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Video Forum: Students Assess Their Professors’ Technology Skills

The classroom technology that professors enthusiastically attempt doesn’t always get a warm welcome from the students out in the lecture hall, especially when gadgets feel gimmicky or class time is wasted as instructors fumble with gear.

To get a sense of just what students think of their professors’ classroom technology use, The Chronicle invited four tech-savvy students to weigh in on the best—and worst— moments in classroom technology they have seen. The discussion was held last week in an online video chat using Google Plus, and recorded using a screen-capture program. Check out highlights from the discussion in the embedded video.

The four students were:

* Greg Hausheer, a senior at Yale University and co-founder of BookSavr.com
* Lydia Hlebasko, a junior majoring in computer science at Purdue University who has worked as a developer for the university’s informatics group.
* Sean Quinn, a sophomore at the University of Florida and a blogger for Hack College.
* Jie Jenny Zou, a senior at Stony Brook University and a reporting intern covering technology this summer for The Chronicle.

PowerPoint emerged as the biggest demon from the students’ perspective. “PowerPoint is the apple in the Garden of Eden I think, to be honest. It leads down the line of temptation,” said Mr. Quinn. What temptation? The lure to dump text onto the screen and expect students to somehow absorb it as the slides click by.

The students praised professors who make themselves available via technology. Specifically, Mr. Hausheer gave high marks to a professor who invited students to call him via Skype with any questions, even in the evenings. “That really made me feel like I was able to reach the professor whenever.”

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