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Comment Re:Idea (Score 1) 789

He also posted quite a few clues that helped narrow the search area. Lots of people got involved - pretty significant crowdsourcing.

If you have a backpack and $5000, you have about a six month jump into the void on the Pacific Crest Trail, or the Appalachian Trail if you're from the west.

Lots of cash labor out there. Get to Key West, dig swimming holes for cash like Jack Reacher. Save money, disappear. It's when you want stability & a career and such that you have issues.

Comment Re:They're Not Alone (Score 1) 306

No, but that was extraordinarily instructive to me.

I'd hope that if I didn't know your poet (or poem), and if it was relevant to the paper, I'd sniff around to see what else that poet had written.

You'll need to create a body of work for that poet, along with a biography. Maybe rig up some source materials so you can write a decent Wikipedia entry with sufficient citations to elude the speedy delete.

Comment Re:Tweaking and submitting (Score 1) 306

It's also a commentary on just what the professor intends to assess.

If it's a book review, that's one thing. No primary sources, so it won't be horribly original, but there's lots of words to choose from in discussing the major arguments offered. The assessment? "Show me that you can read sufficiently to tell me why this book Exists - what value it offers to this field - what arguments it presents, what questions it asks, and so forth. If you're really good, you can review similar works and show me that you understand this book (and author) within the context of this area of the field in question. I'll also assess how well you communicate with others (well, actually, with me) in a written medium."

If it's a short literature review - say, a comparison between two or three brief books or articles, contrasting the major ideas - again, it's not going to be horribly original. It's still secondary sources. The bulk of the work was done by others; the assessment is, "How well does the student read and synthesize information in this field, how well does the student summarize, and how well does the student communicate that knowledge to others in a written medium? Again, if you're really good, you might illuminate a dusty corner, or find an interesting question lying about unanswered - and if this is your major, you could turn that question into Real Research. In an advanced college class for your major, you should crank these out at the rate of 2-3 per course. It's the scholarly equivalent of mining for gold - what you're really looking for is a Good Question To Answer in a Research Paper.

If it's a longer research paper - say, 1500-2500 words using 4-5 articles from a pool of 30-40 articles suggested by the professor - the professor wants to see what you'll make of the information. You're actually doing Research, even if it's strongly directed, and you will likely consult primary sources that these authors used. You'll have to read carefully, find themes - even unintended themes - and make connections between research done by different authors in different contexts for different reasons. You will Make An Argument (e.g. Offer a Thesis). This might be a National History Day paper for a high school student, or even an advanced middle school student. It should be commonplace for college upperclassmen to write at least one of these for each advanced course in a major. The big difference? This is not at all a book report. If you find a complex enough Question to Answer - and you also find that there are Other Sources you could explore in presenting An Answer - you may have found something to use for a Thesis Paper (senior or graduate. I'm feeling generous). (Also, this sort of paper is the currency of trade in graduate school.)

If you find a Good Question, your research may lead to Other Good Questions and Other Interesting Arguments. This is where you transition from Student to Scholar - but you probably won't notice the difference. In your mind, you'll never entirely stop seeing yourself first as a Student - which will bode well for you, as the greatest scholars are first and last voracious learners.

Each discipline has its form of papers - lab reports, musical analysis, art portfolio - but the complexity should be similar.

I suppose I should get back to my questions.

Comment Re:Tweaking and submitting (Score 1) 306

The issue is the type of assessment and feedback.

A good assessment discourages brute-force hacks by complexity and depth; a great assessment prevents it entirely.

I suspect that a great assessment would also have understood the flaw in OP's thinking on that single problem and turned its focus to teaching/correcting that flaw rather than discouraging OP with repetitive work.

I'm thinking of Khan Academy, btw.

Comment Don't confuse Work and Play (Score 1) 293

SC (and SC2) are games to me. I play them. I like playing them. I like the creative part of trying different things, of solving a problem a different way, of blah blah blah. If I were to focus on 500 Clicks A Minute, and stealing builds and strategies from the uber-1337 players who would just destroy me with a single SCV, it would be Another Job. It would no longer be Fun. I would have Investment, and Expectations, and More Bad Stress. I would have rivalries, and would spend energy thinking about those rivalries, and it would feel like another profession. I just want a huge-ass carrier fleet. Or BC fleet. Or whatever comes to mind. I get PLENTY of challenge trying to beat, say, a low campaign level on the hardest difficulty. It's just complex enough to achieve without making me want to go sit at my desk and do Real Work to relieve the stress of a pastime.

I teach for Realz. Relationships with the students? Worried right now, and I'm off today. Everything about doing That is REAL to me, and important enough to take on an archangel if needs be. Don't screw with me about teaching or my students. (That doesn't mean we don't have fun, and don't laugh a lot, but it's the Real Deal as far as Important to me.)

Let SC2 be as important to you as it should be. If you're trying to make it your livelihood, then by all means, you should study video and styles. I know every professional competitor in every field should be doing their homework about their medium of competition and the other competitors.

If that's not you, just enjoy playing. It's a game. Don't make it another freaking job. Life's too short.

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