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Thread: Technology and education

  1. #201
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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    Oh my goodness, where to begin? I'll throw out a few, but there are many, many things wrong with the way universities do business.

    1. Tenure - Lifetime job security is the antithesis of competition. Competition leads to productivity and higher job performance.

    Example: The University of Colorado professor who taught his students that the United States provoked the 9/11 attacks. CU refused to fire him, citing tenure, until the public scrutiny just got to be too much for them to bear. Ward Churchill September 11 attacks essay controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    University presidents have no power - all the major decisions are made by faculty. Collective decision-making by hundreds of prima donnas, none of whom can be fired or even demoted for being wrong, is not a system that any other institution has adopted anywhere else in the world. It is like Congress without elections -- a formula for total irresponsibility and self-indulgence.


    2. College Athletics - If you want to see slave labor in action in 2012, look no further than college football. These student athletes bring in billions of dollars of revenue to the schools, to the television networks, yet they are entirely unpaid. Why? So that college athletics can keep its tax-exempt status. Unlike baseball, the NFL does not want to run a minor league. So they farm the work out to the universities, and everybody makes money. Everybody except, of course, the kids doing the actual labor.

    Example: O'Bannon v. NCAA could impact more than video games - Michael McCann - SI.com


    3. Scandals in College Athletics - The last point reminds me of this point. College athletes are not subjected to the same academic standards as other students. The University of North Carolina was recently found to have been giving out free "A's" to football players in an African American Studies course. Too bad the players never actually attended the courses.

    But what really takes the cake is the Penn State scandal. Here you had nearly a decade of disgusting child abuse, which was knowingly covered up by the university. The Freeh Report on Pennsylvania State University | Judge Louis Freeh investigation on PSU

    I know of only two elitist, closed societies capable of such a coverup.... academia and the catholic church.


    4. Other coverups - It doesn't begin and end with athletes. A study conducted in 2009 found that many colleges were covering up the number of rapes on campus in order to make their campus appear safer and more attractive to parents. This is, in fact, a pattern: Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle For Justice : NPR


    5. Grad Students - But let's get off the topic of coverups, and get back on the topic of slave labor. Big-name universities will lavish six-figure salaries on deconstructionist professors whose chief claim to fame is that other deconstructionist professors like them, while freshmen are being taught by low-budget graduate students, many of whom are from foreign countries and do not speak intelligible English.

    That is why hundreds of students can be packed like sardines into a huge lecture hall for Economics 1, taught by some junior faculty member without enough clout to get out of teaching anything so elementary.

    Meanwhile, some senior professor in the same department may hold a little boutique seminar for six in his pet sub-specialty, far off the beaten track from anything that undergraduates need to know.

    When budget-crunch time comes, two classes of Economics 1 with 400 students each may be more likely to be combined into one class with 800 students than is the big-name professor's seminar to be touched.


    6. University Admissions - They are just plain unfair, and do not reward achievement. For example, why do universities have legacy admissions? Who cares if your uncle attended Harvard, or if your mother attended Princeton? That should have nothing at all to do with whether you are admitted.

    Then you have race and gender quotas. Rather than being admitted purely on academic merit, students are admitted due to the melanin count in their skin or their genitalia.

    I haven't even mentioned the number of foreign students. Why should American taxpayers subsidize the education of a student from India or Korea?

    Next, you have people with money. If you have money, you can get in anywhere, regardless of how dumb you are.


    7. University Tuition - College tuition is just ridiculous. It is the most expensive thing most families will ever pay for aside from their home. It's the number one reason young people will go in to debt when they're starting out. In the past year alone, tuition for four-year public universities rose 8.3 percent for in-state students and 5.7 percent for out-of-state students. Why is that? Because they are run so inefficiently.

