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I think the required Humanities courses in college are a waste of time


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#21 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4022

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:58 AM

This thread makes me glad that the only requirement for the CS degree I took was that roughly 60% of the courses I took had to be either CS or Math papers.  I could choose whatever courses I wanted to make up the rest of my points.

 

From the responses in this thread though, it seems normal wherever the majority of the posters are from that you don't get complete control over your own studies.



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#22 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

One thing I recommend to people going into mathematics or science based majors (you are a little late for my advice) is to take not just advanced placement math/sci courses in secondary school, but to also take many advanced placement courses in literature, art, music, psychology, history, art history, etc. so that you can take them for free in secondary school, and get credit for them at university. I knew people that had done that and skipped two years of university, only taking and paying for very advanced math/sci courses.


C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#23 Bubsy   Members   -  Reputation: 407

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:22 AM

Knowledge is never useless. In the worst case scenario, which is you ending up not using all the knowledge you've learned, you'll end up having a richer cultural background.



#24 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 815

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:30 AM


 

My feeling is that if you don't relish taking every possible course outside your major, you deserve to be in college at all. Maybe I'm just an elitist snob, but there you have it.

 

Nobody wants to talk to a mindless Computer Science drone, nobody wants to date one, and for the most part, nobody wants to hire one either...

 

Oh, so he disagrees with your opinion on education, and therefore does not deserve one? And you're supposed to have a Philosophy degree? You're a joke. I'm honestly stunned that this is how the community on this site is. Honestly. And I hope that last sentence about Computer Science drones was a joke. I pray it was. I'll assume it was.

 

Aww, those whining about education threads.

Seriously, if you can't "bear" this situation and you waste your time whining about it instead of getting through it, you're into some tough life.

 

How about instead of classifying his post, disrespecting him, and tossing it to the side, you offer an opinion that's actually of some worth?

 

Anyone who sits behind their keyboard and says stuff like "Well if you don't like college, don't go" is sucking on some strong alcohol. The kid has a right to complain about stuff he doesn't like. Instead of trying to be tough guys and saying "Well deal with it" or attacking him personally, saying he doesn't deserve an education, why don't you do the hard thing and actually debate him on the subject if you disagree? Why don't you offer constructive advice and opinions to help him come to enjoy his humanities classes the way you apparently did? If you had the same opinion he did when you were his age, why are you doing exactly what everyone else did to you? Why don't you relate with him and help him with your experience, rather than acting like the cool old dude who knows it all? Maybe because that would be hard. Maybe because then you wouldn't have the fun job of just piling on a guy, post after post, joining the horde of "You don't know anything, young blood. You just so stupid and young and oooh."

/rant off

 

Anyway, to the OP. My school is very similar, though the price for each course is an order of magnitude higher. I actually started off as an English major, and I hated the humanities courses so much that I was just ready to drop out rather than spend another semester being murdered slowly. The funny thing is, I only really started enjoying humanities courses when I got into science and math. I started seeing that science and the humanities are relatives, not enemies. Philosophy and Mathematics are two sides of the same coin. Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology and Artificial Intelligence are all like siblings to each other they're so closely related.

 

If you can find a way to stomach the boring lectures, try looking at your textbook from the perspective of someone who's fascinated by the subject. Be calm, and make no assumptions. I thought my Racism/Sexism class would be a horror show of boring stats and tales of racial struggle. But going at it with a calm, open mind--and stomaching the lectures and other students--I actually find that my perceptions about the world are being challenged, and some of the messages in the textbook resonate. Some don't, but that's part of the fun, too. At least once, give it a try and see how it turns out. It could change everything. It did so for me, at least.


Edited by Shaquil, 27 January 2013 - 09:31 AM.


#25 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2185

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

Advice has already been given. He is in college, he's not a child any more. We may act like tough guys, but these childish threads are just as irritating as our responses may be. In my opinion, it's bad that I have to work 8 hours a day in my job, and usually in any jobs. So fucking what? (point is, why does an opinion matter is a fact like this? It's totally pointless. Sure, we should fight for ourselves etc, but seriously 'd pick stomaching some boring course instead of fighting politics)

 

Well, whatever



#26 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10367

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

Oh, so he disagrees with your opinion on education, and therefore does not deserve one? And you're supposed to have a Philosophy degree? You're a joke. I'm honestly stunned that this is how the community on this site is. Honestly. And I hope that last sentence about Computer Science drones was a joke. I pray it was. I'll assume it was.

