Closed books, open minds

8 Mar

I was happy to receive this from a publisher (an excellent pitch, with hyperlinks to some research findings). In summary, the research proposes that today’s students see their degrees as a means of accelerating their careers (this makes me feel comfortable, as a lecturer on a vocational subject).

Yet across all disciplines, lecturers have noticed that students are becoming impatient with the process of learning. ‘Don’t ask me questions, I just want answers’ appears to be their attitude. This poses a challenge since we need to justify our ‘higher education’ status; there’s an argument that technical skills belong in evening classes taught in further education colleges.

Most lecturers seem dismayed that their students don’t read textbooks (the promotional purpose behind the study). I’m more relaxed about this, knowing the quality of news, comment, debate and discussion that’s available online (just scroll down the list of almost 100 PR-related blogs and other sources on the right). It’s a different form of reading perhaps, but it’s still reading – and there’s a built-in feedback loop and new metrics that give a form of online peer review for those worried about quality and credibility. Librarians might tremble, but publishers should welcome this…

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