Letting My Schooling Interfere with My Education

Zack Rosen

Philosopher John Dewey makes a very valid point.

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

In case you were wondering, Dewey’s methods aren’t how most professors teacher here at UNH.
Instead, you enter class. Sit down. Take notes as your professor talks about whatever topic that day was for. You’re surprised by some things they teach you. You’re bored by some things they teach you. You get up to get a bottle of water; perhaps you reply to a text message. You get your 14-page paper back, get an A-, smile, and go back to your dorm. If you have another class later in the day, you rinse and repeat.

The first problem is your professor requiring you to print a 14-page paper. You realize that, for a class with 20 students, that is 280 pages? If the class has 3 other sections, that is 1,120 pages of paper. If you have 2 papers a semester, that’s 4,480 pages of paper per year, or almost 3 1/2 bibles. Isn’t math fun!?

Or, perhaps you are chemistry professor Dr. Pauline Schwartz. You assign a paper, but tell students to submit it electronically – either through email or Blackboard. Oh, and better yet, you use (cue Rocky theme song)…


Dr. Schwartz has been teaching faculty and staff how to use Blackboard and Tegrity, and for that I thoroughly thank her. In fact, I hope everybody who passes by her will thank her. This university has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on these incredible Smart Classrooms, but not every professor is using the equipment. At least one is!

I started my education here at the University of New Haven in August 2006. Now a senior, I have not once used Tegrity. Not. Once. It’s a shame, it’s a wasted resource, and it’s a huge waste of money if it’s not being utilized.

So to all of the deans, professors, and administration reading this; I will gladly support the Print Green program on campus. It’s a great way to help the environment, save money, and prevent unnecessary use of equipment, paper, and ink. But in return, I ask that you actually give a damn about my education. Sure, some professors use Tegrity. Good for them: really! For those of you who are deans, I ask you to lead your department; don’t just employ them. Tell the professors that they have to use Blackboard. Tell them they have to use Tegrity.

Oh, and just using it isn’t enough. It should NOT take 5 minutes (yes, I timed it last semester) to figure out how to play a DVD in class.

If we, as students, are to believe that UNH is a leader in Experiential Education, that we’re a top university, and that we have some of the most successful programs in the country (none of which, mind you, do I question), then let’s be leaders in the technological age. Like it or not, the world revolves around technology these days. And if you don’t cherish that fact and teach us, the students, using this equipment, I guarantee the retention rate will die down.

Please, somebody, let me use all the features of our campus technology before I graduate. “I’m too old to use a computer” worked in 1990. It doesn’t anymore. I demand more of you. Starting now.

As a student, if your professors refuse to use this amazing technology that most of our classrooms possess, then I hope you won’t give up with your educational aspirations. In the words of Mark Twain, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”