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Using our brains?

Feb - 5 - 2008
Nicole C. Engard

Phil Bradley points to an interesting article entitled: Lecturer Bans Students From Using Google And Wikipedia. In the article a professor states that she doesn’t allow students to use Google or Wikipedia because she wants them to use their brains – but at the same time she provides a reading list and wants students to cite those resources – ummm – I have to agree with Phil on this:

I’m sorry, but how is that encouraging them to use their own brains? How is that encouraging them to research and analyse? Quite frankly the idea of an academic banning anything is pretty poor in my book, and from the report, she clearly has little grasp on the situation. Surely it would be far better to encourage students to compare resources, to work with them to actually gain this ability to research and analyse?

Why not require a combination of sources? By giving them a list you’re making their lives easier and not really encouraging the to learn how to research and “use their own brains.”

10 Responses so far.

  1. Emily says:

    Yeah, any time you say “Hey, you absolutely, positively have to do things in exactly THIS way,” you’re specifically asking people NOT to use their brains. It’s such a silly approach to the situation!

  2. Emily says:

    Yeah, any time you say “Hey, you absolutely, positively have to do things in exactly THIS way,” you’re specifically asking people NOT to use their brains. It’s such a silly approach to the situation!

  3. Nicole says:

    And unfortunately a common thing that happens in our educational system.

  4. Nicole says:

    And unfortunately a common thing that happens in our educational system.

  5. This really irks me. I’ve heard of teachers not accepting internet and wikipedia sources as viable before (understandable), but banning the use of those tools is irresponsible.

    I’d imagine that a student in the context-seeking phase of research will use G & W anyway, but will now not cite sources they may have otherwise included [after all, it is plagiarism to not cite IDEAS, not just verbatim phrases]. Her policy is simply encouraging academic dishonesty.

    Where does this professor go for brief synopses of unfamiliar subjects? If not Google or Wikipedia, then she is incredibly inefficient…

  6. Dave Pattern says:

    The lecturer (Tara Brabazon) is someone who likes generating news headlines, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. She’s also an author and I’m sure this is all good publicity for her new book.

  7. This really irks me. I’ve heard of teachers not accepting internet and wikipedia sources as viable before (understandable), but banning the use of those tools is irresponsible.

    I’d imagine that a student in the context-seeking phase of research will use G & W anyway, but will now not cite sources they may have otherwise included [after all, it is plagiarism to not cite IDEAS, not just verbatim phrases]. Her policy is simply encouraging academic dishonesty.

    Where does this professor go for brief synopses of unfamiliar subjects? If not Google or Wikipedia, then she is incredibly inefficient…

  8. Dave Pattern says:

    The lecturer (Tara Brabazon) is someone who likes generating news headlines, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. She’s also an author and I’m sure this is all good publicity for her new book.

  9. Nicole says:

    Ha! Very interesting!

  10. Nicole says:

    Ha! Very interesting!


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