Saturday, January 20, 2007

Professor PowerPoint

Professor PowerPoint

I have come to notice that the first thing professors talk about during their beginning of the semester, house-keeping “lectures” is their PowerPoint policy. I am very interested in looking at PowerPoint’s role in the classroom, but fear not—this is not going to be an anti-technology rant (if you want one of those, go and read Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future).

They all say that they put up their lecture PowerPoints after class on Blackboard. One professor’s syllabus says that you are not required to come to class and she does not want you to come at all if you are going to be five minutes late or are tired—instead, you are asked to go online and look over the PowerPoint slides.

I understand that the professors put their slides up for their students to make studying easier, but I feel that a great deal of students are forgetting the fact that their parents are paying a great deal of money to send them to this university (in fact, their parents are paying more to send them to this university than anyone else’s parents are paying to send them to their own respective university).

Tuition dollars do go towards upkeep of buildings, sure, but they mostly go towards paying the salaries of professors. Tuition dollars are not going to paying for PowerPoint slideshows—and if you skip class, you are essentially paying for the most expensive PowerPoint presentations in existence.

I’m not saying that you have to go to class everyday or that you shouldn’t look at PowerPoint slides, but remember that you’re paying for the entire college experience. Why not go to class to hear what your professors have to say? Many times, they have served in positions that are very relevant to the field that they are teaching in—they may be former diplomats teaching your intro to international affairs class. And who would you rather have teaching you about Kuwait than someone who has been there? Some slideshow?

I thought not. Go ahead. Skip class. But just remember that PowerPoint is no substitute for actually being at your 9:35 A.M. lecture (and shame on you if you actually believe that and are willing to shell out all of your parents’ hard-earned cash to learn via the internet).

But then again, who am I kidding? Some professors have actually started taping themselves giving lectures for days that they can’t make it into class. This should not be allowed. We students are not allowed to “mail in” our attendance or tests—why should our professors? Classes on these days simply need to be cancelled—and no material from these “taped lectures” should ever find their way onto tests. Students are tested on things that professors go over even if the student skips class—the direct parallel would be to prevent professors for putting material on tests that they simply were not there to teach.

Sure, the internet makes teaching and learning easier, but we must all remember that there really is nothing better than learning firsthand from experts on the matter. Teaching and learning should never be done solely through LCD screens.

Alright. I’m going to go and watch the Wizards-Celtics game on our 50-inch plasma television…err…go and read.

(and please let the record show that there is absolutely nothing that I hate more than the paperclip from Word. Ok, two things, actually. Guys who claim to be "real Manchester United fans from the United States" and that really irritating girl who goes to Lucky Bar to cheer on Chelsea every week, saying things like "I'm going there"--clearly referencing Chelsea's home ground Stamford Bridge even though Chelsea usually happens to be playing at Fratton Park or at the Reebok that week--and she cheers throw-ins way too enthusiastically as well)