Tuesday, September 23, 2003"Don't you realize how privileged you are?"
Well, letters in support of Johanna Hanink's column are running ahead of those opposing her 2-0. That must mean she's right, not that she pissed off a lot of people who probably will never write a letter to the editor from now on. Also in the letters section is a letter chastising U-M students for not understanding the luck and privilege that go along with attending a university like the University of Michigan. I can't help find the two linked: a privileged U-M student who fails totally to understand the interplay of power and race in modern America, and pampered youth so overstimulated they fail totally to understand how lucky they are to be at the University:
"As a projectionist who has spent nearly twelve years providing crucial media support for higher education, I was appalled by your article headed New technology tries to spice up outdated lectures (09/22/03). This preposterous headline was accompanied by a photograph of a dozing student sprawled in an auditorium seat, unable to stay awake over a crossword puzzle. The inference seems to be that highly trained lecturers are somehow at fault for failing to hold the attention of so many bright young things. But boredom occurs in the brain of the beholder. Boredom is the result of a decision, made by certain students, to disengage and resist the efforts being made to help them educate themselves. The fact that this is the most over-stimulated generation in history makes this a prickly problem. It would be best resolved by the students themselves, who need to exercise more than a nominal amount of self-discipline. There is nothing boring about the subjects being lectured upon. This is not a boring world. Wake up.
I never had the money to go to college, nor did I choose to borrow enormous sums of money in order to be able to afford tuition and expenses. But if I were enrolled at this prestigious university, I sure as hell wouldn't wait for somebody to make lectures more like video games before I'd pay attention. Don't you realize how privileged you are? The attitudes expressed in this article are insulting to those of us who have been forced by economic necessity to educate ourselves, using self-motivation to learn what we can outside of the established curriculum. You, my dears, are using up a lot of resources. You've got it made, and your desire for further shortcuts is pathetic. As most professors will tell you, trying to pull your education off of the Internet is an unstable and often erroneous path. If you are lucky enough to have a living, breathing teacher who wants to talk to you in person about a topic they have spent years researching, then show them the courtesy due anyone who works hard to help you grow up intelligently. Authentic interaction involves something more than sluggish action - or gross inaction - on the part of the students. Technology is provided to help you learn, not to keep you from falling asleep. Stop looking for interactive joysticks. Sit up and take good notes. The lectures aren't outdated. What's outmoded is your lack of self-discipline; it is a very costly embarrassment, and frankly the world no longer has time for it.
Posted by Rob at 10:19 AM