by Michael Ho
Wed, Jan 16th 2008 8:40am
Professor Tara Brabazon, a lecturer at the University of Brighton, is fed up with shoddy student research papers and has dubbed the rampant mis-use of Google results as "The University of Google" -- condemning the practice of simply taking the first few search engine results and compiling them for homework assignments. While we've seen several cases of schools banning the use of Wikipedia, Brabazon even goes so far as to forbid students from using Google as well as other online resources. While the criticism that lazy students are relying too much on search engines is probably valid at many universities, the solution to ban the use of search engine tools and online references seems like an unjust punishment, as well as a disservice to the students who will likely need to use search engines after they graduate. Brabazon points out that students don't attend universities to learn how to use Google, but that doesn't mean the use of websites like Wikipedia and Google should be ignored. If anything, there should be a crash course on what Google is (and is not) useful for -- analogous to the math teacher's favorite little guide "Lies My Calculator Told Me" which details the pitfalls of blindly using a calculator. Students should be taught using all the available tools that can help them further their education, along with how to use those tools effectively. On Google's side, however, perhaps the search engine giant should create a knol that describes how to write a respectable research report using Google -- without getting caught.
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