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High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the on-my-own dept.

Education 82

lpress writes UCLA conducts an annual survey of first-time, full-time college freshman and this year they included questions about the use of online education sites like Coursera and The Khan Academy. It turns out that over 40 percent of the incoming freshmen were frequently or occasionally assigned to use an online instructional website during the past year and nearly 70 percent had used online sites on their own. Students enrolling in historically black colleges were much more likely than others to have used online teaching material. They also compile a "habits of mind" index, and conclude that "Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning." The survey covers many other characteristics of incoming freshmen — you can download the full report here

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Of course (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496155)

Of course hose who push them selves are more likely to succeed. What kind of idiot do you have to be to not know that?

It used to be that those who went to college were the ones. Then masters and phd's. Now you need a 4 year degree to work at best buy. Soon you will need a college degree to pick blue berries.

The question is how high can we raise the bar before it collapses? Already we have to import illegals to do jobs that teenagers should be doing.

Re:Of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496199)

It used to be that those who went to college were the ones. Then masters and phd's. Now you need a 4 year degree to work at best buy. Soon you will need a college degree to pick blue berries.

Mainly because of the 'Everybody's gotta go to college!' nonsense. This is perpetuated by ignorant and greedy employers, people who have no idea what education is and think it's all about getting jobs, and the government for letting people who shouldn't be in college or university get loans and grants. If you're entering college/university with a 'I want to get a job!' mentality, you need to rethink your plans and go to a trade school or something, as you're just helping turn colleges into poor imitations of trade schools. Why wouldn't colleges seek to accommodate people who just want half-assed job training? It means they get more money.

and trade schools are roped into the college syste (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47497069)

and trade schools are roped into the college system as well.

Now I think that tech / trades schools can be better off by not being tied down to the old college degree system. At least they have way less filler and fluff classes that other schools have.

Re:and trade schools are roped into the college sy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500201)

Agreed. However a well-rounded education is something that everyone should receive. I'd suggest raising the bar in middle and high schools to cover current 12-year curriculum in 11-years worth of class time and including some lower-level university courses for the rest of the time.

Re:Of course (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 5 months ago | (#47497747)

Why wouldn't colleges seek to accommodate people who just want half-assed job training? It means they get more money.

Elite colleges are similar to luxury brands in the sense that part of their perceived value is derived from their selectivity and exclusivity. If everyone can get a Harvard or Yale certificate online then the perceived value of a degree from those institutions is reduced. Selectivity and exclusivity allow prices to remain higher, offsetting the gains to be had from more graduates at lower prices per certificate or degree awarded.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47497867)

There aren't many colleges like that. Even ones that would have been decent before are becoming garbage.

Re:Of course (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#47498155)

Right. It's about brand protection. Like Beanie Babies or something. If everybody can get any one they want, the value of rares will plummet.

Re:Of course (2)

solus1232 (958622) | about 5 months ago | (#47496289)

I do agree that many of these requirements are ridiculous and artificial.

However, I wonder if "educational inflation" is really detrimental in the long term. The main problem seems to be the increased cost of education (caused by higher demand) rather than the side effect of creating a more educated population. I wonder if these can actually be treated as separate issues, and effort can be focused on the former.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496301)

The main problem seems to be the increased cost of education (caused by higher demand) rather than the side effect of creating a more educated population.

Nope. The population is not becoming more educated; colleges are dumbing themselves down to become poor imitations of trade schools in an effort to accommodate all these losers that are allowed to get granted/loans and allowed into the colleges.

Education != job training. Education is about increasing one's understanding of the universe. People also confuse education with useless rote memorization, which is another thing that poorly-designed trade schools (most colleges now) have a lot of.

Re:Of course (3, Interesting)

solus1232 (958622) | about 5 months ago | (#47496365)

The main problem seems to be the increased cost of education (caused by higher demand) rather than the side effect of creating a more educated population.

Nope. The population is not becoming more educated; colleges are dumbing themselves down to become poor imitations of trade schools in an effort to accommodate all these losers that are allowed to get granted/loans and allowed into the colleges.

Do you actually believe this? Doesn't this attitude presuppose that a college education provides exactly zero value to students that would have otherwise gone to trade schools or just been happy with a high school diploma.

Perhaps you meant to say that there is some value provided, but it is diminished to the point that it isn't worth the investment in time or money for many students. I do agree with this, and my suggestion was that an alternative perspective on solving this problem could be to try to college education such that the value is increased, and the costs (time and money) are reduced. It's fair to be skeptical of whether or not this could be accomplished, but generally I think that it is better to attempt to try and fail to make progress on hard problems than to sit back and be sure that you will make no progress at all.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496491)

Doesn't this attitude presuppose that a college education provides exactly zero value to students that would have otherwise gone to trade schools or just been happy with a high school diploma.

