ESU’s “Google Students”


SC Contributing Writer

When I was asked to comment about academic honesty for an article written by Sarah Verrico, I mentioned that I did not believe the internet is an efficient replacement for classic study methods.

Some students who read the article had trouble with me shunning spark notes completely, and two questions arose from the “to Google or not to Google” debate. “Wouldn’t a professor feel better that you get the general idea of a story when time is an issue and reading assignments become unmanageable?” and “What if the material is challenging and I use websites to enhance my understanding of a reading?”

I can empathize with these issues, and have used the internet for both these reasons during my academic career, but I can say from experience that these easy escapes are traps. To find any credible sources that explain material above a high school level reasoning is difficult, and academic essays can be so complicated that they are much more time consuming than the material itself.

If there is a time management issue it is better to be honest with the professor than to join in a discussion and give misinformation based on an anonymous reader’s opinion. Perhaps other people have the same issues and your concerns could help bring the problem to the professor’s attention.

It is the second question that I find to be problematic since courses are meant to enhance understanding on a subject, and intellectual growth can only occur when students are genuinely engaged. In my classes I ask questions, challenge professors opinions and discuss assignments with my peers before and after class time.

Sometimes I respond confidently, but most of the time my answers become long-winded digressions that seem to go nowhere and leave everyone scratching their heads, but the embarrassment I feel from these experiences is not nearly as bad than when induced by being obviously unprepared and informed by weak internet sources. College is the perfect setting to develop a strong voice; it would be a shame to graduate without challenging your peers, your professors and most importantly, yourself.

To me nothing beats the smell of old books in the library and the satisfaction of earning A’s for my old-fashioned efforts, however I am not completely immune to the draw of technology.

YouTube can be the perfect study buddy when it comes to memorizing vocabulary and understanding difficult concepts, but give your mind more credit when it comes to reading comprehension and voicing opinions.

Go ahead and Google what other people have to say about how you should view things, and then challenge them; after all, the internet would indeed be a terrible thing to waste.

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