wasting bandwidth since 1999

Can I Have Your Attention?

Professor Anonymous is not happy with her college classes.

It seems, that despite her brilliant preparation and PowerPoint slides, the students insist on staring at their laptop screens during her lectures.

What could possibly be wrong?

While my lecture notes have stayed the same, everything else about my lectures have changed. In addition to my folder of notes and a tattered textbook, I also come to class with a flash drive around my neck. As I warm up the projector, I joke with the kids about reality TV shows. Now my lectures on American government are accompanied by my trusty Power Point slides. On one side of the slide is a neat outline or a definition. On the other side, there’s an image that’s usually aimed at gathering a few cheap laughs.

She’s also has doubts about putting her notes online and doesn’t care for what the students have to say at Rate My Professor.

Read the whole piece and tell me if this is satire or serious. I certainly hope it’s supposed to be funny.

Otherwise this is an incredibly clueless teacher when it comes to using digital tools to involve students in their own learning rather than just lecturing at them.


  1. John Hendron

    I don’t think this was particularly absurd, so I’d vote that it was authentic. If it wasn’t, the sentiment was certainly something I’ve heard before.

    When I was in school, I had the specter of my parents over each shoulder “don’t mess up, this college is costing us plenty!”

    I had my learning hat on 100% of the time in classes. That’s not to say that if I had a laptop, I wouldn’t surf over to something else… while the professor was opening his binder (one in particular had big 3-inch ring binders full of his notes), I might surf on over to Google News (if it had existed).

    While two in the back might have been arguing about something in the lecture, I could check e-mail.

    It isn’t hard to see the temptation, today, to keep on surfing over to Facebook, or some other black hole that is far deeper and more interesting once you’re in, than you ever imagined it would be, on the surface.

    I would have thought this professor was “doin’ good” from her technological sophistication in, say, 1996-2001. PowerPoints, photos, a few videos, sure. The flash drive may not have been around yet, but nice jewelry would have impressed me more.

    Am I alone in thinking that college professors, too, ought to look at educational theory and practice and change with instruction that works best? Since I’ve been involved in education, lecture has never been at the top.

  2. Dave

    I thought it was an intentional joke, intended as an example of how well-intentioned professors who don’t “get it” can easily focus on the wrong improvements….but then I saw that “Editor B” has posted comments…and now I fear that it is authentic.

    In any case, I’ll buy that the way our minds are wired and the way students process information may not have changed. But we definitely have new, strong tools that weren’t available before, and that has almost the exact effect that a change in cognitive workings would.

    If you’re a professor (or teacher), you have to provide your students with a reason to sit in your class and give you full attention.

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