University Life in the 21st Century

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Over at Unqualified Offerings, Thoreau has a short essay about the relative advantages enjoyed by college students whose parents also went to college. I don’t have any special comment on his main point, but I was sort of fascinated by this:

To the extent that I’ve interacted with parents, I’m always fascinated by the contrast between the questions that they ask and my own inside perceptions of the system. My students’ parents went to school before computers were commonplace. Their parents attended college back when faculty could give out 1-page syllabi instead of long documents with disclaimers and policy reminders. Hell, even when I went to college, professors just said “Write an essay on this”, not “Here is a detailed grading rubric for the essay, which you will no doubt try to rules-lawyer me on, hence I had the rubric inspected by experts.”

I don’t have kids, but he’s basically talking about my generation. My professors did indeed hand out 1-page sylliabi and tell us to write essays of a certain length without much more guidance than that. But, um, I gather this is no longer true? Would any university professor types care to comment on this? I didn’t realize that this particular aspect of college life had changed so much.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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