Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Lecture from the Lectured

Editor's Note: The following post was written by a group of students in a writing course taught by Catherine Prendergast, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This past fall, The New York Times and Slate published essays by an academic and a former academic on the pros and cons of the lecture. In reflecting on this century-old staple of the college classroom, both Molly Worthen for the Times and Rebecca Schuman for Slate described college students as disengaged, uninspired, and at the mercy of the distractions of our laptops. Neither essay quoted an actual college student, even though students were imagined as the beneficiaries of the discussion. So we — 15 students in a course on freelance writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where large lectures are an unavoidable feature of our education — will add our voice to this important conversation. And we think we can be of immense help. When Molly Worthen asks, for instance, why it is so hard for her to hold our attention for just 90 minutes a day, we are happy to tell her.

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