Thursday, March 7, 2013

Singing The First-Day Blues

We’ve just started a new academic year, here at Research University in Far Flung Former Colony. My first lecture of Introduction to Hamsterology carefully explained the details of the new required textbook (with a photo of the book cover) and reassured the 400 students present that we’d be using it for two years, so they’d be able to sell it after the end of semester.

Students were told by email before the lecture, and verbally during the lecture, that the lecture slides were available on the LMS for downloading, and the lecture was recorded, and said recording was also available for viewing via the LMS. What happened next? Well naturally, the flurry of emails began. Besides the usual “do we really need the book” and “why do we need the book” and “can I borrow your book before the test”, I got a few that were outstanding in their imbecile quotient.

Texter Tina: “I just want to make sure if the textbook fom last semester is it still the same because I found that the book has different author with last semester did. Can you confirm it ? and is it can be purchased from the University Bookstore? thank.”

Dream-Killer: If you missed class today (when I explained about the new textbook and the online resource myHamsterlab), the slides and the recording are available on our LMS. These slides and the recording both clearly indicate that the textbook is new i.e. different from last semester. The book is available at the University Bookstore.

Texter Tina: So, is that mean if I want to buy last year textbook is not relevant anymore ? or only the cover is difference but the inside is still the same ?

No-Math Matt: Hi, can I buy the book online? Here are two links to two versions of the book that I found from sites in Land of the Colonial Masters. A costs $246 and B costs only $142. Can you check them both out carefully, and make sure they’re the same inside and tell me if its ok for me to buy B because that might be the cheaper one, but I'm not sure if its cheaper?

Dream-Killer: Hi Matt, I am impressed that you did all this research. However, I was wondering why you would go to all this trouble to buy the book online, and wait a month while it ships surface mail from Land of the Colonial Masters, when it is available now in our University Bookstore for $125.

No-Math Matt: Why do you say the Bookstore is cheaper? How did you find this out?

Dream-Killer: Last time I checked, $125 was less than $142. To find out this exciting information, I clicked the link on the slide I showed you in class about the text. It took me to the entry in the bookstore. The price was listed below the picture of the book (the same picture I showed you in class). In case you’re still confused, it’s cheaper than the cheaper option B that you found online. Good luck with the “Count the Hamsters” section of this course.

Party Paul: I am a senior and I couldn’t enroll in your Introduction to Hamsterology class because I have a timetable clash with the general studies elective Decorating for Parties and the LMS won’t let me enroll in two classes that clash. You have to fix it because I am a Hamsterology major and I can’t take any of the classes in my major until I take your class.

Dream-Killer: The Student Centre can manually enroll you in the class, all the best.

Party Paul: They wouldn’t enroll me in two clashing courses because I have a C minus GPA. You must fix it. I will come and see you on Wednesday at 6 pm because that’s most convenient.

Dream-Killer: I leave campus everyday at 5pm. Why don’t you drop Decorating for Parties?

Party Paul: But I like parties! You must manually enroll me in your class. I will see you at 6 pm.


Hey Nora, Matt and Paul - Its going to be a long, long semester.....we may as well get to know each other well. Nora - I checked you out and English is your first language!!! Are you teapartying kidding me? Stop texting and learn to write, already!! Matt - you'd rather pay $142 plus shipping and wait a month for a book, when you can get it NOW for less? Why Matt, Why? And how did you pass that Math class that's a prerequisite for our class? Eddie- party on dude. Hope you party your way into my class. Because that'll give me a chance to prove that I'm the Dream-Killer.


  1. Great post, Dream-Killer.
    Why do I suspect that my former Dean is a citizen of this ex-colony?
    The logic? The skill with numbers? The demands? Or all of the above....

  2. What is it with the snowflakes and the books? They don't seem to get that we wouldn't order the books if they didn't need them, they have to use them, and they need to understand the concept of arithmetic to figure out the price, i.e., cost plus tax plus shipping.

  3. Dream-Killer, there's so much wonderfulness here that it's hard to pick a favorite quotation, but this one stands out:

    'Good luck with the “Count the Hamsters” section of this course.'

    Please keep posting from Far-Flung Former Colony.

  4. In my graduate (doctoral) research course, students were three weeks into the eight week class without the text because Amazon was out of stock. Ummm, but it's in stock at the bookstore here on campus...which I made clear in my introductory lecture.


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