I really appreciated this, just because when I read Maria Bustillos article I definitely did not feel like most of it was talking about college education as I experienced it. My college education was anonymous and a lot of it happened online, even though I attended large lectures (that was where I read journal articles, interacted with students from classes on blogging or posting assignments, took Moodle quizzes, downloaded slides from the lectures, did research, and often turned in papers)
I think the biggest problem with MOOCS is that I need someone I know to take them with me for me to motivate myself to keep up. When I have a friend who meets me once a week for coffee and to work on/discuss the class in person? I feel like it is just as edifying an experience as was the actual university experience where I attended. I've taken a couple of Coursera classes this way, and I was immensely grateful to be able to have that opportunity.
Obviously there are a lot of kinks being worked out, but I think there is a ton of potential here. I like the idea that MOOCs may make the current establishment nervous.
@Dr.Dinosaur I think the point from this article would be that your professor of a class of over 200 probably isn't able to write you a very personal recommendation either. And I very rarely had a class under that size at public university. I have one college professor who I believe knew my name and something about my personality and work ethic - and that was from having two semesters of a less-commonly taught language with her.
Even discussions with T.A.s, which happened once or twice a week, had between 30-40 people. There was very little interaction. From my university experience, I don't know anyone that had a professor write them a recommendation for any sort of job or internship. (you interviewed and completed internships so that you could have someone to recommend you when you graduated - that was very blatantly the point of the entire thing)
@barnhouse I guess my problem with these critiques is that they are so far from my own experience. Many of my lectures had so many students, you had to sit on the floor if you didn't get there 10 minutes early. The learning I did was mostly independent - reading and writing and thinking about what I was reading and writing - and my professors never really interacted with that process.
Lectures took attendance with clickers/having you hand in quizzes at the front of the class because that was the only way to get students to attend. The lectures were mainly outlines of what we had been assigned to read. I was in the honors program, which generally meant I wrote 12 page papers when my classmates wrote 10 page papers. That was my professors idea of differentiation!
To me, it is an argument to save something I have never known. (I am 24 years old) Maybe my school was an anomaly, but I know a lot of people with similar stories.
I work as a high school teacher now, and I definitely DO know and acknowledge that personal exchanges and interaction over learning are hugely important. I see it with my students every day! And I knew that myself in high school. College though? Was not a wise use of my time and money in the sense of learning anything. (it has helped me get the job I have, so I guess job training?)
@barnhouse Sure we could, and we should! We haven't made that a public priority in recent history though. I guess I'm a little jaded as to whether that will change.
And I know I could have gone to smaller state school, but those schools in my state had less-respected programs and less name recognition. I know in some states it is different - but saying "well you can go to a less prestigious school with small classes or a larger, more regarded program at a large university" is not a choice talented students should have to face, when they qualify for more competitive institutions.
I'm just basically the pessimist in the room who thinks the ENTIRE system is broken. I'll be sitting over here by myself, mumbling about student loans and grade inflation.
@hershmire As I read this, I just kept thinking "how wonderful for those of you at Small Private Liberal Arts Colleges!"
I don't know if I ever sat in a room with just 20 people. The only time I went to visit a professor during officer hours, I waited outside while he complained to his wife that some student was waiting for him, so he couldn't leave yet.
My lectures and exams could probably have all been delivered via the internet, and I don't think they would have lost much for it...And this was at a well-ranked "top" public university!
@ellbeejay I read Atlas Shrugged in less than 3 days while in high school also! One night, I was supposed to be at Tae Kwon Do - only this was when I was old enough to drive myself, so I got into my uniform and then just drove to the other side of the block and read Atlas Shrugged in the car by the overhead light.
I liked it, because I was 17. I would probably still enjoy it in a trashy way. I love beautiful writing, but I do not mind bad writing either? I mean, I read the entire Twilight series. I put this in the same category. Also I always thought it was some crazy utopia, and didn't apparently get that she meant it to be a realistic philosophical argument.
@davidwatts Most studies show that people are really bad at birth control - forgetful about taking pills at the exact same time every day, not very good at putting condoms on, etc. I'm a reasonably well-off, professional twenty-something-year-old: I got an IUD because I was legitimately worried I would f-up other forms of birth control and accidentally become pregnant. If that wasn't an option for me though (and it isn't for everyone, my sister for example)...
I was a camp counselor at a language immersion camp the summer after my sophomore year of college. It was the worst job I have ever had. I had no image of camp counselors as going off to drunken campfires, as I had never myself attended camp, but it was pretty much indentured servitude. I was there for a month, and we got one day off. I got an hour off each day. We secretly called the campers Satan Children in the target language (they were). The camp was seriously understaffed, and there were major cultural differences regarding child supervision between the American staff (mostly female) and the native speaker staff members. One of the 40 year old language teacher counselors kept hitting on me, tried to get me to move back to his home country with him, and tried to make me pretend to be his Russian girlfriend when I got stuck in a canoe with him looking for a lost canoe? I don't even know.
I completely intend to drink when I am pregnant on occasion, maybe because I don't like to do as I'm told, but more so because I don't like being told what to do by people who are basing their directives on alarmist fears. Also, I know my mom had a drink every once in a while, so maybe it is inherited?
No, it's probably the not wanting to do what I'm told thing. I think it would be HILARIOUS to go into a restaurant very visibly pregnant and order a glass of wine.
Hey, two years of college drinking is pretty good.