Letters to the Editor must be signed, include a phone number, and be delivered to the CTR office (BC-121/1463Bishop St.) in person, by fax (848-2814), by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or mail by 9a.m. on the Friday prior to publication. Please limit your letter to 500 words.
I was dismayed upon reading the Thursday Report's description of the "conference course" offered by Concordia's Applied Human Sciences Department.
Call me old-fashioned and politically incorrect, but it should not be so easy to earn six credits at any self-respecting university.
According to the article, the course called for students to attend a conference over four days, although students could leave the conference if they had conflicting classes. They were required to "keep a diary," and also had some mini-conferences of their own. They were not required to write examinations, nor does the article indicate that they were required to present any evidence of analytical development.
I do not doubt the usefulness or importance of a conference experience, but it seems that it really should have been a fractional component of a "real" course -- perhaps worth 1.5 credits.
I ask myself how I would honestly be able to assign a grade to students for a course whose only quasi-essential was attendance.
No evidence was presented in the Thursday Report which would contradict the hypothesis that a curious and literate elementary school student would have passed the course.
It is sad to think that we may be entering a surreal realm where the Provost may have to issue guidelines on what constitutes a genuine course at Concordia.
Mathematics and Statistics
The conference course was given by Professor Randy Swedburg, who replies:
I am sorry that Professor Stern has not had the joy of teaching students who are excited and highly motivated in a unique setting such as the Aging in Society course. I hope that he will be able to meet some of the students who claim this to be "the best learning experience of my university career," or those who say it has "changed my life!"