Friday, October 16, 2009

177 - People who videotape lectures

The life of a university student is quite interesting. We are finally adults, responsible for our own money, time, property, physiological well-being, and general lifestyle, emotionally mature, with a supposedly more developed mental health, while also carrying the rights to marry, to vote, to work, to join the army, to drive, to travel abroad without parental consent, to drink, to smoke, to have sex, to gamble, and the list goes on. We choose how we want to live our lives, and in university, that largely includes the way we want to learn.

No longer must we conform to the timetable of high school, be obliged to attend classes, consult teachers about class content, have lunch at a reasonable hour, sleep at a reasonable hour, do our homework on time, or spend hours and hours studying for our tests. We are free of all obligations, our duties are for us to define. We can skip all of our lectures and seminars, we can forget about studying, get wasted every night, sleep in every morning, eat junk food everyday,
revise for our examinations at the very last minute, and give less than a rat's tail about our assignments. The only drawback about that game plan is the fact that we would fail at the end of the year, and that's quite a lot of money to send down the drain.

One key thing that you may find different, is the fact that you don't need to take notes down anymore - it's not required of us anymore - as adults, we decide if it's necessary for our tertiary education. We can just sit there, cross-armed the whole time and put the gift of memory to good use by listening intently, taking it all in and deeply engraving it in our heads, or we could leave an audio recorder on the lecturing stand for aural replay on a later date.

But if you really wanted to capture the entire essence of the talk, if you really wanted to experience the lecture like it was exactly once again, you could get a video camera, and tape the whole damn thing.

I thought I've seen some stupid things in my lifetime. This girl put a video camera on the lecturing stand, to tape the professor giving the talk, and the reason for this was that there was nowhere else to put the camera. With the soft, cotton-filled, round-edged seats in the theater, the chairs were useless when it came to balancing anything on top of one of them. She could have just held the thing in her hand the whole time instead, but she probably figured she needed both hands to take down notes. The one thing she didn't figure beforehand was the fact that the lecturer didn't exactly stay at the stand, or in any one particular place.

In fact, the lecturer moved almost everywhere except the lecturing stand. When the professor was standing on the right, the girl student was happy, and she sat there - not listening to the professor - but always eying her precious visual project to make sure she was capturing the video (i.e., being distracted). When the lecturer walked over to the left-hand side of the lecture hall, the girl would get up from her seat, and turn the camera towards him. And then the professor would turn, and walk back in the opposite direction to the right-hand side.

This went on for about ten minutes, and the girl had gotten up seven times. She finally figured - she would have to stop getting up and sitting down - so she found a plastic chair and sat right next to the lecturing stand. This only gave her easier access to her camera, and she would tweak the angle at which her camera was pointed repeatedly at around one tweak per minute. She wasn't even listening to the man. The guy was telling us very interesting things, about the Azande people of Central Africa who believe in witchcraft, who purify their newborns by holding them over smoke, and whose criminal justice system involves determining a suspect's innocence in a crime by observing if a poisoned chicken dies or survives after ingesting a toxic substance.

And this girl wasn't listening to any of this. She kept adjusting her lens, tending to her sacred angle that had to be pointed at the professor at all times. She was distracting two hundred or more other students, and let's face it...

Why waste one hour or more in the future by watching it on tape?

You can just pay attention the one time, the first time, and that's the only hour of your lifetime that that lecture would take out of your time. If you videotaped all of your lectures, you would effectively be taking the same course twice, spending twice the time listening to the same content twice, not forgetting the fact that you would have to spend additional hours more dealing with the technology and the hardware.

Why bother?

This is a classic case of people trying too hard, but achieving less.

15 comments:

Amanda. said...

I really like this post, and really i just like your blog a lot. Sometimes people don't think things through very well, it's a bit annoying isn't it?

Louise said...

Hahaha... She's a fool. Why did she even pass the entrance examination if she's THAT stupid? Really now...

Louise said...

Oh. Oh, wait. *How did she even pass... My bad. :)

Sarah said...

you're kidding! what happened to tape recording?

Elizabeth said...

Wow, this girl sure know how to waste time.
.___.

plentymorefishoutofwater said...

I would bully her. Nice post.

Douglas said...

A counter opinion: She may have been trying to record the lecture for others. It is clear she was not an audio-video student, or a journalism student. Otherwise she'd have positioned herself in front and held the camera at all times. Just an amateur, maybe trying to help out a friend or friends.

Or a dumb schlub.

Eugene said...

THAT'S... A good idea. Really.

Liz Sedai said...

It is their life to waste. But it does seem very wasteful to do so.

Sarah_J said...

I have a flatmate who has 2/4 lectures that clash. She'd love it if they were videotaped.

Michael said...

Amanda: Ah, well. Not my problem... I just thought it was a tad distracting to everyone.

Louise: I don't think she had her camera for the last lecture... haha.

Sarah: In fact, nobody tape records nowadays. I think it's because it's just too much trouble to deal with the technology. Sometimes, things designed for making things easier only make things more complicated.

Elizabeth: Mmm... maybe she will do a helluva lot better than me in the final exam thanks to those tapes. Who knows...

plentymorefishoutofwater: Hahahaha

Douglas: That is true actually. Hmm...

Eugene: You can adopt that strategy for yourself. :)

Liz Sedai: Mhm.

Sarah J: Um, shouldn't someone be punished for arranging lectures that clash?

Jacynta said...

Where I live, lectures are recorded and posted on the internet as a podcast. We don't really have to be in them at all (although we should attend anyway). It's just in case you had to miss one, or you forgot something that the lecturer said.

I can see how this would be annoying though, even though it probably won't happen to me when I go to Uni.

Sarah_J said...

of course not - the Development Economics clash has been going on for years. SOAS students are just expected to have magical powers, thats all.

Eveliiina<3 said...

Just want to pop by and say that I love your blog!
:)

http://xeveliiinax.blogspot.com/

Michael said...

Jacynta: I can understand taping it, but not videotaping it. Some people rely too much on cameras too much to capture 'memorable' moments, without realizing it's the technology itself that's making actual remembrance even harder.

Sarah J: I don't understand. I would totally get together a petition to ask them, 'what the Hell?'

Evelina: Thanks. :)