MORSE—Sources confirmed yesterday that Boston University professor Simon Cromwell, a tenured and esteemed professor of communications, teaches his COM 346 class using PowerPoint presentations.
“Every class, he just stands next to the screen and reads off of his power-point slides.” said Julie Bernstein (COM ’15), a student currently enrolled in Cromwell’s “The World of Mass Communication” class. “There are typos on some of the slides, and sometimes he gets lost.”
Cromwell, who received his Ph.D. in mass communication from The University of Tampa and has extensively studied and written on the subject, uses the simple Microsoft program containing basic pictures and standard fonts to convey his knowledge to his students on a regular basis.
“I thought, based on his website and accomplishments, he would have a more interesting lecture.” said Jessica Ronan (COM ’14), who decided to skip class today. “He spent five minutes trying to get a video to play from within the slideshow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get that to work.”
Although his webpage profile describes Cromwell as an “expert in mass communication and leading authority in global communication theory” and having produced several textbooks on the subject, the summary of his many accomplishments somewhat underscores Cromwell’s ability to construct hastily-made presentations of bullet points, sentence fragments, and pictures that he found on Google.
“There was a slide about political communication and there was a picture of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole on it,” said Sean Cuneo (COM ’15). “I wonder when he last updated that.”
“Powerpoints are a subtle yet powerful medium of communication that can reach out to a diverse student population and implement the same thoughts to all of them,” said Cromwell. “And they can be a heck of a lot of fun. [Boston University] promises in its mission statement educate students ‘to be reflective, resourceful individuals ready to live, adapt, and lead in an interconnected world.’ I can’t think of a better way to do that than provide a ten slide PowerPoint presentation in every class.”
“This isn’t one of those deals where I post them online, either” added Cromwell. “You have to be present in every single class to have any hope of passing the rigorous final.”
At press time, Cromwell was struggling to determine how to turn on the projector in his classroom.