With the development of the Internet, the amount of information available to university students has greatly increased. It is true that students still have to utilize actual brainpower to complete assignments, at this stage anyway, however the greater range of information available has surely had an impact on how much a student has the ability to learn.
Drawing on my own personal observations for a moment we can imagine the physical difference the Internet has made to the routines of a university student. When attending university students, myself included, find a place in what is known as the ‘Library’ to sit and study their course content…. from their laptops and mobile devices. Essentially the UOW ‘library’ has gone from being a place that houses books and printed information, to a quiet building for students to sit in, at tables fitted with power sockets.
However as Miller states in The Coming Apocalypse (2010) there can be negative effects of such freedom of accessible knowledge on the Internet, due to open education and information traveling at such a rapid pace. The ‘Power of Print’ is in decline. This includes the university printing industry’s struggle to keep up operations due to the amount of less costly and often even free textbooks and academic information now available on the Internet. A positive of free information for students may mean a negative and not so ‘free’ for those who provide it.
I believe education has certainty benefited from the increase of information available on the Internet, especially communication and discussion in collaborative works. Our ability to now reach such large amount of information on the Internet and connect with peers and tutors saves us a lot of time and allows more time to delve further into the depths of knowledge. Despite this positive growth I believe universities will still be necessary in the future, as indicated by Miller (2010) the nature of thought has not been altered by the nature of communication.
Miller, R 2010, ‘The coming apocalypse’, Pedagogy, vol.10 (1), pp143-151