21st Challenge No. 23 results

How to destroy your computer, and other lousy ideas for online learning.

Published July 3, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

No more teacher's dirty looks -- that's the promise of online learning. And have we got a curriculum for you!

In this challenge, we asked you to create course descriptions for inappropriate distance learning. Herewith, the results. Alas, we have no winner to award this round.

If these examples aren't high-minded enough, consider this highbrow college of disembodied knowledge.


Kindergarten Basics

Home school advocates, this course teaches all the basics of kindergarten from the safety of your own home. $299 includes graduation certificate. Sample lessons:

Shoe tying. Study our .gif of a perfectly tied knot and fax us your

Counting. Count online with Mr. Robovoice!

Socializing. Play online with virtual friends!

--Kay Robart

Draw like Da Vinci

Using only Microsoft Word drawing tools, you can draw a lovely petunia, with hair and shading. Start your botanical illustration career now. Click on lines, auto-shapes and shading; it's easy and cheap at only $395 for 10 lessons.

--Colleen Sudekum

Mastering Non-Verbal Communication

Ninety-five percent of human communication is non-verbal: how you stand, move, even the tone of your voice conveys more information than the words you speak. In this class we will focus on gaining awareness and control of these elements so that you can become a more effective communicator. Each student will receive personal attention.

--Jeremy Grodberg

Applied Computer Engineering

Course description:

Step 1: Open computer case.

Step 2: Remove all components.

Step 3: Put it back together.

Our receipt of e-mail from you within 25 days of course registration will result in a passing grade. Otherwise, we will assume step No. 3 incomplete, and will promptly snail-mail you your CompUSA Technician Certification.

Prerequisite: Screwdriver Theory.

--Alan Powers

Stress Release for the Computer Age

Frustrated by the Web? Angered by your compiler? Ticked-off about spam? Learn how to regain control over technology, and show it who's boss in this not-for-credit weekend seminar. We'll discuss such techniques as how to effectively pound the keyboard, where to kick your computer to cause the most damage, and common office supplies that can be used to torture your hardware into behaving (staples, White Out, scissors, etc. provided).

--Marc Bloch

Human Sexuality 1

Independently study fundamental aspects of human sexuality through pictures, stories, videos, chat and online interactions with professional sexuality experts. Must be over 21. Student is responsible for any additional charges. (See also Surfing Sex Sites)

--Steve Glassman

CyberCooking: Cordon Bleu who?

The future of cooking is online. Learn how to make a delicious six-course meal from the comfort of your CPU! Fill in the taste personalization profile for customized cooking content, and download the plug-in to view our simulated sous-chef. Prerequisite: Savoring Spices by Server. Course credits are applicable to the degree program in Making Love by Modem.

--Perry Hewitt

Thanks for taking the 21st Challenge. Check back in two weeks for another contest.

By Charlie Varon

Charlie Varon is a humorist and playwright. His works include "Ralph Nader Is Missing" and "Rush Limbaugh in Night School."

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By Jim Rosenau

Jim Rosenau is a writer, editor and software designer in Berkeley, Calif. Jim and Charlie are also co-founders of the citizens group Californians for Earthquake Prevention and partners in Mockingbird Media, which offers a full line of comic services.

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