University of Pennsylvania to Offer ‘Wasting Time On The Internet’ Class, For Real

What would you describe yourself as doing right about... now? As in, right now. This very moment. Are you educating yourself? Taking a breather? Blowing off steam? Perhaps you're wasting time on the Internet, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing. Starting in a few months, the University of Pennsylvania will be offering an official on-campus course entitled "Wasting time on the Internet." For those unaware, UPenn is an Ivy League school that's rather difficult to get into, and even more difficult to afford. A degree from there goes a very long way -- just ask any number of lawyers, doctors, and political figures.

In case you're suspecting that this is all a joke, it's not. Part of the course description reads as such: "Using our laptops and a wifi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature,” it reads. “Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs … Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory."

Image courtesy of NVIDIA

It's a wild idea, but it may actually spurn some great discussion. Students spend a lot of time on the Internet already, so encouraging the action and then turning it into useful output may actually sharpen one's brain. Kenneth Goldsmith will be hosting the course, who will encourage students to roam (relatively) freely online, and eventually take what they're seeing and learning and convert it into "substantial works of literature."

So, it's not quite as easy as surfing around and then clocking out. Still, for UPenn entrants who have yet to decide on a major: here's one course you should definitely aim to enroll in.