LOS ANGELES (RPT)- With election results trickling in over the last several days, professors have become increasingly focused on clicking refresh on the many tabs they are using to monitoring election results. “By the time you read the update on CNN, it’s almost certain NYTimes or FiveThirtyEight is going to have another morsel about votes coming in from some obscure county in PA,” one professor told RPT. “I’m also looking at Fox News, Breitbart, and the accounts of some Tea Party trolls that I discovered late-night doomscrolling on Twitter. It’s like pulling a slot machine handle in a smokey, somewhat seedy casino. I know it's a mistake, but I just can’t help myself.”
Experts think that the epidemic of browser refresh addiction among professors is due to the speed at which new information is available. A communications researcher told RPT “Professors are used to having to wait for months - if not years - for new information about their topic of study from professional journals. On news websites, it can be just a matter of minutes, or even seconds, before new information is available. Their brains just can’t deal with it.” This resonates with reports from professors. “Holy bejesus, watch this: I refresh and then there’s something different on the page!” one professor told RPT in between the sounds of manic clicking. “These posts - they’re new! They’re not months out of date like the research I read in my academic journals. Do you think maybe they don’t have a peer review process before they publish these?”
University students are expressing their concern about this growing epidemic among their professors. “My professor shared her screen yesterday when I went to her online office hours and - oh boy. There were like 7 browser windows and there were so many tiny little tabs squished together that favicons weren’t even visible,” a Biology major at a large western university told RPT. “When I asked if an in-class quiz counted toward the final grade she said ‘COUNT EVERY VOTE’ so I’m pretty sure she was refreshing her tabs the whole time.”
This pandemic of button pushing adds to growing challenges facing universities, including remote learning, a long-brewing peer review crisis, the changing landscape of federal funding, and Florida Man’s unassailable successes in university governance that are proving an embarrassment to more traditional institutions of higher learning.