College Students Can Now Waste Time Online For Credit
Sure, you love mental_floss, but how good are you when it comes to surfing the rest of the web? Could you idle away the day online with the best of them? Could you, say, ace a whole class on wasting time on the Internet? Some lucky University of Pennsylvania undergrads are going to have the opportunity next semester to get credit towards their English major for finding out exactly that in a class entitled—what else?—Wasting Time on the Internet.
Before you start decrying English Majors (or my lovely alma mater), you should know that there's more to this class than spending three hours every Wednesday staring at a screen, "only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs"—although that is literally what the pupils will be doing. Professor Kenneth Goldsmith, who also teaches classes like Uncreative Writing, is interested in how our current digital lives might inspire great literature. "Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written?" the course description reads.
While at first those questions seem practically like self-parodies of the Ivy League's bombastic higher education, maybe Goldsmith has a point. With college students spending 8 to 10 hours each day just on their phones—and that's not including the class-sanctioned extra three hours—this generation's Great American Novel might concern itself more with screens and social media than dreams and social structure.
Speaking of college classes we wish we could have taken, here are 26 more: