Cathy's First Final Draft

When I get up every morning, I check my e-mail. When I get out of class, I log into OAK to check my assignment of the day. When I finish my work, I log into MSN to chat with my family in China. I cannot imagine the college life without the Internet. As a college student myself, I can feel that the Internet is everywhere. At a lecture, in a study lounge, even outside the laundry room— I find it easy to spot people using their laptops in modern universities. But why? Why it is that college students are in great need of the Internet? Because it brings us convenience. I think the Internet should be increasingly accessible to students because it offers a level of convenience that every student needs. In this paper, I am going to mainly talk about Blackboard Academic Suite, Wikidot Pages and e-mails—all of which help fulfill college academic needs.

By increasing the access of the Internet in modern universities, students will find it easy to gain up-to-date information on the courses they are taking. Blackboard is a typical example. It is a platform where professors and students share academic information. Typically, professors post their syllabus, class sessions, assignments and contact information on Blackboard before the class starts. This is especially helpful because it enables students to keep up with their course work, whether catching up or working ahead. Students have a complete idea of when to study and what to study. Moreover, students have access to their grades on Blackboard as well. By viewing their own grades, students can detect deficiencies and improve them in the upcoming tests and exams. I find Blackboard to be an essential part of my college life. I log into Blackboard at least twice a day. When I have class the next day, I log in to check the readings I need to do before class. When I have an appointment with the professor, I click Blackboard and check the office hours. When I have a paper due, I sign in to check my grade and read the exemplars. Without Blackboard,I cannot imagine how much more difficult would it be to accomplish all those tasks. I would have to dig into piles of papers to find my syllabus; I would have to jot down homework assignments on my planner every single day; I would have to ask my professor a million times for my test grades. However, with the help of the Internet and Blackboard, I can arrange my time more efficiently because it streamlines my access to class schedule and academic information.

“According to a study released by Houghton Mifflin, 16 percent [ of students ] participate in online study groups.”1The Internet enables us to communicate with our classmates and professors. Communication is a crucial part of learning in modern universities. It is when you communicate with others that you learn from others. We exchange ideas and thoughts which ultimately inspire ourselves. We argue, we communicate and therefore we inspire each other. For example, let us consider Wikidot pages. When you are writing an entry on your Wikidot page, you are not just writing for yourself. Your classmates also have access to your ideas. In other words, you can get feedback from all of your classmates and professors. For instance, feedback I got from my professor on Wikidot provided me an opportunity to reflect my weaknesses and strengths of my writings. “ Part of writing well about large cultural changes like this one is the ability to not only say what something is, but also what it means.” “I also like the way that you used dashes yourself in this assignment—it really helps to accentuate your point. ” Reading immediate feedback from my professor, I have a clear understanding of which part I need to work on and which part I am good at which are essential to make improvements. Now, you may argue that without the Internet, you still can receive paperwork feedback from our professors. However, you will probably need to wait for quite a while to get a paper feedback. Moreover, a paramount of paper is hard to organize: papers can be lost. The Internet, on the other hand, provides students and professors with a platform to communicate instantly.

The Internet can also help students academically in many other ways such as online study guides and quizzes. According to a study done by David Nagel2 on how college students use internet for education, “ fifty-nine percent of college students in the survey reported using online study aids, with 78 percent of those students saying they use online quizzing.” The Internet provides students with a world of resources: study guides, quizzes, key term flash cards, and the list goes on. Searching for resources via the Internet is just like stepping into a library of knowledge. The textbook company McGraw-Hill, for example, offers online quizzes with their print resources. For my psychology course, the back of the textbook lists a link to a McGraw-Hill website which provides related online resources. Whenever I finish a chapter, I go to that site to do the quizzes. Before an exam, I study the key terms online to refresh my memory of the chapters I’ve gone over. Essentially, with various forms of online resources, students can prepare as best as possible for exams.

The Internet not only benefits student’s academic life but also aids practical aspects of life in college. When you think about connecting to people in a community, what comes into your mind? E-mails. Without the Internet and e-mails, our lives would be breathtakingly different. Let us remember far back into the period of “ancient history” when we were still using envelopes and stamps. If you wanted to deliver mail across the ocean, it may have taken weeks or even months for it to get there. Now, with e-mails, it only takes one click. The use of e-mails in modern universities is more than a method of one-on-one communication. Mailing lists are widely used. Students can sign up for mailing lists at any organization. Afterward, they’ll receive up to date information about ongoing events and activities. If you feel overwhelmed by a million e-mails in your mailbox, you can always remove yourself from the mailing lists just by a click. Another common use of e-mail on campus is package arrival notification. Whenever students receive a package at the post office, they are notified via e-mail immediately. This is uniquely convenient because you no longer need to check your mailbox throughout the day. In sum, the Internet has provides us with more conveniences than we realize.

Now, a lot of authors have argued that the Internet is doing us great harm, despite the advantages it has offered. Nicholas Carr3 brings up an interesting point: “the Internet is making us stop thinking in-depth when we are reading texts online.” In other words, Carr thinks that by skimming articles online, the knowledge we gain is superficial. However, I think the Internet is just a medium that provide us access to a wider range of resources. The habits of skimming and reading abridged articles both have no direct cause-and-effect relationship with the Internet itself. The Internet gave us access to the article. The user of the Internet decided to skim which eventually led to the rejection of in-depth reading. See, the habit of skimming counts on the person who is using the Internet not the Internet itself. Nevertheless, Carr did reveal a side effect of the Internet: laziness. People who are lazy may find Sparknotes a great place to copy an article when they have a writing assignment due in ten hours. People who get easily distracted may find Facebook an excellent place to chill and chat. Yet, the Internet is not the one to blame. Students undoubtedly enjoy the advantages of the Internet if they use it responsibly. The effects of the Internet depend on the person who is using this medium and how the person is using it. The Internet is only a tool with good ends and bad ends.

Let’s consider this situation. A college professor has a computer in front of him. He is in dilemma of wether using the internet as a facility or not. I would say: You should definitely take good advantage of the Internet. The Internet access should be undoubtedly encouraged in modern universities because it provides platform for learning, because it improves academic performance, because it connects people.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License