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Along those lines, how many times were you given a paper to write that 'must be at least 10,000 words' or 'presentation must have a minimum of 8 slides'? Discard the fact that you can communicate and support your idea(s) in 5000 words or 3 slides.

Modern education systems in North America focus on the wrong things.

There is a huge difference between the two assignments. If you are communicating and supporting your ideas in half the words or slides, then you are not going into enough depth, or you've chosen a topic of lesser complexity. There is a good pedagogical reason that length is mandated. If you are "just filling out paper," to meet the word requirement, you've misunderstood the assignment, and possibly cheated yourself.

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