Where have all the clocks gone?

A clockless classroom. PHOTO/KENDALL ASBELL
A clockless classroom. PHOTO/KENDALL ASBELL

By Kendall Asbell
Staff Writer

We have all had that moment during our first semester at IUSB. The professor is going over the syllabus and everything seems fairly standard.

The refrain goes something like this: No sexual harassment, no late work, no cell phone, yada, yada, yada.

As the professor drones on, you start to zone-out because it’s the same speech you’ve heard the first day of class dozens of times.

The proverbial clock ticks by in your head and you begin to wonder, “How much time is left in this class?”

You glance above the professor’s head. No clock. You look to your left and then to the right. No clock. Finally, you turn a full 180 degrees and look behind you, and with a full-powered blow of shock you realize: “There is no clock in this classroom!”

The rules have already been stated: no checking cell phones during class. It is somewhat presumptuous to believe that one would comply with this rule for the remainder of the semester, but in an effort to comply with the rule you set your phone on silent and ignore it during class time. But, as time ticks away, you are left with no choice, the need to know the time forces you to break this rule on a daily basis.

Despite the professor’s warning, you slyly check your cell phone to get a quick glance at the time. Perhaps you do this the first day of class only once, but by the second week you are checking several times a class period.

Eventually, as you perpetually go unnoticed, you gain an air of confidence. At some point during the semester, in an effort to glance at the time on your phone, you click a Facebook update that’s popped up. You quickly read the update, then turn the phone back off.

But wait! You forgot to check the time. You get back on your phone, check the time and then, since you are already on it, respond to an earlier received text message. Soon this becomes a part of daily classroom experience. Checking your phone for the time, and then being distracted by texts and other alluring apps.

What if I told you that for less than approximately $1000 this dilemma can be fixed? For around $1000 we could install a battery-powered clock in each clock-less classroom. With a student population of 7,574 that amount would be around 13 cents per student.

I went to every classroom that I have access to in Wiekamp Hall, Northside Hall, and the Education and Arts Building and surveyed 112 classrooms. Unfortunately, 40 of the 112 classrooms were locked, most of them being science or computer labs that require codes or ID card access.

Of these 72 remaining classrooms only 33 had clocks. 17 of these clocks were located in the Arts building. Which leaves only 16 clocks to split between Wiekamp and Northside.

Of all of the classrooms in Wiekamp, only one of them had a clock. It was a computer lab. And while I only had access to one of the six computer labs in the building, it is reasonable to assume the other computer labs have clocks as well. However, all of the non-lab classrooms in Wiekamp are completely devoid of clocks.

That left a grand total of 16 clocks to cover 4 floors of classrooms in Northside. The top two floors, consisting mostly of offices and nursing practice labs, contain three clocks that serve three rooms respectively. That leaves 13 clocks to cover 4 floors of classrooms.

IUSB’s budget is not as sizeable as Notre Dame’s or other larger schools, so it understandable why our campus might be less luxurious than those of our peers. But classrooms outfitted with clocks seems less like a luxury and more like a necessity to many students.

Kelsey Fine, a biology major who has had access to many lab rooms, relays that not having clocks makes working in labs harder and even dangerous. Many of the chemicals she mixes are time sensitive and harmful, and it takes careful timing to mix them successfully.

She uses her phone to keep time but often receives text messages or missed calls while she is mixing, having to click out of the pop-ups in order to see the time. The few seconds it takes to do this could be detrimental to her experiment.

The simple solution: We must invest in clocks for each classroom at IUSB. And we can do it for approximately $1,000.

How did I get to the $1,000 amount? I did a little research on Amazon.com and found that classroom clocks—the black and white ones that are synonymous with classrooms—run for $16.99, not including the two AA batteries needed. After the cost of 39 clocks, an 80-count pack of Duracell batteries and a box of small nails, the total purchase on Amazon.com came to $702.61. Free shipping and handling was included.

The wage for service employees ranges from $10.52 to $31.68 an hour, depending on their level. Since hanging battery-operated clocks is a pretty easy task, let’s assume the employees charged with this task are being paid $16 an hour. Using that number, two school service employees taking 15 minutes to hang each clock could finish in just under 10 hours. Costing the school around $320.

So for the grand total of $1022.61, every classroom that I visited can be outfitted with a spiffy new clock. Of course this in not including the rooms I did not have access to, but 39 new clocks in classrooms is a start. The other 40 classrooms have yet to be investigated. Get in contact with the student government or other administrators of the school, and let’s get to the bottom of this and get some clocks on campus.

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