PROF GETS ‘OWNED’ ON YOUTUBE

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By Danielle Wong

A confrontation between a student and ITM professor was recorded on a cellphone and posted on YouTube. Is this the new Rate My Prof?

A senior information technology management class was promised a five-mark increase on all their midterms after a dramatic lecture-showdown between a student and professor Carole Chauncey last Friday.

The ordeal was captured in a two-minute video available on YouTube, titled “Chauncey getting owned” and was uploaded shortly after the class. As of Tuesday, the video had received 530 hits.

The video is another example of students using technology to wage war against their professors. The availability of internet accessibility and camera phones in lecture halls fuels popular video sites such as YouTube.com and many professors are known to obsessively search ratemyprofessor.com to see what their students think about them.

This particular standoff began when halfway through Chauncey’s Friday afternoon lecture in the Ryerson Business Building, she asked the periodical question: “Any questions? Any comments?”

“Yeah I have a question,” Marco Di Giovanni, 20, stood up and said. “How is it that you’re a prof when you can’t provide basic instructions?” He went on to vent his frustration with the quality of teaching in the course and at one point even asked, “Do you even know what you’re doing?”

According to Ryerson Academic Council policy, students who have complaints about how a course is taught can consult the chair or director only if the issue remains unresolved after speaking with the instructor. Grades can be reviewed by the chair or director if an instructor refuses to review them or doesn’t respond within five business days.

“It wasn’t an opinion I shared alone.” Di Giovanni said afterwards. “I felt the class, as a whole, needed an explanation.”

Jim Turk, executive director or the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said one YouTube posting would not be used against Chauncey’s future credibility as professor. Ryerson Faculty Association president Dave Mason said action may be taken against the student for posting the video online.

At the University of Toronto Missisauga campus, university officials are working on a developing a policy regarding internet attacks on staff. The most prevelant issue has been anonymous emails from students to Deans and professors.

“Technology is always good if used correctly, but with sites such as ratemyprofessor.com and YouTube there is an opportunity to misuse the technology,” professor Salvatore Bancheri, who specializes in technology and teaching at the U of T, said. “Students shouldn’t hide behind screens if they have concerns. They should follow proper complaint procedures.”

University of British Columbia business professor Paul Chwelos went even further, stating situations such as this could “put a chill on professors” during lectures.

ITM Director James Norrie came at the end of class to address students in a question-and-comment session as Chauncey stood at his side. The main issues raised by students were Chauncey’s “condescending” attitude when they came with questions, a midterm based heavily on content she never lectured on, a misleading course outline and confusing final-project instructions.

Norrie implemented resolutions to address the concerns, including a five-mark increase on the students’ recent midterm, and pairing Chauncey with another instructor during lab hours.

Chauncey was unavailable for comment. 

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