Teaching and Technology: The Impact of Unlimited Information Access on Classroom Teaching: Proceedings of a National Forum at Earlham College

By Evan Ira Farber; Forum on Teaching and Technology | Go to book overview

HOW TEACHERS TEACH, HOW STUDENTS LEARN: TEACHING IN A BLIZZARD OF INFORMATION
PETER SUBERFor a conference held at my college, I was asked to think about how my teaching -- not my research -- would be affected by rapid, cheap, and simple access by computer to all the published literature of the human race. Forget what impediments stand in the way of this hypothetical future and imagine that your campus has the means for you and your students to locate, search, sort, copy and store anything in digital form that has ever been in print. How would you answer?I am a computer enthusiast but, while I find this hypothetical future terribly exciting for research, I do not find it unambiguously good or exciting for teaching. Most of my reservations are not specific to my discipline.First it is well to admit some of the large advantages.
1. When more full texts are online, we could assign what we wanted without regard to whether it was in print or out of print. Without resort to Kinko's or its competitors, we could assemble a reading list of just the right fragments. Teachers would find new flexibility in designing their syllabi; rich and poor students would find themselves on equal footing for at least one important resource. Even if

Suber is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science, Earlham. College, Richmond, Indiana.

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