Professor Tara Brabazon makes a fantastic argument that students
today have no way to discern truth from validity because they have no
training when it comes to judging multiple truths. On
the Internet, and in scholarly searches, all returns are provided back
to the searcher in a “flat mode” where every return appears as valid as
Instead of challenging that fact, students
merely cut-and-paste those flat search returns into their papers
without doing any actual reading or critical analyses of the texts:
“Google offers easy answers
to difficult questions. But students do not know how to tell if they
come from serious, refereed work or are merely composed of shallow
ideas, superficial surfing and fleeting commitments.
“Google is filling, but it does not necessarily offer nutritional content,” she said.
Brabazon, who has been teaching in universities for 18 years, said that
the heavy reliance on the internet in universities had the effect of
“flattening expertise” because every piece of information was given the
same credibility by users.
Professor Brabazon’s concerns echo
the author Andrew Keen’s criticisms of online amateurism. In his book
The Cult of the Amateur, Keen says: “To-day’s media is shattering the
world into a billion personalised truths, each seemingly equally valid
We are thrilled to see Professor Brabazon’s push for more credibility in the classroom.
students with sharper tools for critical analysis that can then be used
against what they read is a paramount concern if we ever hope to
continue our ingenuity and creativity beyond the flatness of the