Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Context

It's always amusing when you take the long view of history and realise that we aren't the first to complain about students being distracted or unable to spell. Via Boing Boing this morning Ann Blair's Boston Globe piece, Information overload, the early years, noting: "The ancient moralist Seneca complained that 'the abundance of books is distraction' in the 1st century AD."

Perhaps more importantly for my line of work, Blair notes: "In the academic world, critics have begun to argue that universities are producing and distributing more knowledge than we can actually use." It is something that we're thinking about. Those articles we spend hours and hours writing and then revising? How many people actually use them? Are there better, more useful ways to discuss ideas? Are the means by which we place value on research antiquated?

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