[EAS]The 24-Hour Professor

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Aug 30 16:56:42 EDT 2002

Subject:   The 24-Hour Professor

Dear Colleagues -

The inevitability of mixed blessings of email and other forms of
information technology in teaching and administration is discussed
in the CIT INFOBITS item below. 

Keep in mind, of course, that a new modality has a good chance to be
more efficient only in an altered context. If the recipients of a
memo distributed by email will likely print it out because of other
surviving administrative circumstances, then email may well be the
sink for additional time mentioned by Prof. Messing, especially if
it is multiple-forwarded scrambled-format. 

Providing the technology is never enough. There needs to be
insightful evolution of its best use by professional collaboration
between providers and users.


(from CIT INFOBITS -- August 2002)


The CIT Infobits May 2002 article "Online Teaching and the 24-Hour
Professor" (http://www.unc.edu/cit/infobits/bitmay02.html#1)
described how the Internet is changing professors' workdays and
workloads. John Messing, Director of the Research Centre for
Innovation in Telelearning Environments at Charles Sturt University,
continues this topic in "Can Academics Afford to Use E-mail?"
August 2002). Messing reports on a study that began as "an attempt
to quantify what many educators have suspected . . . that the
workload associated with the use of online tools is considerably
higher than with conventional technologies. In the process of trying
to make sense of the data, it became clear that there are a number
of issues such as increased expectations on the part of students and
the disproportionate load that administrative use of e-mail places
on academics that are rarely, if ever, considered as part of the

The study analyzed the author's administrative and course-related
email messages from 1991-2001. Some of his observations:

Regarding course-related email:
"While the number of students in [his Graduate Diploma of Applied
Science] course has doubled, the volume of communication has
increased 11 fold. . . ."

Regarding administrative email:
"It might take a secretary 10 to 15 minutes to duplicate and
distribute meeting papers to 20 people [via email]. If it takes each
recipient just 5 minutes to read, extract, print and collect the
meeting papers, that represents a total of 100 minutes. The
secretary saves 10 minutes but the recipients collectively lose 100

He concludes, "Just how much extra time an individual is prepared to
sacrifice in order to also receive the benefits of the use of such
tools is debatable. From a personal perspective, the limit has been
reached. With well over 3000 e-mails to contend with in one
semester, the system has become a scourge rather than a blessing."

The article is available online at
(HTML format) and
(PDF format).

e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology (e-JIST) is
published by the Distance Education Centre, University of Southern
Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia; Web:
http://www.usq.edu.au/dec/ Current and back issues of e-JIST are
available at no cost at http://www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e-jist/

As a reward for reading this far, here is a more amusing use of IT

(from Edupage, August 30, 2002)

New technology from IBM and USA Technologies will allow college
students to do laundry without hunting for quarters or sitting
around in the laundromat waiting for their clothes to be done. The
eSuds system will connect 9,000 washers and dryers at U.S. colleges
and universities to the Internet. Students can check a Web site for
available machines and add detergent that the machines dispense.
When the laundry is done, the machine sends an e-mail notifying the
student. Swipe cards are used to pay for the laundry instead of
cash, and laundromat owners can use the system to monitor machines
and perform limited maintenance. The system might also cut down on
vandalism, since cash won't be collected by the machines.
Reuters, 29 August 2002

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