Universities Don’t Eat Apples

I was sitting in a tutorial today keying an assessment date into my iPhone calendar. The tutor walked up and told me I shouldn’t be text messaging in class and to focus on the task. I explained to him that I was doing nothing different from the student next to me writing the date into her paper diary.

He smiled and asked what question I was up to.

Yet another example of the University demonstrating just how far behind they are.

The fact I was actually on Facebook because the tutorial was terribly boring is irrelevant.

No Comments
  • Venessa Paech
    Posted at March 30, 2009 8:49pm, 30 March Reply

    University, or this tutor?

    The slow grind of antiquated, institutional red-tape and the unfortunate focus on profit and private sectorism (to the detriment of scholarship) is the chief culprit of the disconnect you highlight.

    Let’s crack participative pedagogy proper.

  • Ben Shepherd
    Posted at March 31, 2009 5:47pm, 31 March Reply

    – I was sitting in a tutorial today keying an assessment date into my iPhone calendar.

    – I was actually on Facebook because the tutorial was terribly boring is irrelevant

    Erm … so which one were you actually doing?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at March 31, 2009 5:59pm, 31 March Reply

    @ Ben Shepherd

    Of course I was actually on Facebook. But this is another issue Universities need to deal with but are failing to do so. Likewise for the students who sit in lectures with their notebooks on Facebook (also me). What if I were actually entering a date into my calender. Or looking up some piece of theory on the net?

    Maybe the University needs to start thinking of answers to these questions…

  • m a t t b o w e n
    Posted at March 31, 2009 9:38pm, 31 March Reply

    I think the fundamental issue here is your disengagement from the lecturer / tutor / content being taught. Perhaps if the uni embraced modern technology and tried to communicate the theory in a more savvy way (for them at least) which may be more engaging for us, then everyone wins. Whats Wags interpretation of this?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at March 31, 2009 9:41pm, 31 March Reply

    @ m a t t b o w e n

    Interesting, although I’m not saying I’m in the right in any way here. But Wag’s will read this, thoughts?

  • Wags
    Posted at March 31, 2009 11:10pm, 31 March Reply

    I could understand this if it was a lecture – the ultimate antiquated one-way teaching approach. But it’s a bit of a worry that you are disengaged during a tutorial. Tutorials are supposed to be interactive, an opportunity for you to question, challenge, and engage in exciting discussion. Wasn’t that happening?

    I’d like to know who you think is at fault here, Zac… the tutor (failing to teach properly), the student (not applying himself to the task at hand), or the system (failing to recognise that iGen-ers want to learn differently)?

  • Stan Lee
    Posted at April 1, 2009 11:35pm, 01 April Reply

    Ten years from now, when you’re still paying of your HEX debt, you may well wish that you’d managed to get your money’s worth from Uni.

    As it sits, it sounds like you are not. So why not just pull the pin and go get a job?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 1, 2009 11:46pm, 01 April Reply

    @ Stan Lee

    There’s a whole other blog post on that topic. Economic situation tells me to graduate in two years with a piece of paper. But if I find the right opportunity or the right one presents itself, I’d take it up in a second.

    With that said, I’m still getting a lot from University, especially outside of the classroom. When I pick up a few more marketing related subjects next year I will pick up my monies worth.

    And Stan, Gen Y’s and iGen’s don’t see debt the same way you do. ;]

  • Stan Lee
    Posted at April 2, 2009 11:44am, 02 April Reply

    “Don’t see debt the way I do?

    You know I love you Zac, but you’re a bloody teenager living at home.

    I have worked with Gen Y’s since the day they were invented. Believe me when I say that HEX is an enormous burden.

    However it is not a debt as such.

    It is several hundred dollars less in your pay packet every week. If you’re happy to work for a lot less than you’d like then good for you!

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 12:09pm, 02 April Reply

    @ Stan Lee

    Don’t know where you heard that, but you only begin to repay your HECS debt when you’re earning over a certain amount, and if it’s as high as $100 a week you’ll be earning more than enough to cover it.

    Plus let’s not forget I’m on scholarship. I love you too Stan.

  • Ben
    Posted at April 2, 2009 1:40pm, 02 April Reply

    @ stan lee

    I copped a significant HECS debt from Monash Caulfield but paying it off wasn’t really that painful. I finished in 1999 though and I believe fees have increased.

    However, you do notice it once it’s paid off and you’re seeing a lot more extra cash per week. Especially when you’re paying off a house/car etc

    Zac, it almost sounds like you feel university can’t offer you anything. it’s a common thread amongst your posts … almost like you’re smarter than the teachers. This would be highly unusual in a Gen-Y so I guess I wnt to get an idea of what you’re doing to improve the situation.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 2:16pm, 02 April Reply

    I love where this conversation has gone.

