Brainify – Why it is so important

In Murray Goldberg’s blog, he outlines his reasons for why Brainify, his latest venture, is so important for the higher education community. As the Architect of the Brainify Web 2.0 application and underlying engine, I have my own reasons for being involved in this project. I would like to share one of these with you today.

I have spent close to twelve years of my adult life in higher education: seven years as an undergrad and five years now as a graduate student. It just so happens that the eight year period in between my undergrad and graduate years is when the Internet really took flight (1998 – 2004). Upon returning to school, like many of you who have done the same, I saw a marked difference in the use of the Internet when compared to my undergrad years. Apart from the numerous academic resources now available electronically to students through their educational institutions, there are numerous resources available by third parties.

While content from third parties has always been available to students, typically, this content was reviewed by the faculty through a peer review process prior to distribution to students. Professors typically judge the credibility of an academic paper based on the credibility of the citations therein.

The Internet has revolutionized publishing – anyone can now publish original content to a worldwide audience easily and cheaply. It is this ease of publishing that has made the Internet the “wild west” of opinions. It is therefore not surprising that there is a great deal of questionable content out there.

In many ways, the Internet is the last bastion for freedom of the press (see Democracy Now) and this is a great thing for the citizens of the world. However, we still live in a time where individuals are subject to personal biases and anthropomorphic tendencies and not the pure pursuit of knowledge and truth. I recognize that this is not always malicious and we will likely never outgrow it. Brainify is an attempt at introducing the peer review process of traditional content onto the vast knowledgebase on the net. Brainify’s success is very much up to those of you who participate. We certainly hope that you choose to do so.

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