Question for Professorial Readers

July 26, 2010

Brad DeLong makes his students read a buncha fucken shit over the summer for his Fall Econ 1 course at Cal. I say this makes him a dick. Do you give summer assignments for Fall undergrad courses?

23 Responses to “Question for Professorial Readers”

  1. Fuck no. Mostly because there would be no hope of them actually reading it, but also because many of them work all summer to afford school. School is not in session during the summer or over the December holiday and they don’t need me piling on for no damn reason.

  2. human Says:

    Does he also assign readings during the semester, or do people just read everything up front? Because if it’s the latter, that could be an interesting way to structure a course. If the students have the opportunity to register for a different econ course or otherwise plan around it, I don’t see a problem.

    If it got sprung on them and there are no other openings on the other hand, it’s kind of unreasonable to fuck with people’s schedules that way.

  3. namnezia Says:

    No way. Plus it would make no sense as people don’t really know their final schedules until the end of the first week of the semester. If anything I would add more prerequisites for my course if I thought students were coming in insufficiently prepared.

  4. gnuma Says:

    No. He’s a dick.

  5. Jen Says:

    No – I never liked summer reading assignments as a student (since I always worked full-time), and I don’t think any perceived educational/pedagogical value would be worth the angst. Besides, at the smaller state school at which I teach, we have a high percentage of transfer students who don’t register until just before classes begin (during transfer orientation), and my course roster is completely in flux, and will continue to be, until registration is formally closed two weeks after the start of the semester.

  6. zoubl Says:

    I was given a summer reading assignment for my high school freshman biology class, and a report was expected on the first day of school. The teacher was a dick, but it ended up being a great book and I never forgot it.

    Profs should do whatever they want to torture their students, as long as they’re learning something from it. Yes, you can have a summer job AND read. Some of us had work study jobs during the school year. The kids have 8-10 weeks to do the assignment. It’s not that fucking hard.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I was given a list suggested reading of about 12 books before starting undergrad biology in Cambridge (UK) and told that I’m expected to choose and read a couple of them. I think I read five although I was working full-time. I thought it was fair, given that there wasn’t much spare time during term time.

  8. Dominique Says:

    Oh my !. You are a nerdy secchione but wonderful

  9. No way. I can’t even count on my students to read stuff I assign over the semester. Why penalize my responsible students (who might actually do the assignment), when I would have to reassign it for the vast majority who ignored it.

  10. Kate Says:

    I require that my students have read the syllabus and checked out the course website by having them complete a really easy 10 question “orientation” quiz due the night before the first class. But that’s it. I don’t think I would ever assign reading before a class.

  11. physiobabe Says:

    What, they work 24 hours? Should have enough leisure time to do a bit of reading. What’s the problem?

  12. Arlenna Says:

    No way, man. The three people (out of 250) who would actually read it are also the same three who will read it if I assign it during the semester. They should be adequately prepared by the prereqs we require, and if they aren’t there are academic year mechanisms in place for them to catch up or flail out.

  13. Absolutely not! I get them for 15 weeks, and that’s it.

  14. Former for-profit prof Says:

    I used to teach at a for-profit that had a mandatory “prep week” assignment. We taught 7 weeks on, 1-3 weeks off (depending on when in the year) so students often had only a week to do it. The instructor sort of had say over what the assignment was, but sort of not. If you were teaching for the first time, they generally just gave the students whatever your colleagues had assigned previously, and they didn’t go to any great lengths to inform you that you had the option to change the assignment. If you wanted to change it, you could propose a new prep week assignment, and I think they were supposed to follow your wishes, but they could “forget” to put the new one in, or strongly encourage you to reconsider.

    The first prep week assignment that I had to work with was shit. The one I devised was much better. Fortunately, my supervisors liked the one I devised.

    I have to say that I worked with some great colleagues and students and had a lot of fun at the for-profit, but I also found the system to be weird and suspect. Every faculty meeting included reminders of new rules to deal with regulatory/accreditation/liability issues.

  15. LadyDay Says:

    No way.

    Considering that he’s an Economics professor, it’s not surprising. These are the folks who believe in all that “free market”/deregulation crap and perpetuate it by teaching naive kids about it every semester. Anyway (and obviously), saying that most Economics professors are totally “out of touch” with the lifestyles of the “proletariat,” preferring to stare up their own anuses, instead, is an understatement.

    Not that I have anything against Economics professors.

  16. Dr. No Says:

    Whaaaaaaat? Wouldn’t you then have to grade some shit just as the semester begins? Fuck that.

  17. Spiny Norman Says:

    I’ve got no problem with it at all. It’s piss — 200, maybe 250 pages, and as for expectations, Cal is probably the best public university on the planet.

    Also, look at what he’s actually assigning. Fair enough that DeLong wants people to start with a common vocabulary, especially since Econ is not a college-prep prereq like chem and physics.

    Would I do it myself? No, but my course has a shitheap of prerequisites.

  18. Spiny Norman Says:

    I should add that my HS AP English teacher assigned about 5 times that much reading the summer before his course. The majority of us did it, too.

  19. BB Says:

    Both of my kids had reading assignments of absolute BS before starting first year college. For that cr@p I paid for books plus tuition.

  20. LadyDay Says:

    That’s just the economics of summer reading.

  21. LadyDay Says:

    Should I ever venture into an economics class again, the first question I am going to ask is:
    what’s the price of public health at the expense of deregulating industrial emissions.

    Because *everything* in the realm of economics gets reduced to mere monetary value.

  22. Gingerale Says:

    No, not for undergrads.

  23. Brian Says:

    Professorial young students………. are they being trained by Professorial Professors?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: