Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mr Watson, I Don't Need You?

One response to the budget crises at universities is to reduce or eliminate the phone each prof has in their offices.  This seems crazy at first, but technological change and cultural adaptation may have made normal phones somewhat irrelevant except as a potential resource suck.  Each phone has a cost regardless of how much it is used, and then some folks will over-use the phone, I suppose.

How do I communicate with my students?  Almost entirely by email?  With colleagues elsewhere?  Mostly by email.  I have a handful of significant conversations a year on the phone with co-authors.  I do some media stuff (radio interviews) by phone.  I have not gotten in the habit of using my cell phone to replace my landlines, so it is not so much that substitution as much as it is using email.  Now that my new laptop has a camera built in, I could be skyping more in the future. 

How would I feel if McGill got rid of the phone in my office?  I guess I would be mildly inconvenienced, especially since my cell phone service tends to be poor.  Plus I would be more likely to forget to turn off my phone before heading off to class. 

What do my readers think?

1 comment:

Steve Greene said...

I get a fair number of student and media calls to my office phone. I have no interest in giving them my cell phone number.