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Opinion

Professors should not place great emphasis on technology

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March 5, 2010

Since the first professor brought a VHS into the classroom, technology has created both passageways and barriers. As one of my parting gifts (this being my last semester), I give you a list of how technology has harmed me while in college.

My professors don’t know how to use D2L. This has got to be the most frustrating reason because there’s nothing you, as a student, can do about it. The incapability of a professor to perform a remedial task on D2L is a detriment and frustration to you as a student. What do they do at those seminars they go to anyway? Jeesh.

Web sites are not to be trusted. Especially ones that are sourced from outside the University. Turnitin.com is a Web site; and like many other sites of its kind, it is doomed to fail every once in a while. Unlike other Web sites, it can make or break your grade in class.

My professors think technology is an infallible god. This may be a generational thing, but for some reason professors have a hard time admitting the fallibility of technology. When Turnitin crashes, doesn’t load or when spell check makes a mistake, it can never be blamed on the machine. Guess who the blame does fall on? That’s right: you. It will always be your fault that the stupid piece of equipment failed to operate at optimal levels, so long as the deadline was not evidently met. Do you remember AOL? Horrible program and yet because it was modern technology, it was incapable of error.

Professors don’t check their e-mail. Or they give you alternate e-mails that are not to be found in the UW-River Falls directory. Silly professors, do you realize how much we have to keep track of in a single semester? Your outside e-mail addresses is not one of them I’m probably going to remember. Also, if you’re going to list it as a contact, then be kind and check it.

My extra credit is dependent on receiving and maintaining a remote control. Iclicks, more specifically. What happened to raising your hand? What happened to being able to answer out loud? Reliance on technology may be the reason people with doctorates resort to PowerPoint and point and click in order to manage their classes. I understand the application in rooms of over 200 students. However, if no one else has noticed, our school holds a 30-1 ratio.

Turnitin.com is evil. I understand I already covered the fault that websites can not be trusted, but REALLY. There is no need for this site. If you don’t trust your students, or if you don’t have the sufficient knowledge to tell plagarism from the actual thing, you may want to reconsider your profession. Do not let technology do your job for you. Just saying.

So there it is. My list compiled about the many ways that technology kills my grades. It may seem I have used my column to vent a little frustration, and you’re right, I have. Feels good.

Chaia means life and Kimi-Chaia Lindberg tries to live it to the fullest. Writing is what she loves. Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and English are the words she uses. Tel Aviv is where she is inspired.

Comments

Lirit on 20 Mar 2010: lol. All I heard was ..."make my job easier". Ok, well you're handing your own job away to technology and please stop complaining when your wages are further slashed, your work load has been pawned off to the computer that you claim can do your job better than you can.

Toe Moss on 11 Mar 2010: Give me a break. When I was teaching before using Turnitin, I trusted my students, but still detected many many instances of plagiarism. I used to take bits of suspect papers and send them out on Alta Vista to see if they (my students) used materials from the Internet. I found loads of plagiarism... as much as 25 +%. It took huge amounts of time! HUGE!!! That is low % compared to some classes. The first class (PreMed Neurobiology at Berkeley) to use a primitive form of Turnitin proved ~45 out of 150 were cheating... so much for trust. I would challenge KIMI-CHAIA LINDBERG to sit down with 100 plagiarized papers and 100 originals, randomize them and place them into two correct and proper stacks with 100% accuracy. I will bet that the writer could not do it. Sure some would be easy, but there are many clever ways around your "just telling". Many times a "C" student can download a "C" paper and it is very difficult to determine if it is his "voice" or a cleverly downloaded imposture. The students that were actually doing the work are unfairly being compared to their cheating classmates and sometimes getting lower grades as a result. That is not fair. Once I started using Turnitin the students just stopped plagiarizing. They groused, “you don’t trust us!”. The answer, “ I trust all of you that are doing your own papers, I do not trust the minority of you that are taking advantage of your friends and classmates, not learning how to properly write your own papers and feeding the coffers of many thousands of “cheat sites”! Turnitin is the only way I have of separating you into those two groups”. Don’t believe me.... Go to Google and type in “Free Term Papers”... Stand back CheatHouse - Essays and Papers for Students and School Sucks” are still there! I just looked..."Results 1 - 10 of about 30,100,000 for free term papers. (0.29 seconds)". And just a word kids... They are not free!!!! This is capitalism at its best folks these business people are in it to turn a profit. If students were not downloading, there would not be any of these on the Internet. So... I think that Turnitin ROCKS! Also, the best thing is the attached Grademark program which saves me monstrous amounts of time grading papers. Is it possible that the disgruntled writer above used to enjoy "downloading" some of her material, and feels a bit put out now that she has to actually do her own work?