Amy's First Paper

I began writing my thesis on the negative impact of the Internet on college level study, when I realized that the Internet was even required to complete the assignment altogether. Over the past ten years, the Internet has opened up a whole new world for our society, in which various forms of communication and resourceful information have developed. Email, instant message, and facebook "Facebook"are by far the quickest and most convenient ways to connect and communicate with others. With this being said, it is not surprising that only one out of the one hundred people in my statistics class did not have a facebook account when surveyed. In addition, the Internet presents Google and Wikipedia, two of the most convenient sources of finding information. While observing my peers in the library, it’s not a surprise to see them ignore the thousands of books next to them and rush to a computer for a source of information instead. The Internet has spread to colleges and universities for various purposes, including instant campus notifications, online grading, online course management, and classroom blogs. The World Wide Web has positively affected the modern university by presenting great resources and convenience; however, its students are also negatively affected by their dependence on it and misuse of it.

It’s difficult to imagine how we all communicated fifteen years ago and beyond without the modern technology we have today. Society didn’t know any better than hand written letters that would take a long time to write, and an even longer time to be received. They couldn’t dream of a world in which one could instantly find information on a particular topic. If lucky, one could find the right information after looking in just a few books. However, it was more common for one to spend hours looking up a certain topic in numerous books until the right information was found, often outdated. The invention of the Internet has caused quite a change in our world. What seemed to be impossible years ago is now at our fingertips. With each passing day, technology advances. The Internet becomes faster, easier to use, and more resourceful. Because of this, it has expanded to colleges and universities. Since the internet has become faster, easier to use, and more resourceful it has expanded to colleges and universities.

The first benefit to having the Internet on campus is email capabilities. All students and faculty members receive a school email in which all school related notifications are delivered instantly. The first advantage to having email capabilities on campus is the most obvious: communication. Email is the best type of student-professor connection away from the classroom. Not only does it enable the awkward or annoying phone call to a professor on a Sunday night to be avoided, but it also allows the student or professor to send documents if needed. For example, I had to miss class for a swim meet and therefore did not receive the homework assignment that was passed out during class. I emailed my professor and he was able to attach my homework assignment in his email back to me. Along the lines of communication, email allows students to hear about upcoming events. More importantly, it can alert students of an emergency, such as a campus robbery or a weather precaution. I received an email during the first week of classes about a robbery that occurred at the Wendy’s near Vanderbilt. This was an alarming yet informative email. Without email capabilities, it would have been difficult to alert all students of this occurrence. Email can also inform students about health related issues circulating campus. Recently, I’ve received many emails from our health department at Vanderbilt regarding the Swine Flu on our campus. How else would the campus be able to notify its students about clinics for those with Swine flu symptoms and shots available for prevention? In reality, these emails actually make our campus healthier. This paragraph presents a very good point! good job! :)

Communication is not the only advantage, howeverIf anything, maybe put however in the front of the sentence.. During the first few weeks of classes here at Vanderbilt, I had to make some changes to my schedule. This process wouldn’t have been as efficient without the Internet. “OASIS” is a program that many universities use in order for students to manage their classes. Just a few clicks of the mouse and I was able to drop one class and add another. This was such a time saver for us students, as we were in the process of adjusting to classes and college life. The last thing students need the first few hectic weeks of college is to stand in a long line and wait for someone to talk to in order to make changes to their schedules. When changing my schedule, I added two new classes. Since I wasn’t originally in these classes, I was not present on the first day when syllabi were handed out. Luckily, many benefits of the Internet come from a program called “Blackboard.” The powers and capabilities of this program are endlessly felicitous for a university, which is why Vanderbilt, along with many universities have started to use this miracle of a program. Professor to student communication is often unnecessary when a university has “Blackboard.” With this program, documents and class handouts are easily attainable to students. Students no longer have to ask a teacher for a missing handout or assignment. Instead of emailing or asking the professors of my two new classes, I was conveniently able to find the syllabi on “OAK”, Vanderbilt’s form of “Blackboard.” Even more impressive, I didn’t have to print out the syllabi. I knew I could always report back to “OAK” whenever I needed to look at upcoming homework assignments, tests, and projects for a particular class. Along with obtaining class work on “OAK”, one can also view their grades online. This has also become a great paper saver. Often, professors have hundreds of students and it would be very time consuming to print out everyone’s grades and distribute them during class time. However, it is extremely easy to log onto “OAK” and view your grades at any given time. This has already helped me tremendously this year. Every Thursday in my Statistics recitation, we take a quiz. Instead of waiting until the next Thursday to receive my quiz back, I am able to log onto “OAK” before then and view my grade. It’s always informative to see where you stand in a class. Most people, including myself, are always anxious to view their grades earned on tests and quizzes as soon as they become available.

“Wiki” websites also present great advantages to the classroom. Although not many classes have “Wikis”, those that do are very fortunate. Students benefit from “Wikis” when professors post class information and assignments that they may have forgotten about. Professors benefit greatly because the students are able do their homework directly on the website, and the professors can then grade the homework directly on the website as well. Both professors and students benefit from the fact that again, they do not have to print out assignments. Elaborate a little more on this paragraph.

Who would’ve guessed that “YouTube” could be a valuable tool in college level study? In my Spanish class, we are learning about culture and history. When learning about a particular Spanish dance, my professor logged onto “YouTube” and was able to show us what the dance looked like.

