Monday, February 15, 2016

Speedy Rant and Speedier Epiphany. From Trish in Texarkana.

While writing an exam for a class, I checked to see if any of them had even looked at the review quiz, the review notes, the class powerpoints, anything at all. Nothing.

This is nothing new. Same story, new term. They will do poorly. I will be discouraged. They will not learn.

Then I had the Epiphany. I had just left a meeting, where we were creating a program so that students can quick quick quick get a degree in less than 2 years. The advertising is along the lines of the students can acquire credits quickly.

So, if they are being told that education is like a Happy Meal, then can I really blame them for not doing anything for class? We all know education is a slow process, but they don't.

Trish from Texarkana

33 comments:

  1. I hate hate hate it when places advertise a *degree* in such and such time, as though the degree is the thing rather than the education that it is supposed to certify. When the marketers advertise a degree rather than an education, they are part of the problem.

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  3. I had to take summer courses and course overloads in order to graduate on time. I found that unfortunate, since I realized that by having more time, maybe I would have learned more, or at least I would have retained the information better. However, I didn't think that learning faster meant that I shouldn't bother. On the contrary, I had to work harder. I understand that nothing can fully make up for the time factor, but it stands to reason that in order to get any kind of satisfactory results, when there is less time, one has to work harder.

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  4. I quote from “Tomorrow's Professor,” a discussion group hosted at Stanford. I read passages like what follows then check my “countdown” app that tells me how many more days I have until I retire—and then I feel guilty and sad.

    “Millennials view higher education as an expensive but economically necessary consumer good, not a privilege earned by hard work and outstanding performance. They (or their parents) "purchase" it for the instrumental purpose of opening well-paying occupational doors on graduation, so they feel entitled to their degree for the cost of the credits."
    Tomorrow's Professor Msg.#1047 Teaching the Millennial Generation
    http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/tomprof/posting.php?ID=1047

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    1. One solution to this would be to actually offer some kind of "tickets to privilege" that do not require any work. The price would be huge, but still below the level that makes the "ticket" no longer worth it since it makes more sense to just keep the money and live off the interest. That way, the many students who would still have to get normal degrees that require studying would stop complaining so much. Their degrees would cost less than the "ticket", so they would be those who cannot afford the "ticket" or who really want to learn.

      The "ticket" could be called a degree, too. And of course, "ticket holders" would be allowed to get real degrees, even after buying the "ticket", if they are willing to work honestly towards the real degree.

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    2. The thing about privilege, though, is that it isn't bought, it simply IS.

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  5. Less than two years? How is that possible?

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  6. I'm guessing they give credit for "life experience". Just my guess.
    Academaniac

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    1. I really, really hope you're joking. Places don't do this, right?

      I regularly have sex in a bad neighborhood. That should fulfill my gender studies requirements for sure.

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    2. Well, some places advertise "credit for life experience." I can't be arsed to Google it just now, but I distinctly remember hearing/reading it on/in popular media.

      The degrees I should have for "life experience"...

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    3. This is like how I feel about Community Colleges that can't give out doctorates giving out honorary doctorates.

      It's an insult to all the people who worked hard to EARN those honorary doctorates from four year colleges.

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    4. My Cc claims to offer this, though it is tough to get. One of my students was a computer programmer for her job and she applied for "life experience" to get out of a 100- level required computer class. That, I think, is a fair use of the policy. The "I read a book this summer so I don't need to take English" eh, not so much.

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    5. My university, if they offered life experience credits, would give you the credits but make you pay for them. They're scumbags like that.

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    6. I know one person for whom it made perfect sense to enter an M.A. program without a bachelor's degree, but with two years of secretarial school. Let's just say that she had risen to the position of an editor of a publication the name of which you would recognize with those credentials. She didn't bother to finish the M.A. because she ended up doing what's called lateral entry into the foreign service (pretty rare in itself, and exceedingly rare without a college degree).

      I think she was (was, sadly; she died young) the exception that proved the rule that "life experience" credits only occasionally make sense (but I would also certainly grant the exception Academic Charlotte Anne mentions; on the other hand, I think *credit* for life experience is something a bit different from allowing someone to enroll in a more advanced class on the basis of life experience).

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  7. "I regularly have sex in a bad neighborhood. "

    Is that some sort of euphemism or slang for some specific sex act?? Like "We decided to watch Netflix and chill in a bad neighborhood."

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    1. I'm thinking it involves a misplaced modifier, something like "I shot an elephant in my pajamas."

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    2. OPH, don't be startin'. Fight me, bro.

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    3. Go back to the main page and look above this post. Apparently Tempe is the bad neighborhood.

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    4. "I'm thinking it involves a misplaced modifier, something like "I shot an elephant in my pajamas.""
      or:
      ...bad neighbor's hood?

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    5. All this talk of elephants reminds me of my economics professor opening a lecture with,

      "What do you do if you have a pink elephant in your living room?"

      One student said, "Shoot it."

      "Well, great, now you have a DEAD pink elephant in your living room!"

      The correct answer was to charge people five bucks to see the pink elephant. Something about... externalities or... something.

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    6. It's because they can't confer titles like Knight or Esquire. Such "doctorates" seem to fill a need for a certain degree of recognition for a certain social standing or level of accomplishment that is clearly above average but by no means extraordinary. In other societies, such "honorary doctors" would probably be members of the gentry or minor nobility, or something like that. If a society is supposedly egalitarian or democratic, that doesn't mean that some people don't want, or deserve, to distinguish themselves from the masses. If very few honorifics are available, some people will just try to usurp those instead of just being Excellencies and Right Honourables.

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    7. "Well, we saw this nation that had a very old, very stupid system of honoring bloodlines, vainglory, and fertility, and we thought, yaknow, yo, lemme get some o' dat."

      I actually really like this explanation because I feel that it vindicates my feelings towards honorary doctorates.

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    8. To reduce this problem, it would make sense to create some honorifics for people with more modest accomplishments or to use those that already exist in theory but are not commonly used. For instance, why can't people who only have a Master's Degree or a Bachelor's Degree use a honorific for their own degree the way people with doctorates are calling themselves Doctors? If doing that was normal, fewer people would insist on becoming Doctors just to have a title. After all, they earned those degrees.

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    9. I would settle for making them put an asterisk next to "Doctor". That'd be pretty funny.

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    10. I think instead of honorary degrees, institutions of higher ed should bestow gold stars and smiley faces.

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    11. I mean, my degree already feels pretty honorary.

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    12. I think it might be more an ambiguous than a misplaced modifier, but I'll leave that up to those even more grammar nerdish than I (I teach them to think, think, I tell you! Well, I try, and worrying too much about their syntax is a swamp from which I would never emerge should I wade in too far).

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  8. One does not simply walk into a bad neighbourhood...

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  9. And getting back to the subject (a couple of dozen posts later): Trish, it strikes me that your exam is already written. Just give them the review quiz. A few of them will look at it just before the exam; even fewer will look at it soon and carefully enough for it to do much good; I see no problem with rewarding those students for their good (or at least minimally acceptable) study habits.

    And the frustration of those who glanced at it but didn't really pay much attention if and when they realize they had the exam available to them days before the fact might be a bit fun to watch (okay; I'm being mean there, but not that mean).

    Of course, you can only do this once (per term, maybe per 2-4 years), but why not? If word gets around, the next class might actually look at the study materials.

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    1. Oh my. That's good.

      If Trish insists on delivering some exam-quality exam, she can make the review quiz part of the exam and take the rest from what she would have given in the first place.

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  10. That is exactly what I did. I even told them that review quiz questions will reappear on the exam. 5 out of 21 took up my offer.

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