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Student Alienation in the Information Age

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William Badke

on 10 October 2014

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Transcript of Student Alienation in the Information Age

Most student research is mediocre:

Sources are few and not terribly relevant
Research project = regurgitation of sources
No clear statement of goal
Lack of understanding of the research conventions of the discipline
Bibliographic style is sketchy at best.

With our need to cover content, we might view poor student research as something we simply must live with. There is scarcely any time to work on the problem if we are going to cover the material in the course.

We have made some effort to fix it remedially but with very limited
We are talking about alienation. Our students are outsiders looking in.

Essentially, they don't understand the
of our disciplines. They don't have a grasp of how our disciplines function.
Student Alienation in the Information Age
Students are baffled. They don't understand how our disciplines work or what is expected of them academically.

"Most students lack a seminal understanding about what conducting
research means as a form of intellectual inquiry and discovery..."

Head and Eisenberg,
Assigning Inquiry
(Project Information Literacy)
What is a disciplinary culture?

It is composed of three elements:


The types of information sources the discipline values and the reasons why such sources are valued.

"We trust this information because..."

The discipline's belief system. The discipline's story about what defines it.

"We do this work because..."

The ways in which the discipline does its work to advance knowledge.

"We do it this way because...
Mere content without
context is of little value.

In a world in which content is cheap, we need to invite our students into our academic cultures to learn to do
the work of the discipline
rather than just learning
the content of the discipline.
Full transcript