I appreciate that sarcasm can occasionally be a little hard to recognise over the internet, but I couldn't have been a lot more obviously sarcastic if I tried...

 

That said, there is more than a grain of truth to what I said:

  • If you don't want to deal with the humanities, then don't get a liberal arts education - there are plenty of trade schools that will be happy to feed you a steady diet of 1s and 0s, and the qualification you end up with isn't all that different (provided you actually want a pure tech job).
  • I encounter a fair number of people who can program rings around me, and yet are unemployable due to their lack of ability to hold a conversation outside of technical fields. Perhaps it's disingenuous of me to suggest that a lack of knowledge outside their field is to blame, but it certainly doesn't help.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#27 DavidWolfire   Members   -  Reputation: 184

Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

I found it helpful to try to relate every class to game development somehow, to make them more interesting. In the case of art history, that is not even a stretch! It is useful for picking an art style for a game, or at least being literate enough to work with artists effectively, and generally helps build awareness of the context in which players live their lives. A lot of visually distinctive games get their look from picking unusual art styles that you might learn about in art history, like Braid, Bioshock, Okami, Journey, and Incredipede.

 

Since you have no choice in the matter, you might as well make the best of it, and to do that you need to find something in the class that can hold your interest. Otherwise it really is a waste of time and money!



#28 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1967

Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

And I hope that last sentence about Computer Science drones was a joke. I pray it was. I'll assume it was.

Actually, I'd say that there's some truth to it. It applies to more than just computer science, too. If all you can talk about is your field, then the only people who will want to talk to you will be in your field and (by definition) the only conversation you'll get will be related to your field. If all you can talk about is your field, I can guarantee that other people will have a lot of difficulty relating to you. Some people might prefer this state of being, of course. I know very few people for whom that is the case. I know even fewer people for whom the idea of socially interacting with such "drones" is a palatable one.

How about instead of classifying his post, disrespecting him, and tossing it to the side, you offer an opinion that's actually of some worth?

Perhaps you've noticed that pointing out problems with another person's ideas is not considered disrespectful here. Perhaps you've noticed that this is a technical forum. Perhaps you've noticed that the entire purpose of (most) technical forums revolves around pointing out problems with other people's ideas in order to help them. This is not a place where we pat each other on the back just for having an opinion. If you post an opinion here, you should expect that someone will eventually point out a problem with your opinion. That's what we do.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that posts that seem like teenage-level whining should be called out as such, so I don't blame people for doing just that if they make such a judgement. I'm sure many of us have had similar feelings to those OP expresses. I'm likewise sure that most of said people have had those feelings called out as detrimental to one's personal growth by our elders, our peers, or even those more junior than us. Personally, I welcome such calling out as useful to clarifying my own self-perception. I would rather have the entire internet tell me that my way of thinking is unhelpful - and therefore be aware of the fact and able to contemplate how to correct it - than remain unaware and potentially fuck myself over later in life.

Anyone who sits behind their keyboard and says stuff like "Well if you don't like college, don't go" is sucking on some strong alcohol.

Not really. College is not yet a mandatory aspect of one's education. It is also the case that not everyone has the mindset to both succeed in and enjoy college/university. Furthermore, For all activities (and college is no different), one may ask the following question: if you don't enjoy what you're doing, cannot deduce that what you're doing is good for you, and it isn't mandatory, then why are you doing it?

The kid has a right to complain about stuff he doesn't like.

And we have just as much of a right to point out that his complaints are both futile and based on a mindset which is unlikely to be helpful to him. ;)

If you had the same opinion he did when you were his age, why are you doing exactly what everyone else did to you?

I did, and therefore I can say something about the matter, and I say this: we do this because we have come to perceive what "everyone else did to us" was good for us. You make it sound like pointing out that a mindset is unhelpful to one's personal growth is some form of bullying or torture. Where did you get such an idea?

Why don't you relate with him and help him with your experience,

It looks to me like that's what's been happening in this thread.

Maybe because then you wouldn't have the fun job of just piling on a guy, post after post, joining the horde of "You don't know anything, young blood. You just so stupid and young and oooh."

I'm no longer certain that you and I are reading the same thread.

Edited by Oberon_Command, 27 January 2013 - 01:22 PM.


#29 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

Oh, so he disagrees with your opinion on education, and therefore does not deserve one? And you're supposed to have a Philosophy degree? You're a joke. I'm honestly stunned that this is how the community on this site is. Honestly. And I hope that last sentence about Computer Science drones was a joke. I pray it was. I'll assume it was.

