The Degradation of the Student

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46 Replies - 6359 Views - Last Post: 25 September 2012 - 07:09 AM

#16 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:38 AM

View PostJackOfAllTrades, on 21 September 2012 - 01:22 PM, said:

I'm sorry, but that just makes no sense. You should not be able to get a post-secondary education unless you can pass a reading and math exam at the 12th grade level! Secondary education means up to the 12th grade. It follows, therefore, that POST-secondary means you've achieved a 12th grade level.

This country's educational system has lost its fucking mind.


Right. Because every compound phrase always has its simplest and most literal meaning, and societies never change, so institutions never have to adapt to those changes. And of course, if someone in their fifties decides they want to go into one of those IT jobs they keep hearing about, they should go to their local high school and sit in on trig and Algebra II and Calculus, and maybe write a few essays on Catcher in the Rye and Huck Finn first, before they can take the courses for their IT certificate.
And of course the answer that lets you blame someone for not being as smart as you is always the right one.
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#17 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:40 AM

My issue is not with remedial education, but I think the remedial courses should be a function of Continuing Education where aspiring students can take the classes for a tiny fraction of what they're paying in standard tuition and fees. And once they've been brought up to speed in math and reading and they can pass the placement exam at college-level, then accept them into the pricey, student loan-laden side of things.

I don't want to deny anyone an education, I'd just like to see the students be prepared for it when they get there.
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#18 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:47 AM

There are placement exams called the CLEP tests for adults going back to school. Those allow adults with actual real-world experience to test out of college classes for a fraction of the cost. There are classes like English, foreign language, economics, psychology, precalculus, calculus, etc. I took the English one to get out of it at school. I think it's a fair alternative to gauging competency without forcing people to go back to high school. There are GED programs as well that do similar things.
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#19 Skaggles  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 04:10 PM

Help computer.
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#20 stackoverflow  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 06:23 PM

Sounds like a lot of complaining to me. Not everyone is as awesome and professional as you. :)
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#21 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:53 PM

How is codez gimmed?
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#22 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:49 PM

I'm currently taking 2 CS classes at my uni, CIS 115 and CIS 300. There are about 6 sections of CIS 115 that are full. It's a course that every incoming CS major has to take as a prerequisite to ANY other class unless you convince the right people to allow you to take other classes concurrently. there is 1 section of CIS 300 and its in a small lecture room; there is only 1 course between it and CIS 115. CIS 115 is designed to show people what computer science is. CIS 200 is the weed out CS class between 115 and 300. Between people realizing this isn't actually what they want and failing/plagiarizing there is a HUGE attrition rate. People waste a bunch of money not even knowing what they're doing.

CIS 115 is a waste of my time and money...that's my main grudge against it.

This post has been edited by ishkabible: 21 September 2012 - 10:52 PM

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#23 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 05:21 AM

View PostNecroWinter, on 21 September 2012 - 12:27 PM, said:

The USA is a pretty cynical place, a lot of people just want to learn a trade and never learn anything else after that, and live a simple life.


I don't know that this is US exclusive. Learning for fun is often viewed as something a nerd would do. I've seen adults revert to pathetic high schoolers in training environments. Some, maybe most, people don't like to "learn."

Learning new stuff is strangely derided in some social groups. I was once talking to a "regular" guy who admitted, almost embarrassed, that he enjoyed the Discovery channel. "But! I'm not a nerd or anything!" he hastily added, as if actually enjoying education for it's own sake might make him a social pariah.
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#24 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:46 AM

View Postbaavgai, on 22 September 2012 - 08:21 AM, said:

Learning new stuff is strangely derided in some social groups.

Very True. Political power is often generated by keeping people ignorant. Things like Voodoo Economics, convincing people that the government should not be allowed to get involved with their Medicare, and the idea that we've had a "free market" until this President — all require a poorly educated electorate. How else are you going to convince people that they don't need facts, only faith*?

The sad thing is, it's an easy sell to people who are not already educated.

