Individual attention in classes is crucial

It is a typical morning for the average Baruch College student. A frenzy of swipes, a boost of caffeine and now, a waste of valuable time.

Ninety-two percent of college students are on their phones during lectures, with 80 percent acknowledging that this is a total distraction, according to studies found by The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

Time is money —  tuition dollars are burned for every second students spend on their devices. However, this begs the question as to why students are on their phones as opposed to being engaged during lectures.

It is imperative to pay close attention to class size. In a lecture hall filled with 400 students, it is almost impossible not to be distracted by a text message. The professor may be too focused on trying to cram five topics into a short lecture to hold the attention of each student.

Colleges need to provide their students with personalized attention. “It’s always nice to be a real person, rather than a nameless spectator in the crowd of a mega-university,” the U.S. News & World Report stated.

However, what really stands as impressive is Baruch’s undergraduate student enrollment of a whopping 15,253 students, all the while maintaining a student-teacher ratio of 19:1, according to the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings.

While being at the heart of the chaotic conundrum of Manhattan, Baruch still manages to have a high success rate for students, thus challenging the popular notion that student distraction is primarily prevented by maintaining smaller class sizes in a massive student body.

Scholars, however, may argue that instead of incorporating a permanently small class size, it would be wiser for students to seek extra attention after the lecture is over.

“We basically learn the material during lecture, and then ask questions/go into more detail in smaller groups during recitation,” said Camellia Huang, a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an interview with The Ticker.

At certain schools, different programs exist to provide aid to the curriculum covered during a lecture. But what happens in the case of time constraints? Not every student has time to take full advantage of these aids due to work responsibilities and other important obligations.

Recent transfer student Lauren Carubia from James Madison University describes her junior year experience at Baruch as being far less hectic in terms of her class size.

"My old college had very large lecture classes with 200 plus people and it was hard to pay attention," Carubia said. "My largest class [at Baruch] is around 40 people. ... I perform better academically in smaller classes with more individualized attention."

"I think that individualized attention matters as, from a teaching perspective, as far as I care more about my students because by the end of the semester, I feel like I know some part of them," said CUNY adjunct lecturer Katy Harding. "In a big lecture hall, I don’t know if I could say that."

This attention creates a positive learning environment for students that is both productive and engaging. Students will be able to feel like they are investing in their future as opposed to just attending some useless class on their schedule.

-Yasmeen Persaud

Operations Management '22