I appreciate that sarcasm can occasionally be a little hard to recognise over the internet, but I couldn't have been a lot more obviously sarcastic if I tried...

 

That said, there is more than a grain of truth to what I said:

  • If you don't want to deal with the humanities, then don't get a liberal arts education - there are plenty of trade schools that will be happy to feed you a steady diet of 1s and 0s, and the qualification you end up with isn't all that different (provided you actually want a pure tech job).
  • I encounter a fair number of people who can program rings around me, and yet are unemployable due to their lack of ability to hold a conversation outside of technical fields. Perhaps it's disingenuous of me to suggest that a lack of knowledge outside their field is to blame, but it certainly doesn't help.

I dunno, I understand that personality and appearance are often worth quite a lot more than any actual skill, although you only really need a certain baseline before technical ability kicks in, but if all these people complaining about the poor social skills of some people, one would think they could use THEIR apparently masterful social skills to work around the kinks and get the most out of the people with limited social skills. Perhaps they should have the same requirement of thinking outside their own world view. The double standards applied to smart people annoy me quite a bit even though I actually do have social skills and can talk about a wide variety of topics with at least slightly above average knowledge.

 

I've always gotten on okay with people obsessed with their one technical field, and I'm not even making money off those skills. I find it takes only a slight bending of the mind to get along with them. So I've never understood why in a work environment where those people could be worth a lot of money, their bosses/coworkers cannot achieve the same result. I've occasionally gotten in trouble in my volunteering, since until recently I had no desire to have a job, for not being "professional" enough. And yet those same people get mad at the people who are paradoxically TOO FOCUSED on the work. It's all quite confusing.

 

I've noticed that the average joe has problems even taking in my world view, which in most cases is far closer to theirs than that of the super focused somewhat anti social super brilliant person, yet they never cease to complain that even the only mildly differently minded people never seem capable of looking at the world from another point of view, which is basically code for their own world view.

 

From my dabbling in social justice and gifted learning I am pretty sure that the people on the outside of the average/majority/dominant culture are FAR more aware that other people have different points of view that people on the inside. Having had to butt up against the majority world view their whole lives while people on the inside can totally ignore the differing views of others since outsiders have no power due to their low numbers.

 

I can see having problems with low functioning autistic people maybe, but not moderately or highly functioning ones, and the same for other non neurotypical conditions. But how many of those managed to get a degree really? Or are you referring to hobbyists who can program rings around you?



#30 NGB_82   Members   -  Reputation: 142

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

Games are not created in a vacuum. You need to pull inspiration from places, communicate with other people, and learn techniques from other disciplines. Taking these humanities courses are VITAL to expanding your non-specific skills. Your team members are going to ask for feedback from YOU.

 

-Your artist is going to produce compositions and ask for your response. If you took a brief course in art history were they had you analyze art from a specific time period that will help you! You will know what terminology to use and what to look for.

 

-You game designer is going to ask for feedback on a feature he is thinking about. If you took a class in psych or communications you can explain why this feature would work or not. You can even expand on that feature and improve it with your own ideas.

 

-Your audio guys is going to need help getting the game to sound just right. If you took a brief music intro class you could tell him it needs a little darker tone, maybe use a minor key. Or point him to composers/songwriters you remember from that class that had a style that would fit.

 

You need all these skills to better interweave with your team members. Working together means you are going to need to go a little cross discipline. Absorb as much information as you can!!!



#31 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1967

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

I dunno, I understand that personality and appearance are often worth quite a lot more than any actual skill, although you only really need a certain baseline before technical ability kicks in, but if all these people complaining about the poor social skills of some people, one would think they could use THEIR apparently masterful social skills to work around the kinks and get the most out of the people with limited social skills.

They could. But why would they?

People like working with people with whom they feel comfortable. The reality is that people with poor social skills have a tendency to make others (including those who also have poor social skills) uncomfortable. One party having good social skills cannot always make up for the other party having exceedingly poor social skills. So, why would someone with good social skills put up with someone who has poor social skills when individuals with both technical and social ability exist and are (more than likely) available to them, and can do the same job?

Edited by Oberon_Command, 27 January 2013 - 02:56 PM.


#32 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2499

Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

This is an interesting topic. When I went to university, the science/engineering students did engineering/science courses and the humanities students did humanities courses and ne'er the twain shall meet. 

