Fort Worth – Many of Todd McCann’s students suffer from a chronic disease.
Call it CRS: Can’t Remember Squat.
Now they have no excuse.
Mr. McCann, an English instructor at Bay College, in Michigan, is deploying students’ own favorite technology to burn away the memory fog. He blasts his classes text-message reminders using Broadtexter, a free software program used by bands to create mobile fan clubs. Rather than texting tour dates, he keeps the phones in students’ pockets buzzing with regular reminders like “Paper 4 is due tomorrow.”
The instructor offered the optional service in three classroom-based courses last year, embedded as a widget in the course-management system. Out of about 66 students, 45 signed up, Mr. McCann said during a talk on free tech tools at an e-learning conference that wrapped up here Tuesday. An added bonus: They don’t see his phone number, and he doesn’t need to see theirs.
Mr. McCann knows what you might be thinking. Are we kidding? Shouldn’t students take responsibility for their own friggin’ assignments?
Yeah, he said, they should. But Mr. McCann loves new tech toys. And students appreciate it.
“I just decided that, rather than rail against cell phones as being so evil, like some colleagues do, I’m trying to think of a way of going where they live,” he said.