Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Power of the masses

Today in my Operating Systems class we got a tiny bit off track for a while. The professor asked which of us  primarily coded in Java, and then was surprised because not many people raised their hands, because our university primarily teaches Java. To which my friend Alex replied, "Well, they taught it, but I don't really like it". Others seemed to agree. The professor found this interesting and said. "you know, you guys get the chance to respond to the department in regards to the curriculum, and you should offer your feedback!"

The discussion moved back to class from there, and then we started talking about vending machines as an example. The professor kept referring to a "Coca-Cola" machine, then remembered that UMBC had switched to a Pepsi campus. Alex again remarked "which stinks" and the professor (at this point, sounding a bit frustrated) said "guys, use your power as students to influence the campus!"

Most of the things we discussed in class today I have heard students discuss in private previously. Some of it has been very publicly discussed on the discussion forums that UMBC provides for its students. However, those maybe aren't the proper places to officially address concerns, as my professor was so keen to point out. So, where is the proper place to voice these concerns? For the most part, I think UMBC is pretty good at listening to student concerns - the ProveIt campaign is a perfect example (if you're not familiar with the ProveIt campaign, you can find articles about it in The Retriever Weekly online). However I don't believe that the general student population knows how to voice their concern, nor do they believe their concerns will actually be heard.

Do the masses have power? Obviously, in some cases, the violent ones do (you can read posts by CultureTwined or 300 and some Omanian Nights for a better perspective on that). But I wasn't referring to that. Do you think students should have the power to change things?

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