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Why Professors Love (and Loathe) Technology

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the cellphones-going-off-in-lectures dept.

Education 113

dougled writes "A survey of 4,500 college professors (and campus technology administrators) reveals what faculty members think of digital publishing (they like it, but don't do it very much), how much they use their campus learning management systems (not nearly as much as their bosses think), and how digital communication has changed their work lives (they're more productive, but far more stressed)."

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113 comments

working with them.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41112885)

I can tell you, working with some very smart profs, that they fall into the exact same classes that you find anywhere else.

You have people that are unreasonable (wanting things to be perfect in an imperfect world), you have people that can't apply basic common sense to using their computer (someone today, for instance, that they can have unlimited disk space and has magical thinking about the situation), people with poor problem solving skills, oldsters whom the world changed around and can't deal with it, people that can't use google, etc. etc...

So I guess what I am saying is that sometimes I wonder if singling them out as a class has any use at all. They're simply people.

Re:working with them.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41112983)

Pretty much all social progress requires an older generation dying. In 30 years it will all be electronic.

Re:working with them.... (5, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#41113207)

Interestingly enough Max Planck said the same thing back in 1948 about the dogma and institution of Science:
    "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

Or para-phrased:
    "Science advanced one funeral at a time"

The old want things to remain the way they always have been.
The youth want things that will be.
Society is a balance of these two diametrically opposed ideologies.

Reference:
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Max_Planck [wikiquote.org]

Re:working with them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113707)

Not so quite true. It's not like only young people come up with new ideas. What do you think old scientists do? Do you think they just oppose young people for the sake of oppressing them?

Re:working with them.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114319)

...to that I'll add that things shouldn't always change. For every new correct idea there are 100 new incorrect ones that sound reasonable, and among the ones that people think are correct, half are wrong.

Actually, all of them are wrong. Some are just less wrong than others.

Re:working with them.... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#41115973)

That is indeed true. Some people like to criticize an idea [simply] because it is "old." Yet these same people ignore that the concept of the "wheel" has been around for at least a few *thousand* years. Old does not imply obsolete. If it works, why break it? ;-)

Re:working with them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113359)

Pretty much all social progress requires an older generation dying.

You can speed up this decline of individual liberty by no longer allowing old people in media. Oh wait, that already happened.

Re:working with them.... (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41113643)

Wow. You're saying that once people are no longer young they can't change or learn. Almost makes me want to die.

Re:working with them.... (2)

rk (6314) | about 2 years ago | (#41114265)

It's not true, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that learning new things requires a little more effort when you get older. The unfortunate result of that is because people are lazy (myself included), they tend to not put in the effort. I still learn new things pretty quickly, but it's not the effortless sponge that it was as a kid and in my 20s and 30s. I'm a little more choosy now about the things I spend that effort on; it's usually reserved for work things (My job is to support scientists by writing code, so I'm fortunate that there's always something around to learn) or things that are personally important to me.

Re:working with them.... (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41114351)

Wow. You're saying that once people are no longer young they can't change or learn. Almost makes me want to die.

Of course older people can change and learn, but it's somewhat more difficult than for the young. (Even young adults have a harder time learning than children, who soak up knowledge like sponges.) Perhaps an even larger factor is that older people are more likely to have entrenched positions that allow them to refuse to update their knowledge. Young adults have to keep up or risk being left out. The example given in the original article is a case in point: once someone becomes a tenured professor, they can pretty much do whatever they want without repercussions. If they don't want to learn how to use computers, then they just don't, and all they risk is a few nasty words from colleagues at most.

Re:working with them.... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41113163)

People that don't live in the real world. I have a physics prof that I visited one day, and after we caught up, he asked for some computer help. He didn't even understand the concept of gigabytes or megahertz. He is so buried in the world of the very small (superstrings) that he doesn't understand the basics of computer science. And he's not that old either; he used computers in college but it's as if his knowledge stopped in 1985.

I never understand why people cite professors as if they are the end-all answer. If they have data to backup their claims, good, but many are just offering an opinion. Very few have ever left the campus & don't know how things actually work in industry, or day-to-day choices (Do I spend $100 on cable or cellphone instead?).

Re:working with them.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113839)

I have a physics prof that I visited one day, and after we caught up, he asked for some computer help. He didn't even understand the concept of gigabytes or megahertz.

Maybe he didn't know, but if you explained it and he wanted to learn it (I admit, some professors like that can be arrogant and condecending) a physicist should have no problem grasping the concept of a frequency and of information. "Bytes" are a strange invention, but bits and information theory may be an important part of quantum theory. I have met physics professors who are old enough to have trouble seeing, but still have an amazing ability to work with computing. It helps that many physicists (experimental) can't do much without computers, but even theorists need to have an ability to learn complex new concepts (the good ones, anyway).

Re:working with them.... (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41113277)

The administrators appear to be out touch too (see below). Frankly I don't understand the obsession with posting video lectures. I've found copied handouts of the prof's notes (and also homework solutions) much more useful than a meandering talk. I can scan the notes far, far faster than I can scan a 50 minute video.

"
Administrators believed that 73 percent of the professors at their institutions used data logged by the LMS either âoeregularlyâ or âoeoccasionallyâ to identify students who need extra help..... In fact, only 51 percent of faculty reported doing so. About half of the administrators estimated that professors regularly or occasionally posted video-recorded lectures into the LMS, but just 25 percent of the faculty respondents actually do. Nearly 80 percent of administrators said their faculty members regularly or occasionally used the LMS to track student attendance; the professors clocked in at 44 percent."

Flipping the classroom..? (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41112897)

I'd never heard of this..from the article:

As for âoeflipping the classroomâ -- that is, banishing the lecture and focusing precious class time on group projects and other forms of active learning

Man..glad they didn't have this crap when I was in school....I just wanted to get in there, listen, take notes....and GTFO. I just need enough interaction to take the test and make the grade and get out to get a job.

Strange tho...I'm actually quite a sociable person...outside of the class and work, I have lots of friends and go out, have fun, I have no problem talking to strangers and making new friends.

But at school, and usually at worksites...I'm there to go in, get a job done...and get out. I'm not there to make friends. I don't hardly ever socialize with co-workers. I didn't ever want to really socialize with anyone in my classes, hell, I never really knew anyone's name in the classes (unless it was a good looking girl I'd like to meet and bang)....

I dunno....i guess to me, work is work...get in, get it done, get out...and then go into "real life" mode..where I have my friends and my fun.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113017)

Man..glad they didn't have this crap when I was in school....I just wanted to get in there, listen, take notes....and GTFO. I just need enough interaction to take the test and make the grade and get out to get a job.

