Tuesday, September 29, 2009

They Are Still Our Slaves?

A friend of mine who is a black retired teacher sent me this essay as an email. I found it shocking and provocative. I would have immediately assessed this as racist propaganda had it not come from my friend.

His email had copied one of the many pieces circulating the internet which initially cited the essay as having been written by a white man and sent to a NYC radio station where a white woman talk show host supposedly read it live on air. As is the case with many web-based legends, that never happened. The talk show host ended up posting a disclaimer suggesting that her name had been confused with a black Philadelphia comedian who had broadcast it on a local talk show in that city. That, also, turned out to be untrue.

What follows the essay is the website for the actual author of the piece who is a NYC professor at Baruch College. He included the essay in a book entitled Mental Slavery.

The essay is well worth considering. He draws a bead on self-defeating behaviors and the surrender to superficial values and materialism that is hard to escape as one looks around them in consumerist America. However, as I look out at my young undergrads, eager to get diplomas (and occasionally, an education as well) to go make money and to play the consumerist game, I wonder if the self-imposed slavery is not broader than simply African-Americans.

I offer the essay to you for your consideration. Your thoughts are welcomed.

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Here is one version of the piece as it has circulated on the internet

http://pridemagazine.wordpress.com/2006/04/26/they-are-still-our-slaves-very-enlightening-article-think-about/

“They Are Still Our Slaves” Very Enlightening Article. Think About.
For those of you who heard it, this is the article DeeLee was reading on aNew York radio station. For those of you who didn't hear it, this is very deep. This is a heavy piece and a Caucasian wrote it.


"THEY ARE STILL OUR SLAVES" We can continue to reap profits from the Blacks without the effort of physical slavery. Look at the current methods of containment that they use on themselves: IGNORANCE, GREED, and SELFISHNESS.

Their IGNORANCE is the primary weapon of containment. A great man once said, "The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book. We now live in the Information Age. They have gained the opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their fight for freedom, yet they refuse to read. There are numerous books readily available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and <http://amazon.com/ Amazon. com, not to mention their own Black Bookstores that provide solid blueprints to reach economic equality (which should have been their fight all along), but few read consistently, if at all.

GREED is another powerful weapon of containment. Blacks, since the abolition of slavery, have had large amounts of money at their disposal. Last year they spent 10 billion dollars during Christmas, out of their 450 billion dollars in total yearly income (2.22%). Any of us can use them as our target market, for anybusiness venture we care to dream up, no matter how outlandish, they will buy into it. Being primarily a consumer people, they function totally by greed. They continually want more, with little thought for savingor investing. They would rather buy some new sneakers than investin starting a business.

Some even neglect their children to have the latest Tommy or FUBU, and they still think that having a Mercedes, and a big house gives them "Status" orthat they have achieved their Dream. They are fools! The vast majority of their people are still in poverty because their greed holds them back from collectively making better communities. With the help of BET, and the rest of their black media that often broadcasts destructive images into their own homes, we will continue to see huge profits like those of Tommy and Nike. (Tommy Hilfiger has even jeered them, saying he doesn't want their money, and look at how the fools spend more with him than ever before!). They'll continue to show off to each other while we build solid communities with the profits from our businesses that we market to them.

SELFISHNESS, ingrained in their minds through slavery, is one of the major ways we can continue to contain them. One of their own, Dubois said that there was an innate division in their culture. "Talented Tenth" he called it. He was correct in his deduction that there are segments of their culture that has achieved some "form" of success. However,that segment missed the fullness of his work. They didn't read that the "Talented Tenth" was then responsible to aid The Non-Talented Ninety Percent in achieving a better life. Instead, that segment has created another class, Buppie class that looks down on their people or aids them in a condescending manner.

They will never achieve what we have. Their selfishness does not allow them to be able to work together on any project or endeavor of substance. When they do get together, their selfishness lets their egos get in the way of their goal. Their so-called help organizations seem to only want to promote their name without making any real change in their community. They are content to sit in conferences and conventions in our hotels, and talk about what they will do, while they award plaques to the best speakers, not to the best doers.

