The course organization of Soc Rel 101--a Fall term half-course on Communist Chinese society--came under attack yesterday in a discussion between the course's professor and some of its students.
Ezra F. Vogel, professor of Sociology and director of the course, met in the Lounge at 2 Divinity yesterday with eight of the 87 students enrolled in Soc Rel 101. The discussion meeting was called to consider proposals made by Paul Weinberg '69 for changes in the courses structure.
Weinberg's proposals included:
* replacing one of the three weekly lectures with seminar-style sections,
* allowing students a choice between a final paper and an examination.
* revising the reading list to allow students more choice.
Weinberg said that seminars and discussion sections would enable students to examine and question some of the course's material, instead of having to accept the lecturer's position.
Weinberg also claimed that papers would allow students to develop their own opinions on issues raised in the course, and that a wider choice of reading material would let students find arguments to back their varying stands.
Vogel said, however, that since information on Communist China is hard to obtain, students need to be given a background before they can have any intelligent discussion. The same lack of information, he added, has made past student papers disappointing.
Lack Section Men
But Vogel emphasized that the structure of the course for next year has not yet been determined. He did say, however, that it would be harder to adopt the student proposals for sections than to allow students to write term papers. The main difficulty in having sections, he said, would be finding qualified teaching fellows.
Weinberg said that his criticisms were aimed not only at Soc Rel 101, but also at many other courses at Harvard. "We want to put some life into the course," he said.