “a student who has poor research skills and lacks the ability to think critically.”

Word Spy lists the earliest citation as an April 6, 2009 report from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations:

Students less prepared for university education than in 2005, according to Ontario university faculty

Wikipedia kids less mature and lacking required skills

..First-year students are less prepared for university education than students from just three years earlier, according to over 55 percent of Ontario university faculty and librarians who responded to a recent questionnaire. Respondents reported declines in writing and numeric skills combined with lower maturity among students who believe that good grades are an entitlement…

Respondents most often reported the following challenges among first-year students:

Lower level of maturity

Poor research skills as evidenced by an overreliance on Internet tools like Wikipedia as external research sources

Expectation of success without the requisite effort

Inability to learn independently…

2 responses to “Wikipedia kid: “a student who has poor research skills and lacks the ability to think critically”

  1. Wow. I remember all of these criticisms, minus the mentions of the Internet and Wikipedia, from when I started college 20 years ago.

    Things getting worse is one possible explanation, but other ones include nostalgia, confirmation bias, and those darned kids standing on faculty lawns. I’d love to see a good longitudinal study that could tell the difference.

  2. When I was in university, I saw an overabundance of people there who just didn’t belong there, many of them fratboys who were just there to get drunk and party. Most universities in the USA have decayed into babysitting services for young drunkards.

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