* It's that faith issue that you're dealing with here. This guy believes that all he has to do is show up for the classes and the things he needs to know will be infused into his consciousness! You've just got to have faith!
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#25 NecroWinter  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:47 AM

View Postbaavgai, on 22 September 2012 - 05:21 AM, said:

View PostNecroWinter, on 21 September 2012 - 12:27 PM, said:

The USA is a pretty cynical place, a lot of people just want to learn a trade and never learn anything else after that, and live a simple life.


I don't know that this is US exclusive. Learning for fun is often viewed as something a nerd would do. I've seen adults revert to pathetic high schoolers in training environments. Some, maybe most, people don't like to "learn."

Learning new stuff is strangely derided in some social groups. I was once talking to a "regular" guy who admitted, almost embarrassed, that he enjoyed the Discovery channel. "But! I'm not a nerd or anything!" he hastily added, as if actually enjoying education for it's own sake might make him a social pariah.


It does exist everywhere, but its uniquely strong in the United States. We as a culture, really go out of our way to make people feel bad about trying to learn things. This has been studied by a lot of different fields and academics. I dont want to get into specific details as to why, but it has a bit to do with political view points that made their way into the general culture.

Heres a little social experiment to try:

1) Talk to a few Americans (usually older men) tell them of an ambitious project that you want to do, and then mention that you're in college, and that the information you're learning will help. Make sure you dont give any real details about things, so in other words, make sure the conversation is pretty casual.

2) Do the same thing with people from other countries

I think youll notice a pattern of cynical remarks from a good chunk (not all) americans, often resorting to assuming that you're a know it all college student who doesnt really understand anything. Usually what follows is that you cant do it, and that you think you think google or microsoft has your number on file. Its important to not share specific details about the project or class, because you need to show that they arent analyzing anything you're saying. If you share details, its possible the details are wrong, and that you did in fact make up something incorrect. Without details, it just shows their emotional persuasion. They havent analyzed anything, and got angry anyway.

Another common response from less cynical people is to just think you're a nerd, and try to change the conversation, as others in this thread have pointed out.

On the other hand, I think youll find that people from other countries would just wish you luck and perhaps want to find out the details of the project.
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#26 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:54 AM

View PostNecroWinter, on 22 September 2012 - 12:47 PM, said:

youll find that people from other countries would just wish you luck and perhaps want to find out the details of the project.


So they can steal the idea, outsource it to India, let their outsourced programmers show up on DIC asking us to give them the codez for their current project which they only have because you told some foreigner about your idea.

'Mericans are a paranoid lot, too. :)
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#27 jimblumberg  Icon User is online

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:43 AM

I actually think the problem stems from the earliest grades. You know that you can't fail a student, you may hurt their self esteem. Also there is a concerted effort by the teachers and politicians saying everyone must go to college, even if the students have no aptitude. Anything except a college degree is unacceptable. The shop classes in most of today's middle schools and high schools is either completely missing or woefully lacking. The attitude seems to be that the trades are no option, you know "no one should stoop so low as attending a trade school". So until we re-institute vocational education at all levels of the school systems we will continue to see unqualified students being pushed into unsuitable career paths.

Jim

This post has been edited by jimblumberg: 22 September 2012 - 07:37 PM

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#28 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 01:06 PM

View PostNecroWinter, on 22 September 2012 - 12:47 PM, said:

On the other hand, I think youll find that people from other countries would just wish you luck and perhaps want to find out the details of the project.


The grass is always greener, dude. Generalizations...

View PostNecroWinter, on 22 September 2012 - 12:47 PM, said:

assuming that you're a know it all college student who doesnt really understand anything


Generally, college students are kids with zed life experience who think they're fucking brilliant, assume everyone else isn't, endearing themselves to no one. Generally...

The US is a big place. Culturally, we have more respect for the doer than the thinker. However, there are places where this isn't the case. There are other cultures that respect the thinker more, but no one, NO ONE, likes a smart ass. Of course, you'd be hard pressed to prove your hypotheses, because every other country you go to will just assume you're an ugly american.