To put it bluntly, professors don't care about students with this attitude. Nor should they. If the student has no interest in learning (but just wants to do the minimal amount of work to get a grade and pass the test), a professor isn't going to put any kind of effort into teaching them. Why should they? College isn't elementary school where it is the teacher's job to force kids to learn.

Newer ideas like "flipping the classroom" are for students who actually want to learn about the subject. Studies show that techniques like this are much more effective in getting interested students to learn. Yeah, it actually does annoy the hell out of students who want to sit there, put in a minimal amount of thought, and move on. But as I said, nobody cares about such students.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41113313)

"Newer ideas like 'flipping the classroom'"

People talk about this "flipping the classroom" thing as if it were a brand new concept. I guess they're the ones who, in school when asked to read such and such a chapter and come to class prepared, didn't do it. They probably skipped the seminars and non-mandatory labs in university too.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41113357)

They probably skipped the seminars and non-mandatory labs in university too.

Well, of course....they ran those during happy hour...I was busy at the bar doing the "beat the clock" specials, and trying to get laid.

Hell, mixed drinks started out at $0.10...and went up every 15 minutes....

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113745)

I want to learn about the subject and I did very good in school and I still dislike group nonsense, "flipping the classroom" and other babysitting inventions. If you actually do exercises by yourself, even if it takes a bit more time doing so without immediate feedback, you actually learn how to solve problems and you will remember whole thing much better.

Being silent is not the same as never put a through into the thing. Whenever prof grades activity in class, most people say things just to show that they are active. If they would actually think about things and talked only if they have something to say, it would be much better. Half of those questions are very simple and those who ask could have answer them by themselves if they would think for 10 seconds. But then, they would not show activity. Nothing better as sitting there and wasting time this way. I

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 2 years ago | (#41113779)

To put it bluntly, professors don't care about undergraduate students with this attitude, or any other.

FTFY.

And I would say that that goes double for professors teaching undergraduate required classes (chemistry, biology, physics, etc.) at universities that have medical schools. At the U.S. university I attended (a large state school with more than 30,000 students at the time), people interested in learning chemistry need not apply, because the goal was to avoid teaching freshmen at all costs -- too many students might pass, and then how would they fund the sophomore organic chemistry classes? Besides, they could save money on teaching assistants and labs because a sufficiently small fraction of the pre-med students would still pass, without instruction. Since these students did, in fact, pass, they used the fact of their passing as a justification of these policies -- after all, everyone knows chemistry is difficult, right? Nobody asked how many undergraduate chemistry majors went into chemistry as a profession, or became chemistry grad students (all of them were from other schools, mostly overseas).

When my brother went through the program a few years later, he found out that, despite the department's best efforts, too many freshmen were still passing chemistry. Since the 200-student class was down to a single, massively-overworked graduate teaching assistant, the minimum allowed by regulation, they had thought of something else: They contacted the math department, and coordinated the mid-term exams for the freshman chemistry and freshman calculus classes, so that they occurred on the same night: chemistry 6-8 PM, calculus 8-10 PM. That bit of synergism did the trick -- both classes' passing rate dropped to "acceptable" levels.

Oh, and not to worry -- this isn't a case of sour grapes. I passed very well, thank you, and got three graduate degrees to boot, so I'm none the worse for wear. However, as a result of this and a litany of similar experiences, I don't suffer undergraduate teaching apologists gladly.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (2)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41114105)

At Penn State (graduated last year) we had some GREAT introductory science profs. I'll never forget my introductory physics prof -- every other lecture he'd have some big demo of the concept he was trying to teach. From "killing" Kenny from South Park (I think he hung him to demo something about pendulums) to shooting himself into the next room on a swivel chair with a fire extinguisher (newton's laws)...great class. And during lectures he'd usually wander through the lecture hall (we're talking two hundred kids or so) to get answers to questions.

Hell, I found it was the more advanced classes where the profs didn't give a damn. I mean, some were great, others couldn't care less if you learned anything. But I can't remember a single intro class where I felt like the prof didn't care -- except Calc II, if you count that as intro. LOTS of 300 and 400 levels where you'd come in (to any section, same shit; nobody cared), sit through it, and get a multiple choice (frequently online) test. And I think my massive intro freshman courses were the only time I ever had a full handwritten essay exam...which the TAs and prof spent days or weeks carefully reading and grading.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

photonyx (2507666) | about 2 years ago | (#41114541)

That's because if you come to 300-400 level classes you are considered motivated and mature enough to sit through and think for yourself.

It's a pity that majority of students don't realize that college tuition is the payment for the opportunity to learn, not payment for good grades.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41114881)

I'm not sure that you're understanding me. By professors not caring, I'm talking about the guys who don't actually teach anything and then just post the entire exam -- along with the solutions -- on their website a week before the exam, call it a "study guide" (No, it wasn't 'similar' to the exam, it WAS the exam, he just printed that out and gave it to use for the test. And it was multiple choice and fill in the blank.) The professors who don't answer questions; who take 30 minutes out of a 70 minute class just getting the computer booted up; who do nothing more than read off of slides prepared by somebody else; and who refuse to accept obviously correct answers because they're not phrased in exactly the same way it was phrased on the answer sheet.

I've also had professors who would literally give the exact same lecture three times -- for example, one would start class on Wednesday by giving a "review" in which he went through all of the slides he had for Monday's lecture, explaining everything just as thoroughly (or not) as he had on Monday, then he'd go through the slides he prepared for Wednesday, then he'd give a "preview" by going through all of the slides he had for Friday. Basically he prepared 15 minutes of material for every class and covered it by doing it all three times in a row. This professor also gave in-class exams (exams -- the midterms and the final -- not quizzes) which I would literally finish in 10-15 minutes and score 100%.

That's what I mean by professors that don't care. I never encountered anything like that in lower level classes. The higher ones? It wasn't everyone, probably below 50%, but still fairly significant.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

photonyx (2507666) | about 2 years ago | (#41115401)

I'm not sure that you're understanding me. By professors not caring, I'm talking about the guys who don't actually teach anything and then just post the entire exam -- along with the solutions -- on their website a week before the exam, call it a "study guide" (No, it wasn't 'similar' to the exam, it WAS the exam, he just printed that out and gave it to use for the test. And it was multiple choice and fill in the blank.) The professors who don't answer questions; who take 30 minutes out of a 70 minute class just getting the computer booted up; who do nothing more than read off of slides prepared by somebody else; and who refuse to accept obviously correct answers because they're not phrased in exactly the same way it was phrased on the answer sheet.

Doesn't sound like any professor that I've encountered in my life... I guess you went to a tough college :) The worst I've seen was a professor reading from a textbook (one section == one lecture).

