Education and Values: Interface on the Internet

A few Pertinent Quotes

“It’s midnight, your paper is due tomorrow, and you can’t think of anything to write about? Then you have come to the right place! On this site you will find plenty of essays for you to choose from. Use them for research or just copy and paste (be careful, plagiarism could get you into trouble).” (On the homepage of “Cheater’s Paradise,” a site specializing in student papers.)

“To be frank I think it’s probably a lot easer to buy the game then to spend the hours nesessary to make ‘friends’ and get into the seene.” (In an online interview with a 27-year-old college grad who once did a lot of software pirating. We left in the spelling errors.)

“This perceived abundance of harmful material has led Congress to pass two laws, the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Child On-line Protection Act (COPA), aimed at criminalizing Internet content deemed harmful to minors… During the past three years, courts have rejected both the CDA and COPA as unconstitutional restraints of First Amendment- protected speech.” (Christopher D. Hunter)

“Informed Consent. Another question highlighted in the report is whether researchers should get informed consent from participants in studies of online behavior. Some members of the committee said yes, but others argue that scholars should be able to conduct research in public chat areas without consent.” (Jefferey R. Young)

“Eugene H. Spafford, a professor of computer science and director of Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, said if students lack the ethical preparation when they begin using the Internet, things quickly spiral out of control when they reach college, there they have lots of free time, peers they want to impress and high bandwidth.” (John Schwartz)

"It's easier to cheat now because of the Web," said Gregg Orloff, a senior lecturer in biology at Emory University. "You have this tremendous amount of information that is accessible and it's freely searchable and, students feel, anonymous. Sometimes they make honest mistakes. They saw it on two or three Web sites and thought it was public domain. There's some ambiguity as to what should be cited."

“I have just finished marking 77 second-year degree essays, and found 15 to have been lifted straight from the net without quoting the appropriate references," said one academic. "To cap it all, these essays were submitted by students on a computer ethics module!" If approximately 20% of students resort to cheating having studied ethics and law and intellectual property rights, what does it say about the level of plagiarism and cheating on other courses? The academic in question is now thinking of doing some serious research on the subject… (January 15, 2002 London Guardian)

“…in a study last year at Rutgers University, 10 percent of the 2,100 students surveyed admitted to using fragments of material they had found online, and 5 percent said they had taken large passages or entire papers. "Unfortunately, the Internet makes it very easy," said Dale Harbeck, chairman of the communication department at Boston College.” (January 6, 2002, Boston Herald)

“When University of Minnesota classes resume in January, students taking a writing-intensive class on the biology of viruses won't hand their papers in to their professor. Instead, they'll upload them electronically to a Web site called, where a sophisticated computer system will scan each paper for signs of plagiarism.” (December 26, 2001, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Educational Benefits
“Aldrich and Schank predict that more companies will become increasingly dissatisfied with a traditional e-learned approach to soft-skills training. ‘Whenever you see a video, you know that’s well-trod ground. The nice thing about dynamic computer animation is that you can truly be somewhere someone has never been before. You actually feel as if you’ve created a real environment,’ says Aldrich. “Ultimately, simulations are the technology and content that enable something not valuable in itself. What simulations are enabling is experiential learning.” (Powell, William)

“…Guest lectures can be videotaped and simulcast on the Internet, drawing alumni, prospective students, and students studying abroad into campus life. Even years after the lecture, faculty may put the downloadable lecture on the campus intranet, along with the reading assignments for that day, for students to click on and watch.” (Joanne Creighton and Phil Buchanan in the Educause Review)

“UNC’s advances with wireless technology and the laptop initiative are part of a means to a greater end: transforming how learning occurs on campus, Moeser says. ‘Rather than just having a classroom with four walls or a faculty members office or a laboratory or a studio, the green spades are equally a learning environment, as are the coffee shops,’ he remarks. ‘So students can be sipping coffee on Franklin Street, but also be engaged in conversation on the Internet with each other. It makes the entire campus part of the learning environment. There’s no question, in the conversations I have had with students, that their experiences on this campus are deeper and more meaningful because of their ability to be connected with each other and with faculty. I think that what we are seeing here will be the norm on American college campuses within the very short term; three to five years.’” (James Moeser, Chancellor of University of North Carolina)

