I have been debating whether to post this “rant” or not. Obviously, you know what I finally decided. Those who pay attention to detail should note that I first drafted this post in early 2011. Yes, 2011 – as in 4 years ago. It is now 2015 and I have decided that it is worth airing.
Perhaps it is my middle aged mind kicking in and being a curmudgeon. Perhaps it is a valid observation. Over the past months/ years, I have observed a change in a fair number of students in many of my classes. Those who know me know that I don’t just teach at one community college in central Illinois so these observations go beyond one school.
My observation is the following – it seems that many students (obviously not all, but sizable number) now seem to want everything handed to them. By this I mean that there is no desire to search out a solution. I can’t count the number of times I receive an email with a question that could easily have been solved with a simple search engine query.
There is no desire to take a couple of examples and stitch them together in a new way to solve a given problem. It seems like some expect a step by step explanation (complete with the finished assignment that can be turned in for credit). Yes, there have always been a few in this camp, but it seems that many more are joining (at least more recently). If you really expect me to do all your work for you, why don’t I just apply for the job you seek and then hand the paycheck over to you? Sure, that is going to happen. The check is already in the mail. Yes, I am being sardonic. If you don’t know what sardonic means… look… it… up…
I am curious if others have also observed this (or am I way off base). If I am on target at all, I fear this does not bode well for graduates entering the business world. Having worked in various industries (as well as government), I have always observed that those who rapidly (and creatively) solve problems on their own are the ones who go much further. This is a behavior I plan to help students develop this year.
As we start 2015, I ask the following of students – BEFORE sending me an email, have you done the following?
- used a search engine to answer your question?
- looked at online video to see if there is a step by step explanation (if you really need one)?
- applied a rule of reasonableness to the answers you have found (to verify that it is not some “wing nut” providing a less than stellar piece of work)?
- asked a peer via the course discussion forum?
It is imperative you make an effort to find solutions to your questions on your own. There will come a time (sooner than you think) where you won’t be able to ask your professor for the answer. Develop the necessary skills to succeed and thrive in business on your own.