About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 848-852
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain


R. Vârbănescu, R. Dobrescu, A. Avram, A. Iordan

Politehnica University Bucharest (ROMANIA)
The World Wide Web has grown to the extent that information on virtually any subject is available to anyone, for free. This caused a fundamental change in a student's approach to a subject. The information contained in a traditional university course is not only available on line, but also explained and discussed, in various places on the Internet.

Having abundant sources of information on every subject, students don't feel it's important to understand the theory behind a particular subject. Instead, they find it easier to just search the Internet for the bit they need, when and if they need it.

A professor's part in academic courses can be looked at as two separate but complementary roles:
An informative role – in technical education this mainly consists of presenting important concepts, technologies, and processes set by the course's objectives. This role is losing its relevance inside lectures as students can get most of the information on line.
An educational role – this is the part that cannot be obtained from the Internet. In this role, a teacher explains common approaches to various tasks, encourages analytical thinking and makes connections to other topics. To accomplish this, a professor mostly relies on his / her personal experience in the field discussed.

Because of the availability of information, a growing number of students wrongfully get the impression that attending actual courses is obsolete, and that it's enough to pick up bits and pieces when they actually need them. By doing so, they miss out on the educative side of the training process

In order to reverse this trend in our department, we proposed two measures:
We changed the format of the courses. In order to create an interactive environment we shifted the focus from presenting information, to discussing it and putting it in context
We started setting the students more complex assignments. These are built in such a way that in order to complete them, students need to innovate, carefully plan their actions and understand the basic concepts presented in the course.

We believe that by changing our approach on teaching, we help students understand the educational (and not just informational) value of their courses. Also, by setting students complex tasks we encourage them to do more than simply apply ideas they find on the Internet.

The paper will include the significant cases we were faced with in the ongoing informative / educational debate caused by the extensive use of Internet in academia.

One example, that will be illustrated in the paper, is the different kind of approaches in completing assignments. There is a constant argument between the students' generic solutions taken off the Internet and professors' requirements for efficiency, performance and complexity. We find it increasingly difficult to make students understand why these unoriginal solutions don't meet our educational objectives.

As a conclusion, we could say that we are in a continuous educational war with the Internet.
author = {Vârbănescu, R. and Dobrescu, R. and Avram, A. and Iordan, A.},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {848-852}}
AU - R. Vârbănescu AU - R. Dobrescu AU - A. Avram AU - A. Iordan
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 848
EP - 852
ER -
R. Vârbănescu, R. Dobrescu, A. Avram, A. Iordan (2010) OVERUSING THE INTERNET - PROBLEMS IN TECHNICAL EDUCATION, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 848-852.