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Google and Credit Hours

Google Is Now A Course

     
5:50 pm on Feb 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And now for apparently the first time a university professor is teaching a class on Google. This class taught by University of Washington Information School professor Joe Janes isn't a simple class on Web searching that one might find at a library or a community college. This is a graduate-level course...

Full Story [seattletimes.nwsource.com]

4:13 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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{Professor}Janes worries that the quality of research is declining when people can so easily use Google and come to rely on information that has questionable authority.

...the 50 students who finish Janes' class in March will have to determine whether Google is in fact good or whether researchers' reliance on such a simple and one-sided search tool is degrading the quality of research.

Bet the term papers arguing Google is bad for research quality get higher marks.

4:48 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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From the article... speaking about the professor's fears...

Instead of going to the library and asking a librarian for help, people rely too much on Google and other Internet search engines that are incomplete, he said.

I really hope the writer mischaracterized the message there.

Where is this complete library? Or complete librarian?

I'm lucky enough to live within 10 miles of two public libraries and a major university with many libraries. None are anywhere near "complete."

The article makes it sound like the prof has no confidence in grad students' abilities to evaluate information sources, or research methods, and/or look at more than one source and make judgements.

4:53 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Univ. of W may be accredited, but I wouldn't trade my degree from "WebmasterWorld University" for anything.
5:00 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Re: Complete Library

Google Print is attempting to change that. It won't be a free library, you can bet on that.

Is the "Public Library"'s future doomed? Public Libraries have lasted since before christ. [basd.net]

12:33 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Great find DigitalHost!

I wonder if senior WebmasterWorld members will get honorary degrees? ;)

6:15 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If a rake is used to rummage through a dung heap, it's not the rake's fault that it pulls out dung, is it?
6:33 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Having just finished my masters, I can tell you that my classmates and I used Google extensively to find newspaper and magazine articles relevant to our papers, projects, and homework. However, lots of high-quality research that college students need is not publicly available online... it's found in college libraries, in books, or in journals. Much of it is available through private online systems run by the college libraries.

The bottom line is that really good content, like the Harvard Business Review, isn't given away.

There is also a private subscription system called Questia that makes a lot of content available... but still no HBR, Journal of the IEEE, Nature, or New England Journal of Medicine.

8:49 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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DVDBurning - I fully agree. There is so much information that is simply not available through Google or any SE, but that must be accessed through a university. You mentioned several examples of highly relevant information.

Google should be used as another tool for research, in addition to, not in replacement of, existing methods.

conroy

12:38 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"It's very easy to go into Google and get an answer, but it's fairly easy to get a bad answer or mythological answer," Janes said. "Google represents an illusion of ease of search. It's easy to use, it's quick and it's free, but it's not the whole picture. Google as a tool is only as good as it's used."

That about sums it up.

2:20 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google as a tool is only as good as it's used.

You'd think an academic might have a better grip on the situation. The predominant factor which determines how good Google is as a research tool is not the competence of the human searcher who uses Google, it's the quality of the resources on the web available to be searched.

I can't imagine anybody using the internet to conduct serious research. Undergraduates should know better too.

12:04 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Teachers should know better too but a major myth in my field of history is taught all over in public schools. There are several 'lesson plans' available on the Internet and I often get inquiries from teachers about it. They are assuming the myth is true and just want more information. (sigh)

In this case I do think the web with the help of Google is helping spread the myth as true.