I would now like to add to jon's reading list: The Ugly American, by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. Sadly, in some ways, just relevant now as it was in 1958.
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#29 NecroWinter  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 01:58 PM

View Postbaavgai, on 22 September 2012 - 01:06 PM, said:

View PostNecroWinter, on 22 September 2012 - 12:47 PM, said:

On the other hand, I think youll find that people from other countries would just wish you luck and perhaps want to find out the details of the project.


The grass is always greener, dude. Generalizations...



http://en.wikipedia....intellectualism
Plenty of material on American anti-intellectualism, wikipedia cites some of it.

View Postbaavgai, on 22 September 2012 - 01:06 PM, said:

Generally, college students are kids with zed life experience who think they're fucking brilliant, assume everyone else isn't, endearing themselves to no one. Generally...


Actually, I find the opposite to be true. I've been to two different colleges (transfer), most of them are actually intimidated by what they dont know, they know very well that most of what theyre learning is already in the standard library and such(CS). I've only really met one person that I consider to be arrogant in an academic way, and he has come out saying that he does not feel ready for the real world. This is obviously anecdotal, but so is the counter argument. Also, people see the art student who wants to change the world with their paintings, and opinions on smoking pot, and they apply it to people in STEM fields, who have very little, if anything in common with those people. In many campuses, these two groups dont even come in contact with each other.


A great example of people getting it wrong with the attitude of college students happened right here. I just asked how common part time jobs were in programming, I mentioned the word "college" and everyone flipped out thinking that I said that some company would just hand me a job because im a college student (I never said anything like that at all, never even touched the topic), when all I wanted to know was how common they were. If I didnt say college, I really cant see the tone going the way it did(I promptly pointed out what happened, and that made matters worse, but nevertheless...)


If college students really thought the world would hand them everything, and that theyre smarter than everyone, I really cant see why adderall abuse is becoming very prominent, if anything, it shows a severe lack of confidence.
http://today.msnbc.m...ed-smart-drugs/

Most college students are very aware that jobs are slim these days, they know the info colleges give them on their wages are exaggerated, but they think that a degree will at least be helpful in getting a job, and to some extent, thats true, many places still demand a degree, even if someone like myself, prefers that they didnt, because I would personally rather say screw college and its high prices and just goto work.

Quote

The US is a big place. Culturally, we have more respect for the doer than the thinker. However, there are places where this isn't the case. There are other cultures that respect the thinker more, but no one, NO ONE, likes a smart ass. Of course, you'd be hard pressed to prove your hypotheses, because every other country you go to will just assume you're an ugly american.

You cant do much without the thinking first, and again, its related to political view points. Academics usually dont vote right wing, right wingers want to maintain the status quo, America is far more right wing than the rest of the world. Talking points and political platforms definitely shape the way we have a national conversation.

You really cant have a discussion about this topic without mentioning the political history and culture of the USA.

a smartass is more akin to a troll than a person who reads a lot.

This post has been edited by NecroWinter: 22 September 2012 - 02:00 PM

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#30 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Degradation of the Student

Posted 22 September 2012 - 02:23 PM

*
POPULAR

First, @baavgai Nice use of the word "zed".

Second, in reference to jimblumberg's comment on vocational education - I wholeheartedly agree. There is far too much emphasis put on white collar work. Blue collar jobs are just as important - if not more so. Someone has to raise the cattle and grow the corn and build the offices and keep the vehicles running and repair the leaky sink and lay the carpeting and haul away the trash and serve the food in restaurants.

My father and my grandfathers were coal miners. My brothers are carpenters and welders. My best friend's husband is a truck driver. My aunt and uncle raise beef. What is wrong with these professions? Why is it so unacceptable to be a mechanic or run a snow plow in the winter? Without these people, the rest of us would be SOL.

We need to shift our focus back to teaching kids they can be whatever they want to be - whether they choose to become doctors and teachers or cashiers and heavy equipment operators should be their decision, not the product of societal brainwashing.
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