WASHINGTON: The Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania has launched a prestigious Ivy League university course on ‘wasting time on the Internet‘. The course, which is already heavily oversubscribed, consists of students staring at a screen for stretches of 8 hours at a time, ignoring calls at the door and interacting solely through chat rooms and social media.
According to the course description on the university’s website,
“We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities - clicking, SMS-ing, status-updating, and random surfing - were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature?” University of Pennsylvania prospectus.
Students are not required to attend any on-campus teaching, but are expected to respond with 20 characters or more, within 60 minutes, to any direct message.
Basket Weaving More Useful than Proust
The course has been written in response to recent analysis, which showed that the Return on Investment in an English Literature degree was similar to the ROI of Advanced Basket Weaving, a course provided by the BWA.
The students will also explore the relationship between boredom and time-wasting through critical texts by thinkers such as John Cage, Betty Friedan and Guy Debord.
Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting are mandatory, the course description added.