"The Great Campus Goof-Off Machine"

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The essay The Great Campus Goof-Off Machine, published in the New York


Times in 1, was written by Nate Stulman. Stulman was a college student who wrote this essay resulting from a concern he had about what he was observing on campus. His primary concern, which was emphasizes repeatedly in his essay, is the growing trend of requiring students to own a personal computer.


The essay starts off with describing how several colleges and universities


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are requiring students to have computers. These machines are touted as tools that will help the student, not only through word processing, but also by allowing access to the Internet for unlimited research. With this in mind a lot of institutions are requiring students to pay an extra fee to have Internet access in their dorm rooms and more accesses to computers on campus.


Stulman describes the use of computers on an average college. First, he leads us down a residence hall where a student is seen in front of a computer; however, that student is not using it for academic purposes, but for playing games, surfing the Internet, and chatting in a chat room with another student who is just down the hall. These types of activities would typically go on for hours. Stulman also points out students who spend


entire weekends playing interactive games on the computer. Some students even collect musical files from the Internet compiling a collection larger than anyone would ever have the time to listen to.


Next Stulman describes the library, a place where one would typically think


that research and individualized learning would be taking place. Yet, he describes an incident where a group of students are found huddled around a computer playing a game of Tetris. The computers in the library are just like the ones within the dorms being used for nonacademic purposes.


According to Stulman, the colleges and universities have created a monster


with the utilization of computers on campus. While the intent was for computers to be a learning tool to aid the student with his work, the actual use of them was to put off studies and play games.


It is easy to agree with what Stulman has written. Personally, I have observed similar incidents in the labs on my college campus. The Internet can be a great tool for research and a wonderful aid in the development of a students learning process. Yet, it is easy to become distracted while researching and being to randomly surf the Internet. Times files quickly and before it is realized hours have been wasted on unnecessary and


unrelated activities.


It is a good idea to have computers integrated in the higher education system. Computers and technology have enhanced the learning process. Providing students with access to work processing and email is great, but there needs to be more emphasizes on educating students how to use them wisely and effectively. Playing games and the use of the Internet is not necessarily a bad thing to do, but being able to manage ones time and


academic responsibilities is crucial.


Being a non-traditional student, reading this essay caused me to take a closer look at the use of computers in the college atmosphere. Computers do enhance the learning experience and help in ways that I feel the traditional student may take for granted. While it is easy to play the games, surf the Internet, loose track of time, through my life experiences I have learned how to use my time more wisely and have incorporated these


skills into my academic endeavors.


Stulman, Nate. The Great Campus Goof-Off Machine. Patterns for College


Writing A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Eds. Kirszner and Mandell. Bedford


Boston, MA, 001.


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