Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another semester...and too much reading!

Why do professors give you so much reading on those syllabi? Along about now, you're probably starting to fell overwhelmed by what those nasty multi-page nagging documents expect you to do. (I used the word "nagging" because the syllabus always seems to me like such a scolding thing--it seems to say "do this, or else you can expect to fail my most-important-in-the-world course").

So, if I feel that the syllabus is meant to "nag" students, and I don't like the whole idea of nagging, why do I give you so much reading?

That's an excellent question that deserves an answer.

Here it is: because I only see you for three hours a week, I can't possibly go over everything that a college course needs to accomplish. That means that you have to read (because that's what historians turn out--books and articles.)

On the flipside, though, historians also talk--a lot. And we produce documentary films--a wonderful thing. So, you also get to listen to podcasts and lectures and watch some very fine documentaries if you follow my syllabus.

I can't apologize for all the outside work I assign (although something makes me feel that I should) because college is "higher learning," and that means more work. So, please remember: we don't give you all that reading and listening and viewing to do because we enjoy torturing you. We do it because we're committed to your learning. 

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