Looking Stuff Up



It never ceases to amaze me many how many times a student will say stuff like "How was I supposed to know that?" or "That wasn't included in the question..." blah blah blah. Have you heard? There's this thing called the internet - and it has search engines. You can pretty much look up anything on the internet. And, if not "anything", then you certainly can look up every single piece of data you need to work problems in this particular class.

In general, you might need to look up certain data to work homework or practice problems. Learn how to do this. Most of the time you can google it and get what you need. Then there is Wikipedia for those deeper dives. And, if those are just too plebian, then try DuckDuckGo. Information is free and in the wild - figure out how to go out there and get it. Also learn about how trustworthy certain sources are - you might be less inclined to trust information on some conspiracy site or fringe site. Go with standard accepted lookup sites. Try multiple sources if you are wondering if the information is OK or not. It isn't perfect, but it works most all the time.

You Can't Have it Both Ways... What do I mean here?
Student: Why do I need to know that when I can just look it up on the internet? It is stupid to have to know that when it is right there on the internet.
Me: Seriously? Before the internet, all the information was in books in libraries. Why learn back then as well? It's all stupid. I guess drop out of college and go sit somewhere telling people about how all your knowledge is "out there" residing in books and websites.

That is one side of the insane argument. The other is
Student: I got that wrong because the value of R wasn't in the problem. I shouldn't have to memorize R.
Me: Weren't you the student that told me about all the stuff you ever need to learn is on the internet? Why didn't you go there and retrieve the value for R? You can't have it both ways.

What I Expect from You

Scenario 1: Anytime you are doing problems "out in the wild" - like homework, or special projects, practice problems... I expect you to fully use the internet to look up DATA needed to do the problem. You find the data necessary to work the problem and learn the method. You do NOT go to the internet to simply type in the question and get the answer from someone else who already did the problem. The internet and search engines are one of your many tools for learning. Use it as such.

Scenario 2: Now, there are times that you are on lock down and not out in the wild. Those times are known as exam times. When you are sitting for an exam the internet is totally off limits. It is our responsibility to get you all the needed information you need to work the problems on exams. This means you get a periodic table and conversion factors and possibly other data items you might need. All of it will be there on the exam as a separate sheet of paper or right there in the problem.

Know the clear differences in scenario 1 and 2 above. Know when and how to look stuff up and when to use the stuff I give you to work a problem. This is what is means when you hear the phrase, "that guy really knows a lot of stuff". Be that guy.



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