Volume I, Issue1
MARIST TO ADOPT WIKIPEDIA CURRICULUM
After much speculation, Marist University announced last Monday, that it would live up to its title of "Most High Tech School" by adopting Wikipedia.org as its official online textbook provider.
James Wales, founder of Wikipedia, is to sign an exclusive deal later this month allowing future Marist students to have priority over certain edits such as citations. At this morning's press conference, Wales announced, "I am very excited to start this new project with the Marist community and I hope that many other colleges follow this example and step into the future."
This policy change was first proposed by Marist Director of Financial Affairs, Peter Stradler, in early 2008 as a mean to cut back on "wasteful spending."
"With the economy going nowhere but down we need to cut back," said Stradler at a university board meeting. "Students today spend more time on the internet than ever before so why keep them away? By replacing paper books with digital books the college saves money, the students save money and their parents save money!" Stradler went on to say, "Just think about it, we are in the Digital Age; everything is available on the internet and using books to read from is the equivalent of something from the Dark Ages."
However, not everyone agrees with Stradler's decision, Wikipedia.org has long been criticized for not being a reliable source to cite or quote. Nevertheless, Wales assures the public they are really cracking down and that the site should be at least 80% factual by September.
Dedicated mother and head of Marist Representatives Preventing Internet Based Books (MRPIBB), Ellen Chambers, spoke earlier at a rally right outside Marist. "I read books, you read books, everyone read books-why stop something that works?" Chambers went on to say, "Wikipedia has been known to get things wrong, time and time again. How do we know they are going be correct for our kids tomorrow?"
The students on the other hand, do not seem as worried.
Jennifer Thomas, a philosophy senior, said, "To be fair I've been copying and pasting from Wikipedia for years now. I guess I'm just glad it's acceptable now."
Paul Becker, a Communications sophomore, replied, "I was excited to see my list of books for next year just say ?Wikipedia' for every class."
Ted Walkings, a student involved in the original beta testing, told us the best part of this change was, "the ability to change anything and everything of any given subject." He went on to say, "I took a Wikipedia-based test yesterday and 75% of the answers involved Natty Light."
The move to a different reading platform is not an entirely new concept.
In the spring of 1991, the University of Syracuse required all students to get palm pilots loaded with his/her individual textbooks. However, a lack of textbooks in digital format cut back Syracuse's plan.
Last year, the Florida Institute of Technology had all their textbooks available on Amazon's Kindle. But due to some compatibility issues and this year's release of the Kindle 2 the project fell apart as well.
Using these past experiments as platforms, Marist may be on to something big. Sources say several other colleges are quickly passing similar projects with their school boards
"I'm fully confident this will quickly become the new standard and Marist will become a trendsetter for the rest of the learning community," said Wales.