Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Study on the Critical Perspectives of Graduate Students on E-Knowledge Sources

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Study on the Critical Perspectives of Graduate Students on E-Knowledge Sources

Article excerpt

Abstract

Internet and electronic databases today offer the opportunity to reach an unlimited amount of information in a short time. Owing to this advantage, the Internet has become an important provider of 'e-knowledge' and a basic tool in the process of research. It is essential that research undertaken by academic students on the internet should not ignore the critical approach. Therefore, this qualitative case study aimed to examine the attitudes of graduate students in Turkey towards the sources of 'e-knowledge' in the framework of critical thinking. The date collection technigues included focus groups and interviews. The study was undertaken with 23 volunteer graduate students from a Faculty of Education. In order to reveal the general theme and its pattern, the data were analyzed by both content analysis and descriptive analysis. The results showed that the students mostly usee the internet as a source of knowledge for their assignments and research. The most prominent reasons for this included the need to use time efficiently and the mass of information that the internet offers. Most of the partici-oants reported to follow critical criteria, such as testing the accuracy of information and reliability of sources

Key Words

Critical Pedagogy, Critical Thinking, Knowledge, e-Knowledge, Internet.

!is study is based on the argument that 'university students, and particularly graduate students, are expected to be mindful, selective, and critical about the knowledge they gain during the process of research and learning'. Parallel to the theory of critical pedagogy, this argument treats the obligation of universities to consider the epistemological attitude that comes from their intellectual background during the process of education as academic responsibility and 'knowledge ethics'. Academic responsibility and knowledge ethics can also be evaluated as the warranty of free thought (Trifonas, 2009).

University, 'Knowledge' and Critical !inking in the Context of Critical Pedagogy

According to critical theorists, "pedagogy is a critical practice" (Peters, 2006, p. 21). At all academic levels, it is essential that students prepare themselves for life as questioning, critical and active citizens that can stand up against existing power relations. According to Giroux (2008), such a stance aims to "protect schools and other pedagogy areas from the fatal e"ects of a market mentality so that students can take risks necessary to create an essential democracy" (p. 19). According to Bourdieu (1999), real democracy and education is not possible without a real critical approach. Noble (2001) contends that restructuring higher education under the pressures of electronic technologies and the inclination towards distance education serve to resign academy to commercial worries via online learning, e-knowledge, pedagogical models and meth ods. !is approach also determines the rewards of knowledge and research styles by minimizing costs (Giroux, 2002). !e main criticism is that "as market ideals take precedence over democratic values, the university is increasingly being transformed into a training ground for the corporate workforce" (Giroux, 2006, p. 68).

Critical !inking, e-Knowledge and the Internet

!e concept of 'rationality' has always been treated in the Western intellectual tradition together with the concepts of freedom and autonomy. Considered as rational beings from antiquity to the Enlightenment, human beings have been thought to have autnomy and originality parallel to their rationality (Cuypers, 2004). Critical thinking has thus become important as a rational human attitude. Ennis (1985) de"nes critical thinking as rethective and logical thinking used in the process of deciding what to do or what to believe. Beyer (1988), on the other hand, de"nes it as a clear, consistent and objective analysis of the accuracy, validity or value of a claim, source or judgment. Chance (1986) de"nes it as the ability to analyze concepts, produce and organize thoughts, defend views, make comparisons, make inferences, evaluate discussions and solve problems. …

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