Once again, a post by Realist relies on rhetorical questions to express “concern” for “our students” and their (academic) degrees, but then the post itself demonstrates no identifiable discipline-specific expertise and no critical thinking. Who is served (by that)?* (The Read . . . #23)

A rhetorical question is one that is not answered because the individual posing the question either believes the answer to be self-evident or seeks to provoke an emotional response. No answer is desired. At times, an author can use rhetorical questions to facilitate further discussion. (“Hypophora” is when a question is asked and then answered.)

Many students and a few HWC/CCC faculty and staff answered SFTB’s question. However, the students’ responses did not lead to any kind of sustained discussion facilitated by SFTB, the students’ instructor (who may not have been SFTB), or Lounge authors ( https://haroldlounge.com/2013/04/25/the-read-from-this-side-of-suite-711-20/).  This suggests that the question was rhetorical.

SFTB’s question invokes economic/social class issues but then does not go on to engage those issues. 12Keystrokes has chosen to consider the invocation of those issues by unpacking SFTB’s question, beginning with the concept academic/academic degree. (In later posts, “who is served?” will be considered.)

Academically Adrift/the video above (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGjzmP2rpGo) examines a broad range of 24 diverse four-year institutions but is still applicable to the discussion at hand. It’s also relevant to a discussion about the utility of semester-by-semester program maps.

*Occasional minor errors owing to the casualness of the Lounge or the bustle of work and home do not concern 12Keystrokes. However, 12Keystrokes believes that if one repeatedly invokes the value of academic skill sets, one should demonstrate those skill sets.

It’s perfectly fine for an opinion community to champion writing that stirs the pot, makes “political hay” or performs for an in-crowd, but that community should acknowledge that there isn’t anything particularly academic about the writing. To this plain end, the Sketches have thus far identified two straw men – 1) free speech, and 2) the caveat re: correlation and causation in social science research.

There is a harm caused by Realist’s (et al.’s) writing.

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