The Paper Wars: Students vs. Profs

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Photo credit: uOttawa gazette

So you say that you can’t hand your assignment in on-line because your prof won’t let you. Unfortunately that statement is bull$@!t and I think I have some proof to back this statement up.

Have you seen the uOttawa lately? In a recent issue there was a nice little article about some Geography and Environmental Studies profs that decided to go paperless with their assignments. To make sure that their TAs (teacher’s assistants) were properly equipped for the task, the professors purchased some ipads and voila… a paperless semester was born. (Article)

And of course there were the infamous Experiential Learning Sustainability surveys. I blogged about this earlier this year (Love and Surveys) but the results are slowly trickling in and it turns out that 45% of professors do allow students to submit their work electronically. Sure this is a little less than half but I bet it is way more than you expected.

Another interesting tidbit came out of these surveys. I had always heard that one of the reasons why profs don’t like receiving assignments electronically is because they have to read all of the surveys off of a computer screen and that strains the eyes. Now that may have been true a long time ago but nowadays computer screens are much more ergonomic, so to speak. Nonetheless, 46% of profs still think that this is a problem.

But that’s irrelevant because the surveys show that it is in fact students and not professors that do not like to receive their information electronically. Yeah I know… crazy. Every professor (that’s 100% of the respondents) on campus reported that they do in fact rely on electronic documents for their essential day to day tasks.

Finally, have you ever wondered why people don’t print their documents double-sided? Do you want to know who the biggest culprit is on campus?
65% of professors and graduate students double-side their photocopies and printing jobs.
Undergraduate students… 43%

So next time you think that the problem of paper consumption has to do with professors… you might actually want to think about your own practices first.

-jon

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