HUMOUR: Tech-challenged SFU professors to take mandatory workshop this spring semester

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Photo by Albert Zhang

There are many whimsical constants in the academic microcosm that is SFU; little idiosyncrasies which help make our engaged university the scholastic paradise we have all come to love. Whether it is the watered-down Starbucks coffee atop Burnaby Mountain or the cacophonous laments of wayward mall folk reverberating into every classroom of Surrey Central, like any good lover, it’s their flaws that make us fall head over heels for them. Sadly, SFU administrators have it on their mind to fix a long-gestating kink that old and new students have come to affectionately expect in their lecture halls: classroom delays via tech-illiterate professors.

Starting in spring 2016, all SFU professors will be forced to attend a mandatory workshop designed by tech support staff on all three of the campuses. The workshop will consist of teaching professors the basics of turning on a computer, working lecture hall lighting, and how to work the volume on their microphones. Along with this, professors will also be taught strategies to help mask their struggle in front of students and will be given extensive flowcharts that might allow support staff some peace and quiet for a change.

The Peak caught up with the university’s administration in regards to the workshop and reasons for its implementation.

“Technological ineptitude contributes to on average five to 10 minute delay in lectures,” said a spokesperson for the university. “Students are losing close to 80 minutes of time in each of their classes. Now, normally we wouldn’t give a shit about this — but someone gossiped about us to UBC, so now we have to do something about it.”

Since the announcement last Friday, belligerency on the topic has only escalated. Many SFU staff have already cited the workshop as the highest form of condescension ever issued to a paid educator. A meeting between the two parties is said to move forward later this week, as soon as SFU professors work out how to use the email account.

“Pardon my Parisian discourse, but this is the highest form of Bolshevism I have ever regarded,” cited one world literature professor. “Just because I show some technological deficiency from time to time does not grant the university the right to treat me like an erudite muttonhead!”

While professors and admin continue to squabble over the controversial workshop, contention among the SFU student body has led to a surprising schism. The Peak asked for the thoughts of students across the three campuses’ regarding the upcoming workshop. Of those interviewed, a noticeable majority were in opposition to it.

“Look, man. I’m going to level with you,” said a first-year, who wished to remain anonymous. “I’m totally cool with lectures starting late and shit. Like honestly, I don’t want to even be in half my classes. Introduction to Egyptian Literature and Poetry? I’m on the basketball team. If prof wants to waste time flicking the lights, fine by me.”

With the new semester less than three months away, time will tell if this workshop does indeed move forward. The workshop is prepped to go ahead in the first week of January. 

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