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 2 years ago | (#41113025)

Ah, another follower of the creed of The Friday Job.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113045)

It's interesting that you see this an attempt to "socialize" you into making friends, when it's the furthest from that. It's an attempt to help you improve your ability to work with others, something that your job expects you to know how to do upon entry into a bottom-level position.

I also am skeptical of the idea that you just "get into work, get work done, get out," when there's maybe a handful of jobs in the world that don't require team cooperation. If you're not cooperating with your team in your workplace, then, sure, you're probably getting work done, but not the quality of work that you could be getting done.

If you wanted to take the test and get out, as you say, there are plenty of accrediting online institutions for you (but there's a reason why employees don't look fondly on them, and it's because they don't teach you how to work with others).

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41113455)

It's an attempt to help you improve your ability to work with others, something that your job expects you to know how to do upon entry into a bottom-level position.

Well, I know it sounds like I'm not a terribly social person, but I do get out and interact with others. I'm friendly at work...I just leave them AT work when I walk out the door. Work has 0% to do at all with my private and true social life.

I learned people skills...by working when I was working starting in HS....through college. I worked in restaurants...busing tables, waiting, bartending. I sold retail, etc. So, I know how to interact with people. I'm outgoing. Heck, in the tech field, I've found that people skills can often outweigh the pure tech skills.

I've gone much further and made more money over the years than people that were and still are far more talented than I am.

Hell, IT wasn't even my degree field of study...

:)

But learning how to deal with people, use them, manage them..motivate them..get them to work for you and with you...are important. I'd not have learned any of this from classroom exercises.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41116107)

I learned people skills...

That's amusing, considering how you come across as a condescending douche obsessed with bragging about his libido on Slashdot.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113181)

Some people want to learn about the subject being taught. God forbid!

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#41113243)

My classical mechanics teacher used the technique described in TFA, or at least a derivative of it. It was the single most interesting class I've taken at university, and that's despite the subject matter being rather ordinary.

The funny thing is that it would actually have been perfect for everyone, you included! If you actually want to learn and understand, you attend the classes and interact with other students all while actually solving problems instead of being a biological xerox. If all you want is "take the test and make the grade", then you can stay the fuck out of class and let those who want to interact, interact. The teacher didn't care whether you were attending and all coursework was given online, including all study material.

Just grab the book and cram.

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#41113399)

Depends on the course subject...

Statistics? Read the book, do the lecture, work the homework, take the test.

Something more hands-on like Linux Administration, do you think you'd learn better with straight lecture or with some lecture and a lot of lab work, projects, etc?

Re:Flipping the classroom..? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41113515)

Something more hands-on like Linux Administration, do you think you'd learn better with straight lecture or with some lecture and a lot of lab work, projects, etc?

True...but then again, it isn't like labs doing computer work like described, take interaction with other students in the same course. The admin life..IS kind of a lonely one as far as having to deal face to face with people very often.

LOL...no such thing as Linux when I was in undergrad...

What does technology do. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41112911)

It does the simple stuff so we can focus on the hard stuff.

Re:What does technology do. (1)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 2 years ago | (#41113005)

That is a good way of phrasing the question: what does it do? There is a huge push in teacher education of integrating more technology into classroom instruction for its own sake. It is my opinion that if the teacher has to find a way to integrate the technology, then it's already pointless.

Increases Revenue (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113351)

Buying books for class? You'd better buy the new book, with the online access code. That way you can access your online assignments and do your homework. God forbid you buy the used book and fail the class.

The book racket has reached a new level of thievery. How much for the access code you ask. That depends. It could be as little as $75, but is could be a real value at $150.

Just Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41112925)

The professor of my computer science class used open book tests but forbade any type of technology being used. No laptop, no phones, no tablets, etc. The concern is that someone else will remotely take the test for them. Too me, it seems a bit on the luddite side for a comp sci class, never mind the fact that there is no situation in the real world where I would not have access to the full power of the internet or would ever need to write code with pen paper. In any event, the concern about cheating is about to be moot. Once people have contact lense screens with augmented reality all bets are off. Students will be able to access anything they want with no outward evidence that they are doing so. Unless they want to jam cell and wifi, the way we look at and think about tests will need to change.

Re:Just Wait (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#41112947)

When you are a computer science student and you get your grade by manipulating the computer system the school uses (whether it is remote access to laptop or anything else), you should automatically pass. Isn't that the point of computer science, to understand how they work better to make them do what you want?

Re:Just Wait (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#41113105)

If your class is about engineering your way into someone else's computer, then yes. If it is about writing code that is, say useful for whole teams of developers and support people, or code that needs to run longer than 2 seconds in a production environment that is regulated by various laws and rules, then no, you should fail because you didn't learn shit.

Re:Just Wait (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#41113463)

You must be a application developer.

Just the other day, I was asked by a post-grad researcher to help them get SSH working on their server. They were unable to remote login to their server. So they come into my office, I open a command line, and have them type in the credentials to get into this server. I log in just fine, no problems. Then this person, with a Master's degree in computer science, tells me they are using OpenVPN to log in to their gateway server, so they can SSH into the rest of their servers. So I ask, "Why do you need to VPN into one and SSH into the others? Both are encrypted." The researcher did not know that SSH was encrypted and is generally approved for remote connections to servers.

The moral of the story is, that writing mass amounts of code is only one aspect of COMPUTER science. You can be a coding genius, but if you fail to understand the difference between SSH and VPN, you should have a computer programming degree, as you obviously do not understand enough about the SCIENCE behind computers.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41114419)

I think the problem you're describing is a bit more complex than you make it. I used to know this kid who, in elementary school, was doing DirectX 3D games in C++. Brilliant coder...but he knew nothing else about computers. He probably wouldn't have been able to install an operating system on his own. Universities are starting to divide things up a bit better, but it's still very vague.

The way I see it, you've got computer science, which really should be theoretical things -- not about how to program an application to do X, not about what SSH and VPN do, but how to do REALLY analyze a sorting algorithm, or devising a new cryptography system. Theoretical stuff. Then you've got software engineering, which is more about how to actually write code to do something useful. You still need to know something about analyzing algorithms and such, but just enough to avoid the common mistakes. If it's O(2n) when the best algorithm is O(1.7n), that's not a huge deal. But still, you may not know SSH and VPN, you may not know Linux administration, you just know coding. Then there's what Penn State was doing in their IST degrees -- basically that was comp sci for project managers, or tailored to some more niche needs (they had things on security, risk analysis, disaster recovery, etc...) -- and that's your more holistic approach. Those are the people who may not be able to write SSH, may not be able to design the crypto system behind SSH...but they know what it is and when to use it.

