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D. S. Koelling

A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part I - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 40 views

  • at least 45 percent of undergraduates demonstrated "no improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills in the first two years of college, and 36 percent showed no progress in four years."
  • What good does it do to increase the number of students in college if the ones who are already there are not learning much? Would it not make more sense to improve the quality of education before we increase the quantity of students?
  • students in math, science, humanities, and social sciences—rather than those in more directly career-oriented fields—tend to show the most growth in the areas measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment, the primary tool used in their study. Also, students learn more from professors with high expectations who interact with them outside of the classroom. If you do more reading, writing, and thinking, you tend to get better at those things, particularly if you have a lot of support from your teachers.
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  • Increasingly, undergraduates are not prepared adequately in any academic area but often arrive with strong convictions about their abilities.
  • It has become difficult to give students honest feedback.
  • As the college-age population declines, many tuition-driven institutions struggle to find enough paying customers to balance their budgets. That makes it necessary to recruit even more unprepared students, who then must be retained, shifting the burden for academic success away from the student and on to the teacher.
  • Although a lot of emphasis is placed on research on the tenure track, most faculty members are not on that track and are retained on the basis of what students think of them.
  • Students gravitate to lenient professors and to courses that are reputedly easy, particularly in general education.
  • It is impossible to maintain high expectations for long unless everyone holds the line in all comparable courses—and we face strong incentives not to do that.
  • Formerly, full-time, tenured faculty members with terminal degrees and long-term ties to the institution did most of the teaching. Such faculty members not only were free to grade honestly and teach with conviction but also had a deep understanding of the curriculum, their colleagues, and the institutional mission. Now undergraduate teaching relies primarily on graduate students and transient, part-time instructors on short-term contracts who teach at multiple institutions and whose performance is judged almost entirely by student-satisfaction surveys.
  • Contingent faculty members, who are paid so little, routinely teach course loads that are impossible to sustain without cutting a lot of corners.
  • Many colleges are now so packed with transient teachers, and multitasking faculty-administrators, that it is impossible to maintain some kind of logical development in the sequencing of courses.
  • Students may be enjoying high self-esteem, but college teachers seem to be suffering from a lack of self-confidence.
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    So many issues here to deal with. Good read.
Kimberly LaPrairie

YOUniversityTV: Tutorial - 0 views

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    Video tours of college campuses aren't a new phenomenon; many universities have provided video tours and information about their campuses to prospective students for years. But Boynton Beach, Fla., startup YOUniversity LLC is hoping to draw users to its sites by offering prospective college students an unbiased, third-party source of information about hundreds of schools in an interactive, social environment. "Most of our employees are recent grads, who are best able to share their campus experiences with others getting ready to go to college," said co-founder Ron Reis, who launched the company in January 2008. The 17-person staff has three full-time camera crews that travel around the country, shooting high-definition footage of college campuses and the surrounding area. They've already taped more than 400 top schools throughout the country and have interviewed administrators, faculty, and students about their campus experience. "They've done a really good job, and they seem to have found a niche market that people really need," said Gordon Chavis, associate vice president for undergraduate admissions at the University of Central Florida
Kurt Schmidt

A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part 2 - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 43 views

  • But, in the past few generations, the imagery and rhetoric of academic marketing have cultivated a belief that college will be, if not decadent, at least primarily recreational: social activities, sporting events, and travel.
  • Increasingly, students are buying an "experience" instead of earning an education, and, in the competition to attract customers, that's what's colleges are selling.
  • a growing percentage of students are arriving at college without ever having written a research paper, read a novel, or taken an essay examination. And those students do not perceive that they have missed something in their education; after all, they have top grades. In that context, the demands of professors for different kinds of work can seem bewildering and unreasonable, and students naturally gravitate to courses with more-familiar expectations.
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  • Students increasingly are pressured to go to college not because they want to learn (much less become prepared for the duties of citizenship), but because they and their parents believe—perhaps rightly—that not going will exclude them from middle-class jobs.
  • At most universities, a student is likely to be unknown to the professor and would expect to feel like a nuisance, a distraction from more important work.
  • As academic expectations have decreased, social programming and extracurricular activities have expanded to fill more than the available time. That is particularly the case for residential students, for whom the possibility of social isolation is a source of great anxiety.
  • College has become unaffordable for most people without substantial loans; essentially they are mortgaging their future in the expectation of greater earnings. In order to reduce borrowing, more and more students leave class early or arrive late or neglect assignments, because they are working to provide money for tuition or living expenses.
  • As students' anxiety about the future increases, no amount of special pleading for general-education courses on history, literature, or philosophy—really anything that is not obviously job-related—will convince most students that they should take those courses seriously.
  • But at the major universities, most professors are too busy to care about individual students, and it is easy to become lost amid a sea of equally disenchanted undergraduates looking for some kind of purpose—and not finding it.
  • we need to make "rigorous and high-quality educational experiences a moral imperative."
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    ". . . we need to make 'rigorous and high-quality educational experiences a moral imperative.'"
Abir Qasem

