In 2004, I was serving as an academic advisor for Open Option (undeclared/undecided) students at Kansas State University from an office located in the basement of Eisenhower Hall. As every semester, I worked with each of my 500 advisees to develop a schedule that included courses to meet their basic requirements, knowing that most of them would end up in at least one large lecture hall with a minimum of 100 other students. This semester, there was a new professor scheduled to teach ANTH204 in the campus’ largest lecture hall. I clearly remember saying to students over and over again, “Dr. Wesch is new, so I haven’t heard any feedback from students on his teaching methods, but I can tell you that Cultural Anthropology was my favorite class as an undergrad, and I think you will find the material interesting…”
It wasn’t long before those students returned, and every one of them was bubbling with excitement. “Dr. Wesch is so cool,” I heard again and again, “I love his class!” It was immediately obvious that, as far as the students were concerned, the department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work had made a good hire and we had something special in this new professor.
In the Spring of 2005, I left my advising position to become NACADA’s Coordinator of Educational Programming, so I was no longer able to hear directly from students about the exciting things happening in Dr. Wesch’s class, but I wasn’t at all surprised when I heard in 2007 that his videos Web 2.0…The Machine is Watching Us and A Vision of Students Today had gone viral on YouTube.
I have loosely followed Dr. Wesch’s amazing career trajectory since then with awe and amazement, but no real surprise. Now, however, it is time to go back and study his work, because as I noted yesterday, I think he is on to something that could have important implications for academic advisors everywhere.
I feel like my students did back in 2004… that I have begun a very exciting journey…