Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

Requirements for a good educational course.
I work as a typist for UVSC and so I have had the opportunity of observing quite a few classroom envirnments from multiple perspectives. For example, I am taking four classes myself and I type for an additional seven. I've been doing that for the last two years. We know that a class can be a little like an individual organism--some are timid, others are tired, a few are competitive, and sometimes they are hostile. That is not to say that there are not great classes, but there are a lot more varied reasons why a classroom can fail rather than succeed. I usually go into a classroom selfishly; other people learning is not my priority. My main focus is on me. Therefore, my criteria are as such:
  • I need a challenge. I am at school for more than just a degree. I'm not here to simply slide through classes. I want teachers that do not put up with mediocre work, from myself or my classmates.

  • I don't want be punished for holding an opinion. I think that a professor is obligated to let students know that the classroom is open to scrutiny, argument, or opposing opinion.

  • Professor's need to constantly be on guard of "intellectually bullying." I think this usually forms from laziness or insecurity. Professors that know their subject need to be able to remove themselves from their own opinions. Professors can fall into using their expertise to debase students and become competitive with them.

  • Personality - personality matters. This can take the form of humor, charisma, vocal quality, presense, etc.

  • Classmates - Smart classmates make me want to challenge myself. Competition, diversity, and extroverted personalities make classes memorable experiences.
  • I am currently taking a class that has proven pretty difficult. The lectures are essentially rants, the arguments full of contradictions, and, when I've pointed them out, I have been shot down. (I'd say his name but I still need to try and get a decent grade out of the class :) I have tried to look at the class as a challenge; I've been researching double time to see if I can challenge him. I kind of like it, but I'm not sure if I will be penalized because of this. We have not had any real tests. It seems our entire grade depends on a take-home test. I know that my task will be 10 times as hard as those that simply agree with him. I'll have to establish page after page of axioms, and I probably won't get a good grade in the class because I know I don't want to simply sit there and be indoctrinized.

    That's not to say that my experiences are all bad. Most of my professors have been amazing. I shop around though. I try to get as many references from multiple people as I can to find challenging professors. I had a really amazing class last semester in the Philosophy Honors class with Dennis Potter. Probably 6-7 kids didn't really fit the honors qualification, but they stuck through and everyone became involved. The class worked because there were about 5 strong personalities (including the professor) and we all learned a lot from one another. The less vocal students got excited and became involved as well.

    The weight is definitely not all in the hand of the professor. Classmates play a large roll in creating a classroom environment that is stimulating, challenging, and memorable.


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