It Takes a Community


While I was enjoying my day off on Presidents' Day, a teacher and her class were hard at work. A teacher at W.H. Chapman Elementary School in Spartanburg emailed me three problems on StudySC that her students had found on the site, all on the content dealing with famous South Carolina African-Americans. The date of birth was wrong for Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, the date of death was missing for boxer Joe Frazier, and the date of birth was written as two different dates in the linked article for Chris Rock. The Biography in Context article for Chris Rock also listed his home town as Georgetown rather than Andrews.

These are interesting errors that highlight the problems of trusting information, no matter where it comes from. When you Google Mamie Johnson, you get listings that say both 1932 and 1935. Who do you trust? Likely you would trust the DISCUS resource Biography in Context over a website. But for Chris Rock, the article listed his birthplace incorrectly and listed two different birth years. I changed the link to a different Biography in Context resource, but am concerned about the quality of the other article.

Instead of ignoring these errors, the teacher made these finds a teachable moment and promised her students that their close reading and attention to detail would be recognized. The content in StudySC is written by one person with occasional assistance from USC interns--it takes a community to make this an educational resource the best it can be for students, teachers, librarians, and the public. Today, it took one persistent teacher.