Regan's First Final Draft

Rewind the clocks back twenty years ago. A student has a five page research paper due the next day which means he needs to get a lot of information for his paper with only limited amount of time. At this point, his only option is to walk to the library all the way across campus where he will need to search through multiple books to find information on his topic. The student is now in no position to get a good grade on the paper. Now a days, with modern technology, all a student has to do is go on the internet, where he has access to an unlimited amount of information. The student has access to numerous sources where he can get expert analysis on a topic, whereas, if he were to look through a book he would only have that one source{s information. Not only does he have quick access to information but he also can check his grades from previous assignments on the web. By using the internet and all the tools it provides, the student is then able to hand in a high quality paper without the hassle. The internet has benefitted us tremendously, making it fast and easy to attain information and has enhanced our learning, resulting in the need for increased campus wide access.

What would life be without access to the internet? This is something we all need to ask ourselves because the fact is, our lives revolve around technology. Although it may seem like the internet has been around for a while, it was not until the 1990’s that the internet was introduced to the public. During this time, internet connection was limited along with the amount of information and sites. Today, however, people around the world have begun to use the internet to chat with other people from different countries, to research, or to simply entertain themselves1. The discovery of wireless internet has made it so users don’t necessarily have to pay for internet connection such as Road Runner, but can ‘steal’ the internet from someone nearby with connection. Since technology is rapidly increasing and internet networks are being established almost everywhere around the world, more and more people have started to use the internet.

We, as a society, need the internet to be able to maintain our everyday schedule. Two hundred million of us have an email account and check it daily. Here at Vanderbilt, everything is based off of our Vandy G-mail account and OAK. Whether it is students viewing their grades or our teachers emailing students their homework and posting documents, both teachers and students are using these two websites on a daily basis make things their lives a lot less stressful. The internet has not only made it easier for school systems and students, it has also been beneficial to businesses and large companies. Because so many people use the internet, businesses and companies are able to hit their target markets by advertising through sites, blogs, and many more sources. Furthermore, many of these companies notice higher revenue at the end of the year due to the fact that customers can purchase their products via the internet. It tends to be more affordable, convenient, and faster to do this.

As a student, I have noticed first hand that just about everyone on campus has their own laptop and uses it daily. When we did a survey in my Statistics and Probability class, out of eighty three people, there was only one that didn’t have a Facebook account. Online networking is becoming more and more of a popular hit in today’s culture. I find myself spending about three hours a day on the web, doing various things such as downloading music, searching through friends’ pages on Facebook, or chatting with friends who I haven’t seen through Skype. The internet has given us the ability to be able to speak to people at different locations while also being able to see them through webcam. What a better way to keep in touch with people back home in Maine, while I’m at college in Nashville?

Expanding internet access throughout campus would be beneficial for everyone. Although there are many places around campus where we can get connection, other places we are limited or have no access at all. It would be extremely convenient to be able to carry around a laptop and access the internet anywhere. For example, it is mandatory for all athletes to attend study halls and put in certain amount of hours per week. However, unfortunately there isn’t much internet access. Not having our own laptops to retrieve work and websites we have saved on our computers is inconvenient.

There are however, luddites in the world who are against this modern technology movement and are scared of what the future holds. Nicholas Carr mentions in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid”, that our attention span is being diminished because we are able to research and skip from one page to another within a click of a button. He states that before he used the internet, he was able to read a full length of text without jumping off topic but now he notices that he can’t help from jumping around from page to page while on the web2. I have noticed over the years that I do have a harder time concentrating while reading long papers. However, it is more beneficial being able to jump around from site to site getting information on a topic, because this way you are able to see many different opinions and different studies on a topic, rather than just seeing it from one point of view. This allows us to do research instantly compared to over a stretch of a couple days if we weren’t able to access the internet.

The internet does have some drawbacks. Students, for instance, rely heavily on the use of the internet. The internet can force students to spend more time on the computer than in the library, resulting in the lack of study and researching skills. It is extremely easy to get sidetracked and a research paper that should only take a few hours can turn into a daily project. Moreover, sites such as Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, are said to be misleading and carry false information. Also, there are some sites where users can purchase essays that have already been written. When this happens, students are more likely to get caught for plagiarism and learn nothing by doing so.

If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have ended up going to school here at Vanderbilt. By being able to search the web, I was able to see that Vanderbilt would be a good fit for me both academically and athletically. Since it is so far from my home in Maine, my parents were also able to see that it was a school they were comfortable with me going to without buying a four hundred dollar plane ticket to find out. Before people started using the internet, the majority of people in Maine would go to college nearby either at The University of Maine or at The University of Southern Maine. Now with the internet, people are starting to look outside the state and are starting to broaden their horizons by furthering their education elsewhere. Once I did find out that Vanderbilt was the right school for me, it was very easy for me, thanks to the web, to apply to the school and then sign up for my classes once I was accepted.

Increasing the access to the web on our campus would only help out of University that much more. If we were to limit access because of the few people who misuse it, it would draw a major setback in all aspects of the University. If we were to have a question about an assignment, instead of being able to email the teacher and getting an immediate response, we would have to walk across campus to the teacher’s office, where he might not even be at the time. Not only would it make it harder to contact our teacher, but it would also make it very difficult to do many of the assignments since many of them involve using the internet.

It is now time to step into the future and realize how powerful technology can be and how much it can improve our education. There is no reason to be ignorant to what the real world is like and use of the internet only makes life easier for both students and teachers while also expanding student’s education.

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