Thus far, my Sunday has been quite boring. I woke up around 11am, got up, boiled some water, wash my face and brushed my teeth. I then had a rousing breakfast of a Powerbar and some warm water. I honestly love warm water in the mornings. As I ate, I sat down, surfed for news, and also watched the local news. It just made me sad.
I chatted on Messenger a bit and then before I knew it, it was 1pm. Still feeling hungry, I went to one of the kitchens here and heated up a can of soup for lunch. Then came, the boring readings.
As I mentioned before my CPSC 544 prof is assigning a tidal wave of reading. It’s so much, that she’s not even addressing a lot of the readings in class. This prompts me to believe these “readings” should be “references” and not actual testable material. However, I’m in a lot of trouble if she thinks all the readings that are assigned are testable material. There are only two days in between classes and so far, she assigns about 100-120 pages of reading in between classes. Not only is it just a Herculean task to get the readings done, I find it hard to believe anyone is retaining all info they read.
Here’s an example of how it’s going to be impossible to keep up with her reading assignments: on Friday, she assigned us to read Chapters 9, 10, and 11 from this book (approx. 80 pages!) which she freely admits that won’t be in the reading room until after the lecture for which we should have done the reading. So by the time Tuesday lecture ends, I will have to read the previous 80 pages from before, plus the 100-120 pages she will invariably assign for Friday.
Nic, a nice chap I’ve met at St. John’s, has recommended I begin doing a skim reading technique for this class: read the first paragraph and then the conclusion for each section, skim through the rest. This will become a necessity for me I believe.
Another beef I have about this class is that all the lectures are presented in Powerpoint form. Unfortunately, the slides aren’t posted on the course website until after the lecture. So, I have to sit there watching the slides which I don’t have. The professor teaches exclusively from the slides, so we don’t take any notes. It’d be nice to make little annotations next to the slides as she goes along, but since no one has the slides we can’t do that. Afterwards, we can print out the slides, but here’s where it gets ridiculous, some lectures have as many as 80 slides! I’ve calculated it where on an average week, I’ll have to print out 60 pages of Powerpoint slides for lecture notes. That’s 240 pages of notes for one month of class. In my undergrad days, I’d be surprised if I had 240 pages of hand-written lecture notes for an entire term in a class.
Well, after lunch, I tried to read this online book that was assigned to us. The whole document was setup as a web site, and I hate reading academic material on a monitor. So, I decided to print out the whole book. The whole thing was divided in sections for about 70-80 pages in total. I got half way through printing it all when I just got frustrated at having to read all this and to probably not discuss it in class.
I decided to read some stuff for my CPSC 352 Software Engineering course. I’m really enjoying this course. It was much more enjoyable.
After that, I started reading this online book. Four hours later, I’m about two-thirds through it, but my motivation is really low when I have no clue how important this material is. If the prof is going to gloss over the material, why the hell would I want to spend my entire Sunday afternoon reading this?
Now, if I were younger, I’d probably just continue to bitch about this, but I’m old and ornery now. On Tuesday, I’m going to talk to the prof and ask her two things: 1. can you please consider putting on the slides before the lecture? 2. why give us so much reading when it seems so little of it is addressed in class?
I’m going to try to finish this stupid book before Band of Brothers is on tonight, but it probably won’t happen.
Be glad you didn’t have the Sunday afternoon I did!