Several months ago I signed up for free online taster course in creative writing. Very basic, nothing flashy... I've often thought about going back to school, so to speak, and I thought this might be a good way to dip my toe in the water. I need to learn to think on my feet more than I'm able to do at present. The course started this morning and the early birds were up an' at 'em. We were given a relatively simple writing exercise—nothing too strenuous. We were asked to write up two paragraphs of between 50 - 100 words. There were certain obligations we had to fulfill within each paragraph and so I set about it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT the soul of brevity and so when I slightly overshot the limit, I wasn't surprised. I edited out the extraneous and redundant, trying to keep the essential points intact and eventually got my word counts for both within the proscribed limit. I got ready to cut and paste into the discussion section but before I did, I took a look at the general standard of what had been posted. I put it mildly, I am annoyed. While some of the pieces read really well, I'm not surprised, my efforts look completely skeletal in comparison. What the hell do they think they are writing, War and Peace? A few words over, I can accept, but several were hitting nearly 100 words over the count. Is it just me? Am I being unnecessarily pedantic? I just don't see the point of being assigned an exercise and then throwing the guidelines out of the window. What is to be gained from doing that? Now when I read down through the discussion thread, I'm having to trawl through reams of stuff that doesn't remotely fulfill the criteria. Am I being unreasonable in expecting my fellow students to do as they have been asked? Anyone had any similar experiences with online courses?