dondigitalia

Oh the suspense!

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I'm sitting here waiting for my OAC entrance exam questions to be e-mailed. I'm not the most patient of people, so the suspense is killing me. Call me a weirdo, but I actually really LOVE taking tests!

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Ok, I know I just posted two minutes ago, but WHY WON'T THEY JUST E-MAIL THE DARN THING!?

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I'm sitting here waiting for my OAC entrance exam questions to be e-mailed. I'm not the most patient of people, so the suspense is killing me.

Well, as you must know, these are very heavy philosophical questions and the extra weight slows down those little electrons as they are bringing the message to you. :P

Call me a weirdo, but I actually really LOVE taking tests!

Then enjoy it when those electrons finally arrive. Based on what I have seen of your posts, I am sure you will do just fine.

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All done. And, yes, I did just fine. :P

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I'm sitting here waiting for my OAC entrance exam questions to be e-mailed. I'm not the most patient of people, so the suspense is killing me. Call me a weirdo, but I actually really LOVE taking tests!

At that time I was already finished with mine :P. Good test though.

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It is really nice to see so many here starting with OAC. And, these are only the ones who have spoken up about it. Very encouraging. I wish you all well.

What did I miss? What's OAC?

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Yay!!!

I took my exam a couple of weeks ago as well!! I also love taking tests!

I'm super excited about getting the results!

I am very much looking forward to taking this course.

I love it!!! B)

~Carrie~

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As Stephen said above, it is great to see so many people who are applying to the OAC this year. I count four people in this thread alone, which is amazing!

I should say that I just finished my second year of the OAC; so if anyone has any questions about it, feel free to ask me, whether in this thread or privately.

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As Stephen said above, it is great to see so many people who are applying to the OAC this year.  I count four people in this thread alone, which is amazing!

I should say that I just finished my second year of the OAC; so if anyone has any questions about it, feel free to ask me, whether in this thread or privately.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Could you tell me, please, how much time do the classes take in outside work? I heard mentioned that the actual lecture is 1.5 hours per course, but I don't assume that includes homework, studying, essays, etc. Also, related to the previous question, about how difficult would you say they are? There is a lot of things I am considering doing next semester, so I am trying to decide what I can reasonably accomplish. I am having difficulty judging this through lack of information because all these potential activities are new to me, my knowledge is second-hand at best. In your opinion, is a course through OAC equivalent to the time taken/difficulty of a course at a university, or more so (maybe equivalent to an advanced course)? Or less, though, by their course descriptions that doesn't seem likely?

~Aurelia

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Could you tell me, please, how much time do the classes take in outside work? I heard mentioned that the actual lecture is 1.5 hours per course, but I don't assume that includes homework, studying, essays, etc.

For 1st year OAC, the class time for each course is 1.5 hours per week, which is why they last for two semesters; across the span of a year, you will do about the amount of work and have about the amount of class time in one OAC course that you would have had in a one semester course at a regular university (which has about 2.5-3 hours of class time per week). So, as a rule of thumb, taking two OAC courses in one semester is comparable to taking one university course in one semester in terms of how much time you'll have to spend on it.

But, I say this is a "rule of thumb" because a lot of this depends on what course we are talking about and what professor you have (not to mention the individual ability of a given student).

Do you know who your professor will be for Intro to Philosophy? I had Dr. Onkar Ghate, and he gave us one paper (of medium length) and one exam per semester. There was no outside reading; we just had to take copious notes during class. However, Dr. Darryl Wright taught Intro to Philosophy this year, and he assigned a fair amount of reading every week (in addition to one paper and one exam per semester).

As far as Intro to Writing goes, there isn't that much reading to do; and while there are multiple homework assignments, they are fairly short (e.g., outlining an article, or writing short LTEs) and are spread out across the entire year.

Also, related to the previous question, about how difficult would you say they are?

Again, a lot of this is very dependent on what professor, course, and student we are talking about. The best I can say is that I (and Sarah, who just finished her 1st year in the OAC) did not find the difficulty of the 1st year OAC courses to be any more than, say, a 200-level university course. Basically, imagine a 200-level university course spread out across an entire year, and this approximately encapsulates both the difficulty of and time required for a 1st year OAC course (allowing for many varying contextual factors, of course).

