How first year students see lecturers:
I am currently enrolled in four subjects of which two are second year subjects; one is a third year subject and the other is a first year subject. My subjects are spread across Victoria; I study between Bendigo and Bundoora.
As my classes are divided between the Bendigo and Bundoora campuses I am also privy to the variation between the different cultural groups and the differences shown between the regional Victorian and Melbourne based student body. It’s quite clear that adolescents are adolescents everywhere, thus the theme is similar across both campuses.
How mature age students see classmates:
First year students restrict the amount of input they produce publicly with the idea that speaking can lead to a potential vulnerability. An air of uncertainty fills the room when the lecturer’s attempt to create a question and answer type scenario was like trying to draw blood from a stone. The issue of the question and answer was not a result of the lecturer’s ability but of the inability of the students to voice their concerns. The hesitation of the students is clearly a representation of their unwillingness to be centre stage for fear of being singled out by their fellow students. This mentality is a representation of the immaturity and the togetherness of the student body.
The lack of asking questions can be seen as a method of unification amongst the class and also a representation of the apprehension of giving an incorrect answer to the rest of the class. I believe this to be a matter of judgment rather than of not actually knowing the answer. The students have nothing to hide when asked about the topic, however most seemingly haven’t the slightest as to the potential answer, which should be an elaboration of the topic which is being discussed. The readings, which should be the main topic of conversation, yield a limited enthusiasm and the lack of discussion can at times be alarming.
However it isn’t the same for all the subjects my second and third year electives tend to yield more positive discussion and ideological debates there’s an air of ideological verve that is expected of those who are approaching the final year of their studies. The lectures are a fairly normative as students show the lecturer all due respect but when the tutorials begin so does the vividness of the ideas. The flow of discussion unwavering and the input of the tutor held at a minimum.
How Face-to-Face communication looks:
The traditional norm of speaking face to face with a lecturer has now apparently become a thing of the past. A worrying trend is that during face-to-face interaction students aren’t utilising their teachers to their full potential. I approached lecturers and tutors on various occasions and found that during the allotted time that they are available they were able to see me without interruption. This was a curious observation as I’d have expected there to be an abundance of students looking at utilising this time and again I found that this wasn’t the case.
Social Media At University:
Online interaction seems to be the predominant method of communication between students/teachers. The online communication represents the shifting paradigm of all relationships and is not restricted to the student/teacher relationship. As class numbers dwindle during lectures the reliance on the online portion of study has a greater influence thus creating and exacerbating the need for an increased online presence. E-mail, Facebook, and twitter have replaced the traditional manner of how students and teachers communicate.
I have approached my lecturers using the social media platforms and have found that the response time is much quicker, however it lacks the human feel and the warmth of face-to-face interaction. Efficiency is undeniable and the amount of information being processed and transmitted helps with the weight of the study load. I see this as being the logical manner of communication amongst students and teachers alike, however it creates an almost invisible barrier between students and the teaching faculty.
I’d like to do a study of the number of students who have actually seen their lecturer’s offices. Having not actually done the studies but purely as an observation I think the numbers would be lean. My personal experience dealing with lecturers and tutors has been a positive and beneficial experience.
The Deeper Level:
I believe this observation when analysed at a deeper level can also represent the integration of students into university life, the maturing of their minds, the comfort amongst other like-minded people, the creation of friendship circles, the understanding of their own sexualities, the added responsibilities of adulthood and the freedom to make their own decisions. While experiencing these dramatic changes physical, emotional and life changes, the pressure to fit in with their peers would be immense. With this happening during a short period the apprehension amongst the students can be understandable.
As I contemplate the differences between the variations of the class participation of all three year subjects the clarity of the differences between the method and level of interaction at the face-to-face level becomes clear. When reflecting on my own experiences with my lecturers and tutors my finds show a clear accessibility and a helpful hand, however the overall consensus is that the preferable method of communication is via the online medium.