The organizers had Gina, one of the Seniors, give us an example of a day in her life - illustrating how our job directly impacts their experience.
I go to my Vietnam War class at 10:40am. Today's topic - the Japanese experience during World War II. The professor has put the PowerPoint slides in Blackboard. I like that he's done that so I can follow along and take notes directly on the slides.
At 2:30pm I go to my Korean War class. We talk about the Japanese experience during World War II. This classroom doesn't have wireless and the professor doesn't use Blackboard, so I enter my notes in Word so I can access them later.
At 4:05pm, I go to my World War II class. This professor doesn't put his slides either - but he does mention some web sites. I am able to bring up the sites he mentions while taking notes in my computer and adding the links. That day's topic....the Japanese during World War II.
I like the way my teachers talk about the same topic.
I last set foot in a university classroom in 2002. I remember seeing maybe 1 student with a laptop during class - though that was usually because the student was about to give a PowerPoint presentation. Most students still took notes with pen and paper.
I asked Gina whether what she described was common practice among her peers.
You see a lot more laptops among the students in the classroom now than 4 years ago. A few still use pen and paper, but most of us find that being able to look at sites as the professor talks about them, take notes on the slides provided in Blackboard, and do some side research during lecture to be incredibly useful. I know I get a lot more out of the class when I have a wireless connection.
As predicted, one of the Senior VPs then asked her how the professor can prevent students from looking at e-mail and non-related sites.
The professors really haven't addressed that. If you don't pay attention, it shows up in your grade. We're adults, so we have to be responsible for our own education.
I know that this is not news to those of you who have worked in universities for awhile - but for those of us new to the university setting (and those who haven't set foot in a classroom for more years than we care to think about), this was a revelation.
These are the people who will be our employees and co-workers.
Are you ready?