Bring the bags to the room

December 8, 2011

The University of Cumbria's Peter Ovens confirms my own experiences ("To spoon-feed is not to nurture", 24 November). I recently helped out on the computing services help-desk of a 1994 Group institution. I was dumbfounded to find that although the instructions for how to connect to the internet were printed out, and even pointed at with a big arrow, most students apparently couldn't follow them. My assumption was that they were used to having such things done for them.

But it gets worse: when they were directed to the handouts, single A5 sheets of text, the majority were all at sea ("What, no walk-through? No pictures?"). So, we gave them pictures; most were still puzzled. One said: "You should do it for me - I'm paying for this shit!" She got her way - it was easier and less stressful to do it for them.

As university should be about independent learning, I did suggest that we might persevere for a while and encourage students to work things out for themselves a little more. The result was raised eyebrows and a "We can't do that" attitude.

It seemed to me that "excellent student experience" equated to the provision of some sort of bizarre concierge service.

Name and address withheld

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments