Did you earn your college degree back in the 20th century? Then perhaps you remember a freshman History of Ideas lecture at 8am—the one you sat through with 300 other sleepy students. Your professor stood at a podium and chalked words on a blackboard while students scribbled notes and dozed. Remember the card catalog at the library? Call slips? Typewriters? Maybe you had a pager to keep in touch with friends. Or, perhaps you had to rely on pay phones or the wall-mounted phone in your dorm room.
All of that is ancient history. On today’s college campuses, students cross the quad plugged into iPods and texting friends on smartphones; sometimes lugging a laptop or tablet to a study group rather than a spiral notebook and No.2 pencil. Students register for classes online, watch video lectures while lounging at the student union and search the Internet for data related to their research project.