“Bigum & Green (1995) believed that the introduction of new technologies into schools was not just a matter of a more efficient way of delivering the same, but a means of creating a new social context for learning. Muffoletto (1996) believed that the transformative impact of the new technologies would not just be restricted to the curriculum and its delivery, but would extend to teachers themselves, in terms of the processes they would adopt and the skills they would be required to have: ‘Teachers as we now know them will be different’ (Muffoletto, 1996, p. 145).” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

“‘In a regular classroom you can shrivel up and hide in a corner,’ Herring said. ‘You can’t do that online.’ Capella’s teacher-student ratio is 1 to 12.” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

Educational Hazards
“People aren’t as engaged in class when they’re surfing the Internet. There can be awkward silences when a professor asks a question and no one’s paying attention.” (Jessica Chan, MBA student)

“Alarmed by the speed at which these ventures are developing, and with some degree of self-interest in mind, many U.S. educators argue that online courses are poor substitutes for the richness of residential education. Some assert—perhaps even hope- that online courses, like many dot-com businesses, will soon vaporize as more shimmer than substance.” (Farrington, Gregory C., Yoshida, Roland K., Rizzi, Len)

“…Hargreaves also pointed out the problems that the dissolving of boundaries of space and time can cause, as the certainty of traditional modes of communication disappears. These include information over-load, and a potential loss of time for reflection rather than reaction. Stahl et al. (1995) also identify the problems that teacher have with the unlimited nature of the Internet, which is in finding appropriate sites and adapting them to their own pedagogic purposes.” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

“But the media-savvy generation, 18 to 20 year-olds, will eventually demand more online opportunities. ‘They’re going to be forcing colleges and universities to put more technology into the learning program,’ Shank said.” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

Economic Differences
“By stimulating the uptake of ICT by TNCs, deregulation has increased corporate bargaining power and in general contributed to an increased spatial, economic, and social dualism, which characterizes much of the recent development of the global economy. Within the dominant Western political discourse of the past two decades, the interventionist role of the state, the Keynesian social contract, and the idea of the public sphere have all de-emphasized in favor of privatization, co modification, and commercialization of institutions and activities, promoting an unfettered ‘regime of accumulation’ over and against visions of a more social democratic commonwealth and public society.” (F, Stolfi and G. Sussman)

“To prove a point…look at the traditional class on e-business that he teaches at the University of Massachusetts. ‘Some students pay $3,000 to take that course. They can get the same information in a book for $49.95, or they can go to my Web site and get all of that information for free’.” (Scott Carlson and Dan Carnevale)

“Shift the faculty member’s role from source of information to supervisor or coach of the learning process. Professors will increasingly resemble Oxford tutors, who review what students have learned, challenge their interpretations, and point the way to new materials. But while the Oxford system is extraordinarily labor-intensive and expensive, technology allows a professor to give both individuals and small groups the attention they want at far less cost.” (Newman, Frank; Scurry, Jamie)

“For example, the Internet has the potential to identify the spending habits and preferences of all those who use it, and provide commercial organizations with the ability to target individuals with their goods and services.” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

Predictions and Comments
“Many traditional colleges and universities will not survive the shift; management guru Peter Druker predicts that higher education will be a great wasteland in the next 25 years.” (Dunn, Samuel L.)

“The claims for the effects of the introduction of communication technologies, including the Internet, on schools have been varied. Schofield (1995) developed the distinction between those who believed that the effect of the new technologies would be gradual and would make the delivery of a tradition curriculum more efficient (‘incrementalist approach’) and those who believed that the new technologies would fundamentally alter the means and ends of education itself (‘transformative approach’).” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

“Rather than transcending reality, the Internet reflects and imitates reality, while blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual. Indeed, the Internet is the ‘scientific solution to the death of God’ (Interrogate the Internet, 1996, p. 125), in offering to users a ‘sense of mastery over an uncertain world’.” (Lawson, Tony; Comber, Chris)

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Last Updated 1/23/02
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