no wifiWe, the children of an era where technology has and continues to advance at an incredible pace, are blessed with the opportunity to accomplish a great deal of things through readily available resources. We are endowed with the valiant duty of engaging ourselves in using all the mighty assets around us. Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, texts, IMing, my God, the list can go on longer than most Americans’ pitiful attention spans. In short, we are made to multitask  – expect us to simultaneously write a Tumblr post every five minutes and watch a webcast while at it? Fine! – and by all means are magnificent at it.

Oh but wait, it seems that Yale University professor Alexander Nemerov sure as hell doesn’t agree.

In fact, he so disagrees to the point that apparently he took the initiative to move his popular class, Introduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to the Present, from the Yale Law School auditorium (which seats 450 students) to the smaller Yale Art Gallery auditorium (which seats only 270 students). To say the least, students lined up to sign up for his class were … dismayed-slash-discouraged-slash-inquisitive-slash-pissed-off-like-no-other at the new cap for certain, but even more so at the other set of the most distressing news, like, ever: no Wi-Fi or cell service at the new venue.

God forbid that education comes before sexting your girlfriend.

And it’s exactly for that reason that Professor Nemerov decided to move his lecture hall to the smaller venue. Proven by “overwhelming evidence”, students who so-called effectively multitasked by fooling around on their laptops/phones while barely registering that the distinguished, famous man in front of them was trying to provide them with very expensive, valuable knowledge interestingly had most uninspiring results: crappy grades. The Yale Art Gallery auditorium, with its darker interior and lack of disruptions, allows students to see the projected art better and overall focus on what they’re supposed to be focusing on.

So, what do Cal students think about this? After all, Wi-Fi can serve important purposes in lecture halls, such as grabbing PowerPoint slides or information from bSpace. However, does Professor Nemerov have a point and has Wi-Fi availability during lectures proven to be more detrimental than useful to the learning environment?

Freshman Johanna Romero firmly stated that “at the college level, students should take responsibility for their actions… [the] professor doesn’t have to be the parent.” Cong Chen, a second year, seemed to also be in stride with that mentality, stressing that Wi-Fi availability “should be considered a privilege that depends on how students use it.” However, Chen acknowledged the benefits of it as well, stating that the internet allows students to access lecture slides, follow along in class and look up terms quickly when professors introduce them.

Solid responses. Rest assured, Airbears will not be impacted in any way by this post alone, so have no fear, all ye attached to constant communication/cyber entertainment. But hey, if you have any sort of input for this, then by all means share them. The Clog has a very willing ear.

Image source: iay under Creative Commons
Yale Professor Moves Class to Room without Wi-Fi. Cue Outrage. [Time News Feed]

Ariel B said:
Feb 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

So, Professor Ananya Roy declares her classrooms cell phone- and laptop-free zones. And she captivates her hundreds of students with each lecture, while maintaining this firm rule. The net result? More engagement. It kind of appears that this Yale prof was unable to stand up to students and ask for that behavior change… Why move classrooms?

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