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Re: Danke Schon!
No problem!

posted by stonedead on February 18, 2009 at 4:45 PM | link to this | reply

Danle Schon!

posted by QuailNest on February 15, 2009 at 2:48 PM | link to this | reply

Wenn es klingt hohl
Why are you taking an online college course if you dislike the material and the work required of you?  You are not under the professor's "autocratic rule".  College is optional.

Perhaps the book is indeed poorly written.  Perhaps the professor has indeed failed in his responsibility to engage his students.  But you, too, have responsibilities.  You are in school to better yourself as a reader, writer, and thinker.  If you knew it all already, you wouldn't have to be in school.  Somewhere you should acknowledge where you have room for improvement.  Let me provide a suggestion.  When you write, "All but three paragraphs are necessary to effectively illustrate my level of understanding on most subjects," I am reminded of an episode in my twelfth-grade religious school class in the evenings.  We were told at the beginning of the year that the graduation requirement was to write a 10-page statement of belief.  We had all year to write it.  No topic was assigned; we were even allowed and encouraged to say we were atheists, if we were.  One girl who wasn't a good academic (she had dropped out of our public, secular high school, but still came to the religious classes at synagogue in the evenings to be with friends) complained:  "Does it have to be ten pages?  What if we can say everything we have to say in two pages?"  The rabbi responded:  "Yes, it has to be ten pages.  A ten-page paper is qualitatively different than a two-page paper."  I have always remembered this and I continue to find that it proves true for me as a writer.  I prefer shorter pieces.  I usually find that I can make cleaner, better points if I constrain myself to fewer words--both in my business career and in the academic writing I do in my spare time--and these shorter pieces are more marketable in the publishing world.  And yet I am aware that longer pieces are qualitatively different.  There is a reason professors push their students to write more.  More words lead to more nuance; more nuance leads the writer to more thoroughly examine his or her beliefs and knowledge base.  Books written by "experts" are always long.  They have to prove their expertise.  So do you.  If, as you say, three paragraphs can illustrate your level of understanding on most subjects, then you don't know very much yet and that's why you're in school.

You may not enjoy reading the book, and, as I said, the book may indeed be poorly written.  But, in the words of another quotation that deeply affected my life as a reader:  "Wenn ein Buch und ein Kopf zusammensto├čen und es klingt hohl, ist das allemal im Buche?"  (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)

To provide advice on a more practical level, I would not submit this essay to the professor.  As someone who has completed college, graduate school, and several additional courses, I can imagine myself in the role of the professor, and if I were him, I would look poorly upon this submission.  I would not like the characterization of myself as a dictator simply because I assigned work to my students who were taking my course of their own free will and presumed desire to learn, nor would I appreciate the characterization of my beloved subject matter and life's work as "bullshit" by someone who had only been in an introductory course for a couple of weeks.  You will get more out of college if you take a more open-minded approach and put in more effort.  I would write these comments on such an essay.    





posted by stonedead on February 6, 2009 at 6:39 PM | link to this | reply

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