    Ronald Ehrenberg, a labor economist at Cornell, cited “the shared system of governance between trustees, administrators, and faculty” at many universities, which “guarantees that ... institutions will be slow to react to cost pressures.”

    http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ffp0005s.pdf


    8. Research Grant Funding - Research grant funding is a must to keep a scientific projects advancing. It costs money for materials and equipment in addition to personnel to undertake a research project.

    Now, private money is private money, and I'm not really concerned about that.

    Who gets the public money and why? As a taxpayer, I feel this process should be transparent and that I should have some input, along with other taxpayers. Instead, this process is farmed out to various government agencies who clearly have political agendas.

    Funding of science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    9. Wasteful Spending - This goofy grand funding process leads to a lot of studies being done that are simply a waste of money. But don't worry, Americans aren't the only ones. A group of Japanese scientists, led by a professor Yuki Sugiyama of Nagoya University, recently determined the reason commuters are occasionally caught in traffic jams is because there are too many cars on the road.

    Groundbreaking stuff.

    10. Left-wing Politics - Universities are the nerve center for liberal thought and liberal politics. The vastly disproportionate presence of leftist professors on university campuses across the United States has been well documented. One of the more significant studies on this subject was conducted in 2003 by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC), which examined the ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans on the faculties of 32 elite colleges and universities nationwide.

    In its examinations of more than 150 departments and upper-level administrations at the 32 elite colleges and universities, the CSPC found that the overall ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans was more than 10 to 1 (1397 Democrats, 134 Republicans).
    I won't address all of this, but let's start with the first one. To us, a big problem is the dramatic rise in adjunct professors, who, guess what, have no job security, earn low wages, and are increasingly relied upon by universities. Before you start whining about tenured professors, please by all means, examine the reality first.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    Oh my goodness, where to begin? I'll throw out a few, but there are many, many things wrong with the way universities do business.
    Well, you've certainly thrown in the kitchen sink here, so let's address this first. If you're going to criticize the Academy, fine, but stick to what's relevant. Extracurricular activities and campus crime are not the purview of the Academy.

    1. Tenure Here is a link that more fairly explains tenure: http://www.nea.org/home/33067.htm

    From the link:

    MYTH:

    Tenure is a lifetime job guarantee.

    REALITY:
    Tenure is simply a right to due process; it means that a college or university cannot fire a tenured professor without presenting evidence that the professor is incompetent or behaves unprofessionally or that an academic department needs to be closed or the school is in serious financial difficulty. Nationally, about 2 percent of tenured faculty are dismissed in a typical year.

    If it is difficult --- purposely difficult --- to fire a tenured professor, it's also very hard to become one. The probationary period averages three years for community colleges and seven years at four-year colleges. This is a period of employment insecurity almost unique among U.S. professions. People denied tenure at the end of this time lose their jobs; tenure is an "up-or-out" process.
    -----------------------------
    In ye olden academic days, I think it’s fair to say that there was some “deadwood.” But today one key component of the annual evaluation of a professor is “professional development.” This means publications and conference presentations (and attendance).

    Offering up the example of the infamous Ward Churchill is such an unfair insult to the thousands of hard-working academics who, irrespective of their political views, are hard-working, talented, sane, and…not plagiarists.
    As for university presidents having no power, that is in part true. It’s the chancellor who controls the money, but even he or she answers to the board of regents or trustees. But you are very much mistaken if you think that faculty members make the major decisions about anything. That’s a preposterously false claim.

    2. College Athletics -Irrelevant to a discussion of the Academy itself.

    3. Scandals in College Athletics- Irrelevant to a discussion of the Academy itself.

    4. Other coverups Irrelevant to a discussion of the Academy itself.
    So lets not talk about athletics and rape, which have nothing to do with the work of the Academy. One is an extracurricular activity, and the other is a crime.

    5. Grad Students-Regarding grad students as “slave labor,” sometimes this is so. Sometimes they do all the work, but their major professor takes the credit. Far more often, however, professors nurture their students and help them along, adding them, for example, as second (or third, etc.) authors in articles.