A lot of people on the comp sci side would make fun of the IST program, and it's my understanding that there were a lot of legitimate problems with it...but that is something that we probably do need. No one person can know how to develop and analyze various efficient and secure algorithms AND how to write quality code in multiple languages and which language is best for a particular task AND every enterprise level tool and how to use them and analyze them and combine them. There's just too much of it.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#41114739)

Excellent points. Perhaps giving computer science degrees some variation. Like a Computer Science - Software Engineering, Computer Science - Systems Administration, Computer Science - Digital Forensics, etc.

Core classes are still the same, but senior year is when the student takes 30 credits in their specific discipline, whatever that may be.

Re:Just Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115183)

To be fair, I don't care what kind of degree you have - nobody can be expected to know every detail of every protocol available. Something as fundamental as encryption in something as ubiquitous as SSH, maybe. But the fact is that post-grad researcher can do things you can't, you can do things s/he can't, I can do things you two can't and vice versa. Simply put, your smug sense of self-satisfaction is largely unwarranted and you sound like a pompous ass.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Redbaran (918344) | about 2 years ago | (#41113677)

If your class is about engineering your way into someone else's computer, then yes.

No, not even then. Do you think a professor that teaches a security class has any control over the LMS that the school selects or the security built around it? Even so, being able to manipulate a computer system that way is merely one aspect of computers and does not constitute mastery of the subject.

Using your same logic, if the student who breaks into the computer system and changes his grade also fails another student, that's OK too, because hey, that's what the class is about and if the now-failing student can't protect themselves, so be it.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#41113895)

Programming a computer = manipulating a computer

I welcome any computer science major to write programs without any understanding of how to exploit the same program. It makes for good reads on Slashdot, when [insert large company here] gets hacked because some "programmer" forgot the usefulness of a regular expression to prevent a SQL injection. Myself, in agreement with every CISSP and Cybersecurity major, welcomes these programmers into the workplace, because it keeps us employed.

Re:Just Wait (1)

aepurniet (995777) | about 2 years ago | (#41113143)

what you described is computer operation, not computer science.

Re:Just Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113419)

I had a Computer Science professor that figured that if students could figure out how to get into his digital grade book and modify their grades they probably did not need to take his classes anyway.

Re:Just Wait (1)

scot4875 (542869) | about 2 years ago | (#41116135)

You don't know what computer science is. It's not "learning to use a computer."

--Jeremy

Re:Just Wait (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41113219)

Grades would probably be focused on projects that require an understanding of the materials and real problem solving skills rather than on tests that usually just require that you regurgitate a bunch of facts. In other words, learning by doing. Of course, with 200 people in a class that would be hard to grade. I think in the future we will be using computers to learn the facts and concepts and then go into learning centers to interact with others intellectually and complete projects that are actually graded.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41113311)

I hope this is what we end up with. It would be a huge gain over what we have now and it would definitely give a more accurate view of if someone has learned the material. So many are good at regurgitating facts but can't apply it it save their lives.

Re:Just Wait (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41114223)

I never understood the point of any kind of exams in a comp sci class really. Some of the more theoretical ones (like the logic classes that are 'comp sci' but are really math classes), sure, it makes sense...but for an actual programming class? You want me to hand write code? What the hell is the point of that? I'm never going to need to have these things memorized -- at worst I'll have an IDE to help, at best the internet (and hell, this is coming from the guy who does all his coding in text editors...) I'm pretty sure a lot of my comp sci classes just gave exams because they were supposed to though -- usually projects were most of your grade, they just had the exams to make the administration happy I guess...

Re:Just Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115283)

In my experience, comp sci grads can usually use the writing practice anyway.

Hmmm... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41112933)

Any word on what percentage of them shudder and/or spew corrosive bile if you sneak up behind them and whisper "Blackboard!"?

Re:Hmmm... (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 2 years ago | (#41112963)

God, I hate Blackboard. I mean, really really hate it.

If GOPHER and Usenet were good enough for me, they're good enough for my students.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

gatzke (2977) | about 2 years ago | (#41113109)

I have resisted using blackboard for over a decade.

Toady I polled my class and they unanimously did not like it.

I will continue to distribute course materials from an online web page. I will continue to email the class.

And I will continue to edit pages in vi until the day I die.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

BKX (5066) | about 2 years ago | (#41113215)

My schools rely on Blackboard too, and most of my classmates hate it. I find it to be quite useful, when used correctly. Grades go on BB, as should homework submission, quizzes and tests for most subjects (watch out for formatting issues with code snippets, profs who give CS quizzes on BB), and course documents (assignment spec sheets, syllabuses, etc.). What shouldn't go on BB? Discussions. Seriously. BB's "forums" are shit. They're a pain in the ass to read, a pain in the ass to post, and a pain in the ass to everything else in. Don't use the discussion forums. A privately run phpBB forum or old school listserv/majordomo would be a million times better.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

gatzke (2977) | about 2 years ago | (#41113285)

If I don't do online assignment submission and I hand back graded tests in class, why should I use blackboard?

A simple web page with a few pdfs seems to suffice for me but I am waiting to be convinced otherwise.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41117129)

The problem isn't so much that 'using the internet to exchange documents' is a bad plan(because it isn't) but that Blackboard's specific offering in that area blows goats through capillary tubing. At least it's expensive and buggy, though.

Re:Hmmm... (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 2 years ago | (#41117549)

I used to feel like you, until I TA'd a class. Oh my god. It's so staggeringly awful to input grades in anything conceivably approaching an efficient manner that most people download the grades as an Excel file, edit that, and re-upload it. It worked alright, as long as you didn't fiddle with the structure. Half of my CS classes have grading scripts that read files and batch email grades to everybody because it's less painful.

Basically, Blackboard makes some things easy for the student... and some things easy for the teacher. It'd be fine if they were the same things. A concrete example is doing comments on a grade - generally good, and they show up right next to the grade in the student's gradebook. Except you can't do it by clicking on a submission - you have to go to a subpage from there if you don't want it to lose formatting. You can do it from the first page, but it loses all linebreaks. And you can't navigate to different students from the second page, and it's not obvious to get to.

We did a homework assignment online that was auto-graded (multiple choice, or specific fill-in-the-blank type stuff - what's this number in binary, pad to 8 bits). Worked fine, except there was a typo. Oops. You'd think you could fix the typo in the answer and it'd automatically regrade the tests and correct any it had previously marked wrong. Nope. You'd think there'd be a button, or at least a way to trick it into re-running the grading algorithm it had already run - nope. I had to manually fix all 140 tests... and this has been a problem for YEARS.

