[Air-l] Untrusted Web Sources

Michele Sohn michele at spoke.co.za
Thu Sep 21 21:19:37 PDT 2006

> I'm teaching an Web literacy course this semester, and my students have
> become, well, brainwashed by other faculty that Wiki or really *any*
> source one gets off the Web is not to be trusted. Some students report
> that faculty tell them they may not use any Web-discovered or Web-
> published information in their papers.
As one outside of academia and immersed in business I find this debate
fascinating. There are many implications both to the way we publish and the
way we consume information, and more importantly what is taught at a
tertiary level, and how this is done.

Perhaps it makes sense to start at the actual purpose of a university

Not all graduates will stay in academia. Most will end up in business. So,
what do I (as a business person) expect from a graduate that I hire?
I want them to be smart enough to know the difference between credible
information and problematic material. The best way of achieving that is
surely to have them exposed to both and develop their critical thinking
abilities. So, restricting access (or dis-encouraging it) to the web as a
reference point is not useful. Guaranteed the second they hit the workplace,
any research that they do will be done online.

Secondly, some of the books and journals out there are simply not worth the
paper that they are printed on. Why should the medium create instant

But I have no doubt that I am preaching to the converted here. The point is
how to change perceptions in the rest of your faculties.


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