Report on First Mises Academy Class

If you know me on Facebook then perhaps you were following my saga last night which went like this:

12 hours before class: “Bad news: FB finally forced me to get the new profile. Dislike. 🙁 GOOD news: Mises Academy class starts TONIGHT!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)”

3 hours before class: “Class starts in 3 hours. I’ve got about 18 more pages to finish reading. This is really, really great though. I’m uber-excited!!! :-)”

10 minutes before class started: “This is great! I’m attending the first session of the Intro to Logic course!! It is AMAZING!! If you haven’t taken a Mises Academy course yet, you MUST do it!! :)”

5 minutes after class ended: “I just left the first class of Intro to Logic from the Mises Academy. That was GREAT! And I mean, really, really, really, REALLY GREAT!!!!! :-)”

What I liked:

The spontaneity of the presentation. While there was order and purpose to the class, there was room for sidetracking depending on the students and their interest.

The interaction between the professor and students. About 2 minutes before it started some of the students started petitioning Professor Gordon to open with a logic joke. I don’t think he had time to come up with a good one then…perhaps next class he will. 🙂

The intellectual honesty of Professor Gordon. He didn’t say, “here, this book and this theory of knowledge is the only correct way to view the world. Everyone else is wrong. Just believe me.” He pointed out controversial ideas and explained why they were controversial and encouraged the students to study both sides and come to their own conclusions. I liked that a lot.

What I didn’t like:

The speed of the class. Personally, I like things to go a little slower. I’m used to taking recorded classes where I can pause it and take notes or think about it. Once when I was explaining this to Professor Salerno at Mises U, he suggested that I simply raise my hand during class and he would freeze until I motioned him to continue. Suffice to say, I didn’t do that. It is a little intimidating to raise your hand in that way in Prof. Salerno’s class. But anyways…I plan to watch the recorded video again when it is ready. Especially at the end when Prof. Gordon was introducing some specific examples of logical fallacies, I would have liked a bit more time to think it over and make it really solid in my mind. This is probably an entirely personal thing as it appeared that everyone else was picking it up fine. I’m just used to a little different style of learning.

The irrelevance of the instant messaging. Again, this is probably just me. I’m easily distracted and it annoys me to have any sort of distractions while trying to do any sort of mental exercises. Some of the students were talking the entire time about things not really relevant to the class. I would like to follow their conversations (like the condition of Afghanistan under US occupation) but not during the live class. So it would have been nice if the conversations could be limited to things pertaining to the class. There is a way to hide the instant messaging, but there are a lot of good comments and questions that I don’t want to miss, so I didn’t really want to do it that way.

I suspect that people coming out of a traditional school background would get over some of these problems better than I do. I’m used to learning at my speed in my own distraction-free (for the most part!) environment and so forth. But this is good practice for me because I won’t always have ideal situations.

Overall, the interest and enthusiasm was amazing. The other students are truly interested in this subject and have a deep desire to learn. I think that is what sets this apart from an ordinary college course. They’re not taking it for the credits. They’re taking it for the information and knowledge.

I also like the great diversity among the students. While at a traditional college you will see kids from all over the world, you usually don’t study with people of all ages from all over the world engaged in all sorts of occupations, from homeschool student to ambassador to soldier to retired mother, etc…

So while the class was a little challenging for me, it was GREAT and I can’t wait till next week!!! It is fun to learn with other people and not just little ole me. 🙂

Also, good news from Professor Gordon: We don’t have to write any essays this week. And we don’t have to know everything in the logic book he’s using. I spent about 3 hours reading and studying the assigned chapter, thinking “wow, this is going to be a tough course” because the book is quite dense and hard to read. I liked it, but it took a lot of thinking. Thankfully Prof Gordon said that he’ll only be using some of the main points from the text and skipping over some of the finer points.

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