Register now for 'Wasting time on the Internet' 101

Students in the new course will be required to spend hours on the Internet.

Story highlights

  • University of Pennsylvania is offering the class next semester
  • It's being taught by poet/professor Kenneth Goldsmith
  • He says he thinks "the Internet is making us smarter," not dumber
You can now get college credit for watching all those cat videos.
The University of Pennsylvania is offering a class next semester titled "Wasting time on the Internet," in which students will "focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature."
"Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs," according to the course description on the school's website.
Sign us up!
Yahoo tech columnist Alyssa Bereznak notes that the course is taught at the Ivy League school by poet and professor Kenneth Goldsmith. The class is a required seminar for those of the English creative writing track and an elective for other English majors.
"In practice, the course will play out a little like this: Students will spend a lot of time chatting with friends, watching YouTube videos, surfing Facebook, exploring Reddit, and, who are we kidding, skimming UPenn-specific BuzzFeed lists," Bereznak writes. "Eventually, however, they'll have to take the detritus from that time wasted -- tweets, posts, photos, browser history, a painkiller prescription for their carpal tunnel -- and turn it into 'substantial works of literature.' "
Goldsmith told Motherboard's Jason Koebler that he wants his students to be distracted, dividing their time between multiple devices including phones, tablets and laptops.
"I'm very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the Internet, about dividing our attention so many times," Goldsmith said. "I think it's complete bulls**t that the Internet is making us dumber. I think the Internet is making us smarter. There's this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age."
And shame on any student who tries to audit this class.