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Writing for College and Beyond

Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom

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CJ Kent

Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom explains how the many skills taught in the Freshman Composition course apply at work and in life. The composition class is a pre-requisite and General Education course for most colleges and universities in the United States. It reaches students in every area of study. As people wonder about the value of a liberal arts education and question whether colleges and universities are truly preparing students for the workforce, Writing for College and Beyond challenges those arguments by pointing out exactly how classroom policies and writing assignments apply beyond school walls. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students teaching Freshman Composition courses will find this book helpful. Administrators who service the Freshman Composition population, such as Writing Center Directors, will also find Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom a wonderful aid.

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Chapter Twelve: Online Searches and Keeping It Safe

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CHAPTER TWELVE

Online Searches and Keeping It Safe



Plenty of situations only require a quick online search. Finding the address for a local pizza place, learning the birth or death date of a historical figure, and confirming some general knowledge in a dispute with a friend are perfectly adequate uses of a Google search on your phone or computer. Superficial learning is quick and easy online. The problem with that kind of searching is that it limits what you know, and even what you think you can know.

In 2006, Education Testing Service released the results of research on how high school students do online research. Only 52% could recognize the validity of a site.1 We presume that young people, as “digital natives,” know how to use the internet, but studies repeatedly report that young adults have limited abilities when needing to access specific information.2 Two researchers reported in 2012 that college students overestimate their own abilities, presuming that if they can’t find information it must not be there. When using search engines, students don’t look past the first page of results; they don’t try a variety of search terms to explore assorted approaches to what the need to find.3 Do they ask a librarian for help? No. They seek advice from parents and friends.4 Students don’t use the best resources but instead return to familiar ones even if they are inappropriate for the assignment or topic. This comes...

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