Commentary

My Professor Doesn't Know What the Internet Is

In this day and age, college students are surrounded by technology. Social media, smart phones, and tablets are all abundant on college campuses throughout the country. The classroom is no exception to this fact. Most lecture halls now feature built-in projectors, which allow professors to incorporate PowerPoint presentations, overhead projectors, and videos into their lesson plans. Many classrooms also feature interactive Smart Boards, which allow the professor/teacher to write on and interact with presentations without the use of a computer. Rather than turning in papers or projects, students now submit assignments via the internet (either by email or specified class websites). These technological media options help students connect with the material taught in a new and interesting way, and are welcomed by most colleges.

However, there are a few exceptions to this new trend. Some professors of the more “seasoned” generation have not invested in these new breakthroughs. These professors still base their teaching off of blackboards, paper assignments, and lecture based teaching. Most of them do not use email or have any sense of how the internet works (one of my professors in particular had to have a department assistant come to class to play Youtube videos for him).

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Are these technologically challenged professors behind the times? Are there methods outdated? Do they need to retire?

I personally do not have a problem with the professors that choose to remain in the dark ages. Although the use of media in the classroom does keep a student’s interest better than a typical blackboard, simple teaching methods can be fine if they are used in the correct subjects, such as math or economics courses.

However, students are beginning to expect their professors to accept online submissions of papers or email communications. When a professor chooses to reject this kind of relationship with a student, there is often a conflict. Because of this expectation, it will soon become necessary for professors to have an understanding of how the internet and technology works. Student demand for a new form of teaching will eventually reshape the way the classroom functions.

Most professors have caught on to the demand of students; however, those that have not will most likely be forced to change their methods or retire. This is just another example of how the digital age is restructuring communication in our lives.

2 comments about "My Professor Doesn't Know What the Internet Is".
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  1. Lisa from Ball State University, April 18, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.

    I once had an older economics professor who didn't fully understand how to navigate his way through the internet. It completely baffled me because he was clearly highly intelligent. Whether or not he knows how to utilize technology, he will always be an intelligent and seasoned professional, so I believe that there will always be a place for him in the educational world. HOWEVER, as I wrote many weeks ago in a blog of my own, the use of technology and media made me love history--a subject I have hated for longer than I can explain. So while some professors may have very dry, very plain lectures that also adequately drive home the points that they are trying to make, I believe that technology and media are tools that can only help.

  2. jessie, April 20, 2011 at 11:42 p.m.

    I agree. While it bothers me when professors do not take advantage of the technology available to them, I understand and respect that they are still intelligent individuals, from who I have much to learn. However, I also believe that it is part of their job to keep their skills updated and learn new technology, as it pertains to education, as it is developed. As younger and younger generations come in, they will be less and less understanding.

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