Will's First Final Draft

Will Snipes
Internet Potential
Its 4:50 p.m. and fall break has arrived to the Vanderbilt campus. Many people have already left, yet there a couple students still lingering in the fall air. A student sits in his room browsing the Internet trying to kill time before he heads to the airport, when he suddenly realizes that his English paper is due in 10 minutes (5 p.m.). He doesn’t have enough time to print it out and take it to the professor and the shuttle to the airport leaves in 15 minutes, so what does he do? He uses his class website and uploads his paper on there to allow his professor to access it. He gets the assignment turned in, just in time to catch the shuttle. Thank goodness for the Internet; otherwise the student would have never been able to turn in his paper. Whether it is out in the real world or in universities all over the nation, the Internet has provided many tools and different ways to access and use a plethora of information. Most college campuses rely heavily on this invention. E-mail is a great communication source, and every college tends to have a university based e-mail. Also, the Internet has provided for a new way of doing things and advancing our universities. The Internet has accounted for many useful resources and online academic genres. On the contrary, the Internet has also created many flaws with the young people of today. Some websites can be hurtful and lead to poor performance in the classroom. The younger generation cannot always be trusted with the new advancement in technology because many distractions can occur. Many college students are experiencing difficulties in completing tasks, staying focused, and keeping up with their work outside the classroom due to harm from the Internet. It is strictly a tool that is solely dependent upon the user. The user controls everything: which site to browse, what productive work is being done, what nonproductive work is being done, and every other little thing involving the Internet. The Internet has allowed for many incomparable changes in our society and has been a huge benefit, but it is only good or bad depending on the user; he or she is has the ability to properly use it or misuse it in a negative manner.
The ability to access information has increased dramatically since the use of the Internet. Students are able to go online and find information about any topic at anytime. It takes no time to access all the information a person might need by simply going to Google and typing something in. Google is a search engine that has totally changed the way how young people and adults can obtain and comprehend random knowledge. From Carr’s essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid”, he explains, “In Google’s view, information is a kind of commodity, a utilitarian resource that can be mined and processed with industrial efficiency. The more pieces of information we can “access” and the faster we can extract their gist, the more productive we become as thinkers” (1). The Internet contains so much material and has done wonders for people in terms of advancing our society and universities. Research and ideas can be found all over the Internet and can help other students in their own academic performance. This new advancement in technology has lead to an almost universal Internet approach on most college campuses. For example, Vanderbilt University has gone completely wireless with their Internet connection. This means anyone can access the Internet from any place on Vanderbilt’s campus. The fact that a university would do this shows how our culture is naturally shifting towards this online scheme of learning. Also, Vanderbilt has many multi-media sources of information that it uses. OAK (Online Access to Knowledge) is a perfect example of this shift towards the Internet based style of learning. On OAK, students are able to access certain assignments and are able to actually see what academic events or due dates may lie ahead. OAK is a proper way that the Internet can be used. Its use is strictly for academic purposes and helps students succeed in the classroom. Vanderbilt is using this to make life a little bit easier on both the professor and the student. Another use with the Internet is the e-mail factor that it presents. Vanderbilt students are given a G-Mail account and in order to access this, one must use the Internet. The e-mail accounts provide a better way of communication with people at the university and people as a general population. If properly used, e-mail can be a great tool. Then again it is just a tool, and the user must decide whether or not to use it to their advantage. E-mail can be misused in many ways. Rather than sending productive e-mails about business or academics, people often times send each other “junk” mail or mail that is humorous. Though it may bring a good laugh to the person, is it really productive and properly being used? It’s very doubtful, because these e-mails just seem to waste time more than produce a good feeling of success. Even though the Internet can be misused, a better understanding of new ideas and new ways has been brought out by the invention of the Internet. The Internet has achieved feats that many universities could not live without. Even though the Internet has given people positive accomplishments, it has also had its negative repercussions as well.
Many students, often times, will get completely distracted by the Internet and lose focus of the task at hand. I can testify for this fact with a little bit of my everyday life. For example, as I have been writing this exact paper, I have also logged onto facebook to see if anything was going on. I have been distracted many times by sites such as facebook and looking back on it, it really isn’t that important. This distraction is one of many negative ones that the Internet applies. Getting on facebook could lead to a lower grade in my paper and over time, very poor performance in the class room. The younger generation cannot be trusted to do their work when asked because of some of the obstacles the Internet supplies. Another example is people who are “taking notes on their computer” in a lecture class. 70% of the people, who are supposedly doing this, are actually on the Internet doing something else. Whether it is playing a game, looking on YouTube, facebook, or surfing the Web, young people just cannot seem to stay focused on their class and expectations within the classroom. This does not happen to everyone, but it seems like the majority falls into the trap of the Internet and abusing it. Carr also notes in his essay, “In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine” (1). The Internet has not changed the overall effect of the college experience. It is up to the students to decide whether or not they want to study or not to study. These moral choices are why the Internet is solely based on the user. If a person chooses to use the Internet to help study and make a good grade, then the Internet has proved its worth. If a person chooses to be distracted and unproductively use it, then the Internet is of no value to the user. The distractions lead to missed assignments and work, a downfall in grades, and the overall well being of the classroom atmosphere.
Another bad issue that has increased during the Internet generation is the whole notion of plagiarism and cheating. It is so easy for people to access this wealth of knowledge and just copy whatever it says. This may seem so harmless and easy at the time, but in fact, people in many universities are getting caught plagiarizing when they could have easily avoided it. Sites such as Sparknotes, that gives summary of books and novels, are abused all the time. There are many places and free websites where it is so easy for a student just to copy and paste a paper from the Internet into a word document and turn it in for a grade. Plagiarism has greatly increased in a number of universities and is becoming a more serious issue. It is the responsibility of the student to know and realize what is right and wrong on this subject. The Internet has made it much easier for students to get away with this and attempt such a thing. The students are not focused on what is important anymore and that is, the entitlement to a person’s own work. The harm that the Internet has caused certainly brings up this issue on what should be done about it. The real answer lies in how students can manage their use of it.
Students must learn how to create an environment where they can manage and monitor what amount of productivity is being done on the Internet. If it is something school related and productive, then by all means, the person should be able to work as hard as they can on it. If it is something involving goofing off or wasting time, then it is up to the user to realize why he or she is being unproductive. The quality of work is more important than the quantity of time spent on it or spent messing around. Students need to learn to manage their time and workload more in school. People must focus and hone in on what is most important for them to succeed in and out of the classroom. It is their responsibility to know what is right and wrong. Instead of browsing and looking at whatever a person may feel like, a person needs to develop a plan to help guide them through the sea of information. The information can be narrowed to allow a student to properly use and manage their time on the Internet. Students must realize that the responsibility and burden ultimately falls on them. With proper use, students would still be able to accomplish the task at hand and doing it the right way.
The Internet has definitely shaped and defined our society’s advancement in technology. The ways it has benefited it is unbelievable. The wealth and access of knowledge is far more now than it has ever been. Students everywhere use the Internet everyday to their benefit but sometimes, the benefits may come from them abusing it as well. The Internet has impacted our society in both positive and negative ways. It is up to us, the people, to change how we manage its use and put forth a better effort to benefit fully from this wonderful invention.1

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