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Friday, October 06, 2006

One of those days...

You might think that folks around the world are getting more web-savvy, or information literate, day by day. Then there are days like today that might shake your confidence in the human race.

That is not to say that, as humans, we should be in a hurry to get anywhere fast, especially if we are headed in wrong directions. However, if we have no clue as to what creates greater good, we definitely should not hasten interactions and call them progress.

I met a student in the hall outside my office today, who asked me whether I remembered her. Of course I did, by face and voice and course and language proficiency, if not by name (computer and paper records will remedy the latter, and confirm the former). We continued to converse in her second (or third) language, and I learned that she had come to visit a professor down the hall.

It was Friday afternoon. The prof. that she had come to visit was not in, and we were headed for a three-day weekend ([Health & Sports Day,]... the next Monday holiday). I supposed that she would have to come back next Tuesday - five days hence - or later to see her prof.

Then it dawned on me that, since she had survived email assignments that I might have given her last year, she could email her prof. and, conceivably, make contact in less than five days. So I suggested that she email her prof., an option that had not occured to her.

Her eyes lit up with the idea, but then darkened again. She told me that she did not know her prof's email address. Hmmm, I thought. "You can find it on a university web page," I told her, and her eyes lit up again. Off she went to catch the elevator, rather than take the stairs down.

One down, one more to go!

First thing this morning, I received an email inquiry from someone named stan (no capitalization in original), who hailed from a yahoo.co.jp address, requesting information about "this weekend[']s seminar." I almost marked the message as junk mail and deleted it, because it gave no indication how the author had found my address, or why he (presumably male) was writing to me. However, I had second thoughts about doing so.

I knew of one event in Fukuoka this weekend, and another in Okayama, about which people might ask me, as had others who had taken time to make their inquiries explicit. So, instead of immediately trashing stan's message, I wrote back and asked to which event he was referring. Sure enough, he wanted to know about the event in Okayama.

Yet he had not tracked down the most complete and reliable online source of information about the event that took less than thirty keystrokes plus three clicks to find (Google search: jalt, teacher, october, okayama [I think], plus three clicks to the index: http://www.esl-efl.info/conference/index.html). All the information that stan had requested via email (fees, times...) was available through links in the sidebar (registration, schedule...).

Y'em, one of those days!

Cheers, Paul

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