I figured I'd throw this out to the TB community, since there's a range of ages of members and I know a number of us are in academia both on the faculty and student side (and anyone who isn't is welcome to chime in too). Recently, a colleague made a comment about college students now, to the effect that "They're all millenials, raised on youtube and twitter, and you can't teach them the way you used to because they don't have the attention span, don't respond to it." Now this bothered me, because even though I'm not all THAT old (41), my teaching is fairly traditional, lecture and discussion etc. So I was wondering if I need to totally reinvent my teaching style to keep up with the times. But then I started wondering; is it the professor's job to give the students material that is easy for them to work with and familiar in format? Or isn't it, rather, the opposite - to give them difficult material, that's complex and challenging and unfamiliar, and force them to stretch themselves to deal with it? What would the football coach say if someone said to him, today's kids aren't like yesterday's kids that ran around outside their whole lives, they grew up playing video games on the couch, you can't make them run the tough drills that you did back in the day? Wouldn't he say that if they want to play varsity and win, they'd better learn to run the tough drills or get off his team? Maybe I'm just a crotchedy old fart, but hearing these comments makes me think it's my sacred DUTY to give 45-minute lectures that are as dense and boring as possible. Sort out who can stick with it and who isn't up to snuff. Reactions?