Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Primer in College Lectures

Professor Brian Kernighan
By Tonya Riley (Union Bridge, MD)

The stereotype of college lectures is not one that invites many positive opinions. In lieu of inspired students standing up on their desks reciting Whitman, I picture girls in letters smacking gum and the one boy in the plaid flannel dozing off.

But if movies have inspired my nightmares of the quintessential college lecture, this program has inspired my dreams of interaction and intellectualism. Yesterday we had not one, but three amazing college professors speak to us.

The morning brought us the social media guru Sree Sreenivasan. As a journalism educator at Columbia University, he was able to give us the same tips on social media he gives his graduate students. Much to our dismay, he encouraged us to professionalize our Facebook profiles in addition to using it as a place to reconnect with friends.

Our next guest was Anthony Grafton, a history professor at Princeton. Much to my relief, college history professors seem to be just as entertaining as the ones I have encountered in high school. He was able to connect to students by sharing with us the story of his parents, who as first generation citizens went through much adversity.

Rounding out the night in our amazing lecture marathon was the witty Brian Kernighan. He taught us that the media can twist the facts to promote their own opinions. In so doing, he also rounded out the lineup: three out of three lecturers yesterday were spectacular.


  1. I can't believe Tonya wrote this. This seems very uncharacteristic of her, compared to her usual excessively wordy style. However, I greatly appreciate the Dead Poet's Society reference. I'm sure Roehrle would appreciate it.

    Keep working at it, and maybe you're blogging will be good enough to make it onto my list of followed blogs on my google reader. But Dan Steinberg is a tough act to follow, isn't he?

  2. On second thought, it was pretty wordy. That's the Tonya I know and love!

  3. Negative comments are not welcome...and I cut it a lot lol d:P

  4. In addition to the wordiness, I also recognize that excellent adaptation of my happy emoticon with the baseball cap. d:)

    If you were home I could rant about how the Rays are winning the division and they're totally gonna go to the World series! But alas, dear sister, you are not.