There is a lot of things I am considering doing next semester, so I am trying to decide what I can reasonably accomplish. I am having difficulty judging this through lack of information because all these potential activities are new to me, my knowledge is second-hand at best.

In general, and for many reasons, I wouldn't let your enrollment in the OAC constrain you too much.

First, remember that the OAC is designed so that students can get through the program while they are enrolled in school full-time; so, the workload for each course is created with this in mind.

Second, every OAC professor I've ever had has always allowed students a lot of flexibility with when they submit assignments, papers, and tests; the professors understand that their students are generally very busy and sometimes could use extra time to complete a given assignment.

Third, the classes are all recorded, and can be streamed using RealPlayer, so if you need to miss a class you can always listen to it whenever you want. (Indeed, attending the classes live is not even a requirement, strictly speaking; because of their schedule, many students cannot attend any classes live and thus listen to all the courses online.)

And, fourth, remember that many students actually do take OAC classes with a very busy schedule, and get along just fine. This past semester, I had 4.5 OAC class hours per week, took five university courses, worked at my job 20 hours per week, and could still put a lot of time into a romantic relationship. And, I even found time to post to this forum every once in a while. B)

I hope all of that helps! Feel free to ask anything else.

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But, I say this is a "rule of thumb" because a lot of this depends on what course we are talking about [...]

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

To set a benchmark, would you say how much time you personally would expect to spend on a first-year university language course? Assume you have no prior background in the language and you are taking a Classical language for the first time -- say, Classical Greek 101. Assume too that the class meets at least three times per week for an hour.

How much time would you expect to spend per week on such course?

Generally, would you agree that language courses are the most time-consuming university courses?

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To set a benchmark, would you say how much time you personally would expect to spend on a first-year university language course? Assume you have no prior background in the language and you are taking a Classical language for the first time -- say, Classical Greek 101. Assume too that the class meets at least three times per week for an hour.

How much time would you expect to spend per week on such course?

For whatever reason, I find language courses excruciatingly difficult. When I took Classical Greek 101, I did spend a lot of time on it, but I don't remember how much. To be honest, I've never tallied how much time per week I've spent on a course, and I wouldn't even know how to give a close approximation.

Also, why is how much time I spend on a first-year language course a "benchmark"? Do you have a wider purpose in asking these questions, or were you more just singularly interested in how long I'd expect to spend on a language course?

Generally, would you agree that language courses are the most time-consuming university courses?

Yes, or at least that's how it is with me.

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For whatever reason, I find language courses excruciatingly difficult.  When I took Classical Greek 101, I did spend a lot of time on it, but I don't remember how much.  To be honest, I've never tallied how much time per week I've spent on a course, and I wouldn't even know how to give a close approximation.

Also, why is how much time I spend on a first-year language course a "benchmark"?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

By knowing your (ordinal!) measurement of the difficulty of language courses, I can gauge the difficulty of OAC courses you have discussed. In your case and mine, language courses are the extreme, and other courses are some fraction of it.

Following are some numbers that might be useful to anyone planning language studies while taking OAC courses too.

The most efficient language learner I have met spent only about 10 hours/week on Greek 101 (outside the 3 hours of class/week). I spent 20 years/week accomplishing the same grade of A. He is a middle-aged professor of mathematics who enjoys learning "dead" languages from the ancient world (Latin, Hebrew, and Sanskrit, as well as Greek). As a mid-fifties classmate having lower intelligence, I could see his intelligence in operation -- very high.

We took two years of Latin together as well, with the same results approximately: His 10 hours/week to my 20 hours/week.

He and I took first-year Arabic separately, but with proportional results: about 15 hours/week for him and 30 hours/week for me. Both had an A grade, but with a lot more errors on exams than in Greek and Latin. In Latin we tried for perfect scores on exams and sometimes achieved that; in Greek, we rarely attained that mark; and in Arabic the goal of perfection (being a "grammar god") was hopeless. (One of my Arabic teachers called Arabic "the language of one million rules.")

So, in conclusion, yes, I agree that language courses are the most expensive in time and the most excruciating in process. Anyone taking a difficult language course would need to be cautious about taking a heavy load of OAC courses and others at the same time.

P. S. -- I am confident of my estimates. I had practice recording and estimating my time when I worked as a writer and editor for electronics companies, many years ago. In post-bac courses a few years ago, I learned to work on every course every day, if at all possible -- and typically that was about 3 hours per day, 7 days/week, on Latin or Greek.