Really, staggeringly, shockingly, horrendously miserable. It's so bad that a few people from my school went off and founded a company to replace it, but the thing they're missing is that nobody uses Bb because it's good - they use it because it's so integrated into the systems. When you register online for a class, it automatically adds you to the Blackboard class. When I swipe my ID card to get into my dorm room, or a chem major swipes into the chem lab, it authenticates against Blackboard. Same as if I try to print, or go into a dining hall, or buy food on the meal plan. The President of the University authenticates against Blackboard to get into her house. And they have for 15 years.

That's the thing about Blackboard - course management is almost a nifty side feature to all the administrative stuff. Trying to kill Blackboard by doing better course-management won't get you anywhere.

Re:Hmmm... (2)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#41115339)

me too. Blackboard sucks hairy alpaca balls. For all the reasons mentioned here, but here's one that is SO obvious, it hurts:

You can't upload a folder of documents directly. You have to MAKE a "Folder" and then upload each file individually. A complete time wasting pain in the ass. Fucking retarded. Drag and drop has been around HOW freakin long? This isn't rocket science - it's just Blackboard being retarded.

RS

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41116025)

Name one product that can do 'drag and drop" with a web-page using just a browser. (and having an app that you have to load to do it does not count.)

Re:Hmmm... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41116185)

Perhaps more importantly, GOPHER and Usenet suck less than Blackboard...

Re:Hmmm... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#41113379)

Or Angel (which was improving until BB bought it)

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41114607)

Oh god, don't even get me started on ANGEL. I basically rewrote half of it's functionality for a couple clubs I was in because nobody could stand using that piece of crap. I never saw it improving -- and I can't tell if it was actually getting worse or if that was just my perception due to finding a new bug nearly every time I logged into the damn thing. So glad I no longer have to deal with that, although my new employer's internal system almost makes me miss the days of ANGEL...

(Things like navigating to 'Employee Services > HR > HR > Employee Self Service > Global Employee Self Service')...and then getting logged out because you stopped to read an email and having to restart that twisted hierarchy...but at least most of it works in Chrome or Firefox!)

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113817)

They can't find out. No IRB would allow the experiment, on the grounds that it's too cruel.

I'm not (going to lie)... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41112957)

This summary (and it's content) make me (and my body) completely randy (and by randy I mean... well you know.)

There is a huge range... (2)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 2 years ago | (#41112969)

of use and understanding of classroom technologies among my professors. Some are very skeptical and perhaps a little afraid of using the management software (we use CTools which is open source and pretty awesome). The biggest difference in adoption that I notice is between colleges. The professors in the school of education use way more technology and with much more confidence than my liberal arts professors.

Re:There is a huge range... (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 years ago | (#41113211)

Technology is awesome, but teaching is an art form no matter what the discipline. It involves interacting with people and helping them to develop and learn. If a teacher is not interacting directly with the student then they are doing that student a disservice. Management software is great for holding grades, averaging, and printing reports, but it doesn't tell me which student studied four hours to get the same grade as a student that studied one hour. That information can be found in their eyes and their voices when you interact with them.

Re:There is a huge range... (1)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 2 years ago | (#41113299)

I couldn't agree more. I'm studying education and there is a pretty sizable push for teachers to adopt technology in the classroom seemingly for its own sake. I'm not in favor of this. If the teacher (or professor) has to figure out some way of integrating the technology, then it is alredy pointless.

Re:There is a huge range... (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 years ago | (#41113491)

I used to teach home schooling for elementary aged students with developmental challenges but never actually college level. Using technology in teaching was never something that was thrust on us, interacting and giving the students the personal attention they needed was our number one goal. If you have the opportunity to try something like that try it but don't expect good pay.
 

Yep, I'm still in the top 20%. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41112981)

From the TFA:

In general the faculty respondents guessed that they received between 11 and 50 work-related e-mails per day — with 33 percent receiving fewer than 26 e-mails and 34 percent getting 26 to 50. (More than 20 percent of professors said they got north of 50 e-mails on a typical day, and an unfortunate 6 percent said their daily haul exceeded 100.)

I'm easily over 50, even after my pre-filters for listservs. Most of these 50 require conscious reading, processing, and some sort of action.

the daily onslaught heralded by the digital era seems to have been most merciful to professors of the natural sciences ... compared to the 47 percent of humanities and arts professors who said their lives had become more stressful. Social science professors reported similarly high levels of stress, while math and computer science professors were largely spared.

To be fair to us in CS, we are probably used to high levels of email and are resigned to the load.

Re:Yep, I'm still in the top 20%. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41113355)

I easily get more than 100 a day too, but it drops quite a bit after I delete the anonymous cowards and all the emails from that guy who is CERTAIN that he'd better forward everything to everybody, just in case they missed it the first three times from various student lists, staff lists and concerned secretaries.

So basically... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41113061)

In other words, professors are ordinary human people?

Re:So basically... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41113179)

With regards to technology adoption, yes I guess. But no I wouldnt call most professors ordinary human people. Most are very eccentric.

Why do Doctors hate technology? (1, Interesting)

Jaxim (858185) | about 2 years ago | (#41113081)

I'd like to know why the medical profession isn't embracing technology. They still use antiquated 20th century tech: i.e. fax machine. It would be nice if you could email your doctor and save yourself time and money with a followup visit. The doctors could determine from the email if patients needed to physically come in or the doctors could determine that the patients didn't have to come in and they knew enough to prescribe the next step. If it is about wanting you to come in for a follow-up visit so they can charge your insurance money, then why don't then do what lawyers do and charge you when they respond to emails. We could save money at not having to pay the copays, the doctors would still be able to charge our insurance companies, and doctors' offices would be crowded less with people who didn't have to be there. It would also be nice if everyone in the medical field would adopt electronic patient records that patients can be in charge of: i.e. Microsoft Health Vault. That way a patient's medical records would centrally stay with the patient instead of many different doctors.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113391)

"The doctors could determine from the email if patients needed to physically come in or the doctors could determine that the patients didn't have to come in and they knew enough to prescribe the next step."

If you don't want to go to the followup, you don't make the appointment or cancel it. If you do want to go, or aren't sure, you go to it. What you don't do is trust a doctor that will make health decisions for you based on what you write in an email to him. There may be other options for remotely providing info to the doctor (send a photo if it's a rash, assuming you can get a clinically acceptable photo. or use a webcam...) but if your doc would trust an email for a prescription, I suspect he's already filling out a number of prescriptions for medicines with numbers in the name.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

Jaxim (858185) | about 2 years ago | (#41113827)

This is a follow-up visit, not an initial visit. For example, I just saw a doctor and told him everything that I could have told him by email or a question-assisted form. He didn't touch me and didn't ask me any questions. Plus, he had the benefit of seeing a report from a physical therapist so he could see a 3rd party's assessment of my situation. During these kind of follow-up visits, there is no reason that he could do one of 3 things if I had simply emailed him: 1) told me to stay the course and refill my script, 2) told me to come in for a procedure, or 3) ask that I come in because it was hard to access the situation.

