Posts

Is Skype Right for School?

Please Welcome Guest Blogger – Nancy Valencia

Is email the perfect tool for communicating with your professor? What if your course is online, but you feel the need to see the teacher in-person? I like to ask questions so that I understand assignments more in depth so I can better accomplish what I’m being asked. Sometimes email just doesn’t work.

That being said, I don’t think it is right for students to misuse email to make up excuses for a missed class or assignment. We live in a generation where we don’t get to know each other and develop a relationship of humans between student and professor. I think e-mail makes it easier to hide behind the computer and not have to go to campus or schedule meetings.

That’s why I’d like to suggest Skype as a communication tool for students and professors. It’s a dream come true for all the parents who work full time and can’t drive back and forth to campus. I, personally, would rather speak to a professor than to send e-mails back and forth. The truth is that I need to pay the bills and sometimes I have to put my job first. So, when I do need to speak to a teacher, it would be so much easier to do it in-person – through Skype.

I’d like to see a day, in the near future, where professors drop e-mails and use Skype instead. It would be like an online meeting which would be more humane than e-mails. Bottom line, our professors are not dumb, and they know we use email strategically. They know it’s easier for us to give them an excuse through email. Be upfront and simply say I procrastinated and never finished my work. Imagine all the excuses they have heard, over 100 times but with different tweaks here and there.

But if we really want to learn and accommodate our busy schedules, Skype might do the trick. Let’s say that we get snowed in for a week and can’t have class. Skype would be a perfect way to teach class instead of all this reading that drives us all mad. I suppose that is a whole other blog to write.

 

Please let me know your opinion!

 

My Five Favorite Words

 

If you really want your professor to like you, try these five words.

 

“What else do you teach?

 

Like a fine bottle of wine, this question needs time to age. If you throw it in too early, it won’t ring true. I recommend saving it up until the end of the semester. Why? Because it implies a tangible action that benefits the professor. Registration is open and you’re about to pick classes. Teachers’ need to fill their classes, especially electives. Your question is exactly what they want to hear.

 

Consider this –compliments are perishable. They’re gone the minute you walk out of the classroom. Asking a teacher what else they teach is a compliment with a complimentary commitment. It’s like down payment and timed correctly, it will leave your professor with a positive feeling about you.

 

And that can’t hurt during final exams. So mark your calendar now.

Rate Your Professor — On the First Day

shutterstock_149199596

One week down, fourteen to go. I don’t want to give you the idea that I’m counting the days, but I’m always relieved at the end of the first week. No matter how many times I’ve had to introduce myself to a class, I always worry about that first impression. Did I come across too strong, too weak or just plain boring?

 

Here are some of my choice moments from Spring 2015’s first week.

 

About twenty minutes into a morning class, a student stood up and announced, “This isn’t an Italian class, is it?”  No — but that would be kind of fun. Maybe I could throw in a few Italian words just to spice up the class. Buon lavoro! (I think that means good work.)

 

Unfortunately, I don’t speak Italian. Neither did a second student who was hot on the heels of the first student. “I’m in the wrong class, too,” she admitted as she headed for the door. “But this class seems pretty good and I think I’ll try to add it.”  I took that as a compliment, but my glow quickly faded.

 

A third student packed up his books and walked out. No good-byes, just a door in my face. Ouch, I thought, and then I realized I’d never please everyone with my first day routine. In fact, I’ve decided that from now on I’m just going to be me.  And, I plan on being ‘just me’ for the next fourteen weeks – not that I’m counting.

 

Good luck this semester!

 

Comments on your first week of school are welcome here!

The Late Teacher

Late teachers come in three varieties ranging from disoriented to disconnected. Here’s my take on teachers who can’t tell time.

shutterstock_166289546

 

Professor Rat’s Nest

 

This teacher looks like they crawled out of a clothes dryer before the fluff cycle beeped.  With a pencil or two stuck in their hair and piles of crumpled, coffee stained papers, you wonder how they got through college.  If you really want to freak this professor out, encourage your fellow students to change seats every class. Don’t worry – since Prof. Rat’s Nest comes late, you’ll have plenty of time to execute this strategy.

 

Professor Paparazzi

 

This teacher thinks they might be famous. They are soooo busy living their pseudo-celebrity life, they couldn’t possibly be expected to arrive on time. Any you, the lowly student, should feel honored they’ve shown up at all. Here’s a quick way to deflate Professor Paparazzi’s ego. Pick a day and have the entire class show up exactly 30 minutes late.

 

Professor Dude

 

This teacher thinks it’s the first day of class every day of the semester.  They tend to saunter aimlessly across campus as if the college had rearranged the buildings over the summer. If you are walking faster than a toddler, you often pass them on the way to their own class.  Professor Dude is likely to peek into the class first to see if they recognize anyone, and then Professor Dude will check the door number more than once. My suggestion – about halfway through the semester, change the door number and act surprised when they poke their head in.