Though the minutes fly by in University courses that are captivating, there are other classes during which students anxiously wait for the time to pass. And the wait can be torturous for students when there’s no clock to alert when class ends.
In response to a recent survey about technology in which University students said they would like to have clocks in more campus classrooms, LSA Student Government and LSA officials are making efforts to fulfill this request.
LSA-SG conducted the survey in conjunction with LSA Instructional Support Service Undergraduate Technology last semester. Out of the 835 students who answered the clock question, 83 percent responded that there should be clocks in classrooms.
Monika Dressler, senior manager of LSA ISS, said students who answered “yes” on the survey said they wanted more clocks in classrooms because they can’t use personal electronic devices during tests or because they don’t have cell phone reception in some classrooms, which prevents them from checking the time.
Some students who answered “no” on the survey said they felt clocks were distracting, while others said the lack of clocks isn’t important enough to warrant additional University funding.
“We recognize that we’re not going to make everybody happy,” Dressler said. “But I think that, particularly in spaces where there are really large exams (that have) high stakes, having clocks for students to be able to track their time is really important.”
Many small classrooms in buildings including North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex, the Dennison Building and the Modern Languages Building don’t have clocks. Putting clocks in North Quad is a priority because of the building’s poor cell phone reception, Dressler said.
“In some spaces where there are not clocks, we may just be able to work with the faculty members who are working in those spaces to be more cognizant of student needs and the fact that students don’t wear a lot of wristwatches anymore,” Dressler said.
She said most of the University’s auditoriums and classrooms that hold more than 100 people already have clocks. However, she said many of these clocks are in the back of the room, and ISS is working to evaluate whether the placement is effective for students or if more clocks need to be added in the front of these rooms.
There are also older clocks in many of these classrooms that may need to be replaced with the wireless clocks, Dressler said.
Dressler said ISS plans to use wireless clocks powered by transmitters that she hopes will be installed in LSA classrooms by next fall.
Each transmitter costs about $2,500, and each clock costs about $200 and comes with a battery that lasts about five years. Though the plan is still being evaluated, installation time and licensing issues are factors that will affect how soon the clocks can be installed, Dressler said.
Justin Leidel and Jeff Larkin, the LSA-SG representatives on the Student Advisory Board to LSA ISS, said they’re working to get more clocks in classrooms because of the survey results. In addition to the survey, Leidel and Larkin are garnering student input through an LSA service called “This Sucks,” which allows students to e-mail complaints to LSA-SG.
In the “This Sucks” e-mails, Larkin said, students wrote that clocks are needed for timed tests and making sure they get out of class on time.
“It’s always nice to have student input when you’re talking about a new project or when you’re talking about ways to improve our education and the environment,” Larkin said. “I think it’s not only valuable to hear from the faculty perspective, but it’s really for students to voice your opinion.”
Initiatives like the one to add more clocks in classrooms are significant, Leidel said, since they derive from direct student appeals and can be addressed.
“I think it’s important for students to know where tuition is being spent, where the tuition’s going,” Leidel said. “I think it’s really important that students, through advocates like the student government, have a way of connecting with faculty and connecting with people like (Dressler) who will push to have student initiatives taken.”