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Old 12-05-2022, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
2,124 posts, read 909,582 times
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[quote=mitsguy2001;64548527]And that is a point that I keep making that a lot of people don't understand. When you have one especially demanding class, it's not just that one grade that goes down. Since you have only a finite amount of time, spending more time on one class (in your case, human physiology) means all of your grades going down, since it means less time to spend on other classes (calculus in your class).

The advice I would give is, when you have an especially demanding class, do not spend an excessive amount of time on that class to the detriment of your other classes. The best strategy might be to focus on getting an A in your other classes, and accepting that in one class, the grade will not reflect that work that you did.

Another poster had a good point that you sometimes need to think of what a particular class means to you, outside of the grade. If it's something you will be using in your job, or a prerequisite for future classes, then put your all into it, regardless of the grade. If it's a throwaway class you'll never use again, and you are just taking to check a box, then do the minimum amount of work, and spend your time elsewhere.
../QUOTE]

All of this is known as the "hidden curriculum", a concept that was well recognized when I was in college 40 years ago; you're not just learning how to do classwork, you're also learning how to prioritize and make use of limited time and limited information to complete work.

Nothing new about any of this.
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:42 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
98,894 posts, read 97,427,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
But that drives the question, if there are "Physics for Teachers" (etc) classes that require no heavy duty physics, then why aren't there "Lit for Physicists" which don't require pages of reading and huge papers describing what was read? Or much more appropriately, why not instead of English Comp, instead Technical Writing and Public Speaking classes? Those would actually be useful.
[...]
My whole thesis of this thread is that colleges have too many Gen Eds that duplicate high school. Those may have been appropriate 100 years ago when high school was much more limited, but times have changed.

I could have gotten enthralled by such as course instead of more Grammar and Comp.
The technical writing and public speaking sound like a good idea, that the university Powers That Be probably haven't thought of. Although I think there's this belief on the part of administrators, that literature is somehow broadening, and intrinsically a valuable academic pursuit.
But I don't understand why you were getting grammar instruction at the college level, and composition. The one lit class I had to choke down in my Freshman year didn't deal with grammar or comp, since we were supposed to have mastered that in HS. It was about literature, but it didn't do a good job of presenting that, either; explaining how to interpret literature. I still don't have a clue.

You won't find a more sympathetic audience for your complaints about required "English" classes in college, than me, OP. After 4 years of it in HS (not counting middle school), why would anyone need more in college, unless they needed remedial work?!

And now they require math in college, too! AUGHH! I never would have graduated, if I'd had to pass an advanced math course. College math; WHYYYYY????!!!!! *anguish*

In any case, I'm seeing your point more and more. Except that, for students who arrive at college not knowing what they want to major in, being exposed to a wide variety of disciplines can help them find direction. That's a blessing for some of the lost souls, and is one of the justifications for 2 yrs of GenEds. But colleges could cut down on the number of GenEds. You almost motivate me to go back into Undergraduate Advising, so I could try to bring about some of the change we're discussing. Some of these policies are set by university central-advising offices, not deans.
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Old 12-05-2022, 11:32 AM
 
6,501 posts, read 6,392,617 times
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Originally Posted by rabbit33 View Post

All of this is known as the "hidden curriculum", a concept that was well recognized when I was in college 40 years ago; you're not just learning how to do classwork, you're also learning how to prioritize and make use of limited time and limited information to complete work.

Nothing new about any of this.
That is a valid point. It's interesting how some other posters just think I was lazy for prioritizing my time, but others say it's a valid "hidden curriculum". I agree more with you since in life, we sometimes have to prioritize things.
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Old 12-05-2022, 11:59 AM
 
11,005 posts, read 7,059,922 times
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Originally Posted by mitsguy2001 View Post
Agree with both of you, and that is a major reason why engineering majors hate humanities classes, especially literature. I remember as early as middle school, it would frustrate me that while I could breeze through math and science homework with minimal time and effort, it was frustrating that there was no way to save time on literature. It would be a lot of time spent reading novels that I had 0 interest in, with no way to save time. Time that I would have preferred to spend doing just about anything else. And, while I can understand and accept that we sometimes have to do things we don't like, I never saw any benefit from reading the novels that English teachers would assign. People argue that the intent is to create a life-long love for reading. But forcing us to read, on somebody else's terms, a book that you have zero interest in, when you have other things that you want to do, has the opposite effect.

Also, engineers tend to be optimizers. We are often focsed on getting more done in less time, for example. So, it's frustrating having something like literature that there is no way to optimize, and you just need to waste the time on it.
.
I'll go a step further and say it's not just lit, but any course that is based on massive reading and massive writing assignments. Those things just take inordinate amounts of time. As an example, in Lit (as an aside, History, Geography, etc had similar requirements, just different in the details), we not only had to read and analyze a couple of novels (we each got different ones), but we also had to research scholarly works on that novel. As typical we had to turn in and get approved on each step -- Thesis Statement; Outline, Bibliography Cards (at least 10 sources); Footnote Cards (at least 10 per source); Rough Draft; 2nd Draft; and Final Paper. The girl who got the highest score had over 600 footnotes and quotations. The only reason I remember that is the professor announced that to the class as an example of the level of expectation of the amount of work she expected on a research paper. Myself and other STEM majors didn't have anywhere near that amount of time to devote to a side subject given how much work we had in the courses that mattered.

