CourseSmart: Big brother IS watching.
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I am so glad I am not a college student.  Come to think of it – I’m glad my sons have graduated as well!  I just read an article about Course Smart and I am not certain I would have survived my English major if I had been in school today.  Course Smart provides electronic books, and more.  The good news is that in a few years those huge backpacks could be a thing of the past.  Every college textbook will be downloaded on an I-Pad or Kindle or whatever new gadget they come up with.  Remember those textbooks that weighed ten pounds and cost a fortune?  They will soon go the way of the typewriter.  An electronic library sounds like a great idea, but there is a catch.  Course Smart is also going to provide “information” to the professors and administrators.

Remember when you had “one of those weeks” or maybe I should say, “one of those weaks?”  The schedule got tight because of work, a busy social life, illness, a new person of interest, or maybe just good old fashioned spring fever.  The professor assigned a bunch of reading but you kept falling asleep – so the next day you went to class, unprepared.  Days like that used to improve my prayer life.  Sometimes I would sit in class and pray the professor would not ask me anything.  Other times I would leave class and pray that God would forgive me for “leaving a less than honest impression” with the professor.  (Don’t you like my euphemism for straight up faking it?)  Course Smart is going to usher in a new age of accountability, and not just for schools.  Big Brother is looking over your shoulder . . . and you might not even know it!

Course Smart will provide textbooks and a program that gives professors the ability to see how much time each textbook was actually used.  No more “skimming” for those main ideas.  No more “Cliff Notes” book summaries.  The age of accountability has arrived.  AND…the same technology which will hinder those students is going to be available for the office. 

Have you been assigned information to consume from a boss?  Those annual reports?  The latest corporate evaluations?  Did you spend a little too much time reading your friends’ “tweets” and e-mails, shopping online, or playing “Words With Friends?”  You’re caught.  Your boss already knows.  When he comes in and asks, “What did you think about the latest report?” – you better have read it!  He already knows if you have been “naughty or nice.”  Santa Claus has come to town!

So…Christians beware.  Your witness is under a brighter lamp.  Truthfully, we shouldn’t be worried at all about Course Smart – the technology has been around for a long time.  King Solomon lived about 3000 years ago and he described it like this: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).  The prophet Isaiah wrote, “He who walks righteously and speaks what is right… this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.  His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him” (Isaiah 33:15-16).  That verse applied to the college student: He who walks righteously and speaks what is right will walk across the stage and get a diploma!  That verse for the office worker: He who walks righteously and speaks what is right will not walk down to the Human Resources office with a pink slip in his hand.

Big Brother might be another name for Course Smart – but accountability for our actions has always existed.  Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”  How would Course Smart change the way you took a college course or functioned at the office?  How will God change the way you go about your day today?  Our words and actions matter – Big Brother is watching.  Thankfully, his name is Jesus and he loves you very much.  And, if you are a Christian, “graduation” is guaranteed!

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