Biotech student study group needs assistance

Vladimir Svetlov svetlov at
Tue Oct 7 14:08:49 EST 1997

In article <3437F12D.ED448A60 at>, Rick Bright <rbright at> wrote:

> I am truly astounded by the ignorance I have seen in under this title.
> The internet is an amazing educational resource for professionals,
> students, and arm-chair scientists alike.  It is not unusual nor
> unethical for a person to seek advice or assistance with many
> science-related questions or problems.  The only people I can see
> opposed to students seeking assistance online are those who are very
> outdated and who were unable to do so "in their day."  It is truly a
> regression to chastise someone for utilizing this resource.
> The process of obtaining information from the internet or newsgroup is
> an educational experience in itself and should be encouraged.  I hope
> that all members of this electronic society will feel free to teach
> others and learn from others.  I also hope that those opposed to using
> this same society for these purposes will wake up and join in this
> wonderful world of shared resources.
> Rick Bright

Good sermon, Rick. The only problem with it is that internet-mediated
education is a pink pankadoo. There is nothing magical in the internet,
that would make asking on-line for the answers to the exam questions any
more respectable or educational, then doing it in person or copying them
from the last year papers. In order to be an educational experience,
utilization of the internet resources has to be motivated by the interest
in the acquiring knowledge and skills and to be propelled by a personal
effort. How would you take someone walking in your lab and saying smth.
like "I need to write up a grant proposal on transcriptional regulation in
Drosophila - any ideas"? May be you'll drop everything and start writing,
but most people would expect to get at least a draft to work on. Dumping on
the board 11 questions from the test is exactly the same. 

Most of the folks, contributing to this board, already got used to the idea
that many correspondents don't care to look up the FAQs or archives to make
sure that their questions were not answered ten times over. We are getting
used to the detective work needed to extract the details from a very
prominent type of postings - "I do everything right, nothing works, what's
my problem?". I can put up with repetitious questions about finding a site
on the net, that can be located by keywords using Excite and that has
pointers from every bloody mol.biol.www page, but I don't want to encourage
anybody willing to send the entire scientific community (potentially) to
look up a composition of the tris-glycine buffer or to read textbooks for
them, instead of saving evrybody's time and getting brain augmentation by
doing it themselves. 

More information about the Methods mailing list