Jaloon Htaw : Students of the natural sciences at Moulmein University, in Mon State, complain that they are ill-equipped to conduct internet research-based projects, which they say are being assigned this year for the very first time in the university’s history.
According to a final year Chemistry major, this is the first school year in which he has been asked to complete projects using internet research. He claimed that he and his fellow natural science majors are struggling for a variety of reasons. Students are not permitted to use university computers, so they must instead pay to use private computer and internet centers; poor power supplies to the city of Moulmein often mean that these centers have little or no internet connection.
The students themselves pose another problem, as very few have any sort of understanding of how to conduct academic internet research, and many have never before used the internet at all.
“When we type the topic of what the teacher gives us [into the internet search engine], there are many kind of headlines [results] that appear. We don’t know what headline we should choose. Some we don’t understand. Sometimes the connection cuts off while we are still making a choice. We never had to do this last year, this is the first time we have had to find something from the internet,” he said.
According to a final year Zoology student, Zoology majors have been asked to complete internet research project on top of their regular schoolwork, which she explained involves hands-on research such as dissection projects. She explained that students are usually placed in groups of 10 for internet projects; such large groups are reportedly necessary due to the small number of internet centers in the city. She and other students were unanimous in their claims that there are only around 10 internet centers in Moulmein city, and nearly 10,000 students at the university.
Professors have reportedly informed their classes that internet projects are in their students’ best interests.
“As for attending school this year, the rules are strict. The professors said that we are finishing school but we don’t have practical experience, so they are forcing the students to do it [conduct internet research],” the Zoology major explained.
According to a former Moulmein University student, professors’ desires to broaden their students’ educational experiences with internet research projects is admirable, but highly impractical due to lack of access and students’ inexperience.
He explained, “The computers and internet at school are only for professor and teacher use. The students are never allowed to use them. Research like that is good for their [the student's] education but there are not enough internet centers and also some students have no experience with using the internet. I heard about students complaining.”