A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part 2 - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 56 views

shared by Abir Qasem on 09 Apr 11 - No Cached
  • Increasingly, students are buying an "experience" instead of earning an education, and, in the competition to attract customers, that's what's colleges are selling.
  • The common experience is that getting admitted is the most exhausting part. After that, the struggle mainly is financial. But at the major universities, most professors are too busy to care about individual students, and it is easy to become lost amid a sea of equally disenchanted undergraduates looking for some kind of purpose—and not finding it.
  • Academically Adrift ends on a depressing note: "A renewed commitment to improving undergraduate education is unlikely to occur without changes to the organizational cultures of undergraduate and universities." Institutions are inherently conservative; they do not change easily. Many leaps of faith are necessary, and the people involved—teachers, students, parents, administrators, lawmakers, and others—have so many fundamental disagreements about the purposes of higher education that it is hard to know where to begin the conversation. It's far easier to make cuts to an inherently broken system than to begin building something new.
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  • The student as consumer
  • Changing forms of literac
  • Declining academic engagement.
  • Alienation from professors
  • Expanding social and extracurricular commitments.
  • The escalating cost of education.
  • Students feeling disillusioned, bored, apathetic, scared, and trapped
  • Anxiety about future employment.
Javier E

The Default Major - Skating Through B-School - NYTimes.com - 41 views

  • Dr. Mason, who teaches economics at the University of North Florida, believes his students are just as intelligent as they’ve always been. But many of them don’t read their textbooks, or do much of anything else that their parents would have called studying. “We used to complain that K-12 schools didn’t hold students to high standards,” he says with a sigh. “And here we are doing the same thing ourselves.”
  • all evidence suggests that student disengagement is at its worst in Dr. Mason’s domain: undergraduate business education.
  • “Business education has come to be defined in the minds of students as a place for developing elite social networks and getting access to corporate recruiters,”
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  • It’s an attitude that Dr. Khurana first saw in M.B.A. programs but has migrated, he says, to the undergraduate level.
  • Second, in management and marketing, no strong consensus has emerged about what students ought to learn or how they ought to learn it.
  • Gains on the C.L.A. closely parallel the amount of time students reported spending on homework. Another explanation is the heavy prevalence of group assignments in business courses: the more time students spent studying in groups, the weaker their gains in the kinds of skills the C.L.A. measures.
  • The pedagogical theory is that managers need to function in groups, so a management education without such experiences would be like medical training without a residency. While some group projects are genuinely challenging, the consensus among students and professors is that they are one of the elements of business that make it easy to skate through college.
  • “We’ve got students who don’t read, and grow up not reading,” he says. “There are too many other things competing for their time. The frequency and quantity of drinking keeps getting higher. We have issues with depression. Getting students alert and motivated — even getting them to class, to be honest with you — it’s a challenge.”
  • “A lot of classes I’ve been exposed to, you just go to class and they do the PowerPoint from the book,” he says. “It just seems kind of pointless to go when (a) you’re probably not going to be paying much attention anyway and (b) it would probably be worth more of your time just to sit with your book and read it.”
  • “It seems like now, every take-home test you get, you can just go and Google. If the question is from a test bank, you can just type the text in, and somebody out there will have it and you can just use that.”
  • This is not senioritis, he says: this is the way all four years have been. In a typical day, “I just play sports, maybe go to the gym. Eat. Probably drink a little bit. Just kind of goof around all day.” He says his grade-point average is 3.3.
  • concrete business skills tend to expire in five years or so as technology and organizations change.
  • History and philosophy, on the other hand, provide the kind of contextual knowledge and reasoning skills that are indispensable for business students.
  • when they hand in papers, they’re marked up twice: once for content by a professor with specialized expertise, and once for writing quality by a business-communication professor.
  • a national survey of 259 business professors who had been teaching for at least 10 years. On average, respondents said they had reduced the math and analytic-thinking requirements in their courses. In exchange, they had increased the number of requirements related to computer skills and group presentations.
  • what about employers? What do they want? According to national surveys, they want to hire 22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors. Most Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, in fact, don’t even offer colleges business majors.
Rich Robles

