Monday, April 16, 2007

"Electives"

Ah, the semester draws to a close and it's time to think about what to take in the fall. I've gone from seeing all the world as my oyster (ie, I could take anything and it furthered my goals) to not being able to find a single course in the entire catalog of the University of Texas at Austin (we are talking a b*i*g place here) that really gets at what I want to know more about. I've seen idea after idea go up in smoke after writing to the faculty member teaching what looks like an intriguing course, when the response is pretty much forget about it -- either the course isn't really as relevant as I had hoped, it's really aimed at undergrads, it has a prerequisite that I don't have, etc. I have to take these electives from other schools, and that's a great idea, but trying to take a graduate course in a field where you haven't studied previously is kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack. Why should someone in the English department want me in a graduate writing seminar, when I haven't taken a writing course since I was an undergrad, 30 years ago?

Maybe I should make up my own elective, the perfect class, and then find a teacher to do an independent study with. Yeah, like that's an investment of time someone who doesn't know me from Adam is going to want to make. This just isn't working out. I don't have the option to take more classes at the iSchool. I've already put in my 12 hours (16 actually) of iSchool courses. I need other electives, and methods courses. I can't find one of those I want to take either. I'm going to have to just settle for something in the end and that seems really wrong. I am here because I want to pursue things of interest to me, not because I don't have anything better to do than take courses I have absolutely no interest in just to punch a ticket somewhere. I think I'm just going to take what interests me whether it counts towards my degree or not. Yes, that's what I am going to do.

1 comment:

Carlos Ovalle said...

That's a good idea. Right now I'm asking if people would be interested in Westbrook offering a qualitative research course (grounded in the context of her research, primarily her domestic violence evaluations). For quant, I'm going to be taking Miles' Math Foundations of Information Studies course. (Haven't gotten official approval, but so far everyone seems to think it's pretty likely.)

So far, I've been pretty lucky in being able to direct coursework to the things I'm interested in- the trick is going to be to direct coursework to the things I'm interested in that I can publish, which my committee is recommending.