Is there no end to their selfishness? They steadfastly refuse to see that TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE (TEAM) They do not understand that they are no better than each other because of what they own , as a matter of fact, most of those Buppies are but one or two pay checks away from poverty. All of which is under the control of our pens in our offices and our rooms. Yes, we will continue to contain them as long as theyrefuse to read, continue to buy anything they want, and keep thinking they are "helping" their communities by paying dues to organizations which do little other than hold lavish conventions in our hotels. By the way, don't worry about any of them reading this letter, remember, 'THEY DON'T READ!!!!

Now that you have read this, I want to get an ongoing discussion on the topic. I want everyone who reads this to post your opinions of this letter. Do you feel that is true. If so, in what ways? How can us as a black race get away from these sterotypes or accusations that are raised within this text? The evidence is provided in this letter. Did this letter take you aback as it did to me? Let me know what you think. Tell your friends to read this also. Remember that in order to have progress you must address the issues pertaining to your people so please keep this in mind and educate your friends and most importantly educate yourselves. -----Garrett L. Sawyer: Content Editor for Pride Magazine

ACTUAL SOURCE:

http://www.readlikeyourlifedependsonit.com/home.html


Read Like Your Life Depends On It

By Art Lewin

Welcome

Dr. Arthur Lewin, author of Africa Is Not A Country: It's A Continent, and member of the Black and Hispanic Studies Department of Baruch College of the City University of New York thanks you for your interest in his latest book and visiting his website.

Additional content is being developed and will be incorporated into this site in the near future. However, in the interim we would like to hear from you with your questions and comments regarding topics in the book.

Please click here or the contact button to send an email to Dr. Lewin.

Read Like Your Life Depends On It

Addendum

THE MATRIX OF THE MATRIX (Pg. 23)
DID A BLACK WOMAN WRITE THE MATRIX? (Pg. 23)
PRETTY NAILS COST MORE THAN U THINK! (Pg. 10)
MENTAL SLAVERY (Pg. 5)
HOW TO MAKE AN ECONOMIC OR GHETTO SLAVE
FULL TEXT OF BILL COSBY’S COMMENTS (Pg. 12)


MENTAL SLAVERY
In the book under the title, “Mental Slavery,” we reproduce an article that we authored that has been circulating around the net for years. On the net we titled it “They Are Still Our Slaves.” It is based on an article we received called “How To Make An Economic Or Ghetto Slave.” This original is reproduced below. Compare it to the piece in the book to see how we modified it.
Back To Top

HOW TO MAKE AN ECONOMIC OR GHETTO SLAVE
A Lesson for the New Millennium by Willie Lynch VI, building on my great-grandfather's work, we can see how we can continue to reap profits from the Blacks without the effort of physical slavery.

We will focus on the current methods of containment that they use on themselves:

1. IGNORANCE 2. GREED 3. SELFISHNESS.

The IGNORANCE of blacks is the primary weapon of containment. A great Man once said, “the best way to hide something from a black is to put it in a book.” This statement is so true. We currently live in an information age. Blacks have gained the opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their fight for freedom and integration yet; they refuse to read. There are numerous books readily available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. com, that would help them reach economic equality (which should Have been their fight all along). However, very few of them read consistently if at all. As long as we continue to publish books for our benefit and keep books, computers and the Internet out of their hands, we will never see the masses of them rise above the slums and projects.

GREED is another powerful weapon of containment. Blacks, since the abolition of slavery, have had large amounts of money at their disposal. Last year they spent 9 billion dollars during Christmas and overall yearly have about 450 billion dollars in purchasing power. Any of us can use them as our target market for any business venture. Being primarily a consumer people they function totally by greed.

They continually want more without any regard for saving or investing. They would rather buy some new sneaker than invest in starting a business or a community development organization. Some will even neglect their children to have the latest Tommy or FUBU, they still think that having a Mercedes and a fancy apartment in the middle of the ghetto gives them "status" or that they have achieved the American dream. They are fools.

The vast majority of their people are still in poverty. Living in slums, projects and run-down homes. What have they achieved? Their greed holds them back from making better communities for themselves. With the help of BET and the rest of their black media, we will continue to see huge profits like those of Tommy and Nike. They, will continue to congregate in their 'buppie" communities and slums trying to show off to each other while we build solid communities with the profits from our businesses. Some would argue that this last method is the most powerful one of the three. SELFISHNESS, ingrained in their minds through slavery, is one of the major ways we can contain them in a slave status. We all know that any group united under one vision can accomplish anything.

