BYU is an acclaimed school nationwide. It has the highest-rated accounting program in the nation, ranks high in number of undergrads whgo on to get doctorates, and has one of the best college libraries. However, sometimes I wonder if many of the people who make policies ever passed the eighth grade.
Take for example the education program. For the Secondary Education 276 class I’m in, I was required to take four 30-minute technology assessments on using the internet, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Technology and I get along like the Hatfields and the McCoys so I was a little bit worried about passing. Surprisingly, however, the first three went swimmingly (for the most part), and I was left to face one of my meanest foes, Microsoft Excel. What, with all them numbers and charts and boxes, a right-brained person like me didn’t stand a chance.
When I got the test, snippets from my high school business class popped into my head and I was able to quickly input the formulas I needed and correctly format the chart. Five minutes into the test, I was feeling pretty confident. All that was left was creating a graph to display the information. Unfortunately, that was where my business class help ended. I made most of the graph, but didn’t know how to format one small part like it was shown in the example. I spent the next twenty-five minutes clicking every tab, option, and box in the program, searching for the solution, but to no avail. When my time was up, I let out a loud grunt of frustrated anger and slumped out of the tech lab.
I was not completely despondent, though. We were allowed two chances to take the test before we’d have to come in on a Saturday for a help session. I asked several people in my class how they had formatted their chart on the test, but they had all gotten a different version that didn’t make you do what I had gotten stuck on. A few days later, I decided to try my luck again, wishing for a different version of the test. The McKay school gods granted me that wish, but in their omnipotent humor, I got a different version that still had the formatting problem.
Once again, I quickly got myself to the same point and clicked and grunted and searched and moaned and typed and cried. My poor classmate sitting next to me probably thought I was about to have an emotional breakdown. He tried to help me, but it turned out, neither one of us knew how to do it. At the 30 minute mark, I decided to have the tech lab worker come and check it and see if she would pass me even though my graph wasn’t perfect.
“Sorry, your graph isn’t quite right. You’re really close. There’s just one thing you need to click to fix it.”
I knew she wasn’t allowed to help me but was trying to subtly give me hints.
“If there was one button that you could push that would change that, what do you think it would be?”
I was hopeless. I had no idea. She finally gave up on me.
“I think the Saturday help session will be really helpful for you.”
“How long will that take?” I asked.
“As long as it takes to get your question answered.”
“So, I just come in, ask my question, and then retake the test?”
“Who teaches the help session?”
“It’s just us, the people who work here in the lab. It’s not like a presentation, or anything, you just ask us your question.”
“But I’m not allowed to ask you now?”
“So, if I come on a Saturday, I can ask you a question, but because it’s Monday, I can’t.”
“…uh, yeah, I guess so.”
“So, really, the only difference is the day of the week?”
“So, [since the tests are open all semester] if I had come on a Saturday, you could answer my question right now?”
I have to ask: does that make sense to anyone else?
I left the building in a fit of rage (don’t worry: I was nice to her. With my job, I know you should never take things out on the workers) and wandered around campus thinking of how to take out my anger on the McKay building. Unfortunately, most of them included fire, anthrax and/or knives.