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AcademicGround >> Watching movies in class?


10/23/07 2:26 PM
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Willybone
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Edited: 23-Oct-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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In my time at UCONN and CUNY, I only ever watched one movie in a college class. It was Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" in a philosophy class. This made sense.

However, in WCSU, my teachers seem to be movie crazy. Between my Music and Writing classes, I've watched 3 complete movies and significant portions of 6 others. In Writing, we spent two whole classes watching "Magnolia" (which is one of my favorites).

WTF? This is actually pissing me off. Why are we wasting class time on this? I can be expected to buy a $15 book and spend a whole week reading it, but they won't assign me to rent and watch a video on my own? I feel like my tuition and time is being wasted. Anything I could learn from watching 2 hours of Hitchcock or "Amadeus" could probably be covered in a half hour of lecture.

Is this becoming common? Do other students find themselves frustrated every time they walk into class and see the movie screen pulled down?
10/24/07 12:03 AM
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Jonwell
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Edited: 24-Oct-07
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That was common in highschool... haven't had it happen in college yet. I think I would be frustrated too, especially if it's a class in your major, or something you really want to learn.
10/25/07 10:02 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 25-Oct-07
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I watched 6 movies one year.
At this rate, I will pass that easily. In my writing class. Not screenplay writing, either.
10/29/07 9:07 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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Edited: 29-Oct-07
Member Since: 10/11/2005
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It's very common to use film & television as an entry point into writing classes. As an instructor/department, it's a lot easier to work with skills that you can be reasonably sure 90% of your students will have practiced in the last 10 years (watching film & television) than the maybe 5% that have read a book on their own in the same timeframe. I haven't taken a music course in 20 years, but just in general the majority of classical technique is in film & not pop music, so I can see that for the same reasons, too. There's a larger issue at play here, though, & that's the idea of wasting YOUR class time. It's their syllabus, their time, & their hoops that you have to jump through to get the degree, so there's a bit of sucking up the ego you're gonna have to do here.
10/30/07 11:57 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 30-Oct-07 11:11 AM
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But, if you look at education as a service, I would say that these instructors are doing a poor job of providing that service. Let's say you went to a personal trainer, seeking to improve your physical fitness, and he just sat you in a room with a DVD on general health topics for two and a half hours. Yet, he still charged you the full price as if he'd actually spoken with you, given you direction, watched you work out, and answered your specific questions. Would you feel you'd received quality training?

In my writing class, last night was another movie and next week will be yet another movie. Combined with the previous 3 classes of watching movies, that gives me 12 hours of movie viewing in one class. I don't mind watching a movie, but do I have to do it in class, during the only time I could be interacting with the professor?

I think one of the issues I've found going back to school as an old man, is that I find myself applying the same standards I expect from other institutions to my schools, and they usually fall well short of the mark. Maybe as a kid I'd shut up and be happy taking a nap, but this money is coming out of my pocket, and I don't think it's being well-spent at this point.


in general the majority of classical technique is in film
But, would watching "Spinal Tap" and "Amadeus" strike you as serious analysis of classical technique? That's what we're watching in my classical music class.


I think maybe I'm just used to a more uptight, intensive school, and WCSU is a little more laid back.
10/30/07 6:08 PM
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BarkLikeADog
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Edited: 30-Oct-07
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I get what you're saying, but that's exactly the problem I'm pointing out to you. College is not a service. It is not the equivalent of personal improvement. It is an investment. I give you $50K & in exchange you give me a stamp of approval that doubles my lifetime income. If it were about personal expectations, you could learn what you want from wikipedia for free. As an employer, I care a whole lot more about your ability to follow my procedural bullshit than I do about your ability to find classes that pack your style of learning into every second. A strong dose of get over yourself is what you need here. Sorry.
10/31/07 9:10 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 31-Oct-07
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I give you $50K & in exchange you give me a stamp of approval
Ugh. You are correct here. I'm still not going to stop being disappointed, though. I'll be happy when these classes are over.
6/8/08 4:10 AM
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Dankoholic
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i've had a ton of classes that incorporated film into their lectures... but i'd say that 40% of those classes were indeed film classes.

i had this awesome sociology class where we'd watch FANTASTIC movies (big lebowski, run lola run, brazil) and apply the theories we were learning to those films.

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