By Erin Morris
I hate to sit here comfortably in the library on a cold and blustery Wednesday night and criticize your flaws, but truth be told, I’m not in that great of a mood. Let me tell you why.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up and trudge to my first class. Does this drudgery have to do with the fact that I had to get up? No. Does it have to do with the fact that I hate the subject matter? No. It has to do with the fact that it’s a completely pointless class. And nothing makes me mad like when somebody wastes my time.
The class is pointless because there is no instructor. When I registered for this class, there was indeed a name listed next to the class schedule, but imagine my dismay when I walked in the first day to discover that she would never in fact grace our class with her presence. I had unknowingly signed up for a computer class taught through Skype.
Being the optimistic sort of person that I am, I decided it might work out and sat down with a heart full of hope. Since then, that hope has vanished and I have to argue with myself every morning because half of me is a somewhat responsible student who knows she should go to class and the other half is a frustrated college kid who just wants to sleep in.
I respect Southwestern College for trying to keep up with the times and technology of the day, but there are some things that cannot be replaced. A qualified professor is one of them.
I am not questioning the aptitude of my teacher, but she is not very effective over a slow internet connection. There are those days when our school’s connection is so slow that she can’t teach at all. And I’m paying good money for this. I feel I’m completely justified in thinking that the outrageous tuition prices here should at least guarantee me a quality education. After all, you get what you pay for. At least I thought that’s how the world was supposed to work.
There are other problems as well. The sound is not quality, another side effect of the slow connection. I understand enough of what she says to get by, but many times my class has to ask her what she said because it comes in muffled over our speakers. It wastes time and is an unnecessary hassle.
A teacher in the room also means I can have face to face conversations with him or her. The professor can see everything I can. Our Skype instructor cannot look over our shoulders to see where we’ve gone wrong, and in a class that is based on copying computer coding, mistakes are easily and frequently made. And what if, God forbid, the problem isn’t our coding? She has no way of knowing what problems our computers are having. Skype is simply an ineffective way to teach a class.
Southwestern, please understand that I don’t say this because I hate you. On the contrary, I think you’re pretty swell. In fact, I admire your desire to stay in the loop technologically, but you should leave the Skyping to homesick students. Thanks.
Erin Morris is a sophomore majoring in professional communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.