Throw the baby out?

News: Searching For Better Research Habits – Inside Higher Ed.

So, I encourage you to read the above-linked IHE article, but I’ll give you a brief idea of its point. Students tend to misuse search engines (Google and JSTOR alike) due not only to a lack of understanding of how the algorithms produce results, but also a lack of understanding of how to create a critical thinking-based search process in the first place. Many more topics are hit in the article (again, you should read the whole thing), but that simple observation made me wonder.

How many educators would respond with the “Google is making us stupid” observation and disallow its use in their courses. Then I got really depressed, feeling certain that would be the reaction of the majority (pessimistic of me, I know).  In short (right. You Esposito, short winded?), I think it foolhardy to imagine, in a post-Google world, that the 21st century, networked learner can be prohibited from using “simple search” strategies.

Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, why wouldn’t we accept that they’ll go anywhere they need to in order to find information? And for the archetypal student referenced in the article, with the six classes and the part-time job and the life they also want to lead, “fast enough is true enough.” All we can do is teach them the difference and let them decide, for well or ill, how they’ll conduct themselves and their continuing education in a scholarly or non-scholarly way.


About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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