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OT Member projects Jid 2010

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#1 Rhea


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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:25 PM

Jid, what subjects would you like to see emphasized in college, other than one's major?
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#2 Jid


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Posted 12 December 2010 - 05:49 PM

Holy moly, did I ever miss the boat on this one!

Subjects emphasized, other than one's major?

First and foremost, I think everyone ought to take at least one class of Philosophy.  I know it's not everyone's bag, but even if it isn't:  being forced, 3 times  a week, to participate in a class that is essentially a (somewhat guided) debate for 1 hour on the reading assigned for the day is immensely valuable.  It reinforces all sorts of lessons about how to structure an argument, and how to do it on the fly.

Second: technical writing for technical people.  Learning how to argue is great - learning to put it to paper is even better.  I'm not expecting a scientist or a business major, or whatever discipline you choose, to be able to compose a long, drawn out manifesto.  However, learning to clearly and concisely outline an idea in the space of a memorandum is a skill that I happened to pick up through my choice of electives at University that has probably done more for my career path than anything else I've ever learned.  This is *especially* valuable for technical disciplines, where most of the time your ability to get your way comes down to convincing the business major management types (in their own language) that not only do you know what you're talking about, but that your idea is the superior one.

(Fun fact:  I once had a technical writer ask me if all engineers were being taught to write like I can - apparently they were worried for their job security.  Best damn compliment I've received professionally in ages.)

Third:  Civics.  This is basic nuts and bolts education that unfortunately doesn't get taught any more, but should.  I never took it, nor was ever told to take it, and made a concerted effort to learn it on my own.  The study of Civics is probably one of the most important things we could do for a lot of western nations. Every citizen ought to be taught their rights, and more importantly, their duties as a citizen of their country - chiefly among them, the only duty most western nations impose on their citizens anymore - voting, and the electoral system that builds their government.
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