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Students today face a tremendous amount of obstacles in their day-to-day learning environment that may not have been an issue in generations past. The main problems remain the same as they always have. Time-management is a skill that learners must acquire if they want to turn in assignments on time and make the grades they need to obtain the goals they have set for themselves. Procrastination is a component of poor time management that many students face, which leads to cramming and an increased level of stress.
Whereas students faced both of these issues in the past as well as today, one problem that has crept into society that students are struggling with every day is the increasing overuse and reliance on the Internet for research, information gathering, and even general learning. The growing use of the Internet in the recent years has made information much more accessible than ever before. The term “Google it” is so widely and commonly expressed that it would be very difficult to find anyone who did not understand. When someone needs information for school, work, or personal use Google seems to be the first and most convenient crutch.
Convenience is the foremost reason students go straight to the Internet when they are in need of research sources. Barberio (2004) states, “the very real possibility exists that students overuse the Internet, much to their detriment and most likely, to the growing consternation of their instructors” (p. 307). Even when traditional textbooks are available, they almost always come with some links available to accompany the text with sources on those links easily available. Once students access these links, they no longer have the bountiful wisdom of a librarian to help them sort through it as they could in a traditional library.
Setting the parameters for coursework research and requiring credible sources and proper online citation styles is left to the instructors in each subject (Davis, 2003). Professors and universities have concerns for the temptation of cut-and-paste plagiarism and show frustration over the lack of traditional library use and the scholarly research and references libraries offer. Besides the convenience, another reason students rely on the Internet too much is because of the struggles previously discussed. Poor time management leads to procrastination.
Procrastination leads students who may have otherwise had the time to do more traditional research, to grasp at the instant gratification that the Internet offers. According to Carter, Bishop, & Kravits (2007), developing good time management skills helps students to finish their work on a schedule and avoid procrastination that helps to lower stress. In order to alleviate the temptation of counting on the Internet for resources, students must address the reasons they rely on it too much in the first place. As far as convenience is concerned, there may be no way around that.
The Internet will continue to be used as a resource for gathering quick and “easy” information. However, the Internet can be a fine source of professional research and cost-free quality articles, scholarly papers, and official documents. If students today can sort through the vast pages of “search results” and biased Internet information, and gather un-biased facts from different sources. If they can then take this data and use critical thinking skills to draw intelligent conclusions, the Internet can be a worthy source for their research and learning.
Another way to avoid over-using Internet resources would be to schedule a trip to the local library. Students may find it is surprisingly easier to gather information there. Before going to the library, students should be very precise with the information they are looking for, so that they do not waste the time that they have there. Overcoming poor time-management and procrastination would be another way to schedule that time for library research. When building a schedule, it is helpful to obtain some type of planner to help keep track of important goals, assignments, tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines.
Schedulers or planners can take shape in many varying forms including the traditional hand-held “Day runner” or notebook, calendars online such as Google calendar, or planners built into mobile phone applications. In addition to keeping track of this information, it is important to break the larger tasks into smaller tasks and prioritize the information to ensure that each task is completed on time. After setting a solid schedule, the next step is utilize tools to help manage time. As a student, there are a number of techniques that can be used to help manage time.
These techniques include incorporating to-do lists into one’s routine and making use of the course syllabus to ensure compliance. Again, breaking the syllabus down into smaller tasks makes it easier to look at and less stressful to comprehend. Copying each week into its own folder in a Word doc on the computer desktop is one example of how to keep track of the syllabus. Students also need to become familiar with the many resources available through the University (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007). Students face many trials every day when trying to reach their goals.
The Internet and its easy access to information without leaving one’s seat have become extremely tempting as a one-stop shopping for every need that comes along in the course of a day. When students are faced with a research paper, the habit remains to turn to Internet searches as a quick way of gathering this information. Learning how to properly gather this data and to use critical thinking skills is vital if scholarly research is going to be accomplished. Students must also use time management skills so that procrastination is not an issue and time is available for alternative forms of research.