A vision on A Vision of Students Today

Gerry McCusker directed me to “A Vision of Students Today” on YouTube – created by Michael Wesch and 200 students on the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course at Kansas State University.

This shows the students’ perspective on their education – and although many of the sentiments are US-oriented, there is a lot to recognise for the UK undergraduate.  What doesn’t come over in the video however, is a sense of personal responsibility for adapting, addressing or changing the issues raised.

I am not a fan of the “pack ’em in” lecture-theatre style of education and think a seminar of 20 students prevents individual tutor support that really helps learning.  However, when faced with this size of class, as educators, we need to adapt and provide more of a theatrical experience in the first, and actively engaging student participation in the second.

But it is not down to those of us at the front of the class alone.  Students have to take an active role in their education.  So your tutors don’t know your name – I doubt mine did either nearly 30 years ago.  You prefer Facebook, reading online, emailing etc to reading journal articles?  Well you’re lucky to have the option – think how your laptop (provided as a pressie probably), has opened up your studies. 

Working in the library at Bournemouth University is nothing like my own student days – which felt at times like being in a Dickens novel.  Students don’t even have to leave their cosy flats, (with wifi, washing machine and laminated floors) to study – as they can access journal articles online, engage with academics through social media, including blogs (such as ), download their notes and utilise multimedia resources.

I’m not denying that many students have a hard time at University – the loneliness and pressures to succeed have not changed since I ventured to Birmingham in 1979.  But, you can go through life feeling you are hard done by, or grab it by the wotsits, squeezing every moment for its value. 

Education is still a privilege that is not available to many people in this world.  I think this video has a lot to say – but real education involves us making a cognitive change – regardless of the method of input, external pressures, etc.  Ultimately, we are the only ones who can make studying a success.  Great video – but I’d like to see the genre move away from highlighting negatives into strategies for success.  That would be a beneficial vision for students today.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.