Cognitive Dissonance

I’m surrounded by luminous, sparkling idiots.

I tried to share in the Chairs meeting how much I hated Zoom teaching. In response, one colleague gushed that some of her students work filling pizza boxes and serving drinks at a drive-through while listening to her lectures on Zoom and that’s so great because flexibility!

Then everybody blabbed for an hour about how much students looove online learning.

Finally, the Dean spoke and told us that crowds of students have dropped out, many are dropping out even now after Thanksgiving, and the enrollments for spring are horrid.

These people are completely hopeless. Evidence is staring them in the face that students hate this. But they love not having to go to work while getting paid so they will keep chirping that it’s all fantastic until their chirp themselves out of jobs.

22 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance”

    1. At least, one chair honestly confessed that some of his faculty have stopped doing any work. They post PowerPoints and that’s it. No contact with students, not even on Zoom.


      1. I wish I could express disbelief. But my husband, in a regular tech program that had to go partially online for covid, has a teacher who, in lieu of useful assignments, has them put together endless Powerpoints, as homework. The prevailing theory among the students is that they’re actually putting together the online program for the next batch of students, because the prof is lazy and doesn’t want to do it herself.


  1. Where are these students who love remote classes? Our classes have been all online this semester, and I haven’t met anyone yet who wasn’t eager to know when we can go back to teaching in person.


    1. “Where are these students who love remote classes?”

      The teachers are clearly deranged so probably they imagine the voices in their heads are students who love remote classes….


  2. “some of her students work filling pizza boxes and serving drinks at a drive-through while listening to her lectures on Zoom”

    In other words, she’s not an educator…. she’s a podcaster…

    Where I am everybody pretty much hates it (I have one colleague that doesn’t dislike it with small groups though they doesn’t see it as any kind of substitute for regular classes).


    1. The fuck, you know. I don’t teach anything that can be learned while filling pizza boxes. We don’t expect people to be able to shit successfully while stuffing pizza boxes but they are supposed to be able to get college degrees while doing it.

      I’m very angry right now.


  3. I’m surrounded by luminous, sparkling idiots.
    If the luminous sparkling idiots come from the Champagne region of France and are produced by the special traditional process, you can use the
    AOC of Champagne.


  4. A story in The Australian newspaper (2 Dec 2020) ‘Students pass judgment on online learning: ‘never again’ ‘, by Jill Rowbotham contained the discussed the views of students on remote learning.

    Learning remotely online has been comprehensively rejected by tertiary students forced into it by the COVID-19 shutdown of campuses across the country.

    “A very large proportion of respondents in the various surveys commented that they did not like the experience of online learning and did not wish to ever experience it again,” a new report from the sector’s quality regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, has found.

    The report says that one “surprising and somewhat disturbing” issue raised in several surveys was a reluctance by some students to use the video in Zoom because “they did not wish to show their colleagues the interiors of their homes because they were concerned about the physical contents and appearance and also the presence of family members”.


  5. I don’t think it’s just about enjoying the at-home lifestyle, though that’s surely some of it.

    I think a lot of people feel an intense need to say that they love whatever situation they’re in, especially if they’re part of a Big Digital Transformation. These people are convinced that Kids These Days are the most tech-savvy generation ever (even though a generation that grew up playing with an Apple II or Commodore 64 in the basement almost certainly knows more about how tech actually works) and anything they do with digital technology in teaching means that they are In Touch With The Youth.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been teaching with digital technology for years. No, not Zoom. I’ve been teaching students to use computational tools to do elaborate calculations. Digital technology is an essential component of many of my classes. Next semester my students will be using industry-grade simulation software in weekly assignments. And here’s a little secret: The companies that make this kind of software charge an arm and a leg for in-person training. Because nothing beats the experience of being in the room in front of a person with a designated time block and a setting that is only for that specific task, and a chance to interact with that person during that time block.

    Everyone is going on about how Digital Technology Will Change Everything, but companies that use advanced software pay through the nose for their employees to go to in-person classes. On a per-hour basis, it’s entirely possible that students are paying less for my class than their future employers would pay for them to go and learn the same computational tools. (In fact, their employers will probably pay anyway, because once you’ve learned the basics from the academic perspective it’s good to learn more advanced features from the industry perspective.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with Alex, I think people gush about how they love being online because they think it’s required to keep their jobs or to not be considered to be dissing the people who are forced to do it.

    But honestly: in the past, nobody felt obligated to say correspondence courses were better than regular courses, they said they were something some people needed to do sometimes.


    1. Nobody is preventing them from coming back in person. They want to stay home because it’s a lot less work. We are collectively pretending that this isn’t a fact but this will come back to bite us.


      1. To me, though, it is a lot more work. Part of why I want to be in person, actually, is that it’s less work — or even if it’s the same, it’s less draining work


      2. The only people I know who say it is less work are the ones who are teaching 5 sections of the same thing with a lot of online auto-grade and it’s asynchronous so basically it’s like having students work through a textbook on their own.

        But most courses aren’t like that.


      3. Update: I’ve started an online course on how to teach online. I can tell you that online courses are totally antipedagogical. I could do something online that would be better than this, not as fancy, but better; best practices for online seem to be a lot of warnings and threats, a lot of deadening “content,” and a lot of really boring quizzes where you memorize the answers ahead of time and get a second chance if you memorize wrong. This is criminal, people.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, my students generally dislike online courses. At first, they think these courses might be more convenient, but they soon find that it’s more difficult to learn the material in these courses w/o the in-person interaction with the professor and their classmates. This is especially true for first-generation students and those who are underprepared for college. (I’m referring more to asynchronous online classes than to synchronous ones here.)

    RE: your colleague who loves that students can work while they’re “in class”…WTF? I have no words for such an idiotic, anti-learning comment.

    By the way, most of my colleagues who are vocally opposed to in-person classes are in the Humanities and Social Sciences.


  8. I have encountered exactly one person who thinks Zoom is so fantastic that they want to continue teaching with it even after the pandemic is over. I have long suspected this person of being a huge bullshit artist. Everyone else hates it or has the attitude that meeting on Zoom is better than not meeting with the students at all.

    I have also heard from some students that they like the Zoom classes better than classes where the professors upload video lectures for them to watch. Part of that is that a lot of people are apparently upping lecture time in the video lectures, one student told me that a course that normally has 50 minute class sessions, the video lectures are never shorter than 70 minutes and sometimes as long as 90 minutes because the professor rambles on and on, but the student has to listen to it all because the important material is somewhere in there.


  9. It is maddening. Summer at my place (non-US university, so no teaching, just preparation) was taken up by colleagues extolling the virtues of Zoom (but students can watch the lectures IN THEIR OWN TIME! But they can re-play something if they didn’t understand it first time! But they can have all manners of tools and instruments with them to put in practice what they’re learning in real time! But look at those cool breakout rooms and polls!). In the first week of the semester, the little face-to-face teaching I had managed to secure was taken away from me because cases. I wrote a critical but ultimately rather tame e-mail to my head of department, and was told that STUDENTS ARE LOVING ZOOM TEACHING!
    Cue six or seven weeks later. We need to have a departmental meeting because some of the students are experiencing screen fatigue. Yeah, you totally couldn’t see that coming.

    Liked by 1 person

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