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Old 08-22-2014, 12:29 PM   #1
A.T. Hagan
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Default A University Can Pick Two of These Three Things

I stumbled over Rhett Allain's blog right after I found Erik Klemetti's Eruptions blog over to Wired Magazine.

He's a physics professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and can find problems to solve in just about anything. He usually loses me pretty quick once he breaks out with his equations, but nevertheless I like to read him.

This time there are no equations involved and for once I can not only understand him, but mostly agree.

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/a-unive...-three-things/

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Old 08-23-2014, 04:16 PM   #2
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I am occasionally associate with a University and a Community College. In addition in the last few years I obtained a Graduate Degree so I have a unique outlook.

Something is wrong with the higher level education but I just can't put my fingers on it.

Sometimes I think it is the Special Snowflakes in the last 10-15 years. Everyone gets a change, everyone plays, everyone gets a trophy thinking. When they get to the University they squall when they get toss out of classes or the University because they think as long as they show up they get not just passing, but higher level marks like A's and B's.

University and Community Colleges, at least around here are turned on their heads. Universities were where you went if you were good, and "Junior Colleges" were there to get your GPA up. Now, in a lot of State Universities things are slacking and Community Colleges now are [email protected] busters.

I went to the local Community College last week to look at the Bookstore. (Yea, I like to buy textbooks, especially the maths, science and history, and read them work the problems) I am amazed at the number of courses they have available to get high school students up to speed before freshman College Algebra.

There are 6 courses including College Algebra. 6. Amazing. What are High School graduating.

In this state, all Community Colleges are "open" by law. No SATs, etc. Of course that doesn't mean they can sit immediately into College Algebra, Freshman English, Freshman Science. There is placement testing and off you go to a remedial course.

Graduate schools aren't much better, well at least the ones I see. In my own there was all kinds of b*tching about reading 150 pages/wk, 20-30 page papers every 2 weeks, etc.

For me it was like "Suck it up b*tches. Welcome to Graduate School". Amazing.

Open Universities used to be worse than those who required testing. How can University of Houston Downtown (open) now have a higher 4 year completion rate (22%) than University of Houston Main Campus (closed) with 14.8% completion? (Neither are good compared to UT Austin (52.5%) and Texas A&M (46.2).

WTF? (I speculate because most at Downtown are older "go back to the University" students and are motivated. Main is chosen because they didn't get picked by their "yea, right" First Choice or they had no $$.
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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Having taught post secondary, the problem is multifaceted. I suspect in days with smaller classes or less troubled students, kids learned better even back in elementary. If a kid had trouble, they got tutored. Now? I know it's tried but seems to not work as well. I was tutored during school hours a couple of times. Kid next door has to stay after school.

Plus everyone thinks 'if the teacher can teach, I can learn. If I can't learn, it's the teacher not teaching'. And some truth is there. My teachers when young, tried more than one way to get the message across. By the time I was in college, I had to go to other text books to find other ways to understand if I didn't get the one way my prof taught. It was his way or fail out. F U kids.

Now it's just pass anyways. lol

I've met engineers who could not do anything hands on but write a program. Nurses who could not put in an IV and managers who thought they knew it all when they never supervised anyone and never did the job they were suppose to be the manager of.

We lost our way by not making everyone start in the mail room. IMHO
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:16 AM   #4
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Lack of long-term parental expectation, IMO.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:15 AM   #5
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I read an article, or maybe it was a Ted Talk about teachers in grade schools.

Studies show that newer teachers and teachers with BAs did better jobs using standardized testing as the measure since it was unbiased unlike the teacher grading. (Different argument.)

This "success" plateaued after about 5 years. Teachers with MAs tested to do worse than those with BAs.

But what do we do? Compensation increases with tenure and Degrees. We incintivize the wrong behaviors.

I think it the younger teachers are closer to their student population, even though it is several years, and are exposes to teaching techniques that make the students click.

Older teachers rarely increase training other than mandatory training. Once they get their class curriculum done, they tend to reuse year after year.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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What we see coming in from high schools:
1. Lack of preparedness in study habits, note taking, and math. Even honors kids.
2. That absolutes don't work with this generation; everything is negotiable. "Why do I need to learn this?"
3. Many don't know how to work alone; they've been working collaboratively most of their school years.
4. The ones we see often look at higher ed as a commodity they purchase - they paid the tuition, they deserve at least __ grade
5. They don't read critically. They respond to bullet lists, videos, powerpoints, prezis, etc...


What my university is doing to respond:
1. Freshman seminars. Teach incoming kids how to go to college.
2. "Just In Time Teaching." We're experimenting with letting the students pick the project, then adapting the teaching to what they've chosen (within reason) and embedding the course learning outcomes within it.
3. Teams and group projects. Team-teaching blended courses (e.g., Physics and [Engineering] Dynamics)
4. Not a lot we can do about that one. Just ramp up student services to help them see the light.
5. Flip the classroom. More online lectures employing bullet lists, presentations, videos, etc... and using class time for answering questions and practicals/labs.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:25 AM   #7
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Fart, do you think the changes you are making will actually help them once they graduate or will they graduate and then fall on their faces cuz they still are not in the real world dealing with how it works?

I love run on sentences.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandyd View Post
Fart, do you think the changes you are making will actually help them once they graduate or will they graduate and then fall on their faces cuz they still are not in the real world dealing with how it works?

I love run on sentences.

And there's a fundamental discussion topic: what is college's purpose? To teach them about a subject or to train them to do a job?

At some point, they will be running the real world and setting the rules. God help us all then.

I think technology has changed the game as much as their generational shift.
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