    What do grad students earn in return? First, they are paid stipends if they’re teaching assistants or running a lab. Second, they’re gaining invaluable training on the daily work of doing scholarly research. Third, they are making lifelong contacts in their field, connections that will be valuable for the rest of their careers. It’s an apprenticeship, and it’s difficult.

    BTW, since you mentioned international students, I think it’s important to note that many of these students are their countries’ academic superstars and that this is a win-win for everybody unless the student’s English is exceptionally poor. (But universities have required English-language training courses for these students.)

    The work grad students do spells “opportunity.” Nobody makes them be a T.A.; it’s the beginning of “professional development.” They want to do the work.

    I laughed when I read “boutique” because that’s so true. Especially from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out, though, there really isn’t any comparison between grad seminars and undergrad classes. The student populations are different, and the purposes are too. Training beginning scholars in their disciplines is of paramount importance, don’t you see? Those grad students, many of them, anyway, will one day themselves be the distinguished professors.
    There is a reason why so many undergrad courses are called “service courses.” They are the “core curriculum.” Part of the work of the Academy is providing service to the institution and/or the state. There is an enormous difference between undergrad courses, and I’m not sure, given your criticism of the size of grad seminars, that you understand this.

    6. University Admissions-University admissions are not always unfair; in fact, by and large, they are fair. Achievement is not always or even usually ignored, and race and gender are not necessarily main factors. Can they be an “extra card” to play? Yes. So can a particular skill or talent. But I can tell you too that just as admission decisions are often done by formula, the awarding of scholarships and their configurations are very, very often done by computer programs that have set formulas. You really can’t overgeneralize this way.

    7. University Tuition- Again, tuition decisions are not made by the Academy. In the case of state institutions rather than private ones, look to the Legislature and its higher education coordinating boards.


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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Isolates teachers from political discrimination in a school. A professor cannot be fired for their opinions. Not a bad thing, in fact necessary given certain dynamics of the Board. You can't fire someone for expressing or researching unpopular theories. There are methods through which a professor can be dismissed. In fact, the professor that you cited was fired. Guess maybe you should have researched that.
    You didn't read what I wrote. In my post, I acknowledged that the professor was ultimately fired, after a great amount of pressure from the media. Since you didn't bother to read what I wrote, I will return the favor and ignore your other points on tenure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    This comment is not only absolutely retarded, it's absolutely false
    Can you provide any evidence for your counterclaim?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    So you have a handful of scandals and all of a sudden it's a condemnation of academia as a whole? Oh yes, academia is a haven for pedophilia and rape
    Sports have taken over to a near disgusting level. The NCAA is a scam, student athletes in some larger institutions don't have to do work, people come out with degrees which devalue the degrees of others. There should be more done on this front to bring it under control and not make it a focus at a University, as the primary function of University is education. But not all sports are bad, it's mostly just the degree that football and basketball have taken over and the amount of money the NCAA makes on it.
    The NCAA is an association of universities. University presidents meet periodically and come up with the rules and guidelines. The actions of the NCAA reflect on its members - the universities. The NCAA is a great window through which we can look upon the inner workings of academia. Notice that colleges treat their athletes the same way they treat their graduate students - like cattle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    There are plenty of organizations and movements designed to promote awareness of this problem and the "cover-up" is not as widespread as you are pretending it is. As reporting becomes more common, we'll be able to better know the exact numbers and be able to not only go after anyone committing such a heinous crime; but also find ways to prevent them.

    This, you've presented nothing thus far except for hysteria.
    If a private corporation were responsible for the same incidents, what would be the consequences? Clearly, they would not be in business for long. For some reason, academia gets a free pass when it comes to covering up rape and scandal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    What the **** university did you go to? 6 figure incomes!? My adviser would have killed for a 6 figure income. Well maybe not literally, he was actually a very nice guy. You have no idea about classroom size, professor pay scales, or graduate students. This is nothing more than incorrect and ridiculous propaganda and stupidity. It has nothing to do with the reality of academia
    The question is, where the **** did you go to school? The median salary for a tenured professor is $98,974.

