A Vision of Students Today

This is a digital ethnography summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today – how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.

This video was created by Michael Wesch and the 200 students enrolled in ANTH 200: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, Spring 2007. It began as a brainstorming exercise, thinking about how students learn, what they need to learn for their future, and how our current educational system fits in. They created a Google Document to facilitate the brainstorming exercise, which began with the following instructions:

“… the basic idea is to create a 3 minute video highlighting the most important characteristics of students today – how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. We already know some things from previous research (and if you know of any interesting statistics, please list them along with the source). Others we will need to find out by doing a class survey. Please add whatever you want to know or present.”

Over the course of the next week, 367 edits were made to the document. Students wrote the script, and made suggestions for survey questions to ask the entire class. The survey was administered the following week.

Michael Wesch then took all of the information from the survey and the Google Document and organized it into the final script portrayed in the video which was all filmed in one 75 minute class period. The introduction was filmed by him a month later.

 

How they gathered the numbers:

 

133 out of 200 students responded to the survey which yielded the results. Further explanation of the data is posted below:

 

“My average class size is 115.”
Survey: What is your average class size? Average: 115.0602

 

“18% of my teachers know my name.”
Survey: What percentage of teachers you have had in college would be able to recognize you and call you by name? Average: 18.2

 

I complete 49% of the readings assigned to me.
Survey: Not including this class, what percentage of assigned readings do you complete? Average: 48.73

 

Only 26% … relative to my life
Survey: Not including this class, what percentage of assigned readings do you find relevant to your life? Average: 25.95

 

“I will read 8 books this year.”
Survey: How many books have you read this year? Average 8.03 (ranging from 0-200)
They discovered later that there was some disagreement about whether this question referred to a semester, the past year, or the year starting as of January 1st (this survey took place in April – roughly equal to one semester). To make the ratio to web page and Facebook reading more accurate we assumed this statistic to relate to one semester rather than one calendar year.

 

“2300 web pages”
Survey: On average, how many web pages do you read each day? Average 21.51
(They then multiplied this by 105 – roughly the number of days in a semester – and rounded to 2300.)

 

“and 1281 facebook profiles”
Survey: “On average, how many Facebook profiles do you view each day?” Average 12.2 (multiplied by 105 = 1281)

 

“I will write 42 pages for class this semester.”
Survey: “On average, how many pages do you write for your classes each semester?
Average: 41.96

 

“And over 500 pages of email”
Survey: On average, how many pages of e-mails will you write in a single day?
Average: 4.96 (*105 days/semester = over 500)

Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University
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