Laurie Taylor Column

June 14, 2002

Modularity is a sham. It transforms knowledge into a commodity - Bob Brecher, THES June 7

Maureen. Why is there this big question mark on the finals mark sheet next to Janet Gardiner?

She's got troubles with her modules. Apparently there aren't enough of them. She claims that she's completed the standard 16 but according to Dr Quintock she's only done 15.

So, who's right?

Well, according to the main sheet she's certainly done full one-term modules in semiotics, film studies, mass media, cultural theory, astronomy, understanding the environment, human rights, neo-hegelianism, golf studies, psychology, drama, medieval English, and desktop publishing.

That's 13 full modules.

Agreed. Then she did half-modules in conversational French, accountancy, understanding dolphins, intermediate feminism, map reading, and sport science.

That adds up to 16 full modules. What's the problem?

The problem is that she's taken too many non-departmental modules. Dr Quintock insists that she hasn't satisfied our minimal requirement of at least five modules in culture and media studies. She's done four instead of five so he's put her down for 15 instead of 16.

And what does Janet Gardiner say about all this?

She says that she was told by her supervisor that desktop publishing counted as a departmental module. If she'd known that she had to do another media and cultural studies option then she'd have done the medium is the message in her second year rather than golf studies.

Maureen, this is merely another example of Dr Quintock's officiousness. It looks like a genuine error on Janet's part. Mark her down as having completed the course. After all, we wouldn't want to penalise someone who's undertaken an undergraduate programme that displays such a commitment to erm...


The very word.

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