By Chris Tait
Last month, an intro to cultural anthropology class at Kansas State University posted a video on YouTube about a student survey they collectively built. The claim made by whoever posted the video was that it provided a glimpse at “the most important characteristics of students today.”
Instead, what we get is a jumbled collection of facts basically amounting to first-year kids complaining about not being entertained in lectures.
I suppose the message they were trying to get across was something along the lines of that incorporating technology (for example, say, Blackboard) into a class without improving the actual teaching or material is roughly equivalent to strapping a pair of cup holders slightly lower than waist-level on a brick wall in the middle of an otherwise empty desert and calling it wheelchair-accessible: if there’s nobody willing to use the bloody thing properly, it won’t enhance the experience for anyone.
This would explain the opening quote by Marshall McLuhan from 1962’s The Gutenberg Galaxy criticizing the educational environment in general for being more concerned with how things are taught than for how little what currently being taught is actually useful.
It is, however, more than a little ridiculous that online ADD habits in class are suddenly the university establishment’s problem and not issues with the students’ own lifestyles.
There is a very simple solution to this whole “enjoyment of university” thing: if you don’t make your own interest while you’re here, you’d better leave now. It’s school, and it requires a certain level of involvement.
Profs are just as good or bad as they’ve always been, we just have cooler toys to screw around with in class now.