    Professors in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Some of that is Federal law, not University planning. You bitch about subsidizing students and then you bitch about the cost of the University, so which is it? All in all, I would rather subsidize the Universities and lower tuition than anything else. Quotas for gender/race/whatever are rarely the choice of the University. As for foreign students, many of them stay in America and work in America; which is good. Not only is immigration necessary for innovation and to continually draw forward, but we're taking other country's smart people. I'm all for taking all the smart people in the world for America. In general I'd rather that University be very open, yet very competitive.
    Actually, the universities are often the driving force behind the quotas. In some cases, their legality is even in question: Supreme Court weighs quotas in affirmative action case

    Regarding foreign students, I would be for keeping the best and brightest here as well. The problem is, most of them do not stay in the United States. There is no screening done by the universities beforehand to ascertain whether the subsidized foreign student will be staying or returning upon graduation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post

    College tuition has been getting absurd for quite some time. It's not 100% the Universities fault, a lot of it comes through various regulations and how the government funds its state schools. I would certainly like to move University to more "public utility" (it's a bit of an overstatement; but essentially fund it more through government so that the individual can pay less). America has put behind it our old manufacturing past and we are now into high tech. For that, you need educated people. You also need educated people to help maintain and proliferate a Republic. University should be more accessible, and we should be doing more to make it cheaper and more accessible for the qualified student.
    At least we agree on something. College tuition is absurd, and something needs to be done about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post

    You have absolutely no clue about research funding. There is not a lot of politics at all. There's some as you cannot escape politics with any government organization; but not really to the levels you seem to be suggesting. I think as a tax payer, military spending should be transparent as well. For research, it's not all public record depending on what's being funded and by who (a lot of it is military) but we could have more transparency. That's not to say that outsiders get a say in the decisions.
    Military spending should be transparent, but our national security comes first. I don't want our enemies knowing exactly what our military capabilities are - that makes our military less efficient.

    The same cannot be said for funding university-sponsored research on the mating habits of the Indonesian water buffalo. That sort of thing should be fully transparent, and should include more public involvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post

    But what if they had found something different? An algorithm that could have worked better for flow? The thing about research is that it's research....it's new. You don't actually know what comes out on the otherside. But you have to fund it all because sometimes the most brilliant of inventions is rooted in the most unbelievable of research results. Again, you just have no idea how this works.
    "You'll have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." - Nancy Pelosi

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post

    Oh noes! There are democrats in my University! Somebody get the torches.

    This is just extremist non-sense. I don't even know the politics of the majority of the physics faculty, we did physics not politics. Out of this whole rambling mess, I've only found Sports and Tuition to have any valid claim to it. Christ, you should really research what you do first.
    It matters.

    Granted, it is less of an issue in Physics than in other departments, but it matters.
    Last edited by Peter Grimm; 01-11-13 at 06:31 PM.

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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I won't address all of this, but let's start with the first one. To us, a big problem is the dramatic rise in adjunct professors, who, guess what, have no job security, earn low wages, and are increasingly relied upon by universities. Before you start whining about tenured professors, please by all means, examine the reality first.
    You never explained why adjunct professors were a problem. Aren't they just guest lecturers? My first instinct is to applaud the practice.

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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    You never explained why adjunct professors were a problem. Aren't they just guest lecturers? My first instinct is to applaud the practice.
    Aside from the part where they are becoming a regular part of the institution, teaching courses normally taught by actual professors (who would make a decent wage), thus decreasing the pool of possible applicants able to get a full-time, full pay position. Yes, it's a problem.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Technology and education

    I'm gonna need a magnifying glass for that!

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    MYTH:

    Tenure is a lifetime job guarantee.