Perhaps that's part of the problem. Courses that were Gen Eds to myself and other STEM majors were core curriculum to Lit majors. As I mentioned elsewhere, some of my upper division Gen Eds had grad students majoring that subject in them. What was a side bar to me was their academic focus. I often wondered how they would fared over in my Quantum or Thermo or E&M classes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
The technical writing and public speaking sound like a good idea, that the university Powers That Be probably haven't thought of. Although I think there's this belief on the part of administrators, that literature is somehow broadening, and intrinsically a valuable academic pursuit.
But I don't understand why you were getting grammar instruction at the college level, and composition. The one lit class I had to choke down in my Freshman year didn't deal with grammar or comp, since we were supposed to have mastered that in HS. It was about literature, but it didn't do a good job of presenting that, either; explaining how to interpret literature. I still don't have a clue.

You won't find a more sympathetic audience for your complaints about required "English" classes in college, than me, OP. After 4 years of it in HS (not counting middle school), why would anyone need more in college, unless they needed remedial work?!

And now they require math in college, too! AUGHH! I never would have graduated, if I'd had to pass an advanced math course. College math; WHYYYYY????!!!!! *anguish*

In any case, I'm seeing your point more and more. Except that, for students who arrive at college not knowing what they want to major in, being exposed to a wide variety of disciplines can help them find direction. That's a blessing for some of the lost souls, and is one of the justifications for 2 yrs of GenEds. But colleges could cut down on the number of GenEds. You almost motivate me to go back into Undergraduate Advising, so I could try to bring about some of the change we're discussing. Some of these policies are set by university central-advising offices, not deans.
Just to give a general idea (I checked my transcripts to be sure), we were required a 2-semseter sequence in English Comp (no choice, every student got this), and a 2-semester sequence in Lit (we did get to choose among the various types of Lit -- American, British, and others, but couldn't mix and match. Had to be a 2 semester sequence). And somewhere along the way an upper division Lit course of our choice (I choose Shakespeare). Not to mention the required History, Geography, Econ, Foreign Language, Social Sciences, and Phys Ed courses. Looking at my transcripts, there really isn't a single semester that I wasn't meeting some Gen Ed requirement or another. Basically my entire four year sequence was laid out my first semester. So Gen Eds as laid out really didn't expose me to other fields of study. I think it would have done a much better exposure if I hadn't had to waste time on two semester of English Comp and if instead of course sequences, we would have had more free electives. And perhaps as has been mentioned, more survey courses for non majors freshman year rather than required ones.
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Old 12-05-2022, 05:50 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Just to give a general idea (I checked my transcripts to be sure), we were required a 2-semseter sequence in English Comp (no choice, every student got this), and a 2-semester sequence in Lit (we did get to choose among the various types of Lit -- American, British, and others, but couldn't mix and match. Had to be a 2 semester sequence). And somewhere along the way an upper division Lit course of our choice (I choose Shakespeare). Not to mention the required History, Geography, Econ, Foreign Language, Social Sciences, and Phys Ed courses. Looking at my transcripts, there really isn't a single semester that I wasn't meeting some Gen Ed requirement or another. Basically my entire four year sequence was laid out my first semester. So Gen Eds as laid out really didn't expose me to other fields of study. I think it would have done a much better exposure if I hadn't had to waste time on two semester of English Comp and if instead of course sequences, we would have had more free electives. And perhaps as has been mentioned, more survey courses for non majors freshman year rather than required ones.
Why so much English, and especially Lit? I can see them thinking, that the 2-semester course in Comp would prepare you for college-level writing and research paper organizing, so they probably considered it foundational, not optional. But why 3 lit courses?! Why an upper division Lit course?


Would you have chosen that school if you'd known in advance, that you'd be spending so much time on English and Lit, even in your Junior year? That was unusual even for "way back when".
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Old 12-05-2022, 06:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Why so much English, and especially Lit? I can see them thinking, that the 2-semester course in Comp would prepare you for college-level writing and research paper organizing, so they probably considered it foundational, not optional. But why 3 lit courses?! Why an upper division Lit course?
.
Neither I, nor any of my classmates thought that was unusual back then. It was just part of the expectation of a broad based general education. The only part we questioned was why so much Comp given we'd all had four years of comp in high school and why so few "free" electives. I would have been happy to take a broad curriculum, just would have picked different subjects than the required ones.

I suspect a lot of it was and is "tradition." A hold over from an earlier era when high school was spotty if students even had it and so they had to teach the basics to everyone. But by the end of WW2, I think that argument was worn thin.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Would you have chosen that school if you'd known in advance, that you'd be spending so much time on English and Lit, even in your Junior year? That was unusual even for "way back when".
Yes, because I wouldn't have known different and within my state it was far and away the better school for science and engineering. I have no complaints about the technical education I got there. Just wish I'd had more flexibility and less stress in the Gen Eds.

