Lecture Zero

There are two things to do in the first class of the semester: establish the usual organizational details, and help people decide if they should really take the class or not. “Help” can of course be replaced by persuasion (manipulation, deception, etc. as your personal ethic permits) if you need a dramatic change in enrollment numbers. Organizational details can be efficiently communicated by passing out a syllabus, 80% of which does not need to be read aloud and 95% of which does not need to be presented on a powerpoint slide (if it does need to be presented on a powerpoint slide, the slide does not need to be read aloud). The second, well… let’s just say that an hour-long presentation of your favorite miscellaneous topics-to-be-covered, at 2-3 slides per topic, is probably not the way to go. If students don’t already know what you’re talking about, you’re not giving them the necessary framework for learning or developing new interest; if they do already know what you’re talking about, they’ll be bored.

Taking four proper classes is a reasonable undergrad schedule, but as a grad student there’s this amorphous thing I need to do… I can’t even remember what it’s called, rehashing knowledge? Straightforward application of old theory to new problems and making yourself look clever while doing so? Bullshit data posturing? Or maybe it’s just cleaning up after post-colloquium parties. Something. Whatever it is, I should probably pick a class to audit/drop to make room.

The first-year grad student with ample office space and a Bay view couldn’t last – I’m being kicked down to the first floor, with a nice view of some construction trailers. At least there’s a window. I’ll need a new exercise routine, though, now that I don’t have to climb four flights of stairs two or three times a day.

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