Studying a language everyday in relatively small amounts is much more efficient than trying to learn in a massive block once a week. The brain seems to learn languages best in time-share mode -- some time on the language, some time on history, some time on language, some time on philosophy, and so forth.

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Alex,

Thanks a bunch! I am not currently enrolled to take courses in the OAC. I am transferring to Purdue and I wanted to have my classes scheduled there first so that I would have an idea of how much more I could handle. So there was no way I could make the first deadline. But a number of factors, including your advice, are indicating that enrolling in the OAC is both financially and academically possible for me. Sign me up, baby! B) I just hope there will still be openings for the second registration session.

Concerning languages, I'm a little confused as to why you and Burgess list it as the most difficult area. Lab sciences have always been the strain on my time and brain. I flew through my language courses. But then it is latin, there is little vocab. to learn, and the grammar is fairly orderly. I am not sure what to make of the fact that you think the OAC courses will not be overly difficult but langauges are. I would have thought the reverse. I think either I am not experienced enough with languages to understand their difficulty, or your comparison doesn't apply to me.

~Aurelia

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Concerning languages, I'm a little confused as to why you and Burgess list it as the most difficult area. [...] I think either I am not experienced enough with languages to understand their difficulty, or your comparison doesn't apply to me.

You said you studied Latin. Was it in highschool or at the university level? If the former, be aware that university language courses are accelerated. (The drop out rate from the first week in September to last week in May is usually about two-thirds -- that is, about one-third of the first-year students finish the year.)

On the other hand, you might be a "language-sponge," one of those individuals who have exactly the right mental methods -- usually implicit -- for learning new languages.

Either way, judging from your posts in THE FORUM and in OO.net, I can say you will do well.

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As an additional note, I'd point to the old adage that you get out of something what you put in. So, the goal of doing the minimum amount of work to pass the course would determine how much time is spent, while the goal of really understanding the material -- which may include making your own notes, copies of your notes, taking the time to think and integrate the material, coming up with multiple examples to concretize new concepts, reading additional related material, asking questions in class, etc.-- would set the time requirements far higher.

I just completed a math course outside of work, and really wanted to understand the material. So I read extra books, asked all sorts of questions, did extra homework problems, wrote my own chapter summaries, thought in detail about the relationships between different equations and the contexts in which they arose, created and solved my own problems, solved problems through different methods and with different approximations, etc., etc... and I still feel like I haven't grasped the material well enough! My main limit was time.

The other big determining factor is your existing level of knowledge. If you've been an Objectivist for a few years, you'll have a much easier time than someone who has just finished reading OPAR for the first time.

I went through the UPAR course, a one-year undergrad precursor to the existing four-year program, that hit the main points of OPAR. I had been an Objectivist for 9 or 10 years at that point, so most of the material was not new or challenging. I was able to learn some details and clarify some misunderstandings, as well as develop the habit of concretizing abstractions. (That is a simple, powerful, yet not often used technique for thinking, BTW.)

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I am not currently enrolled to take courses in the OAC. I am transferring to Purdue and I wanted to have my classes scheduled there first so that I would have an idea of how much more I could handle. So there was no way I could make the first deadline.

Even those of use who were able to make the first deadline don't know who our professors will be, yet. OAC is not notifying applicants of admissions results until the middle of this week.

But a number of factors, including your advice, are indicating that enrolling in the OAC is both financially and academically possible for me. Sign me up, baby!  B)  I just hope there will still be openings for the second registration session.

I hope so, too! Maybe we'll be in some classes together!

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For whatever reason, I find language courses excruciatingly difficult.

That's funny. I have the same problem. I think the problem for me is that when it comes to learning something new, I immediately want to see the "why" and the "what for." Languages, though, are an awful lot of memorization, and I find learning by rote excrutiatingly boring.

(I really wish I could read and speak French fluently, as I would dearly love to read Hugo and Rostand in the original language. The odd part is I used to speak a lot of French; my preschool requred us to speak nothing but French on Wednesdays, if I recall correctly. But once I was in public school, we didn't touch languages until high school, and by then my knowledge had dried up.)