When my oldest attended the same school, she was able to AP out of Comp and some of the Lit and so was able to substitute in other courses she was more interested in. Still had to get the total credits, so AP didn't cut down her time in school, but gave her more flexibility in classes.
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Old 12-05-2022, 06:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mitsguy2001 View Post
At my college, I was actually able to take technical writing and public speaking. Both of which were useful for me.
Forgot to add. I didn't get a technical writing course until grad school. Whereupon the professor told us to forget pretty much everything we'd been taught in college because college writing was about writing to impress, and technical writing was about communicating ideas clearly.

I did get plenty of public speaking training while in the service.
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:45 PM
 
6,501 posts, read 6,392,617 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I'll go a step further and say it's not just lit, but any course that is based on massive reading and massive writing assignments. Those things just take inordinate amounts of time.
Good point.

Quote:
As an example, in Lit (as an aside, History, Geography, etc had similar requirements, just different in the details), we not only had to read and analyze a couple of novels (we each got different ones), but we also had to research scholarly works on that novel. As typical we had to turn in and get approved on each step -- Thesis Statement; Outline, Bibliography Cards (at least 10 sources); Footnote Cards (at least 10 per source); Rough Draft; 2nd Draft; and Final Paper. The girl who got the highest score had over 600 footnotes and quotations. The only reason I remember that is the professor announced that to the class as an example of the level of expectation of the amount of work she expected on a research paper. Myself and other STEM majors didn't have anywhere near that amount of time to devote to a side subject given how much work we had in the courses that mattered.
Exactly! For that girl, it was probably her most demanding class, so she was able to put her full effort into it. But you had other, more important classes competing for your time.

Was this class the only option? And this professor the only option? Or were there other options available that understood that STEM majors don’t have the time for a paper involving 600 footnotes?

Quote:
Perhaps that's part of the problem. Courses that were Gen Eds to myself and other STEM majors were core curriculum to Lit majors. As I mentioned elsewhere, some of my upper division Gen Eds had grad students majoring that subject in them. What was a side bar to me was their academic focus. I often wondered how they would fared over in my Quantum or Thermo or E&M classes?
And it’s a double standard that STEM people have to take those humanities classes you describe, but liberal arts / STEM majors don’t have to take STEM classes like the ones you listed above. I doubt that girl would have passed no matter how much time she put into those classes. I also wonder if she was the type who would use hearts to dot her I’s.

Quote:
Just to give a general idea (I checked my transcripts to be sure), we were required a 2-semseter sequence in English Comp (no choice, every student got this), and a 2-semester sequence in Lit (we did get to choose among the various types of Lit -- American, British, and others, but couldn't mix and match. Had to be a 2 semester sequence).
And requiring such a sequence without allowing any mixing and matching, in my opinion, completely defeats the purpose of gen eds allowing a well-rounded education. Wouldn’t allowing a mix of American and British literature have been more well-rounded than all of one and none of the other?

Quote:
And somewhere along the way an upper division Lit course of our choice (I choose Shakespeare). Not to mention the required History, Geography, Econ, Foreign Language, Social Sciences, and Phys Ed courses. Looking at my transcripts, there really isn't a single semester that I wasn't meeting some Gen Ed requirement or another. Basically my entire four year sequence was laid out my first semester. So Gen Eds as laid out really didn't expose me to other fields of study. I think it would have done a much better exposure if I hadn't had to waste time on two semester of English Comp and if instead of course sequences, we would have had more free electives. And perhaps as has been mentioned, more survey courses for non majors freshman year rather than required ones.
My entire program had only 1 free elective. We needed 24 credits of gen ed electives (1 3 credit class each semester), 12 credits of professional electives (2 3 credit classes during each of your last 2 semesters), and 3 credits of free electives (one 3 credit class during your last semester).
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:15 AM
 
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And it’s a double standard that STEM people have to take those humanities classes you describe, but liberal arts / STEM majors don’t have to take STEM classes like the ones you listed above.
Sorry, I meant to say it’s a double standard that liberal arts / humanities majors don’t have to take STEM classes like the ones you listed above. And now it’s too late to edit my post.
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Old 12-06-2022, 07:06 AM
 
9,526 posts, read 5,398,833 times
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Originally Posted by mitsguy2001 View Post
Sorry, I meant to say it’s a double standard that liberal arts / humanities majors don’t have to take STEM classes like the ones you listed above. And now it’s too late to edit my post.
It really depends on the school and the major. I’m not aware that my college had specific gen eds for science majors and other majors, mainly because most people weren’t even accepted into a specific school/major until they actually finished their gen ed requirements unless they were in special honors programs or audition based majors like ballet, opera, or theater. I think all of them still had gen ed requirements and were required to have a minor, so it wasn’t like they could get easy classes either.
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