Obviously different situations require different reactions. In my particular case, an email followup would have made sense. In other people's cases, the health issue may be too severe that a physical followup would be warranted no matter what.

In another personal experience, I had gone to a doctor where he didn't accept any insurance and only accepted out of pocket. In this example, the doctor was very accessible by email. I didn't need to meet with the doctor sooner than when I was scheduled for the revisit.

Healthcare is broken and unfortunately, I'm not sure it will be fixed until the doctors see us patients as the customers instead of the health insurance companies or governmental health programs.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#41113437)

> I'd like to know why the medical profession isn't embracing technology.
I'd love to know that too. The only thing that seems to make sense is that probably because they dislike change and/or don't see the benefit in adapting to the customer to give them what they want / need.

> The doctors could determine from the email
Sometimes face-to-face conversation is more efficient for the *doctor* in terms of time for *conveying* information, but yeah, from a scheduling point of view it is terribly inefficient about the customer's usage of time.

Digressing: I honestly don't see how this aversion to technology will change until people start demanding "Open-Source Medicine" -- the Medical Profession and Big Pharma are one the last bastions of institutionalized control by NOT making it easy for people to get to all the medical facts without somebody getting their cut of the piece of the pie. i.e. The same way money has corrupted Politics it has corrupted the Medical field.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

Jaxim (858185) | about 2 years ago | (#41113631)

I can't wait until we live in a world where we can electronically contact a virtual doctor (i.e. IBM's Wilson) and describe our problem, take pictures, webchat, etc, and the virtual doctor could triage and determine if we needed to see an actual doctor, or if it was a simple problem that a super computer could recommend some treatment. Obviously, even if the super computer thought we had something serious (i.e. cancer), then the super computer would recommend we see a real doctor and the super computer could send the report your doctor.

(I'm sure the super computer would have to send the report via fax, because the real doctors probably wouldn't have email -even in fantasy future world.)

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#41116373)

Diseases evolve.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113661)

Some emergency rooms use Cerner software running under Windows XP and the laptop is using wireless.

I'd say that qualifies as embracing technology.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41113711)

Probably because of legal reasons. Any change is uncharted territory and therefore a potential legal nightmare.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

Jaxim (858185) | about 2 years ago | (#41113937)

Every situation is different. Some situations can safely be accessed over email, while others cannot. I had a situation where I had to pay out of pocket instead of relying of health insurance. In that situation, the doctor embraced email. So I don't think it is a legal restriction. I think it is because doctors don't see us patients as the customer but they see our health insurance plans are the customers. In the case, when I was the customer and there was no middleman like health insurance, the doctor catered to my needs.

Perhaps people (who can afford it), should forgo health insurance plans for non-severe ailments and pay from health spending accounts.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114557)

As a doctor who has been involved in the start of multiple electronic records systems in multiple clinics and hospitals, I can answer your question partially. Really it's two reasons:

1. Privacy. In some ways it's easier to lock down paper charts than networked records systems. You have a chart, one person has that chart at a time, and it's in one physical location. Networks get hacked, electronic charts can be viewed by multiple people at the same time, can be copied and pasted into emails readily, etc.

2. Proprietary lock-in. The rush toward electronic records is heading us to one of the biggest fuck-overs in history because many hospitals rely on proprietary software for their charts (e.g., EPIC). It doesn't have to be this way--there are open-source records system, and the VA system has and is working on perfectly usable open records systems. Most of the time, though, that's not what administrators do. If you use paper charts, you can write on them with whatever pen you want. You can put them in whatever file cabinet you want. You can put whatever paper you want into them. Now, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people's hospital charts are being put into a proprietary format that's locked to a specific vendor.

Electronic record systems are great and simple in theory, but they're subject to the same problems as any other software, and the stakes are higher in some ways when you're talking about serious medical conditions for huge numbers of people. Imagine all your concerns about app store control, but now it's tied to whether or not someone needs brain surgery.

Digital is great, but not *always* better than analogue. I wish people wouldn't assume that.

Re:Why do Doctors hate technology? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#41116339)

*shrugs* The higher the degree, the greater the hubris. If you have a lot of power, money, and / or authority, you are well-insulated from the small bumps, but also somewhat deaf the need to change. This is why some offices are so badly run -> paper filing cabinets, calling someone as opposed to texting them, and visual basic 6 apps with access backends refuse to die, and also why a big change, even with plenty of notice, can wipe out a large company.

I imagine that if I had 3 PhDs, a JD, a MD, and a MBA, I'd be virtually immune to any change, save death itself.

Students (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | about 2 years ago | (#41113117)

The professors I know say that "technology" has had a bigger effect on their students than it has on themselves -- specifically, their lack of concern with plagiarism. Having grown up with Google and the Internet, when asked to write a paper discussing, say, the contributions to Twentieth-Century culture of recently-deceased Lithuanian tennis champions, the students' normal way of research is to Google the topic, find a relevant web site, copy the material, and present it.

They're often shocked when the plagiarism is noted and the fail the assignment because, after all, the paper is on-topic and factually true (let's suppose); what's the issue? The concept that one needs to come up with his own ideas and opinions is often a foreign one to someone who has grown up using the web as an immediate source of all the world's knowledge. I suspect, but of course cannot prove, that developing one's own opinions was an easier and more natural thing when one had to search multiple libraries for bits and pieces of the subject matter here and there; often your opinion developed over time, based on the facts you were able to find, and the order in which you found them.

Students (and professors) have been plagiarizing since the second piece of paper was made, of course; the new issue is that many students today do not see a problem with it. Because of this, the highest level of technology some professors use is their plagiarism-detect software.

Re:Students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113583)

Um, papers have always been more or less paraphrasing sources, with occasional quotes, then writing additional stuff in between as fluff.

Plagarism only occurs if too much is word for word.

Re:Students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113971)

When you write a paper, you're supposed to gather all that sort of information up from a variety of sources, and then write your own paper citing those sources, not put together a collage. Even paraphrasing can be going too far, if you're just switching words and phrases around in a sentence or using a bunch of synonyms, which is something I've sometimes seen. In some ways it's worse, because it's obvious that the writer knew it was wrong to copy-and-paste, but they clearly tried to hide it.