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Alex,

Thanks a bunch! I am not currently enrolled to take courses in the OAC. I am transferring to Purdue and I wanted to have my classes scheduled there first so that I would have an idea of how much more I could handle.

You're welcome; it sounds like you should go for it!

Concerning languages, I'm a little confused as to why you and Burgess list it as the most difficult area. Lab sciences have always been the strain on my time and brain. I flew through my language courses. But then it is latin, there is little vocab. to learn, and the grammar is fairly orderly.

I am sincerely very happy for you that you find it easy to learn languages. But, for people like me, Ed from OC hit the nail on the head: the problem with language courses is... memorization! I took three years of Latin in high school, and one year of Greek in college; in every class (from what I remember, especially Greek), I was besieged by hundreds of verb forms, etc., all chock full of exceptions to rules, and exceptions to the rules of how to deal with the exceptions. And, as Ed from OC also astutely pointed out, the issue of "why?" is difficult to deal with; you can't really spend your time asking "why" there are 47 exceptions to a certain rule, or why the rule is the way it is to begin with. You just have to memorize, and I've never heard a coherent answer as to how to do this in a way that is not extremely and arduously time consuming. (I'd love for there to be one; I've just never heard it.)

Lest I be misunderstood, the above is not a knock on learning languages; when I was successful in learning the bits of Greek or Latin that I did, I found it exceedingly rewarding, and I really do regret that I did not have the time to continue with my Greek studies. I stare in awe and admiration at my ancient philosophy professor, who can read Greek more fluently than most of my classmates can read English. So, I really would love to go back to studying Greek someday, but the issue of how much time it would require of me looms large.

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But, for people like me, Ed from OC hit the nail on the head: the problem with language courses is... memorization!

Here's a thought: what we are bombarded with in languages is a series of concretes, without clear, detailed organization. Sure, we get some "metadata", if you will, that helps us figure out how and where to file away words ("This is a verb," e.g.).

What we don't get it is the equivalent of: here's a new word, where it comes from, and the history of how the symbol came to be associated with a certain concept or entity -- in other words, we don't get the etymology. I suspect that learning the etymology of a word would make the learning of a new language much easier for me.

I think this would help because of the way memories are stored. Memories that have powerful emotional values are less likely to be forgotten than those that don't. Also, one powerful mnemonic device is word association. (For example, I remember the Indian named Sohcahtoa: sine = opposite / hypotenuse; cosine = adjacent /..., etc.) So if there was a way to learn langauges through techniques that made use of these tricks, I suspect I would have an easier time learning. And, if the history of a word is told as a story, I suspect I would retain that information. When I heard the word, the story would come to mind, and I could recall the meaning of the word. Eventually I don't need the crutch of these tricks, and the conscious steps disappear as habit takes over, and I no longer have to consciously think about what a word means; it just ... means what it means.

(Young kids perhaps have an easier time with learning languages because their learning is still at a concrete level; they haven't gotten to the joys of principles yet, and so memorizing is just a huge part of how they learn. They just do it. But this is just a thought, too.)

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Burgess,

I took Latin 101, 102 at a university. Thanks for the vote of confidence. B)

Maybe we'll be in some classes together!

That would be lots of fun, Dave. I'll be living with a couple Objectivist students who might also start at the OAC, so it'll be a regular party!

As an additional note, I'd point to the old adage that you get out of something what you put in.

You're right, Ed, and your profoundly thorough effort is impressive, best regards in your endeavor. I'm spending most of my summer studying Calculus myself. I'm curious, what is "concretizing abstractions"? I surmise it involves defining relationships/interactions between principles.

As far as langauges, it would be very time-consuming to learn the history of every word you have to memorize, even if it's quite abridged. But it really helps me to remember Latin vocab. if I identify an english word (or group of words) that is derived from that latin word. For example, placere = to please, which I immediately identify with "to placate". This only takes a few seconds and easily "tags" the word in my mind with something familiar. You already have a sort of history of words in your mind, in english. I find it easier to link that already exsisting group of ideas to a new sound.

And for words that have no easy connection, I try to make learning it as concrete as possible. I repeat the word out loud, hearing as well as saying it, no matter how silly it sounds :) . I write it out, paying attention to the motions of my hand. I use a dictionary to explore its synonyms and connotations, then apply those meanings to familiar stories in Latin. I don't know about Greek, but Latin can be very simple.

~Aurelia

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