 

Thinking back now, I would have hated to have to sit an English lit. course. On a purely practical level, I never enjoyed writing papers on literature. I enjoyed reading, and even discussing themes etc, but I would have hated to be tested on it, because I know it would have dragged my grades down.

 

These days, I can appreciate the value in a broader education. I spend a lot of my time reading and learning about non-cs subjects (currently reading "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Stephen Pinker, highly recommend it). But while I enjoy this, I'm still pretty sure I'd hate to have to sit down and write an essay on it.


if you think programming is like sex, you probably haven't done much of either.-------------- - capn_midnight

#33 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1443

Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

So just because I dont like to take huminities class means I have poor social skills. How did you guys come to this conclusion?

Excuse me, but I DO have friends that are not CS majors and I talk about a wide variety of topics other then technical talk. I am aware of the current world affairs and what is going on, but I dont think i needed to waste my time in a political science class or history class. I mean I have been taking these classes since elementary school, I think I know by now.



#34 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1967

Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

So just because I dont like to take huminities class means I have poor social skills. How did you guys come to this conclusion?

If you actually read the thread, you'll see that nobody is making that connection. We're talking about being able to carry on a conversation outside one's own field, the lack of ability of which can come across as a lack of social skills. Since merely coming across as lacking social skills general subjects one to the negative impacts of that problem, it's related to the discussion, but the conclusion you think we're making isn't the one being made.

Excuse me, but I DO have friends that are not CS majors and I talk about a wide variety of topics other then technical talk.

Then you are not a "computer science drone" of the sort we're discussing.

I am aware of the current world affairs and what is going on, but I dont think i needed to waste my time in a political science class or history class. I mean I have been taking these classes since elementary school, I think I know by now.

Well, alright, fair enough; you've been exposed to those fields already. So what about something else, like the film studies course I mentioned? Did you study film before college? How about archaeology or ethics, or any other subject that no school covers pre-college? I took a fascinating course in ancient "near Eastern" archaeology when I was in 3rd year. I learned loads of interesting stuff about the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Akkadians, etc. I could never have taken that in middle or high school - there was nobody who could have taught such a class. I feel like you're focussing too much on the stuff you don't like, and are completely ignoring the stuff that you've never encountered, which you therefore cannot judge uninteresting.

Edited by Oberon_Command, 27 January 2013 - 04:46 PM.


#35 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1914

Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

I must say that I find the very rude comments about the OP here in the thread rather uncivilized and unmature. That also goes for one of the moderators here. No person should be called a child just because he dares to be critical of how a CS program is put together by an institute.

 

How about explaining more about what the non CS courses could be used for in the game dev business? How about more argumentation and less insulting?

 

Remember that bad communication skills will damage this site's reputation if not taken care of in time. Just my two bits(I do not like cents biggrin.png ).


Edited by Dwarf King, 27 January 2013 - 04:51 PM.

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education"

Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"

Albert Einstein

 


#36 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8159

Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

If your college is re-hashing stuff that you learned in elementary school, maybe you need to find a better college altogether?

 

At the end of the day your complaints don't matter, least of all on an internet forum. If you don't fulfill the requirements of your program, then you don't get your degree. To paraphrase a certain infamous Secretary of Defense, you come into college with known-unknowns--you know that you need to learn about computer science--and there are unknown-unknowns--things that your lack of life experience leads you to believe are unnecessary and wasteful, but which people who are probably smarter than you or I believe are beneficial, if not necessary. As myself and others have pointed out, you'll need to interact with people from different backgrounds in your work life, and if you're interested in games, many of those people will be artists.

 

In other terms, I can personally attest that the difference between having a 'Eureka!' moment and passing by blissfully unaware, is often having that different perspective or some little piece of 'useless' information at hand which allows you to draw a dotted line between seemingly unrelated things. These moments will stand out in your work life, they keep you  employed, they get you noticed, and they help get you promoted.

 

Furthermore, it becomes really, really hard to advance in your work life by being good at just one thing -- even, really, really good -- because there's bound to be many people with an essentially identical skill set. In my work as a technical writer for a large software company, I pull down a rather good living because I'm both a pretty decent programmer and a pretty decent writer -- I earn around the same as a programmer of like experience, maybe a bit more, even, and I don't have to deal with all the bullshit that job entails and I almost never work more than 40 hours per week (typical programmer here? 50-60 I'd guess.) My gaming background further allows me pick out areas that are interesting for me to work on -- stuff that relates to graphics, gaming, low-level coding. Right now I'm working on something really cool that I wish I could talk about, but can't. In another job I once interviewed for, the ideal candidate would have an astronomy background and it payed very well (about 2x my previous gig). You just never know what the job market is going to throw at you.