The Bible shows that even God acknowledged in the Tower of Babel story that a people united can accomplish anything. With this said, we understand that the most effective way to keep them contained is to create divisions among blacks as a people. One of their own, Dubois said that there was an innate division in their culture. A 'Talented Tenth' he called it. He was correct in his deduction that there are segments of their culture that has achieved some form of success. However, that segment missed the fullness of his work, they didn't read that the Talented Tenth was then responsible to aid the Non-Talented Ninety Percent in achieving a better life.

Instead, that segment has created another class, a buppie class that looks down on their people or aids them in a condescending manner. The selfishness of the buppie class, and the "it's all about me" attitude that is prevalent throughout their people, has caused them to isolate both classes and fail to achieve solid communities, business or economic empowerment.

They will never achieve what we have. Their selfishness does not allow them to work together on any project or endeavor of substance. Their so-called help organizations, with large budgets and some existing for almost a hundred or more years, seem to only want to promote their names without making any real change to the communities in which they live. They are content to sit in conferences and conventions and talk about what they will do and award the best speakers a plaque. Is their no end to their selfishness?

They lack the essential understanding that TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE! They do not understand that they are not better than each because of what they own. Most are only one or two paychecks away from poverty. And their paychecks are written by us in our offices and boardrooms.

Yes, we will continue to contain them as long as we keep them from reading, let them buy anything they want, and keep them thinking that they are really "helping" their communities by paying dues to some organization. By the way, don't worry about any of them reading this letter, remember, they don't read!

Back To Top

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The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.

Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ncoverst/
frharry@cfl.rr.com

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Summer of Their Discontent – Part II

Amidst the sea of negativity I received in my Summer B evaluations (the tenor of which my chair described as “hysterical”) was this comment: “Professor’s lack of respect for his students was outrageous.” It’s a comment that stings given the general fondness I feel for most of my students, a trait that is repeatedly reflected in the evaluations of my real live courses. But, in all fairness, I think this student was on target. By the end of a summer which had featured a mutiny and a non-stop whine session, I really didn’t have much respect for those students.

But was respect due them? The same student who lamented my lack of respect for her complained that the stripped down, bare minimum course with three tests and four Gordon Rule Papers “placed unrealistic expectations” on students. She complained that the tests did not allow students to skip questions and return to them later (which makes it difficult to look up the answers in the text the student hasn’t read). She complained that 24 hours was insufficient time to write a Gordon Rule Paper even though the prep materials needed for the paper were provided well in advance of the 24 hour window.

Comments from other students included complaints about “the enormous amount of reading” and “an unreasonable expectation of study time.” Another complained because I did not give an “open note test” while another asserted that the tests were “weird. They required comprehension and critical analysis of the reading.” Imagine that! Yet another complained because the class was so fast paced the student “did not have enough time to learn the material” (this from a student who specifically chose to take the course in the abbreviated six week summer format). And then there was the complaint that requiring submission of papers to turnitin.com, the plagiarism site, was “too much of a hassle. I think we should be trusted because we are college students now, not high school students any more to plagierize (sic).”

Some of the comments were ironic in their embodiment of the very concerns to which I often direct my comments:

· “Technical errors.u”
· “This is not an english class so assume we know how to use english properly…”
· “This is the first time I’ve taking a class online so at first the test as overwhelming some answers were there, but trying to complete the test before the time was up, lead me to overlook some of the right answers sadly.”


So, perhaps I did not show a lot of respect for this substandard writing and the constant whining. But, again, what respect is due this kind of performance?

A number of students reported taking personal affront to some of the comments made to them. Admittedly, my frustration with the onslaught of posts, many of them asking questions that were already answered by posted materials they clearly had not read, did begin to show by the end of the term. Moreover, I was having to completely revamp the website given its changeover from WebCT to Blackboard with all the accompanying technical problems that went with that shift. As some students rightfully complained, many of the links no longer worked and had to be relinked. In reality, I spent hours recreating the documents and links. No doubt my frustration was palpable by the end of the term.

What was particularly troubling in all this hysteria was the personal nature of some of the comments. One of the great weaknesses (among the many) of online courses is that the human beings involved never get to know each other. They don’t get to see the human face of the other. They make comments they would never say to a person’s face. And so perhaps it is not surprising when a frustration-filled semester ends with comments like this: “Your picture hanging in some building does not make you a good teacher.” This from a person who has never met me.

