Wireless Networks On Campus: Good Or Bad?

from the more-complaining dept

Here are two articles showing contrasting views of setting up wireless access all over college campuses. The first article shows that WiFi-ing up a campus is cheaper and allows for many more creative uses that both students and faculty enjoy. However, this NY Times piece suggests that professors are getting annoyed with wireless connections, saying they need to compete with the internet for attention. They say that it’s also “demoralizing” to the students who do pay attention, who feel that they need to slack off and play solitaire because their classmates are doing so too. I think both sides do have some reasonable points, but in the end, I tend to side with those who are for leaving the wireless on. First off, I think kids are getting better at multi-tasking, and there really are some advantages to being able to look stuff up while listening to a lecture. At the same time, if the students are slacking off, that isn’t necessarily the professor’s problem. The students need to learn for themselves how to pay attention to the matter at hand.

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Comments on “Wireless Networks On Campus: Good Or Bad?”

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Steve says:

Just like cell phone driving laws

If they’re not doing anything to distract the class then who cares? And if they are, the fact that the’re doing it on WiFi is irrelavent–a professor has the right to chatise and/or ask to leave anyone who is disrupting the rest of the class—period. If the students are too distracted and miss stuff from the lecture then their grades will suffer.

And the whole bit about not being able to compete with the internet (or any other entertainment type) for attention is an even worse argument than it is for K-12. A large part of college education is learning how to pull out usable information from whatever sources are available and appropriate. If they can’t get something from a lecture because it’s not “MTV enough”, then hopefully they’ll get failing grades. I hope schools are trying to teach students to focuse on the quality of ideas rather than the bright colors–trying to package the information to be more entertaining than a television show only propagates the problem.

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