News: The 'Prior Learning' Edge - Inside Higher Ed - 15 views

  • An examination of the educational records of more than 62,000 adult undergraduates at 48 undergraduate finds that students who had sought and been awarded academic credit by their institutions for "prior learning" earned in the military, corporate training and other non-classroom settings were more than twice as likely to graduate, and to persist even if they did not graduate, than were their peers who had not earned such credit.
  • “CAEL’s research confirms that prior-learning assessment can help adults move faster toward their associate’s and baccalaureate degrees. We need to see more institutions offering this option and more adults participating in it.”
  • The concept of "prior learning assessment" is decades old, and it has grown to include multiple types of mechanisms for measuring knowledge and skills that students have accumulated through various types of formal and less formal formats, such corporate training, work experience, and independent study. The most common types of assessments include standardized exams developed by the College Board (the College Level Examination Program exams and Advanced Placement exams), the American Council of Education's guides for recognizing credit for instructional programs offered in the military and by employers, and institutional reviews of individualized student portfolios.
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  • credit awarded through prior learning assessments offers an opportunity to entice adults back to college with the prospect that they can build on learning they've already gained and reduce both the time and money they might have to expend to earn a credential.
  • "Do PLA students have higher graduation rates because PLA enhances the self-esteem and motivation of students by showing them that they have already mastered college-level learning? Is it also because PLA students already possess characteristics that are associated with better academic outcomes? What institutional policies are influencing whether and how students are using (or not using) PLA, and whether or not this helps them achieve a shorter time to degree?"
anonymous

What are the Disadvantages of Online Schooling for Higher Education? - 18 views

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    "hat Are the Disadvantages of Online Schooling for Higher Education? Today, online schooling for higher education is prevalent across many fields. While there are several benefits to online schooling, such as flexibility and convenience, there are also real and perceived disadvantages. Explore some of the potential drawbacks of online learning. View 10 Popular Schools » Online Schooling In 2012, about a quarter of undergraduate college students were enrolled in distance education courses as part -- if not all -- of their studies, according to a 2014 report from the National Center for Education Statistics. That same data found that 29.8% of graduate students in this country are enrolled in some or all distance learning classes as well. A 2013 report from Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC, pointed out that approximately 86.5% of higher education institutions offer distance learning classes. Clearly, online schooling is commonplace. Disadvantages: Student Perspective Despite advantages, online schooling is not the right fit for every student. Taking online courses is generally believed to require more self-discipline than completing a degree on campus, a belief that is supported by SCHEV -- the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Because online schooling options often allow students to complete much of the coursework at their own pace, students must be motivated to stay on schedule and manage their time accordingly. Other potential disadvantages from a student's viewpoint may include the following: Less Instructional Support Although instructors are available to students via e-mail, telephone, Web discussion boards and other online means, some students may see the lack of face-to-face interaction and one-on-one instruction as a challenge. A lack of communication or miscommunication between instructors and students may frustrate students who are struggling with course materials. That could be exacerbated by the casual nature
Casey Finnerty

The Poor Quality of an Undergraduate Education - NYTimes.com - 40 views

  • large numbers of the students were making their way through college with minimal exposure to rigorous coursework, only a modest investment of effort and little or no meaningful improvement in skills like writing and reasoning.
  • Simply put: academic investments are a lower priority.
  • When 18-year-olds are emboldened to see themselves in this manner, many look for ways to attain an educational credential effortlessly and comfortably. And they are catered to accordingly. The customer is always right.
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  • Too many institutions, for instance, rely primarily on student course evaluations to assess teaching. This creates perverse incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades
  • Most of all, we hope that during this commencement season, our faculty colleagues will pause to consider the state of undergraduate learning and our collective responsibility to increase academic rigor on our campuses.
Randolph Hollingsworth

