Log: Dropped

Worm Date: 11.10694

I dropped my stats class.

This is only the second class that I’ve dropped. The first class I dropped was communications. That one was timing. That class happened when my union was in the middle of a contract fight and I wanted to give whatever time I could to the union. I also figured doing all that union shit –the talking to co-workers, meetings, meetings with the communications team, talking to reporters and congress people, speaking at neighborhood councils– was probably going to teach me a lot more about actual communication than some college class. If the class I took after was any indication, I was right.

Fucking “communications.” Bunch of cheap tricks for job interviews and the endpoint of this absolute balderdash is Pete Buttigieg speaking at a TED Talk. So, yeah, I have a great deal of contempt for “communications.”

But nothing quite so noble with the stats class.

The short version of the problem is that the professor tried to plug an in person class into the online. You can’t do that. What works in one world doesn’t work in the other.

The long version is that there was a two hour ZOOM lecture 4 days at week at 5-7AM my time. This lecture contained nothing except what was in the textbook. And, I don’t know if any professors are reading this and, I don’t know who needs to hear this but: The sound of your voice isn’t so fucking great. There’s probably better resources and teachers than you online. There’s also this nifty thing where, if you really feel the need to give a lecture, you can record it. Or, if you have something to add to the textbook, write it down and put it in the modules. This helps because online classes exist for people who, for one reason or another, have a schedule to work around and you need to let them work around it.

Now, this class was set up before COVID but it was the first time online for this stats class. If this class is any indication of how online teaching is going to be done in the age of COVID, it just means that a lot of online students who have jobs are going to be pushed out of school while the regular students are going to get a really crap education. And online learning can be really great. I’ve done online and raw world classes. The online classes are usually tougher and the standards are often higher. But these classes need to be themselves. The online has to be online. You can’t just try to move one system into the other.

The lecture was only the start of the problem. When that lecture was done, it was about 3 hours (at least) of homework. The homework was done on paper out of the textbook. We had to check our answers ourselves. The answers were in the back of the textbook. Then, on top of this, we were told that we had to write down the questions too. Just in case we were cheating and only writing the answers down. Not that approach could possibly stop anyone from cheating. Like, you’d just have to transcribe the question too. After doing this shit, we were then expected to send him pics or scans of our handwritten homework. Like IT IS A COMPUTER. THERE IS TEACHING SOFTWARE FOR THIS SORT OF THING.

So, like, now I’m doing the authority’s job, while being given extra work so that I can be treated like a cheater, because the authority has set up some ridiculous system that makes cheating easy and even rewards it. I just don’t have the patience. I might be short of patience these days and, if so, that’s one me. But I’m not inclined to ignore warning signs.

Everything about this class was a warning sign: BAD CLASS INCOMING.

And the crazy thing is the work itself wasn’t even hard, I enjoyed the subject, and I’m actually interested in stats. I’m a baseball fan for god’s sake. I listen to podcasts about stats for fun. The best classes I’ve had, the work has been hard but the doing of it easy — it was easy to figure out what you had to do and to know where the work was. Then you can just concentrate on the difficult work on, you know, learning. The worst are the ones where the class is disorganized and you spend all your time playing hide and seek with the assignments, which turn out to be too simple. I’m over forty. The last thing I need to be taught is how to deal with irrational and disorganized bosses. I’ve learned enough about it.

This class was a train-wreck and torture. The only way I was going to be able to get through it was by wearing a tight rubber suit and studded mask, laying on the floor with a stiletto heel pressed to my throat, and telling myself that I’ve been naughty boy, and I deserve all of this — all of these lectures, this talking in circles, and this complete disorganization. A naughty boy. A very naughty boy. Now eat it, you naughty boy! But I just can’t.

So I dropped the nonsense and immediately felt much better.

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