    Yes, I feel like improvements could be made at University. Particularly when I’m at a stage in my fifth semester and have only done four marketing related subjects.

    But I am still getting a lot out of it. And I know that many have been in my position before and said the same thing but look back later and regret it. I’m not stupid.

    What have I done to improve the sitution? C’mon Ben, I think I’m probably one of the undergraduates doing the most. Blogging. Catching up with industry people. Talking to people in the department. Writing for different publications. Getting my name out there. Interning. Consulting where possible. All of the above and more.

    The point of this post was to say that new issues are arise that the University isn’t even aware of and that they are failing to deal with.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at April 2, 2009 2:45pm, 02 April Reply

    Yawn…”oh it’s the system – they don’t teach me the way I want to be taught”. Suck it up little Zac. Try getting off Facebook when you are in a tutorial and maybe participate in the class. You might find your teacher is little more responsive. I wouldn’t be particularly motivated to teach a bunch of kids who think they know it all and don’t clearly have no manners.

  • Gavin Heaton
    Posted at April 2, 2009 2:47pm, 02 April Reply

    Interesting discussion Zac. I presume that you have seen this:

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 3:00pm, 02 April Reply

    @ Anonymous

    Ironically, I am both the loudest in the class and the one who contributes most in every single one of my classes.

    I didn’t realise it was up to the students to motivate the teachers. ;]

    @ Gavin Heaton

    Of course, fantastic video!

  • Adam
    Posted at April 2, 2009 3:13pm, 02 April Reply

    University by nature cannot be completely cutting edge. You’re in it for the basics, the theory, and the piece of paper. The REAL education comes from this…everything outside of university. Interning, working, talking, thinking, writing. That’s something that unis will never teach you.

    As for HECS:

    HELP (the updated version of HECS) starts getting repaid when we’re on $41,595+ this year. It increases in line with the CPI in June each year, so it’ll be repaid after about ~$44,000 by the time Zac graduates. Since most agency junior roles in Syd/Melb are offering $35-40k anyway, and that’s not likely to change (why would it?), he’s safe.

    Repayments are 4% of taxable income (actually HRI, but pretend we didn’t see that), so we’re repaying $1600 a year pre-tax in 08/09 if you earn over $41,595 up to $46,333, bringing your salary back down to (wait for it) $40k (at the lowest level).
    So it’s $30/week, IF we’re over the threshold.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at April 2, 2009 3:35pm, 02 April Reply

    this discussion began due to the fact that you got busted in class on facebook- your tutor is not an idiot and the fact that you are quick on your feet means you were able to cover yourself very well with an excuse…

    I am sure that some people missed out on signing up for this class (as you took someone else’s spot) and will either never get the chance to take it or will have to wait until another semester – so as much as you say you are getting information from other classes / mediums at uni – if you aren’t interested – don’t try and fill in time until your marketing classes begin…

    what an immature post….grow up – oh I forgot you are only a kid – it takes time to grow up….

  • haze
    Posted at April 2, 2009 3:49pm, 02 April Reply

    I don’t regret many things in my life, but one of the few I do have would be going to Uni too early (I started when I was 17 finished when I was 20). Most of what I learnt bored me because it was mostly just learning theories (a lot of them irrelevant) which I had no experience to apply any of them to, so it bored the shit out of me.

    Plus, it’s the stage of your life where all you want to do is party and chase the opposite sex (well, most 17-21 year olds anyway), so your attention is always in the wrong place.

    The two above factors cause you to do nothing during the semester, than cram like crazy before exams, get an ok mark, then forget everything you learned.

    In the interview which resulted in my first agency job, my future boss at one stage said ‘got a degree?’, I said ‘Yep’ and it was left at that.

    Haven’t had anyone look at it since, it just sits there on my CV and on a wall in my parents house no one ever uses.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think a tertiary education’s very valuable, but I really think you should delay it for a while until you’ve seen the real world and understand it’s important. If there was a Matt Hazel University (and let’s hope for the sake of the world there never is) there’d be a two year minimum full time work requirement I think.

    (and Zac, I wasn’t inferring you’re like the stereotype I just mentioned, I’m basing that on my personal experience and the people I know/knew in uni)

  • Ben
    Posted at April 2, 2009 4:28pm, 02 April Reply

    i can’t comment on how active you are to change things but it seems like you’re doing something.

    still, it devalues your martyr argument when you spin you dicking around in class on Facebook and blame the establishment for not engaging you yet won’t acknowledge how rude it would seem to the teacher. Surely you can see that.

  • Wags
    Posted at April 2, 2009 5:38pm, 02 April Reply

    Whoa! Not often you get 20+ comments on a posting these days, Zac. Looks like you’re onto something!

