UK Professor Takes On University Of Google

    January 14, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Students taking classes with University of Brighton media studies professor Tara Brabazon will have to give up a couple of things: Google and Wikipedia.

The kids are not alright in the opinion of Brabazon, who will give a lecture titled “Google is white bread for the mind” on January 16th. Online resources make it too easy for students to grab a couple of quick facts about a topic and regurgitate them for their assignments.

Brabazon’s displeasure bubbled up to a boiling point, and when it did, she laid out a requirement for students. Thou shalt read books.

She said in the lecture announcement that “we need to teach our students the interpretative skills first before we teach them the technological skills.” Wikipedia, among other Internet resources, “are creating an age of banality and mediocrity by providing consensual information and stifling debate.”

Hear that Google? You’re not organizing the world’s information and making it useful, you’re doing the same things that television and radio were accused of doing in their nascent days.

Brabazon expanded on her views in The Argus. “Too many students don’t use their own brains enough,” she said. “We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis.”

“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.”

Students have sought the easy way out of assignments for decades. If a Google or Wikipedia had been available in the 20th Century, they would have been just as heavily used.

Is it an online resource’s fault if kids use it for research? Isn’t the whole point of a college professor’s work to aim students at resources appropriate to the course and the requirements?

If the kids aren’t alright, it’s because they have been permitted to become lax in their work. Rather than wondering why Brabazon took the step she did, more students and their tuition-paying parents ought to think about why their professors aren’t doing so.