My chair is willing to write this off as simply a bad term which we all suffer through occasionally. But in all honesty, my experience last summer caused me to seriously question how long I can remain in college instruction. For the first time in my life, I found myself dreading the beginning of school this fall, a time that has always been one of great excitement and anticipation for me. I found myself wondering what other work could I possibly do and whether I could simply survive to retirement in 10 years, this from a man who had once believed he’d teach until he dropped over dead.

Fortunately, this fall has gone a long way toward redeeming my vocation as teacher. My three sections of honors students are unusually good, generally respectful and hardworking with the occasional attitude-laden narcissist thrown in for good measure. My large Encountering the Humanities class has produced some good discussions and is composed mostly of decent, good natured students. I’m actually enjoying this rather frantic fall where I am teaching four different courses including a new course team taught with another instructor. Indeed, I had almost laid this troubled past summer to rest when I received the summer’s evaluations yesterday.

Ironically, a couple of my summer students seemed to think I see myself “to be above 2000 level courses.” In actuality, I believe the Humanistic Traditions courses we teach are perhaps the most important courses the university offers. Where else will students be required to actually consider what it means to be human, what legacy they have inherited from those who have gone before and what obligations to the world they have as a result of their privilege? My graduating senior (and who knows more than them?) ended her diatribe with the comment “If you feel above basic humanities, please stop teaching it!”

The problem is not that I feel above teaching basic humanities. The problem is that the online summer format of Humanistic Traditions simply isn’t about teaching. And it’s even less about learning.

What it is about is the procurement of credit hours and crossing off of graduation requirements in as short a period as possible with as little work as is necessary. It’s about relieving overcrowded classrooms and guaranteeing tuition moneys (not to mention additional online fees) for the university’s ever shrinking budget. It’s about teachers being required to spend more and more of their own time playing technical games with substandard computer systems and being the middle man with little technological expertise between that system and its users. And it's about the difference between a $43,000/year income and $51,000/year income (this for a professional with three graduate degrees and 25 years of college teaching experience) guaranteed only by the willingness to endure online teaching in six week summer terms.

Finally, it’s about those who ostensibly came to college to be students but who instead have come to confuse themselves for consumers with inordinate senses of entitlement. That sense of entitlement includes a perceived right to make demands on everything from pedagogy to course content to assessment from those they see as obligated to provide goods and services to their specifications. One only has to read my summer courses’ evaluations to see that.

In reality, I stopped actually teaching the basic humanities a long time ago, not because it was beneath me but rather because that was no longer the job I was paid to do. Sadly, that will prove to be a major loss to all parties involved.

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The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ncoverst/
frharry@cfl.rr.com

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.
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The Summer of Their Discontent – Part I

This past summer I tried an experiment. I’ve been teaching the HUM 2210 and 2230 (Humanistic Traditions I and II) courses online each summer for five years now. Summer classes are by definition slacker magnets, particularly online sections. They draw students who think because the class is shorter it won’t require as much. They draw students who think that because the class is online it will be easier. As a result, you get the usual online class denizens – the hung over frat boys who don’t want to have to get up for class, the students who can’t get into any of the classes they need and decide to knock out their GEP requirements online and the graduating seniors who have put off their general education requirements until the very end and who think the course work is beneath their dignity given their newly acquired vocational skills.

In all fairness, this hardly exhausts the possibilities. You always have a small group of students who actually get caught up in the material, wrestle with the questions humanities courses raise and generally perform like actual college students. And there is invariably the one or two working mothers or fathers desperately trying to get the college degree needed for a decent life while juggling child care and work schedules. It’s this latter group of students for whom I have the patience of Job and the utmost of admiration. But, sadly, it’s the former group of students who have increasingly made summer teaching online an experience in the same category with barium enemas.

For the past four summers I have placed a caveat on my homepage regarding these online courses. The link reads “Is this Webcourse the right course for me? (HUM 2211 and HUM 2230) and contains an informal survey asking students to rate their responses to questions such as the following:

7. I am not laboring under the misapprehension that a course taught online is easier or less demanding than a regular face-to-face course. Indeed, I recognize that given the demands on the student to be responsible for meeting the course schedule and managing time with no interaction with the instructor in class, it can be much more difficult.

