Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You Want My Notes? Come and Wrestle Them Out of Me.

Many of you have asked if I will be posting my lecture notes on the university website. My answer, as always, is no. Judging by the deflated and grim expressions you assume upon hearing this answer, I guess this is a problem for you.

Some of my colleagues put everything on the web – which is fine by me if that works for them. Others think that holding back their notes forces students to attend class. I honestly couldn’t give a shit if you decide not to attend lectures – your grades will suffer and you’ll miss out on some great discussions. No, I’m not interested in getting the mouthbreathers to fill my lecture hall each week. Better for all of us if you keep your stupidity at home.

First off, my lecture notes are a rough guide. You’ll find this strange, but I actually manage to keep a fair bit of knowledge in my head. My notes are sparse. Or it sometimes happens that a combination of student questions and my own evolving ideas will take a lecture in unexpected directions. Sometimes, I’ve been too unmotivated to write much of anything down, and I wing it (those of us who, you know, read and think are occasionally able to get away with it). Finally, I want to force your lazy asses to listen and take notes. I know this requires effort on your part, and may seem to be in violation of your implied contracts to buy degrees with your parents’ money. But I sleep at night.

And for those of who compulsively type every word I utter into your fucking laptops – stop! Stop and listen, for goodness sake. Last week, I swear I could hear nothing but clicking as I joked about the loud heater in the room. Are you in training to become courtroom transcribers or something?

Has the idea of being inspired by real life words and discussion died? Do you honestly believe that it’s better to stay at home and read professors’ powerpoint notes? (I don’t use those, either – eat it...). I know it’s not fully your fault that you were spoon fed and coddled through high school, that your attention spans are measured in seconds (not even minutes), and that scholarship is, to you, a quaint old concept that evokes images of oil lamps.

But you’re in my class now. Show up. Listen. Maybe learn a bit.