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Low Tech Lecturers

A photograph taken from behind a teacher's desk, showing the back of the teacher, a white man with brown hair, who is speaking into a microphone, directed towards a whiteboard. There are two laptops, a waterbottle, and a cup of coffee on the desk.

By Nishant Pandav

Walking on the side of Oxford Street, I noticed Steve, our Sustainability course lecturer, sipping on Amazonia Acai Juice™ while scrolling on his mobile. For a moment he lifted his head and I took the opportunity to wave at him. He didn’t seem to notice and resumed scrolling. He put down his juice and started typing furiously. The lecture was supposed to start anytime now, but I let him be and walked into the lecture theatre.

He came in with his laptop in his hand and a couple of books in the other, with his phone between his ear and his shoulder. “Now, now… turn off your phones and look at the screen. I’d like it if you put down your laptops as well,” he addressed us 50-odd students. 

A few minutes into the lecture, Kevin tapped me on the shoulder. “Psst! Hey Nishant! What does ‘provocateur’ mean?” 

“Let me look it up,” I whispered and absentmindedly unlocked my phone.

“I said all devices are to be put down!” Steve had obviously noticed. I gave Kevin a shrug. He gathered the courage to put up his hand to ask Steve the same question. “All questions towards the end!” 

He sighed and got back to doodling. By the time the lecture was over he didn’t care enough to try asking again.

Steve claims to like things done the old way and will go to lengths to make sure that the students follow him. He made this amply clear in the first week when he asked one of the students to walk out when they pulled out their laptop. 

“But I just want to take notes!” they had said.

Pen and paper!” he shouted.

Business at The Art Scene™ at the Paddington campus seems to be booming since then. Their GUCCI™ notebooks sold out on the first day as soon as a student with deep pockets spotted them. Students were seen lining up to the main gate to get their hands on one when fresh stock arrived. The shop has started selling UNSW Pocket Dictionaries™ with an image of Clancy the Lion™ on their covers. 

Steve has been very pleased with the outcome so far. 

“They need to learn how to get things done without technology. How else are they gonna meet that deadline when the battery runs out or when there’s no internet?” he tweeted. 

In Week 5, I saw him walking into the lecture theatre with his eyes glued onto his mobile. He fumbled around at the podium for a bit and then announced, “Can’t do this without my laptop. Sorry y’all, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”