    REALITY:
    Tenure is simply a right to due process; it means that a college or university cannot fire a tenured professor without presenting evidence that the professor is incompetent or behaves unprofessionally or that an academic department needs to be closed or the school is in serious financial difficulty. Nationally, about 2 percent of tenured faculty are dismissed in a typical year.

    If it is difficult --- purposely difficult --- to fire a tenured professor, it's also very hard to become one. The probationary period averages three years for community colleges and seven years at four-year colleges. This is a period of employment insecurity almost unique among U.S. professions. People denied tenure at the end of this time lose their jobs; tenure is an "up-or-out" process.
    It may not be a "lifetime job guarantee" -- I never said it was -- but it's certainly a barrier which removes much of the accountability from tenured professors that otherwise would ensure that they are performing to a reasonable standard.

    -----------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    In ye olden academic days, I think it’s fair to say that there was some “deadwood.” But today one key component of the annual evaluation of a professor is “professional development.” This means publications and conference presentations (and attendance).
    Actually, I agree that universities have made improvements on this front. To say that universities have fixed the problem and are free and clear, in my opinion, is an inaccurate assessment of where we currently are.

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Offering up the example of the infamous Ward Churchill is such an unfair insult to the thousands of hard-working academics who, irrespective of their political views, are hard-working, talented, sane, and…not plagiarists.
    I'm not suggesting that all university professors are like Ward Churchill. However, his actions, and the university's response to his actions, are emblematic of a larger problem and the example of Mr. Churchill serves to illustrate a point: systemized tenure leaves us with unaccountable professors who can, if they choose, go off the rocker and be perfectly fine for it. Just don't piss the media off....that'll get ya fired.


    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    As for university presidents having no power, that is in part true. It’s the chancellor who controls the money, but even he or she answers to the board of regents or trustees. But you are very much mistaken if you think that faculty members make the major decisions about anything. That’s a preposterously false claim.
    The point was that university presidents don't have the normal power that, for instance, a CEO would have. Universities are structured inefficiently. We can quibble about the specific powers faculty has vs what it doesn't have - I can assure you it's much more than relative employees at private sector corporations - however that's not the central issue. What other organization on the face of the planet is has adopted such a structure? That is the interesting question.

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    College Athletics -[/I]Irrelevant to a discussion of the Academy itself.
    Universities run their athletic departments, and they benefit from them. They should be scrutinized for them as well. Also, the amount of systematic rule-bending that occurs on behalf of student athletes amounts to nothing less than academic fraud, committed by the institutions themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    5. Grad Students-Regarding grad students as “slave labor,” sometimes this is so. Sometimes they do all the work, but their major professor takes the credit. Far more often, however, professors nurture their students and help them along, adding them, for example, as second (or third, etc.) authors in articles.

    What do grad students earn in return? First, they are paid stipends if they’re teaching assistants or running a lab. Second, they’re gaining invaluable training on the daily work of doing scholarly research. Third, they are making lifelong contacts in their field, connections that will be valuable for the rest of their careers. It’s an apprenticeship, and it’s difficult.
    One of the main arguments for slavery, back in the day, went something like this..."sure, some slave masters are brutal, but most are really kind to their slaves. They treat them well, give them a place to stay, give them hot meals, it's a win-win for everyone."

    IDK, that line of thinking just sounded familiar when I read your reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post

    BTW, since you mentioned international students, I think it’s important to note that many of these students are their countries’ academic superstars and that this is a win-win for everybody unless the student’s English is exceptionally poor. (But universities have required English-language training courses for these students.)