9. I am particularly adept at managing time, at reading and following directions and acting without assistance from instructors using only a schedule and course modules (particularly critical in summer sessions where 15 weeks course material is covered in a six week session, meaning each class week is the equivalent of 2.5 ordinary class weeks).

In short, I warn students ahead of time that their preconceptions are not on target. I warn them that the online class in which they are enrolling will be an actual course - with all the requirements of a real class - simply taught in online format. And I warn them that, contrary to popular conception and fervent student desires, it will be demanding. Despite such warnings, the classes always fill (even as the face-to-face sections languish and sometimes are cancelled), dominated by the usual suspects – the frat boys, the graduating seniors and the folks working full time jobs over the summer and taking two or more courses.

In what is perhaps a paradox, I have observed that as I have increasingly cut requirements from these summer online courses, the complaining actually increases each time. This is somewhat in line with studies which suggest that students actually want more engagement in online classes - perhaps as a consolation for a recognition after the fact that online courses are often mere shadows of their face-to-face editions - even as they resent having to actually do anything to engage the class.

This past summer, I found myself facing an unprecedented situation of a student using the course email list to run a mutiny among the students. Suggesting that the work load was too high and the feedback too slow (in all fairness, a week and a half can be perceived as a long time in summer sessions), the young man drafted a sample letter to be sent to my chair essentially demanding that I be disciplined. Becoming aware of the mutiny via a student I knew from a real live class who sent me the mass mailed letter, I responded with a point by point refutation to the email that I posted to course news. That effectively ended the mutiny. Upon receiving the form letter, my chair directed the student to meet with me in person and after less than an hour of talking face to face, the student apologized for the incident, said he wished he’d taken this class in a face-to-face section and concluded by saying he would consider taking other classes with me. (So much for the “just as good as regular classes” propaganda from the IT boys.)

Admittedly, this confrontation left a sour taste in my mouth going into the second half of the summer . I was burned out from Summer A and wanted to avoid any more confrontation. I decided to minimize my interactions with the incoming students and cut the Summer B course to a bare bones bottom line which required nothing more than three exams over the three volumes of the text and the four Gordon Rule Papers required by the state. No content quizzes on the chapters, no discussions of material, no posted responses to the Gordon Rule Papers, no group activities or presentations, all of which I have used in real live classes and past online editions of the class. Even as I prepared the syllabus and schedule for what I was calling Humanities Lite, I predicted to my chair and colleagues that the complaints about the course would increase and my evaluations would drop.

Today the truth of those predictions arrived in the form of course evaluations from the summer sessions. As I had predicted, even with the aborted mutiny, the first half of the summer evaluations were much higher and fairer than those of the whittled down second half. Even so, it was not without complaints.

The first half complaints centered primarily around what one student described as “tons and tons of work.” Of course, trying to cram a 15 week semester into 6 will no doubt result in such a perception if an actual class (as opposed to an online class trimmed of any real obligations for students to perform) is being taught. My mutiny leader complained about the “classroom equivalent time” as I had designated it on the schedule to show that students don’t get the class time off, that there were activities designed to simulate the same. Like many online course students, he had decided that no class attendance meant that time was the student’s and could not have any claims made on it by pesky little assignments.

One remarkably transparent comment seemed to sum up the entire thread of complaints: “An online course is about convenience, and having 2 quizzes due at the end of everyday is not convenient.” Of course, a day in a summer session is the equivalent of 2 days of classes in a regular semester. And in all fairness, the rare day when supplementary material (and thus extra credit) quizzes were scheduled was the exception and not the rule. Even so, clearly this course was not convenient enough for this student as she ended her evaluation with “I am never recommending this professor to anyone, or this class.”

Upon reading this comment, all I could think was, “O, thank G-d.” Indeed, at some level, I have come to see the revenge sites like myprofessorsucks.com and ratemyprofessor.com as doing instructors who actually demand that students engage their classes a great public service. If students are consulting these sites because they want to avoid work and decide against taking a course from me, I think the world will be a happier place for all parties involved. And if workload and convenience was all that was involved, it would be easier to simply do with these evaluations what is most appropriate for all such acontextual and generally meaningless consumerist surveys – look at them briefly, comment upon their novelty and then consign them to the closest recycle bin.

