Beginning of WEP

Athens updates have been sparse around here simply because the Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) has started here on campus.  To those who don't already know what this is, it's a 2 1/2 week period of short courses, lectures, symposiums, and various fun events that is intended to expand our learning beyond the scope of our specialized engineering curriculum.  While I applaud the intention of the program and imagine that it has been successfully implemented at other universities, it has so far seemed to fall short of it's desired goal.

While in my opinion, the selection of topics in the last few days hasn't done much of a job expanding the general knowledge of students, due mostly to some pretty specialized courses, the biggest flaws still seem to be on the organizational side of the program.  There have been various schedules floating around campus since December, and in the past week alone three different schedules have been emailed or mass distributed.  Along with this inconvenience, is still a significant possibility for last minute changes to the scheduling, so each day we have to check the official white board listing the courses and times offered.  Today alone, one of my courses has changed three times!

The organizational problems behind the program would be a minor inconvenience if we only had to show up to lectures at our pleasure, but since this is a graduation requirement, we're required to attend 40 hours of lecture.  So if the schedule changes on a near daily basis - and sometimes multiple times daily - how can students ensure the hourly requirement is met?  It's been stressful to say the least, but so far the two great lectures I've been to have almost made up for the three mediocre ones.

Looking forward, tomorrow is definitely going to be the highlight of my WEP.  Snorkeling in the Red Sea the morning as part of my Marine Science class, Jay Shafer's Size Matters lecture in the afternoon, and Hans Rosling's Fact Based View of the World will no doubt impress.