A prestigious Ivy League university is offering a new course on ‘wasting time on the Internet’ which requires students to stare at a screen for hours and only interact via chat rooms and social media.
The Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania is offering the course titled “Wasting time on the Internet” for the spring 2015 semester.
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?”
“Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written?
“Using our laptops and a Wi-Fi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature,” the description said.
Students will be required to attend a weekly three-hour-long seminar where they stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs.
The students will also explore the long history of the recuperation of boredom and time-wasting through critical texts by thinkers such as John Cage, Betty Friedan and Guy Debord.
Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory, the course description added.