The Internet has also help foster early undertaking of future career paths, such as journalism and photography. Students are now able to publicly publish their work, free of charge and rejection. At the same time, they can receive public critique and suggestions. Somebody I know, who is an aspiring sports journalist, created a website last year in which he is able to “blog” about football teams, players, and offer criticism on plays from certain games. This website has become quite successful over the past few months. Not only is he able to interact with guests who offer comments on his articles, but he can now add this wonderful piece to his resume. This will help tremendously when applying for a job. The Internet has helped him gain more experience and exposure while he can do what he loves.

Although the Internet benefits the modern university in various ways, many disadvantages are present as well. Because of this, some might say the Internet is too good to be true. Despite popular belief, there are many disadvantages to instant communication. Email and instant messaging present many disadvantages to writing and language "restates itself". Hand written letters or phone calls may seem more enduring, but sometimes they are the way to go. When people are writing a quick and speedy email, they tend to forgo proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Instead, they substitute it for a “cryptic looking code” known as acronyms. Netlingo.com, which presents a full list of Internet acronyms, says this abbreviated way of writing is an “integral part of computer culture.” The more emails and instant messages they send, the quicker this writing habit will grow. When it comes time to complete an important writing assignment or compose an important email or letter, the person might use their Internet language and lingo without even noticing. It develops into such a bad habit that the persons starts to forget proper English. For example, my friend was so used to her Internet lingo that when it came time to start emailing university swim coaches about recruiting, she did not use proper English in her emails until a coach emailed her back and told her that he could not understand what she was saying. What kind of image does this set in the coaches’ minds of this perspective student athlete? The same thing could happen when a student emails a professor. Students can make themselves look very uneducated and disrespectful when using improper English and acronyms. Very good point

Besides language, the Internet bears many other short cuts. The most popular of these short cuts are the “Control Find” maneuver and spell check. The “Control Find” maneuver, also known as “Control N”, is used when a student is too lazy to read a full article on the Internet and decides to search for specific words or phrases, hoping to get the gist and meaning of the article with only reading a few sentences. This is very damaging, as students develop this awful habit and gradually read smaller amounts of words in an article. Spell check is also very catastrophic. Many computers have an auto-spell check feature in which all misspelled words are corrected on the Internet. Many people use this in emails or homework assignments. However, students do no receive this feature on assignments or tests in which no Internet is used, and they tend to suffer greatly.

Social networks, such as “Facebook” and “Myspace,” can potentially hinder academic performance in college. These two websites are great for connecting, keeping in touch with friends, and gaming. However, the outcome of spending an excessive amount of time on these two websites may result in decreased academic success. These websites are so addicting and have become a serious distraction for many students. Often times, students log onto “Facebook” while doing their homework. Valuable time goes by without the student realizing. Even if students are on for a short amount of time, it can completely kill their train of thought. For example, one might be writing an essay but feels the need to go on “Facebook.” Ten minutes later, they return back to their essay and receive writer’s block because their mind is still focused on pictures and the latest gossip. It is even more harmful when students log onto “Facebook” during class. Not only is it disrespectful to the professor, but falling behind in the class is also bound happen when you are e-chatting with friends instead of taking notes. Ohio State University conducted a survey on a sample of its students, asking each of them if they had a facebook account, what their GPA iswhat was their GPA, and how many hours a week they study. The university concluded that “facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.02.” and “users said they averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.” These outrageous numbers demonstrate the detrimental impact “Facebook” has on students.

The next advantage that the Internet presents to universities, “Blackboard”, which aids college level study in several ways, brings much trouble to the table as well. Often times, professors post information on “OAK” about various class topics, and they rely on the students checking “OAK” every day in order to obtain this information. This is not always the case, however. There are many reasons as to why a student might not be able to go on the Internet to view class information. For example, a student could be too busy to go on the Internet or the Internet in their dorm room may be down. In these two cases, the student would not be able to hear about the important information their professors were trying to relay to them. A few weeks ago, “OAK” was down for a full day and I was not able to access important information needed for a test the next day. Although this was bad planning on my part, I never thought I’d ever have a problem with “OAK”: a resource I never thought could let me down. Students really do become co-dependent on the Internet. Another example of students’ dependency on the Internet is for a source of information. I remember we had to do a research paper for my graphic design class and needed to collect information from three different sources. Two of these sources could be from the Internet. This was no problem at all for students, as “Google” is a daily custom for most. However, the third source could not come from the Internet. My peers in class really started to stress out. When was the last time, if ever, that one of us had picked up a book or magazine for a source of information? It was all very new and unusual to us. This is quite a disadvantage, as information from books and magazines could be the best and most valid information.The first couple of sentences were talked about before in the beginning of your paper.

The Internet presents great advantages to the modern university in which communication, convenience, and resource aid in college level study. However, the negative aspects the Internet brings have potential of seriously damaging a student’s valuable time and academics. Universities rolled along just fine without the addition of the web, but no one can deny the fact that its efficiency and resources have helped them immensely throughout college. I think the Internet should be widespread amongst universities, but students should also be intelligent when using this powerful tool.

I thought your paper was very well written. I loved how you tied in your own personal experiences throughout the paper. You had very interesting statistics that were extremely relevant. I could find barely any mistakes, there were little things here and there that I might fix.. You should have no trouble at all revising your paper! GREAT JOB Amy!
Footnotes
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/facebookusers.htm
http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

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