Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia

Originally from The Argus

Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia
By Andy Chiles

A lecturer has criticised students for relying on websites like Google and Wikipedia to do their thinking for them.
Professor Tara Brabazon, from the University of Brighton, said too many young people around the world were taking the easy option when asked to do research and simply repeating the first things they found on internet searches.
She has dubbed the phenomenon “The University of Google”.

Prof Brabazon said: “The education world has pursued new technology with an almost evangelical zeal and it is time to take a step back and give proper consideration of how we use it.

“Too many students don’t use their own brains enough. We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis.”

She said thousands of students across the country, including those at the universities of Brighton and Sussex, were churning out banal and mediocre work by using what search engines provided them.

Prof Brabazon, a media studies specialist with a background in history and literature, said: “It is down to institutions to prevent this from happening. It is not good for anybody.

“I don’t think students come to university to learn how to use Google. They can all do that before they get here.

“It is an easy way out for tutors to let them work to their own devices using search engines.

“People have to pay to come to university now and what they are paying for is the knowledge, experience and guidance of people like myself.

“There is a school of thinking that it should be about them directing their own learning but I think giving guidance is crucial.

“I ban my students from using Google, Wikipedia and other websites like that. I give them a reading list to work from and expect them to cite a good number of them in any work they produce.”

She said young people were finishing education with shallow ideas and needed to learn interpretative skills before starting to use technology.

Prof Brabazon, who previously worked in Australia and New Zealand, said declining libraries were contributing to the problem.

She said: “I want students to sit down and read. It’s not the same when you read it online. I want them to experience the pages and the print as much as the digitisation and the pixels. Both are fine but I want them to have both, not one or the other, not a cheap solution.”

She will be giving a lecture on the issue, called Google Is White Bread For The Mind, at the Sallis Benney Theatre in Grand Parade, Brighton, on Wednesday at 6.30pm.

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