    The work grad students do spells “opportunity.” Nobody makes them be a T.A.; it’s the beginning of “professional development.” They want to do the work.
    Somebody explain how we, the American People, win by subsidizing the education of foreigners in our schools? Shouldn't their spot go to an American?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post

    I laughed when I read “boutique” because that’s so true. Especially from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out, though, there really isn’t any comparison between grad seminars and undergrad classes. The student populations are different, and the purposes are too. Training beginning scholars in their disciplines is of paramount importance, don’t you see? Those grad students, many of them, anyway, will one day themselves be the distinguished professors.
    There is a reason why so many undergrad courses are called “service courses.” They are the “core curriculum.” Part of the work of the Academy is providing service to the institution and/or the state. There is an enormous difference between undergrad courses, and I’m not sure, given your criticism of the size of grad seminars, that you understand this.
    The point was that undue preference is given to these boutique classes, from a budgetary perspective.


    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    6. University Admissions-University admissions are not always unfair; in fact, by and large, they are fair. Achievement is not always or even usually ignored, and race and gender are not necessarily main factors. Can they be an “extra card” to play? Yes. So can a particular skill or talent. But I can tell you too that just as admission decisions are often done by formula, the awarding of scholarships and their configurations are very, very often done by computer programs that have set formulas. You really can’t overgeneralize this way.
    There are so many "extra cards" dealt out that the entire process has become watered down and meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post

    7. University Tuition- Again, tuition decisions are not made by the Academy. In the case of state institutions rather than private ones, look to the Legislature and its higher education coordinating boards.

    [/FONT][/SIZE]
    The university controls its own costs. The legislature controls the university's revenue (via tuition levels or tax subsidies) based on the universities costs. So, while universities do not directly make decisions with respect to tuition levels, they are indeed responsible for the rising tuition rates we are seeing since the legislature will respond to their cost levels.
    Last edited by Peter Grimm; 01-11-13 at 07:28 PM.

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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Aside from the part where they are becoming a regular part of the institution, teaching courses normally taught by actual professors (who would make a decent wage), thus decreasing the pool of possible applicants able to get a full-time, full pay position. Yes, it's a problem.
    There are more than enough students for everybody. That's not the problem. The problem is that the current model costs too much.

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    Re: Technology and education

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Aside from the part where they are becoming a regular part of the institution, teaching courses normally taught by actual professors (who would make a decent wage), thus decreasing the pool of possible applicants able to get a full-time, full pay position. Yes, it's a problem.
    Yes, it is. There articles out there on this topic pro/con and including several published in the Chronicle of Higher Education should Peter Grimm wish to familiarize himself.

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    Re: Technology and education

    One of the main arguments for slavery, back in the day, went something like this..."sure, some slave masters are brutal, but most are really kind to their slaves. They treat them well, give them a place to stay, give them hot meals, it's a win-win for everyone."

    IDK, that line of thinking just sounded familiar when I read your reply.
    Have you been a GTA or a GRA? That question is only rhetorical, because I think we know better.

    I get my tuition knocked out, living expenses and then some (which already destroyed your argument on slavery), gives me additional experience, and continues to give me contact with professors on multiple levels. Many universities are kind enough to say that they do not allow students to be employed outside of the university, and their material compensation frequently demonstrates how much they want academic excellence. Anecdotally, do you know what the most frequent comment has been to me and my colleagues so far? "We know you're busy people. If the workload continues to go over this bar, please remind your Professor that you have to concentrate on your studies." Then, when by chance I meet said professor for the first time discussing a course I am to be a TA in:"I remember what it was like being a graduate student!"
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 01-11-13 at 09:09 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Technology and education

    I have two graduate degrees. My last, an M.S. I obtained through an accredited on-line program. When the program began students interacted with each other in a cohort. There were students from various parts of the country in the program. The cohort continued throughout each class in the program until the last semester when students had to complete an internship. However, to me, that wasn't the best part of the program. Being able to complete classwork any time of the day or night was what sold me. I never set foot in a classroom, yet engaged in the most effective learning experience of my life.

    I learned much more in an on-line program where I had more time to reflect on my learning than I ever did sitting in a classroom. One thing I found out early on is that there is more work to complete in an on-line program as opposed to sitting in a classroom to receive information.

    The one and only drawback IMO is that it didn't help with making professional contacts.
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