The most hilarious collage examples I've seen are papers where they didn't even bother (or didn't know how) to remove the font and other formatting that existed on the original web page, and they ended up with something that is a mish-mash of paragraphs and sentences with slightly different font sizes, spacing, and sometimes typefaces that were pasted from different pages (one sans-serif font can look rather like another). Sometimes they do manage to select all of it and change it to the same font (I haven't gotten any half Times-Roman/half Arial papers), but the subtle spacing and size differences are still left over. Apparently these people don't know "Paste Special->Unformatted Text" and think the instructor isn't going to be observant enough to notice the subtle discontinuities. It does make identifying and googling for the plagiarized passages much easier :-)

Plagiarism is NOT only word for word! (1)

dfm3 (830843) | about 2 years ago | (#41114405)

Yes, I am a college professor.

Paraphrasing does not free you from plagiarism; paraphrasing without attributing the source is plagiarism.

You can legitimately create a work consisting mostly of (properly cited) paraphrases and quotes, while completely avoiding personal opinion or analysis. This is called a literature review, and there are times when they are completely appropriate (in the introduction to a graduate thesis, for example). Where plagiarism comes into play is when you state or imply that an idea is your own without properly crediting the author from whom you obtained the idea. It's not a question of identical wording, but of the idea expressed by the words. You can rewrite a sentence so that it doesn't contain a single word found in the original, and still be guilty of plagiarism.

When I evaluate student essays and reports, I'm not only judging your ability to find and summarize relevant information from other sources, but also your success at analyzing, interpreting, and responding to the information using your own creative thinking skills. To pass off someone's analysis of the issue as your own without clearly identifying it as such is indeed plagiarism... all you've done is performed a literature review, but left out the citations.

Re:Plagiarism is NOT only word for word! (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | about 2 years ago | (#41115319)

The thing that's always bothered me about the "analyzing information for yourself" bit is that the paper subjects are in well-studied fields, such that any analysis you might do has already been done anyway. A half-competent researcher will then find that analysis, and they are stuck with ONLY literature review as an option, because someone else already wrote down an analysis the way they were going to analyze it!

Re:Plagiarism is NOT only word for word! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41116155)

It turns out that there are many, many more ways to express concepts than there are concepts. Paraphrasing that rises to plagiarism borrows not just the concepts but the form and structure of their presentation. Try reading three papers on the same topic: they may contain the same information, but they will communicate it in very different ways.

Re:Plagiarism is NOT only word for word! (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | about 2 years ago | (#41116997)

I understand and agree with what you're saying...I just think that "different ways to say something" is shallow and trivial compared to actually having new ideas. Requiring novel expression as a tool to force students to develop as writers works really well, and banning plagiarism as immoral is correct, but there is no connection between the two: learning to write a phrase that sounds only half a bad as the perfected one you found in a review does not improve your knowledge of the subject or skills at anything other than writing. Developing writing is great, but not generally the point of the assignments in question.

Re:Students (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41113633)

Some professors clearly blame "technology" for all the ills of the world. That is, they blame the greater access to smart phones to reducing attention span and limiting the ability of student to read college level texts. Before the blaming of smart phones, many blamed MTV, or action movies, then Drugs, Sex and Rock and Roll. Going back further I suppose they either did not try to educate or blame the boggie monster, or whatever. In any case these professors are crazy. In any case in the last 50 years we have probably tripled the number of people who attain bachelor degrees by the time the finish what we now call young adult hood.

Educate a third of the population instead of 10% of the population is going to have some implications. Even if one asserts that that top third is pretty much the same as the top 10% in terms of basic capabilities, we still have issues of learning style, culture, and expectations. Not everyone is going to be able to read a complex text. Does that mean they should not have access to education and as a result we lost that potential high leve contributor to society? Of course not. Just because someone can sit in a lecture does that mean they should not go to university? Again, probably not.

So if we are going to maximally educate the population, not as charity, but because it probably will result in a more productive society(unemployment for college degreed is much lower than otherwise), we have to do something different. I do not think that is 'flipping the classroom' where we give student time for projects. One reason I think college is not working is because students are no longer expected to study 2-4 hours for every hour of class. What we could do in the classroom is spending more time modeling behaviors, especially in freshman classes. Model reading for comprehension, something a kid may not know because books are not read so much. Model complex problem solving. Spend some time modeling how to form study groups to complete recitation. Definitely spend some time lecturing, because as much as people hate it, it is an efficient way to communicate information. Most people are simply not going to pay enough money to have advanced information spoon fed to them.

So it is good that professors are ok with some of this. But I am afraid many are just going give a textbook and multiple choice tests and think they are doing a better job because the students are making poster, dioramas, and putting on little content plays.

Technology doesn't make life as great as people th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115831)

Communication is more than just text. Many technologies do little to actually benefit the communication of information which is part of what lectures are for. I can see why some prof who knows the tech ends up under utilizing something that only helps in certain situations or requires so much more work the benefit is not worth the investment.

Somebody in person getting help with something is not the same as an email. An interactive lecture that almost resembles a discussion is more than just a tradition, it works the best. If you just play back a speech then one may as well go watch a video by a great orator with high tech illustrations posted on youtube. Given the lack of student participation (non traditional students are the exception) I've often thought of just producing or buying videos for them to watch (naturally I'd have to quiz on them because no students actually do what you tell them to do outside class... except non-traditionals.... Perhaps college should be for 25-35 year old students only???)

Problem solving is dead. there is google. There is also more wrote learning and recall going on in schools because students seem to memorize facts and think that is enough and any critical thinking can be found online. It takes a lot to try to force them out of the habits they come in with. Studies have shown US students entering today have less of an idea between the difference between fact and opinion! WTF?!

Thanks to the evil lawyers I'm stuck with a brain dead grading system when I should be able to just hand out what grade I think they should have; they should have an appeals process naturally. I can tell TALKING to a student how well they know the material but here I have "A level" students who clearly are not at an A level but will get just enough help to earn that grade. They work the system (and will try to work you as well; teenagers are laughable but the older ones are worthy of study some are so good.) It really doesn't matter how well you make up the material or exams these humans are quite clever at working around unintelligent systems; they've had a lifetime to master all the typical school metrics. For lab classes, I get some 1:1 time with EACH student and I know way more than any bureaucratic measurement system about them by the end. If you really want people to learn something it has to be more like coaching the student as they progress towards mastery; a coach doesn't need to test his players and it likely appears to be a silly concept to them. Naturally, the student has to WANT to play the game and those who do and can put in the time I rarely ever have somebody not do well. Nobody seems to tell students that a full time student spends 40 hours a week outside class doing schoolwork. That is what it USED to be but has never been near that in my life time. I lose at least 5 per semester because I get at least 9 and average 11 hours from them and they are shocked I actually mean it when I tell them upfront. I do not fear flunking the whole group and they know it. None of that collective understanding they just have to do about as well as the other students... and no curve! (curves are foolish to put it mildly.)

