Ye Olde Student Life: Dorm TV Units Aid Instruction at Pitzer

Over the break, I suspect many 5C students indulged in quite a bit of Netflix. Back in 1965, though, Pitzer College’s administration did not seem too concerned that installing television sets in its dorm rooms would turn its student body into couch potatoes. Rather, they saw it as an opportunity for pedagogical experimentation. This sort of experimentation was extremely common in Pitzer’s early years, as the college sought to embrace the era’s cultural focus on innovation and formulate its identity. (It was also a women’s college at the time.) This article, from TSL‘s Sept. 23, 1965 issue, appeared in “The Pitzer Pioneer,” a section of the paper that reported about Pitzer every issue.

Dorm TV Units Aid Instruction

In less than two months, students in Sanborn’s A-Wing will have televisions installed in their rooms, part of a $30,000 pilot study to determine the effectiveness of audio-visual instruction in dormitories.

The forthcoming pilot study will not basically change the pattern of instruction already established but will supplement it by encouraging faculty members to program part of their course material to the student in her room, according to President John W. Atherton.

Atherton said that plans call for five classrooms to be electronically connected to an audio-visual control center which will in turn be connected to Sanborn.

Students will be able to choose from commercial VHF and UHF channels, the five closed-circuit channels and audio channels which will broadcast music and language tapes.

Funds for the Pitzer project have been provided by the Educational Facilities Laboratories, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1958 by the Ford Foundation to help American schools and colleges with their physical problems by the encouragement of research and experimentation in building design and planning.

Costs of the undertaking involve the full-time services of a technical director, consultant time, materials and rentals, and released faculty time.

The pilot study will be carried out and evaluated during the second semester, Ahterton [sic] said.

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