Unfortunately, in an age of educational bureaucratic micromanagement which confuses consumerism with accountability, “evaluations” like this one can become a problem for instructors who consistently prove inconvenient taskmasters. Of course, the problem isn’t the workload or the convenience. After five years of offering courses online, I observe that anytime a teacher actually demands more of students than paying their tuition and coming out with easy three hour As, their convenience-focused, work avoidant consumers will find something to complain about. As I predicted at the end of Summer A going into a stripped down Summer B, even if you only give the minimal three tests and the required four papers, the students will complain about them.

The very first comment from the Summer B evaluations began “There was not one thing I enjoyed about this class” and continued with a critique of workload: “There is an overwhelming amount of reading to retain in a given time period and exams are impossible.” While this student felt “All text chapters were completed ignored…” the following student complained “The test questions were straight from the book, not any of the unnecessary work…the extra Worksheets.” Yet another suggested “describing the kinds of questions to students before giving them the tests to produce a better grade curve.” Of course, tests are always easier when you know the questions ahead of time, no? Indeed, one student suggested “[I]n the ‘real world’ it’s not like you can’t open a book to reference something you are unsure about.” Why bother with tests at all, right? Just give a worksheet to fill in the blanks.

As I had predicted, if all you assign is tests and papers, the students will complain about them.

Ironically, the “extra Worksheets” for each chapter referenced here were designed to develop each artifact and piece of literature with questions about them. The questions ask students to consider “What might this sculpture suggest about how the Greeks saw men v. women?” and “Where do you see ideas like this in the world around you?” I provide the worksheets as study guides for the exams. I neither collect nor grade them.

Study after study suggests that actually understanding an artifact results in a greater tendency to remember it than mere memorization of the artifact and its maker followed by regurgitation of data from one’s short term memory and nearly instantly forgetting the same. And study after study suggests that if students can connect material being learned to their own lives, they are more likely to remember it. Of course, such concerns don’t fare well in a world driven by consumer convenience and the desire to avoid “an overwhelming amount of work,” even when it only involved three tests and four required papers, the least workload I have ever assigned in any college class I have ever taught anywhere.

One final thought on all this. The student who had taken a real live class with me previously wrote the following in her evaluation: “This course really shouldn’t be offered online. Too much is lost in translation. Dr. Coverston is a stellar professor who truly cares about the transfer of knowledge and engaging education.”

I must say I agree with her initial assertions and I can only hope her final complimentary statement is true. In reality, Humanistic Traditions courses do translate poorly to online format. Art takes time to download as some of the complaints about testing suggested (particularly when taken during the 11:00 pm to midnight witching hour of all online courses when the UCF system slows to a crawl due to overuse). The concepts that these courses consider do not translate well to asynchronous discussion or written comments read in the absence of the commenter. Tests with artificial time constraints to discourage the ability to cheat (Are you listening, FSU athletic department?) require a focus on technological means rather than pedagogical ends. These are valid concerns and have been raised by a number of instructors repeatedly.

However, when the concerns that give rise to online courses are administrative (translation: monetary) rather than pedagogical, it should not be surprising that online courses end up as a dumping ground for the excess students admitted into an already overtaxed system ill-prepared to handle the onslaught. Online classes become the solution to shortage of classroom space problems. Thus one pathology gives rise to another as instructors teaching online try to adapt pedagogy and content to the realities of online courses: minimalist content and requirements driven by consumerist entitlement. The result? Low to none-existent workloads, quizzes which test little more than the ability of students to actually crack their texts long enough to look up answer, and the occasional discussion requirement which produces a slew of posts beginning “I just feel…” with little of substance thereafter. Those who seek to do more than that minimum face stiff resistance, whine-filled evaluations and the occasional mutiny. There is much to be said about such realities. Little has anything to do with education.

A second post follows.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.

Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ncoverst/
frharry@cfl.rr.com

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm

Item 1: This week’s Time magazine, an advertisement for Crash, "a Starz original series"


“In this city, you’re either a roadblock or a shortcut. And if you’re not using someone, then someone’s using you. In L.A. there are no accidents.”

What a grim place (if that were, in fact, true) !

And what a wonderful credo for free market fundamentalism!

Item 2: Seen on a bumper sticker:

I Support the Separation of Church and Hate.

Indeed.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.

Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ncoverst/
frharry@cfl.rr.com

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.
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