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Event Details

It's easy to scoff at Bauerlein's complain about students going to the library, but as a jet writers editor-in-chief, I find that the biggest obstacle the internet creates for student research is a false sense of security. If you think of the library as simply a place where you go to find a certain fact or set of facts, then of course these can be found more quickly and easily on the internet. But if you understand that the library is, for the humanities above all, a place where many expensive and out of print books can be found that students are not willing or able to buy, and that these books need to be read IN THEIR ENTIRETY in order to be assimilated, then you begin to understand the problem the internet brings.

Of course the internet doesn't force the students to become bad researchers, any more than any technology forces anyone to do anything. But the ease of obtaining both facts and short snippets of commentary certainly inclines students to pursue this path over the more difficult and uncertain path of reading whole books on their subject. Why should I bother to read a single book when I can read the cliffs notes version of 10 books in the same time? Well, because I would argue that reading the cliffs notes versions (or the wikipedia entries, or the short snippets of books that are generally available online divorced from their larger context) tends to give students a whole bunch of isolated facts that they don't understand how to put together very well, and this, in turn, gives them a fairly superficial understanding of the subject which impedes independent and creative research of their own. If you want people to regurgitate the babble they find (like on cable news - in which perhaps nothing of genuine substance is actually said despite hours of argument) then these snippets are fine. If you want students to be creative and original in their thought, they need to come to an understanding of the material, which is very different than just learning facts.
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2600 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 300,
League City, TX 77573