Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My Giuliani Moment

I do not get upset if a student’s cell phone rings during class (unless the student answers the phone). If a phone rings while I am teaching, I ignore it, laugh, or make a joke about it, depending on the situation. It doesn't happen very often, so it is not a major annoyance.

What I forgot to do today before class is quit the Skype application on my laptop. It wouldn’t have mattered for most classes because my laptop is typically not connected to the internet during class. Today, however, I needed to show the students (yet again) how to find online review questions for the upcoming exam, so I logged in and showed the class how to find the information. It still amazes me that some students can’t figure out how to find online course information (despite instructions about this on the syllabus, despite in-class demonstrations, and despite email from me about it), but that’s another topic.

So, in the middle of class today, when I had an image projected on the big screen at the front of the room, a colleague called me using Skype. The Skype window popped up on the screen and was superimposed on my Science Image, accompanied by the sound of a phone ringing (perhaps I should change that setting).

The resemblance between Rudy Giuliani and me, however, ends there. Well, I hope it ends elsewhere as well, but in terms of this story, it ends there. I did not answer my Skype call – I hung up on my colleague and quit Skype, then emailed him after class to explain why I went offline while he was calling.

I suppose it might have been sort of entertaining to answer the call in class and point the webcam towards the students, but I was on a roll with an explanation of an extremely cool scientific concept and didn’t want to interrupt that. Furthermore, although opportunities for me to emulate the former mayor tend to be few and far between, the thought of copying Giuliani's recent cell phone stunt was less than appealing.


Anonymous said...

Have you encounter people that do not know anything about science including a lack of common sense? If so, write don't you write a post on that?

On this post, I am also amazed at how many times you have to repeat things to students before they are able to get it, even as you say, when it is written in so many places. And those kids will be the future of the world.

Anonymous said...

my all time favourite cell phone blooper is an outtake on Rush Hour 2 (I am a closet Jackie Chan fan). He is doing a scene with Chris tucker in the airport when Chris Tucker's cell phone goes off unexpectedly - he answers it and says "not now, I'm doing a scene with jackie chan, yes, Jackie chan! No, you can't talk to him" (and then he hands the phone to Jackie!) Jackie says hi and tells the caller he is doing a movie!

OOPs when a movie star forgets to turn off his phone it turns into funny outtake - In class not so amusing...

Anonymous said...

A friend had a similar experience with instant messaging. In the middle of giving a seminar talk, she got the message, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be giving your talk right now?" At least that one was easy to laugh off.

Ms.PhD said...

Ack! How embarrassing!

I haven't used Skype that much so I can see that same thing happening to me some day, if I ever get in the habit of using it.

I have seen have an IM window pop up during talks before, and it always make me think less of the presenter.

But the "hey aren't you giving your talk now?" thing is really funny, that would be a great stunt to use as an icebreaker if one were the sort of person to go in for theatrics.

So, if you were going to do it in a job interview seminar, for example, I'd file that under "okay and maybe even beneficial for geeky guy who needs to seem like he has personality... probably not okay for most women."