Academics continue to argue about the value of a liberal arts education, while universities continue to witness plunging enrollments in Humanities programs. The current decline of Humanities in post-secondary institutions has caused the Doctor to ponder the true value of his own education. Although the Doctor has had many valued educational learning experiences, the one most relevant to this discussion is the life-lesson learned from his midterm test on an “Introduction to Programming” course back in 1983.
The test was a fairly straightforward two-part assignment. Part “A” presented a typical business accounting problem, and the student was required to write the solution using the course’s programming language. Part “B “of the test presented a similar business problem, but this time the student was required to produce the “program logic flowchart” for the solution, rather that the actual programming code. The test problems were somewhat challenging, but the Doctor instinctively knew that his answers were 100%. That is why it came as a shock when he received his midterm back with a score of ZERO. Needless to say, he was first in line at the instructor’s office to question his failing score.
The instructor agreed that the Doctor’s programming solutions to both problems were indeed correct. So why the ZERO? The instructor explained that the key to solving problems was understanding the true nature of the questions, and, more importantly, following instructions properly. My costly mistake was providing a program flowchart for the question that required computer code, and computer code for the question that required the logic flowchart. Hence, I did not read the instructions properly, I performed the wrong function, and my test paper was worth ZERO.
A life-lesson learned from Instructor Art M’s programming course: Learn how to effectively read and understand basic instructions. But that was not the only lesson gained from taking Art’s class. Apparently, at that point in my education, I not only lacked the ability to effectively read instructions, I was also not able to differentiate an “A” from a “B” on the midterm test questions. In other words, my education was lacking in languages and letters.
The inHumanity of it all!
Ode to Humanities or first they came …….
First they came for Religious Studies, and I did not speak out because I did not teach Religious Studies.
Then they came for Philosophy, and I did not speak out, because I did not teach Philosophy.
Then they came for Language Studies, and I did not speak out because I did not teach Language Studies.
Then they came for the rest of the Humanities, but there were no tenured faculty left to speak for any of us.