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Where we’re very polite (even when we’re ranting about things that irritate us)

Things That Annoy Me, Part 1

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Professors Banning In-Class Laptop Use

No, it's not the ban that annoys me, it's the attitude of the author of the above-linked post. I will agree that some professors could liven up their lectures a little bit, but to claim that the primary reason students are spending more time attending to what's on the screens of their laptops than listening to the lectures is because said lectures are boring is just plain wrong.

I've sat in many lecture theatres over the years. I've listened to boring lectures. I've listened to some very engaging and exciting lectures. And I've listened to a lot of lectures that fell right in the middle. I've also seen students more interested in what's going on on the chunk of LCD in front of them than what's going on at the front of the lecture hall in all three types of lectures.

The problem isn't the profs. The problem isn't the technology. The problem is the students. More than any time in recent memory (including just a few years ago when I was an undergrad), students today are lazy. They suffer from an enormous collective case of entitlement disorder. They don't want to earn anything. If a prof doesn't make their powerpoint slides available online (preferably before the lecture), students complain. If they don't get a detailed outline of what material is going to be tested, they throw fits.

There's a sense that because they (or their parents) are paying thousands of dollars for a post-secondary education, they're entitled to not only do whatever they want, but are also entitled to pick and choose the grades they received (regardless of the quality of the work submitted). Given that I'm going to be spending the next 30 or so years interacting with undergraduate students, I can only hope that this recent trend is just an anomaly and things will "get back to normal" soon.

Here's an interesting article published in the Globe & Mail a few days ago that touches on the same issue

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Written by The Canuck

May 3, 2006 at 10:06 am

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