What a difference a decade makes!

When I was in college, nobody had cell phones; there was no facebook, and only rich people had computers.

Our professors strolled in before their first class and strolled out after their last; they didn't send us email updates, post lecture notes online, or ever offer to help in any way. Heck, we were lucky if they knew our names-- by the 3rd consecutive semester of taking their classes! I'm referring to undergrad school, not graduate school, of course. Grad school is different-- it is intimate. In grad school, you call your Professors by their first names (well, if you want to!).

If we were tardy, the door was locked. If we turned in a late paper, it either went into the trash bin or had an "F" across the entire first page. There were no study guides, no take-home tests, and no second and third chances.

Our reading assignments were THICK-- at least a novel a week in freshman English. We wrote an essay a week as well, and trust me, there was no Professor offering to help us with a thesis statement, nor any discussion of what that or a theme is-- we were supposed to know it or know enough to find out what it is. And if our paper didn't meet the criteria, well, it bled red and received a failing grade.

Research papers, well, those were 10-20 pages in length.

Everything is different now. Professors are asked to care whether or not their students succeed (and we do!). However, it does sometimes feel like the more we offer to help, and the more "slack" we give, the less respect we get. Even with more effort and more attention to teaching the writing process, offering outside help, free tutoring, etc., student writing is still not up to par overall. Professors across the disciplines are seeing this.

Are the students lazy? Did the school system let them down? What has changed?

Do they want something for nothing, or deep down, do they want the harsh instructor who treats them like adults and expects a high level of academic achievement?

I am not making judgments; I am just curious as to what students expect from college these days. I have no answers, only questions.

These are my thoughts, and I invite you all to share yours.

9/27/2012 03:41:25

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