Skip to main content

View Diary: Colleges pour money into administration, football, and buildings—but teaching, not so much (192 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  At (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, drsampson, ChuckInReno

    At my brother''s school, a doubling of students and a halving of profs. Not a recipe for a great educational experience.

    That is why alternatives like Coursera and Udacity will continue to gather steam. I have done one Udacity course and it was great. My first Coursera course starts next week.
    Hard to compete with free. - especially when the costs of the other stuff goes up and the quality down. The post secondary education bubble is about to burst.
    https://www.coursera.org/
    http://www.udacity.com/

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:12:38 PM PST

    •  It's sad, because sites like those (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nespolo, 417els

      Are the plan for the future, facilitated by all the cutting of taxes and funding to established schools. Sites like those will never replace instruction in a classroom, although it's looking more and more like they might stand in for them, but you lose a lot with just online classes for the majority of subjects.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:31:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure (0+ / 0-)

        Love the flexibility, the ability to go over lectures again and again, the chat rooms, the online assignments ... and the not having to leave my living room ... and the cost.

        There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

        by taonow on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:41:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They aren't going to teach classical languages (6+ / 0-)

        or philosophy at Online University Inc, just whatever is selling in the job market at the moment: "Master of Homeland Security Drone Operations".

        •  Not that U's do a good job of teaching languages (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          417els, annetteboardman, AoT, sillia

          But I didn't miss that you said "classical languages," and it's true there's essentially no other game in town for that kind of education.

          Whatever a person's academic orientation, even those who just want to get through with B's and C's and football weekends, it's a damn shame the four-year campus experience is becoming so inaccessible.  And equally so that the traditional excesses are going hyperbolic and turning campus life into a sick caricature of its worst self.

          The degree and the experience behind it mean less and less while costing more and more.  I look at a school like Emory (to choose a local example) and I am just shocked as hell at some of the graduates coming out of of this elite institution who can't seem to do even basic writing or -- I won't even call it research, but -- finding stuff out for themselves.  If a school like that can't ensure a certain level for its graduates, what are the others producing?  Or maybe the problem is at its worst precisely in the elite universities?

          I can't see what is coming next but it's clear the current trend is unsustainable.  Something is going to collapse and I fear the change will be precipitous and chaotic, leading to something vastly inferior to what we had only a few decades ago.

          ------
          Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
          It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

          by Alden on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:16:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Something is certainly collapsing: (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            417els, Desert Scientist, Alden, AoT

            education -- as opposed to training in trade skills -- for the 99% in the US.  If you want to study Pindar or Wittgenstein, you had better be born to very wealthy American parents -- or else born in Europe.

            •  Even in Europe (0+ / 0-)

              There is a surge in "applied universities" -- something more than the schools that advertize on late-night U.S. television but decidedly less than real universities or institutes of technology.

              But yes, your point about affordability remains correct across all categories.

              ------
              Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
              It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

              by Alden on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:40:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then again (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                A university-track high school diploma in many European countries is already the equivalent of the first couple of years of American university.

                ------
                Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
                It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

                by Alden on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:41:41 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Not everything can be taught through lectures (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beauchapeau, 417els, Desert Scientist, AoT

      While there are some things that can be taught through a lecture format, there are many things that can't.  If college education was simply a matter of gathering information, you could do just as well sitting in a library reading.  However, there are higher order skills and these cannot be effectively learned through lecture.  You need an actual human being to provide guidance.

      •  In addition to actual human beings for guidance (4+ / 0-)

        college students need - benefit from - interaction with peers in the classrooms/labs/campus.

        One of the most important things I learned while I was away at school was how to appreciate people entirely different from myself...people I would never have been exposed to except in a college campus setting.

        It's also where I learned that my own life experiences, up to that time, were not unique....that my peers had the same worries, joys and daydreams that I had.  And also that they had thoughts and idea I had never dreamed of.  

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:19:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They are a good option for some (0+ / 0-)

      but not for everyone. I took an online course and you do have to have self-discipline. If you lack self-discipline how will you learn it in an strictly on-line setting? Also I remember learning a lot in my study groups with other students which would be harder in an online setting.

      One thing that is good is that they provide competition for universities and if students start opting for these programs (particularly the self-disciplined ones) over overpriced universities and colleges than eventually things may change.

    •  diploma mills (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Schools that are diploma mills cannot compete with free.  Urban schools where most of the population commute and lectures are the norm cannot compete with free.  Schools that are focused on profit cannot compete with free.

      Real schools are going to have no problem competing with free, because the product they are selling is not scribbles on a screen with a droning voice.  No one learns that way.  Lecture, when I was in school, was no more than 30% of the learning time.  Most of it was spent working with my peers to learn, internalize, and master the subject.  Even my non core subject the time outside the classroom was more valuable than the time inside.  And this is college, where the student has time to learn.  Not like high school where learning is structured and there is no time to expand.  Not like correspondence courses where there is little social element, and one works so much there is no time to explore.  But to learn.

      As far as the increase in administration, I would want to know how many of those publish papers.  When I was in school I knew many high level researchers who no longer taught, were managers, but still published papers.  On thing that separates a real university from a diploma mill is the existence of research that can inspire the students.  This was certainly a critical part of my education.

      •  "Publish or Perish" used to be the term used. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:22:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site