Professor’s epic struggle with technology

Professor's epic struggle with technology

by Rob Stewart

Anyone who is familiar with the nation’s private colleges wouldhave to agree that Simpson College compares rather favorably withits peers. It is a fine, respectable institution that boaststop-notch facilities and, more important to a student’s education,a world-class faculty.

As the professors employed by Simpson are admittedly both wilyand clever, a dangerous combination, one might wonder what preventsthem from casting off the work-a-day shackles of teaching. Instead,why not apply their giant, pulsating brains to a more powerful andmonetarily rewarding career, such as world domination and reigningsupreme over a world populated with their intellectual inferiors.They could be our brainy, sweater-wearing, super villainoverlords.

The reason that this grim and terrifying future will mercifullynever be is due to their surprising inability to work anyelectronic device more complicated than a light switch.

I don’t mean this article to incite a riot, or be the cause ofprofessor-on-columnist violence, or even to imply that no professoron campus can work an electronic device. There are alwaysexceptions to the rule, like Koko, the gorilla that speaks signlanguage. It is simply entertaining that when approached with thecirca-1980’s concept of the VCR, or the video cassette recorder forthose who aren’t familiar with the acronym, the average professorwill stare at it like a parakeet at its own reflection.

This observation comes from many class periods awaiting theviewing of the wonderfully time killing infotainment that is theeducational video, only to find that while attempting to insert thevideo cassette the professor instead manages to set the televisionlanguage to Portuguese, the sleep timer to every seven minutes, andthe video to self-destruct.

This problem could be solved quickly with a little help fromthe, at least somewhat, tech-savvy students. However, most studentswill watch a professor flounder with a VCR or DVD as if witnessinga train wreck or some other equally fascinating catastrophic eventor natural disaster. Though puzzling upon first glance thisseemingly pitiless apathy has traceable roots.

After receiving a poor grade on a test or paper there is somesmall consolation involved in watching your least favoriteprofessor of the moment crumble under the pressure of the manybuttons, displays, menus and their various functions.

There are also those who do not have a particular bone to pick,but find it amusing to watch a professor work furiously andfruitlessly until tired, frustrated and beaten. He is then forcedto ask the students for help and one swaggers proudly to the front,bends over and plugs in the TV.