GW’s state-of-the-art classroom technology can benefit students in ways previously impossible, but too often malfunctions and teachers who can’t work the new gadgets cause the loss of valuable class time. This is unacceptable at a university of GW’s caliber.
With some simple trouble-shooting and education of professors on how to work the technology, these obstacles need not create a problem.
The Center for Academic Technologies needs to implement preventative measures in order to ensure that failures don’t have to be dealt with during class. Whether that means testing equipment before classes begin or devising a more user-friendly system, some changes are in order. When failures do arise, technology support workers should respond immediately and without disruption of the class.
Malfunctions will happen, as Brad Reese, executive director of CAT said, but problems must be kept to a minimum. Students have a right to go to class and have the overhead projector work, and if it doesn’t work, someone should be held accountable. CAT should reach a level of proficiency so that technology failures become a rarity, not a common occurrence.
Professors also need to know how to use the new equipment. Bumbling around during the first 20 minutes of class trying to figure out how to use an overhead projector or microphone wastes students’ class time. During a semester, instructors’ ignorance on how to operate complicated technology can add up to many hours of wasted time. The University must address this problem by making instructions available to teachers on how to work new equipment.
Recurring problems with GW’s new technology need to be alleviated. Those who install and maintain the equipment, as well as those who use the technology, should ensure that malfunctions during class periods happen as infrequently as possible. Poorly working technology is no excuse for the loss of a student’s most precious commodity – class time.