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Brighton professor bans Google

And don't even think about Wikipedia

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The professor of media studies at the University of Brighton has had enough of students turning in "banal and mediocre work" and decided that Google and Wikipedia must go.

Tara Brabazon provides her students with a reading list, of books, and expects their work to reference those works, rather than a rehash of a Wikipedia entry or the top five results from Google. To achieve this she has, reportedly, banned her students using search engines and Wikipedia.

While we applaud her call for students to learn "the interpretative skills first before we teach them the technological skills", nothing offers a range of information to be interpreted better than a Google search.

Google told us, when questioned about the ban: "We believe that more knowledge is more power for people around the world. That's why we're committed to democratising access to information... One of the great advantages of the internet is that anyone can publish what they know."

We could point out that people publish what they think they know, regardless of the facts. Few of the inaccurate entries in Wikipedia are deliberate - the authors just believe themselves to be right in what they're saying. Drawing conclusions from a single media source is never a good idea, but if that media source is only fact-checked by the sick, the elderly and the under-employed, then it should form no more than a suggestion.

Wikipedia does accurately point out that Ms. Brabazon is currently gaining notoriety for her ban, though fails to connect that with her forthcoming public lecture on the subject in a way that only a cynical new-media publication would. ®

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