Scenario 2010

I teach Composition in a computer classroom, with 24 desktop computers and 23 students.  Since we also have wireless Internet available, some students bring their own laptops to work on in class instead of the desktop computers.  So, we’re workshopping in class on student projects.  One student is working on his project on his laptop, located on the table in front of the PC monitor he is not using.

            “I’m having trouble finding information for the project,” he laments.

            “What kind of trouble?” I ask, hoping to help him direct his search.

            “My wireless connection isn’t working very well on the laptop, so I can’t get Internet access.”

            For a minute, I wasn’t sure what to respond.  “Did you update your virus protection?” I began.  Our university requires the latest updates for connection.

            “Yeah,” he said.  “It isn’t that.  It’s the wireless card in this laptop.”

            What to do? I suddenly realized the answer: “Um, this thing behind your laptop?  It’s a computer, you know!” I blathered.

            “Oh, yeah,” he said, “but I don’t want to have to worry about USB drives and saving stuff or uploading it. “

I remember the days when we had to worry about instructing students to save their work to disks.  Then I was able to help students email/upload their work to the server to access it.  We worked hard to ensure that students would have access to computers in the classroom—both wired and wireless.

It never occurred to me, in all these years that I have been working toward this day, that one (or possibly many?) of my students would be sitting at a computer while using a laptop and would find it too much of a bother to move information from one to the other. 

Oh, yeah—and this student is a computer science major in a special Computer Connections section of Composition…

Go figure.

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