After a decade, I think the traditional model is only ideal for a few fields and the rest fit better into a modern form of the master/apprentice system. An older mature and already employed apprentice is motivated and there is also no reason conventional classes can not be sprinkled into their journey - some topics, like programming are ideal for this model of learning. The master also decides when the student is ready to advance and their skill reflects upon the master... I don't like passing students who I do not feel are ready yet but the time limit is up and the points are totaled... sure I could fudge the numbers to make up for those strategic planners who only did certain assignments but that gets into problem areas. Only the high school kids can be pushed around; the older ones won't-- we've had students take the college to court over flunking or being expelled when they were CAUGHT red-handed cheating! (and we never win 100% - it costs money.)

People merely want the certification (formally known as a "degree") to get a job and both industry and students want colleges to become job training the pressure comes from both sides as well as these MBA fools they put into administration positions who talk of students as "products" and "consumers." Another thing about technology is that most of it is OFF TOPIC you can learn computer science without using computers and that is what they used to do and it worked. (ok some compromise is fine; NO I will not teach .NET development or iPhones! MS can shovel all that free crap my way; I'm not giving in.)

The culture has been shifting for the worse and I'm young; the older guys agree and have seen more of it.

Re:Students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41113791)

Well, in many sciences you can't really write anything original unless you read most of what's already known and derived - otherwise most likely you write up an 'original' idea that was tried out in 1980'ies and abandoned after identifying unfixable (provably unfixable) drawbacks.
Ideas are based on each other. A requires B, B requires C, C requires D, D requres E, etc... if you know D but don't know C and B, you can't reasonably get to A - you can reinvent B (poorly). The 'low hanging fruit' have been plucked for firty years by armies of researchers already - and effectively finding out this research without spending years on every tiny subfield is possible only with modern tech.

Re:Students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115169)

The concept that one needs to come up with his own ideas and opinions is often a foreign one to someone who has grown up using the web as an immediate source of all the world's knowledge.

All students at the university level understand this concept perfectly well. As you say, it's just that in their peer group plagiarism is accepted so they don't think it should be a problem though they know perfectly well that it is not allowed. It's the same mentality if traffic is moving 20 MPHs above the speed limit on a road - any driver who gets a speeding ticket in that situation will think that there shouldn't be a problem with driving 20 MPHs above the speed limit because other people are doing it too.

Sir Isaac Newton - standing on shoulders ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41116381)

Firstly:
COPIED from Barlett's ...
"If I have seen further (than you and Descartes) is is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

OK, so when a student makes a cogent, well developed, and factually correct conclusion using bibliographically supported statements, but it differs from the unsupported opinion of the "professor", who then 'flunks' the student ... who is REALLY at fault?

Secondly:
"own ideas and opinions" versus "ain't no new thaing" - I am laughing at the arrogance of someone who throws that old line out and expects anyone to think it is original. (Tee Hee!) When the students become the masters - should they then throw away all that went before them?

Policies, not Technology (4, Informative)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about 2 years ago | (#41114365)

I'm an adjunct professor at three local colleges, so I get to experience a variety of educational technologies and IT departments. My frustrations don't come from the technology itself, but from the policies administrators and the IT staff implement. All three schools have a campus email system for students, faculty, and staff. But two of them are web-based systems that do not allow auto-forwarding. I have to manually log in to the clunky web-based system and sift through a mountain of intra-spam. The feature exists on these platforms, according to my research, its just been disabled. I guess they want to make sure we're all using the outsourced webmail system they spent millions of dollars importing from the late 90's.

When it comes time to submit my grades, one school's system flips a coin each semester to decide whether it supports Mac users. Not whether it supports Safari, not "the Mac version of Firefox" or even "the Mac version of IE" but logging in from a Mac computer at all. When I call the registrar's office, they claim to have never supported Mac. Except, they did. Last semester.

One school has a laptop loan program for faculty and students. We can request to borrow a laptop to run our classes with. For one month. Then we have to return the computer and resubmit the request. The same school installed 3M Smart Boards in many of the classrooms. They have loads of cool features, but the remote controls and digital pen devices you need to use them all disappeared within months of installation. Now they serve as very expensive white boards.

The list goes on . . . None of these are failings of technology, but how technology is implemented. I often get the impression that the people in charge of acquiring, installing, and managing tech at my schools are being brought in from the business sector. They are attempting to implement methodologies and policies suited to smaller, homogeneous work environments. Classrooms aren't office buildings; faculty and students use tech differently from the office staff.

I 2nd that! (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 years ago | (#41115003)

Me too. We have lock boxes for the remotes but whenever I actually remember the darn thing what I want is not in the box.

IT is underfunded and they seem to have temp student workers as filler for real IT. I had to fight to get external email access which they do not advertize but I knew they had it. They will not turn on IMAP or POP even though I know their server supports it. They had unix systems and now it is all windows crap; including the incorrectly implemented MS DNS server and the occasional issues that causes with it's odd caching scheme. The top IT are real IT staff from industry and while the head guy is a unix person he's given in to using windows because it is cheaper (that is, they don't have to hire somebody who can use a real server.)

Whiteboards smell and it bothers me. Chalk boards were replaced; whiteboards COST more and are more environmental the dust isn't really a problem.

Re:I 2nd that! (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about 2 years ago | (#41116403)

Oh good, I'm not the only one who hates white boards. Expensive markers that constantly walk out the door, special erasers, special cleaning solution because the markers aren't all that erasable . . .

I love technology and I genuinely have no idea how people got through college without the web and email (lots of camping out in front of professor's offices I guess). But some times if its not broke, don't fix it. Chalkboards have been cheap and effective for a few thousand years. It also helps remind you that you're in a classroom or lab, and not a conference room.

What I use CMS for (2)

scruffy (29773) | about 2 years ago | (#41114661)

As a CS instructor, I use Blackboard for homework and program submission, for posting solutions and for recording grades. Nothing else. Making a full-fledged web site out of Blackboard is too terrible to think about.

Another technology loving prof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115057)

In the past, I've got a very smart IT prof who was raised on unix and couldn't get used to his windows PC. I loved seeing him open notepad, where text like this appeared:

iSomeStuffkkkkk :q! :q!

At the end, he would get mad about the user-unfriendlynes of windows compared to unix. This went on for a few lessons, until someone took pity and told him about telnet and he started using his laptop as a multi-GHZ VT100

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