[Listed in alphabetical order]


1. Handwriting.

Once a medium taught in grade school and later turned into shorthand for collegiate note-taking, typing has replaced ‘the art of handwriting’ thanks to laptops and tablets. Even the New York Times recently questioned its existence.

During class, a sea of laptops often surrounds students, with most trying to type every word that their professor says—and some experts believe that this prevents the material from really sinking in.  Yet, students also argue that in some classes, professors still ban the use of laptops, leaving students to deal with the fear of not being able to get everything down on paper in a timely fashion.


2. Library card catalogs.

First appearing in the late 19th century as a way to store and organize information, students relied on card catalogs until the dawn of the internet and the eventual creation of the online public access catalog (OPAC).

I was on spring vacation with my family, touring colleges in New England. One day we arrived at Yale University and walked into its Sterling Memorial Library. As I took pictures of the architecture, I heard my mom gasp. I turned and saw her facing a wooden structure with tiny drawers. When I asked what it was, she couldn’t believe I didn’t know. As she explained to me what library catalogs were, she opened up a drawer so that I could see the collection of alphabetized cards inside. But the box was empty. All of them were. Panicked, my mom ended up asking a library worker why there were no cards in the card catalog. We discovered that the catalog was there ‘just for show.’ My mom looked heartbroken. Perhaps that’s the only use for library catalogs nowadays: to create a moment of nostalgia for parents and puzzlement for their children.” – Molly Schulson, intern at eCampus News and current student at Brown University.


3. Orientation (traditional).

One of the most recent practices to undergo major change is traditional orientation. With so many digital tools available to colleges, and more students with access to the internet, the tradition of standing in long lines at various locations across campus in the hot August sun to hand in paperwork and receive instructions is becoming obsolete (thankfully).

“Nothing was automated back when I started college in the 70s. So much time was spent, usually up to two days, just going to different parts of campus to register for things. Looking back, it was so antiquated because I took one of the first computer classes, where you had to use computer cards for commands. Nowadays, everything is online. My daughter, who just went through her orientation at James Madison University, created a personal account with the college to access her acceptance status. All paperwork for orientation is automated now. And it’s the same for parents! Billing goes through online tools, and my daughter even has to go into her account to allow me access to her student information. It’s convenient, intuitive for today’s students, and so much easier than even a decade ago.” – Rob Morrow, CEO of eSchool Media and graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

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