    You still haven’t answered my question… who’s at fault here?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 6:38pm, 02 April Reply

    @ Adam

    Agree with what you’re saying, thanks for the clarification.

    @ Anonymous

    I’m glad you remained anonymous because to suggest I don’t deserve to be where I am makes you a dick. I worked bloody hard to get where I am and even harder to maintain it.

    In case you didn’t realise how Uni works, I have to do other subjects and fill in time before I can do my marketing subjects. That’s how you get the piece of paper.

    @ haze

    I too started just turning 17 and will graduate having just turned 21. Maybe some age would give me some perspective, but my 26 year old mates doing the same degree might disagree. 90% of students use the cram and forget technique, that’s the way the system works.

    @ Ben

    I’m not saying what I did was right or that it wasn’t rude. But are you telling me you’ve never been in a boring meeting and gone to check your phone? Same thing.

    @ Wags

    While I appreciate that student involvement is a big part of tertiary education, with the amount of money I’m paying (see above!), I expect the lecturers, tutors and content to be engaging.

    We both know that it can be, but for the most part is not.

  • Scott Drummond (Come Together)
    Posted at April 2, 2009 7:15pm, 02 April Reply

    Hmm, plenty of muck slinging but not much forward thinking. I guess it’s easier to point the finger than address the underlying problems.

    Anyway, my comment was getting pretty long so I posted it over on my blog, Come Together. If you want to read it, head on over to http://scottdrummond.org/2009/04/02/are-universities-failing-to-engage-students/ and let me know what you think, either here or over there.

  • Ben Shepherd
    Posted at April 2, 2009 9:42pm, 02 April Reply

    “But are you telling me you’ve never been in a boring meeting and gone to check your phone?”

    I’m guilty of that yes, touche 😉

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 9:47pm, 02 April Reply

    @ Ben Shepherd

    I don’t say this enough, but I love your comments. I will never tailor a post to answer the question I know you’re going to ask, but I will always be more than happy to slog it out in the comments. I appreciate the occasional reality check.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at April 2, 2009 10:42pm, 02 April Reply

    When in a “boring” meeting one can still be polite, show respect and not fuck around on facebook. Manners 101 young Zac. With age you learn to zone out and show interest when required….and there’s more than one anon person posting here. Uni won’t teach you how to play the corporate game – experience will and that comes post uni.
    When you tell a lie to your parents they can see through you and know that the truth isn’t being told – much like your lecturers. They have seen and heard it all before – give them some credit.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 2, 2009 10:47pm, 02 April Reply

    @ Anonymous

    I know there’s more than one anonymous person here, but I wish you’d distinguish yourself. Even just make up a nickname so I know who you are next time.

    You haven’t seen some of my tutors, they are honestly beyond clueless. ;]

  • Anonymous
    Posted at April 2, 2009 11:12pm, 02 April Reply

    Ok – From here on in I’ll be the one that always calls you “young Zac” – might have also called you “little Zac” – and yes I remember some of my tutors and they were also beyond clueless (lol). This logging in thing is just too much for some of us old folk! Or I just can’t be fucked!

  • Age
    Posted at April 2, 2009 11:30pm, 02 April Reply

    I have to agree with Stan on his point re: help debt. When you reach the point in your life when ur ready to invest in property and are told you owe the gov 20k it really bugs you – at least it did for me.

  • Selina
    Posted at April 4, 2009 5:46pm, 04 April Reply

    Love how the disdainful perceptions of Gen Y that “older” generations hold are always lurking juuust under the surface. Provoke them enough and they will go into how we are so:

    – impatient
    – lacking in the manners dept
    – direspectful to elders/ppl in positions of authoroty
    – Generally clueless
    – Different to how they were in their days…

    That perception is just so TIRED. I’d love to know what industry you’re in Anon.

  • Ben Shepherd
    Posted at April 6, 2009 12:08am, 06 April Reply

    Selina – 20 somethings have always had those qualities, it’s nothing to do with Gen Y.

    Love the use of “older” in quotations … I guess being condescending is something both generations share.

  • Ben Shepherd
    Posted at April 6, 2009 3:36pm, 06 April Reply

    forgot to add the old 😉

  • Anonymous
    Posted at April 16, 2009 12:47am, 16 April Reply

    But why don’t pigs fly?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at April 16, 2009 1:04am, 16 April Reply

    @ Anonymous

    Pigs don’t have wings. Let’s not pretend they do instead just say it like it is. ;]

  • Billy Griffin
    Posted at April 16, 2009 6:22pm, 16 April Reply

    Where is all this aggresion coming from anonymous? And from someone getting so stuck into the young for being unappreciative, you are acting in a very stereotypical Gen Y manner by not logging in because you “can’t be fucked”.

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