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Peter Wood

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1 reviews

Review for Intellectual Takeout, Bloomington, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Intellectual Take-Out fills an important niche in the ecology of American higher education. Increasingly college and university courses tell only one side of stories that have many sides. Or, if they tell more than one side, they treat the other sides as foils for presenting the preferred view. ITO offers an antidote: a rounded collection of views on the sorts of topics that students encounter in today's college curricula.

Students who turn to ITO are often surprised by the degree of disinterestedness shown by the editors. ITO doesn't engage in activist advocacy. Instead it presents the full spectrum of scholarship and public information on the topics it addresses. ITO doesn't attempt to cover every topic. Rather it has built its website a topic at a time, preferring depth and quality over mere range. But gradually it has built up a very substantial collection of topics.

My organization, the National Association of Scholars, has worked with ITO via its "Ask a Scholar" feature, and I've had many occasions to use the site myself. It is far more reliable than, say, Wikipedia, in its treatment of controversial topics. You don't get the censorship of views that transgress political correctness at ITO. One result is that you see students who clearly disagree with some of the positions posted on ITO who become enthusiastic supporters of it.

Our universities today tend to be more partisan than ever before, and partisan on one side of the political spectrum. ITO isn't a cure for that partisanship but it is a corrective for some of its worst excesses.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to broaden the list of topics it addresses.

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Role:  Board Member