Professors Blast Wikipedia Generation
A recent survey of Canadian professors reveals many believe first-year students are less mature and rely extensively on Wikipedia to obtain information, and “expect success without the requisite effort” according to the province wide study. More than 55% of Ontario’s faculty and librarians surveyed believed students are less prepared for university than even three years ago. There is even evidence many students agree with the conclusions of the report.
Brian Brown, a University of Windsor visual arts professor, heads the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations which oversaw the online survey of about 2,000 professors and university librarians out of the province’s 15,000. Brown concludes “we are teaching students from what is basically an under-resourced secondary school system.” James Cote, a sociology professor at the University of Western Ontario, says the survey confirms what most research is claiming about current university students. “It’s a wider societal issue, where leisure is very much valued and work habits are not necessarily reinforced in the way that they were in the past.” Cote argues universities are caught in a Catch 21, they don’t want to fail anyone as they are funded on a per-student basis.
The survey also explored other issues confronting university faculty. More than 60% of faculty said they were teaching larger classes than three years ago, and not only has hiring slowed down, but so has the creation of full-time tenure positions. Faculty report trouble with unprepared first year students, particularly in the area of math.
It would be interesting to conduct a study of professor attitudes over the past hundred years toward freshmen students in order to ascertain if there is a consistent belief in what this survey reveals.
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