[EAS]Students' Web Habits

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Jul 31 16:42:23 EDT 2002

Subject:   Students' Web Habits

Dear Colleagues -

It is important, I think, to ponder these two items. They have
implications about where/how students expect to learn, what they
expect a course to put on the Web, and what in turn you can expect by
way of classroom attendance.


(from CIT INFOBITS -- July 2002)


The OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., recently commissioned a
survey of U.S. college students to see how they use the Web for
school-related assignments. The survey questioned 1,050 18-24 year old
respondents representing all regions of the U.S.

Some of the survey's findings:

"Three-out-of-four agree completely that they are successful at
finding the information they need for courses and assignments, and
seven-in-ten say they are successful at finding what they seek most of
the time. The first-choice web resources for most of their assignments
are search engines (such as Google or Alta Vista), web portals (such
as MSN, AOL or Yahoo!), and course-specific websites. They do not use
online study aids or groups, or essay and paper websites."

"Nearly two-thirds strongly feel they know best what information to
accept from the web. Only 4% think the quality of information they
find is not good enough for their assignments."

The complete report "OCLC White Paper on the Information Habits of
College Students," June 2002, is available online (in PDF format) at

OCLC is a nonprofit membership organization serving 41,000 libraries
in 82 countries and territories around the world. Its mission is to
"further access to the world's information and reduce library costs by
offering services for libraries and their users." For more
information, contact OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 6565
Frantz Road, Dublin, OH 43017-3395, USA; tel: 1-800-848-5878; fax:
614-764-6096; email: oclc at oclc.org; Web: http://www.oclc.org/

For a more informal view of this issue, see "Point. Click. Think? As
Students Rely on the Internet for Research, Teachers Try to Warn of
the Web's Snares" (by Laura Sessions Stepp, THE WASHINGTON POST, 16
July 2002, p. C01). The article can be read online at 



Books are taking a back seat to media and computer labs in several
U.S. college and university libraries. While most new or renovated
libraries still make books and other print materials the centerpiece
of their collections, some are moving books into the background. A
recent article ("Do Libraries Really Need Books?" by Scott Carlson in
http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i44/44a03101.htm) describes how several
universities are saving on library construction costs by storing books
offsite or installing storage-and-retrieval systems that change the
meaning of "browsing the stacks." In addition to limiting easy access
to the books, these libraries may change users' perceptions of books'
value in scholarly endeavors. Some professors and librarians are
concerned that "[i]f buildings both reflect and influence the ideals
of a culture . . . these libraries could tacitly be teaching
undergraduate students that if they can't find it online, it doesn't
exist or isn't important." However, professors may be helping to
foster this belief as well. Library circulation statistics and
anecdotal reporting suggests that "students prefer getting their
information and their reading materials online. Notes, reference
reading, and other materials appear on course Web sites because
professors see that as the best way to reach their students." 

The Chronicle of Higher Education [ISSN 0009-5982] is published weekly
by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc., 1255 Twenty-third Street,
NW, Washington, DC 20037 USA; tel: 202-466-1000; fax: 202-452-1033;
Web: http://chronicle.com/


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