 

My point is that you'll always do best when you're ripe for opportunity; you do need deep technical skills, but broad, far-flung skills also come up far more frequently than you might expect.



#37 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7564

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

 That also goes for one of the moderators here. No person should be called a child just because he dare to be critical of how a CS program is put together by an institute.

 

Feel free to name me, I know what I wrote :)

 

More to the point I didn't say he WAS a child I said he sounded LIKE a child because he wasn't being critical he was whining much like a child does when they don't want to do something. I stand by the assertion too.

 

Still, now that I'm here again let me ask something; do they tell you up front that you have to do these class BEFORE you start the course?

 

When I applied to do my degree they gave us a complete course break down of the modules we'd be doing so I'm assuming it works the same way; you are given a break down of the classes which make up your major and then which other classes you need to take a head of time.



#38 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10367

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:06 PM

if all these people complaining about the poor social skills of some people, one would think they could use THEIR apparently masterful social skills to work around the kinks and get the most out of the people with limited social skills.

I worked with these people very successfully in college, where the admissions didn't weed them out, but I think you'll find that most tech company's hiring processes are finely tuned to prevent that type of person from stepping through the door.

 

On a purely practical level, I never enjoyed writing papers on literature. I enjoyed reading, and even discussing themes etc, but I would have hated to be tested on it, because I know it would have dragged my grades down.

I wouldn't say I exactly relished such papers, but I always used humanities classes to keep my grades up. Especially once I reached the CS grad courses, and shit got real.

 

No person should be called a child just because he dares to be critical of how a CS program is put together by an institute.

I'm not sure how to else characterise someone who comes and complains on an internet forum about how much his life sucks because he can't do exactly what he wants, other than "childish"...


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#39 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1443

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

I worked with these people very successfully in college, where the admissions didn't weed them out, but I think you'll find that most tech company's hiring processes are finely tuned to prevent that type of person from stepping through the door.

 

I find the hard to believe, especially when more than half of the college grads right now are unemployed right out the gate, regardless of major or to a lesser extent if they took humanities classes or not. You know what? Its extremely hard to get past the HR drones unless you have inside contacts, which is more of the rule than the exception


Edited by ISDCaptain01, 27 January 2013 - 05:24 PM.


#40 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1914

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

 That also goes for one of the moderators here. No person should be called a child just because he dare to be critical of how a CS program is put together by an institute.

 

Feel free to name me, I know what I wrote smile.png

 

More to the point I didn't say he WAS a child I said he sounded LIKE a child because he wasn't being critical he was whining much like a child does when they don't want to do something. I stand by the assertion too.

Being critical and asking the question "why" is NOT whining. Something I learned taking a degree in languages. The OP is asking why he needs to shed out the money for something he do not plan to utilize.  He is simply questioning the usefulness of the way the CS program/degree is put together. This kind of thinking is very important or we would all just be small ants walking in one direction because our professors say so.

 

By labelling his thread as whining you might end sending a signal that critical thinking is not allowed. This is a common rhetorical technique used in political parties and sects where people who ask "why" will be labelled as whiners(complainers, outsider etc.). I often see this trend by people with degrees and that kind of behaviour very quickly starts to look like how members of political parties or sects behaves in order to silence the critic. 

 

The thread has many good posts by now how one can use other courses than CS in game dev, but please note that most of these posts did not come from you... 

 

So now I ask you, what as a moderator do you get out of calling his words for whining? Do you bring any wisdom to the thread? I mean many great posters here did in fact contribute to the thread with a lot of wise words.

 

You are a moderator, therefore act polite and civilized. You have the power here to control the debate and therefore more than anyone else we the readers and posters rely on your great judgement. You are in fact the guaranty for us to have a great debate climate(or you should be wink.png ).  

 

Do not misunderstand me here, I dearly appreciate many of your great inputs in many threads, but I simply just find that you some times loose your grip a little bit. Please do not take my point of view as an insult. See it more as a suggestion to how you could learn from other great contributors here in the thread smile.png


Edited by Dwarf King, 27 January 2013 - 05:33 PM.

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education"

Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"

Albert Einstein

 





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