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Teaching Pages of Dr. Robert J. O’Hara

After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: ‘Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.’

—Annie Dillard, “Write Till You Drop

[Students in a Campus Natural History class]

Students in “Campus Natural History”

These pages are intended for past and prospective students in my courses. They contain syllabi, study guides, and other information that I, in my wisdom, think it is important for you to know. Some general tips on studying appear at the bottom of the page. Should you take one of my courses if you haven’t already? As with most important questions in life, there are arguments for and arguments against.

I’m always glad to talk to students at any time about academic work or about life in general. E-mail is a reliable way of contacting me outside of class (rjohara@post.harvard.edu). My formal office hours each term are listed on the syllabus you receive at the first meeting of each course.

Special note: Want a chance to be famous? Then join the SETI@home project, the University of California’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Middlebury College Courses

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Courses

Transylvania University Course

Harvard University Courses

How To Learn Stuff

Study as if you were to live for ever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.

—Edmund of Abingdon to his pupils at Oxford, ca. 1220

Learning stuff is easy, as long as you remember that it is work. Several thousand years of experience show that repetition is the most important technique for learning just about anything (repetition to the point of memorization). Here are some other things that are important.

Four Books Every College Student Should Have (and Use!)

Every college student, and every educated person, should have a few books right at hand at all times. These are books that you should keep and use in all your classes throughout your college career. Buy them and put them beside your bed, your desk, your computer, or wherever you spend a lot of time, and flip through them regularly. You will be surprised at how much information you will absorb.


© RJO 1995–2016