Do Majors Matter? - Inside Higher Ed - 0 views

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    Sociology and foreign languages at the top of undergraduate majors if you are interested in seeing gains in critical thinking skills in higher ed - could be some pedagogical models for folks in the natural sciences to emulate since they were at the bottom!
Celia Emmelhainz

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky - 1 views

    • Celia Emmelhainz
       
      And we've done all of that with education!
  • An organization with cost disease can use lower paid workers, increase the number of consumers per worker, subsidize production, or increase price
  • Cheap graduate students let a college lower the cost of teaching the sections while continuing to produce lectures as an artisanal product, from scratch, on site, real time
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  • We ask students to read the best works we can find, whoever produced them and where, but we only ask them to listen to the best lecture a local employee can produce that morning.
    • Celia Emmelhainz
       
      Which is why I think amazing lectures and lecture-notes followed by in person discussion could be powerful. Like a reading group (aka english class) but for video.
  • he very things the US News list of top colleges prizes—low average class size, ratio of staff to students—mean that any institution that tries to create a cost-effective education will move down the list.
  • hese are where most students are, and their experience is what college education is mostly like.
  • a good chunk of the four thousand institutions you haven’t heard of provide an expensive but mediocre education
  • That’s because the fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it.
  • OOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies. Those earlier inventions systems started out markedly inferior to the high-cost alternative: records were scratchy, PCs were crashy. But first they got better, then they got better than that, and finally, they got so good, for so cheap, that they changed people’s sense of what was possible
  • n the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it.
  • Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better.
smilex3md

10 Signs You're in Trouble at College - US News - 24 views

  • 1. Your average is below C or you're getting D's in some of your courses.
  • 2. You're constantly asking for (and even getting) extensions and incompletes.
  • 3. You can't follow what the professor says in lecture—ever.
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  • 4. You're spending every waking moment of the day doing the reading or the homework.
  • 5. You're living off your credit cards.
  • 6. You can't get through the basic requirements.
  • 7. You're going home every weekend or on the cellphone with your parents five times a day.
  • 8. You can't get through the day without some medication.
  • 9. You spend every waking moment on some medium.
  • 10. You feel overwhelmed, all of the time.
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    I will share this with my undergraduates next semester.
kmc2247

Scholarship Search Tool and College Scholarship Finder App - 25 views

shared by kmc2247 on 30 May 16 - No Cached
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    Scholly is the simple, comprehensive and accuratescholarship matching platform that has helped students win over $35 Million in scholarship awards. Create an account, and turn the long months of searching for free money for college, into minutes. START SEARCHING! If you're a high school senior, current undergraduate, or graduate student in the U.S.
Kate Pok

Intersections: History and New Media: Wiki in the History Classroom - 5 views

  • Students did not agree on the merits of the wiki. Some were deeply offended when other students eliminated or modified their contributions. Others found the chance to pick apart other’s words and conclusions exhilarating. Regardless, most students seemed to grasp the important lesson I hoped to share: that history is the conversation we have about the past. History is about the authorial choices scholars make. History is about the evidence included and the evidence excluded. By asking students to participate in a joint-writing exercise, they were compelled to pay attention to the language others used, the phrasings and structure employed, the anecdotes emphasized, the facts obscured. I told them the story of an undergraduate English professor I had who spent an entire class session discussing why Shakespeare began Macbeth with the word “when”. Words matter. Words shape arguments. They determine meaning, and they form our view of the world around us, including our view of the history of the world around us. Students also came to appreciate that history was not a bag of facts we historians force them to memorize. Instead, as Appleby, Hunt, and Jacob suggest, history is the product of that collective effort of truth seeking.
  • I still caution students about using Wikipedia. But I think the wiki can help our students see themselves as part of that democratic conversation so important to our profession. Throwing their ideas into the ring for others to challenge forces students to defend their ideas, modify their conclusions, and reconsider their assumptions. The wiki, while not perfect, may help us change the way our students think about history. It may help them be more attentive to language and argument. Importantly, it may help them value civil discourse as a civic virtue. These are good lessons for history students and for their professors. —Kevin B. Sheets is associate professor of history at the State University of New York, College at Cortland and project director of the “American Dream Project,” a Teaching American History grant-based project in upstate New York. He regularly teaches courses in historical methods and American intellectual and cultural history.
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    Great description of the merits of using a wiki in a classroom.
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