4 May 2006
I only have one class this term: Theoretical Discourse. I was initially encouraged by the fact that the class is on Shakespeare criticism (specifically Hamlet criticism) because it makes everything a little less nebulous if you can see it applied. Alas, it's still Theory. After two and half hours of the professor giving a brief review of the history of Western thought, I left class yesterday with a staggering headache and a fervent desire never to return. I can see the possibility that other people would find this stuff interesting; what could be more fascinating than the history of ideas, of how we attempt to understand the world and ourselves? In theory (ha ha) it sounds great. In practice ... well, it's good that I'm getting it out of the way.
It appears that I will be having at least one big issue with this class. Prof’s estimate of how much time we should spend on classwork goes like this: for an undergrad course during a regular semester, you should plan two hours of homework time for each hour in class, so for a three-credit class like this one you would spend six hours a week studying outside of class. Since this is a graduate course, you can multiply that by two (=12 hours). And since this is a Spring term (half as long as a regular semester), you can multiply that by two again (=24 hours). He graciously rounded his estimate down a bit, but still said that in terms of time commitment, this class should be “like a part-time job, about 20 hours a week.” Riiiiiiight. As it happens, I already have a part-time job, but thanks anyway.
On the plus side: Spring term is only 8 weeks long. There's no final exam. There's lots of reading, but not too much writing. What is it that he thinks we're going to spend 20 hours a week doing, anyway?