GOOD

If Professors Stop Lecturing, Will Students Stop Checking Facebook?

Harvard students say they use Facebook in class because the lectures are boring.


You might think that students taking classes with some of the world's most prestigious academics wouldn't spend lecture time checking their Facebook profiles. But it turns out that Harvard students have a pretty tough time disconnecting from the web. Harvard Crimson staff writer Hemi H. Gandhi writes that Facebook use in Harvard classes "has become so ubiquitous that no one even questions it"—not even professors.

When Gandhi asked his fellow students why they use Facebook in class, they told him they turn to the site because "a professor starts regurgitating exactly what they've read in the textbook; paying attention won’t clarify confusion; a professor starts on a random tangent that is neither interesting nor relevant; [they] need a break to re-focus; [or they] feel pressed for time and decide to multitask."

Because "Harvard students are generally pragmatic and hyper-concerned about maximizing their Return On Time Investment," Gandhi writes, they log onto the site (which, of course, was founded at their university in 2003). Besides, he says, students no longer have to pay attention to the professor's lecture to learn the subject matter because "much of knowledge has become commoditized on the web." To solve the problem, Gandhi believes professors must "start thinking of themselves as service providers who must constantly innovate to serve students better."


Even though students pay for classes, most professors—whether at Harvard or any other school—probably don't appreciate being referred to as service workers. And, while it certainly wouldn't hurt them to leave the lectures behind in favor of a more captivating approach, do we really want a campus culture where students think its cool to sit in class with an entertain-me-or-I'll-check-Facebook attitude?

Friends who work as part-time college instructors have complained to me that they occasionally feel like circus performers putting on a show for coeds with short attention spans. No matter how enthusiastic they are about the subject, or how much engaging multimedia, discussions, and group work they include, convincing media-addicted college students to log off Twitter and Facebook and use their laptops solely for taking notes is impossible. Even on campuses that ban electronics from classrooms, students sneak a peek at Facebook through the smartphones they hold in their laps.

They don't want to spend all semester playing technology police, so my professor friends have simply accepted that some students aren't going to pay attention. I imagine that many Harvard professors have taken the same approach. They are, after all, teaching young adults who have to decide for themselves whether they want to pay attention in class or spend their tuition dollars clicking "like" on photos.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user birgerking

Articles
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
"IMG_0846" by Adrienne Campbell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In an effort to avoid a dystopian sci-fi future where Artificial Intelligence knows pretty much everything about you, and a team of cops led by Tom Cruise run around arresting people for crimes they did not commit because of bad predictive analysis; Bernie Sanders and other Democratic candidates have some proposals on how we can stop it.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

It's fun to go to a party, talk to strangers, and try to guess where they're from just by their accents and use of language. It's called 'soda' on the East Coast and 'pop' in the Midwest, right? Well, it looks like a new study has been able to determine where a Humpback whale has been and who he's been hanging out with during his awesome travels just from his song.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
Governor Grethcen Whitmer / Twitter

In 2009, the U.S. government paid $50 billion to bail out Detroit-based automaker General Motors. In the end, the government would end up losing $11.2 billion on the deal.

Government efforts saved 1.5 million jobs in the United States and a sizable portion of an industry that helped define America in the twentieth century.

As part of the auto industry's upheaval in the wake of the Great Recession, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) made sacrifices in contracts to help put the company on a solid footing after the government bailout.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jimmy Kimmel / YouTube

Fake news is rampant on the internet. Unscrupulous websites are encouraged to create misleading stories about political figures because they get clicks.

A study published by Science Advances found that elderly conservatives are, by far, the worst spearders of fake news. Ultra conservatives over the age of 65 shared about seven times more fake information on social media than moderates and super liberals during the 2016 election.

Get ready for things to get worse.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture