Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dealing with Bored Students

A great post by UCLA law prof., Stephen Bainbridge, over at his Business Associations Blog, on how some professors deal with bored students in their classes (they text message, etc. and if the professor catches them, he simply walks out). And how Professor Bainbridge deals with texters (he simply ignores them, unless they're being really disruptive). Here is the meat of what he has to say on the subject:

Students have been bored forever. And they’ve found ways of idling away the time forever. I suspect some of Socrates’ students passed notes back and forth. I got kicked out of a law school course - not just a class session, but the whole course - for doing a crossword puzzle in class. (My students have a hard time believing a prof could do that and today most profs probably wouldn’t have the stones to do it. I don’t) Texting or web surfing or what have you is just the up to date version of an age-old problem.

Ah, college. I remember sitting in huge 300 person lecture halls playing tic-tac-toe or filling out crossword puzzles in the Daily Bruin. That was many years ago. I can only imagine what that's like now with wireless internet and iphones. Luckily (or unluckily) I have the space to bring my lap top and can just surf the web while taking notes. Multi-tasking.

But seriously, Prof. Bainbridge hits it right on the head. Students will always be bored. I mean, so would most people confined to listening to someone "profess" for two hours straight, day in and day out. Luckily, in my experience, most Professors seem to agree with him as well- as they were all once students- and tend to ignore our web surfing and IMing.

On a personal note, I was having a discussion the other day about whether a professor has the power to revoke a student from their course. And to what level of proof or legitimacy they needed. I wonder if a crossword puzzle would do it?

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