Library News for the Faculty of Communication and Culture

Friday, May 19, 2006

Google Jockeys - why you need one (or don't) in your class

It's been sort of a slow couple weeks for library news, so I thought I'd bring up something a bit different. Some of you are likely aware of Educause's "7 Things Your Should Know" series, covering all aspects of technology in education. Usually I'm at least aware of the concept they cover in these, but Google Jockeying was new to me! A Google Jockey is a student in class who is assigned by the professor to surf the web for info on terms, ideas, Websites, etc. being covered in the lecture. A screen displays everything the jockey turns up for all participants to see. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Does it just reinforce students' ideas that everything can be found using Google? Does it cause them to be more critical of wha they find? Would it really add to the class or just be major distraction? What do you think?

The Educause report is available at


  • Thanks for sharing this Shauna. I hadn’t heard of “Google jockeying” either. Like any teaching tool – or any tool for that matter – I expect its value will depend on how it is handled. I’d like to see it in action to get a better sense of it.

    I’m encouraged in reading the Educause brief to see that Google jockeying, despite the name, is not limited to Google but can involve going directly to relevant resources. It might be too much to expect many student jockeys to show library-provided databases or even the online catalog (!), but they certainly could be part of the process if we've made students aware of them.

    Some of the benefits mentioned in the Educause brief – “potential to foster more engagement among students,” “builds on tools students already use”, “adds a sense
    of fun and spontaneity to learning” – echo key points made here at Boston College last Thursday by Marc Prensky, who was the keynote speaker at our annual eTeaching Day. His lecture – “Engage Me or Enrage Me” – was all about tapping into the way today’s students learn. I’m hoping the presentation will be put online and if it is I’ll send along the link.

    Ken Liss
    Communication Libraian
    Boston College

    By Anonymous Ken Liss, At 5:04 AM  

  • Thanks for the comments, Ken. If Marc Prensky's lecture is posted, please send us the link. Keeping our Next Gen students engaged is a challenge we all seem to be dealing with - and I think Librarians may have bigger hurdles than most in this regard since students didn't sign up for a course because they wanted to learn search skills.


    By Blogger Shauna Rutherford, At 9:28 AM  

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