It supposes that colleges are becoming worse and worse. No real education is being provided. I guess I can't say that absolutely no value is ever provided, but it's barely anything.

I went to a top university and worked extremely hard. I saw plenty of people get filtered out in classes that were basically intended to take out the trash. Universities like this don't allow you to merely memorize material in order to pass, unlike so many colleges now.

And besides that, I simply don't think that most people are intelligent enough to understand complex subjects that require extensive use of critical thinking skills. Most people can't even understand something like the Pythagorean theorem, though, sadly, they think they understand it merely because they're able to solve problems using it; that means they don't even truly know what it means to understand something.

Re:Of course (1)

solus1232 (958622) | about 5 months ago | (#47496791)

And besides that, I simply don't think that most people are intelligent enough to understand complex subjects that require extensive use of critical thinking skills.

This is a very commonly held belief, but it is not well supported by evidence. I would challenge you to question this belief and to read up on this topic.

"The causal effect of education on earning." by David Card and "Instructional Interventions Affecting Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions." by Abrami et. al may be a good starting point.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47497441)

This is a very commonly held belief, but it is not well supported by evidence.

Rather, the opposite is not supported by evidence. Most people simply don't do anything noteworthy (e.g. solve a Millennium prize problem), and fail to understand even moderately complex ideas.

Consider that psychology is largely bad science (subjective, lacking rigor, bias, and coming to arbitrary conclusions based on already flawed data is so insanely common that it's near useless), and that we don't even have a concrete definition of intelligence, so anything you cite won't be all that convincing. Right now, we're in a "I know it when I see it." type of situation, and there is zero evidence that most people are truly intelligent.

Re:Of course (1)

mattwarden (699984) | about 5 months ago | (#47504889)

> Consider that psychology is largely bad science (subjective, lacking rigor, bias, and coming to arbitrary conclusions based on already flawed data is so insanely common that it's near useless)

I assume you are talking about personality psychology and, possibly, developmental psychology. Biopsychology, neurophysiology, psychopharmacology, and cognitive psychology are pretty rigorous.

we need a badges systems for higher EDU (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47497121)

Now we don't need to get rid of all of the old college system but most people will be better off in more community college, tech school, trade school, boot camp (tech school) then the old college. Also need more REAL apprenticeships that are not tied to college and have real work in them (no coffee boy ones)

Re:Of course (2)

mattwarden (699984) | about 5 months ago | (#47496695)

There is some education going on in higher ed, but that is not why people go to college. They go to college to get away from their parents, to live "on their own", to black out from alcohol, to get laid, to get a diploma, get a job, and then supposedly get rich. There is very little impressive thinking going on at the undergraduate level. It is not a mecca of intellectualism by any means.

Re:Of course (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 5 months ago | (#47497263)

The main problem seems to be the increased cost of education (caused by higher demand) rather than the side effect of creating a more educated population.

Nope. The population is not becoming more educated; colleges are dumbing themselves down to become poor imitations of trade schools in an effort to accommodate all these losers that are allowed to get granted/loans and allowed into the colleges.

Do you actually believe this?

Why shouldn't he?

Do you believe that the population is becoming more genuinely educated?

Doesn't this attitude presuppose that a college education provides exactly zero value to students that would have otherwise gone to trade schools or just been happy with a high school diploma.

No, that's looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

The issue is that not everyone has the aptitude for college-level academics. That's just a fact, and it doesn't change just because you lower admission standards or degree standards or throw more money at it.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47498485)

So according to you, only rich kids should be allowed to increase their understanding of the universe, not those "losers" who need grants and loans.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47498505)

I don't know how you could come to that conclusion from reading my comment. I made it quite clear that the people who are the losers are the ones who go simply to get a degree so they can get a job. Most are like that. Those people do not deserve grants or loans, and they cause colleges to become more like trade schools in an effort to satisfy them. This means that even people who want to increase their understanding of the universe will find it much more difficult to do so by going to college, because most colleges will be nothing more than poor imitations of trade schools.

will fail when jail / prison is better then paying (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47497095)

will fail when jail / prison is better then paying back loans at the mc job wage and it comes with free room, board and doctors.

It'll prepare them well for college. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496193)

I've gone to college, but I've also taken four or five MOOC courses. Having experience with both, I think taking the MOOC courses first will prepare American students extremely well.

The first thing the MOOC students will experience are the foreigners. Not just the one or two talented ones who actually deserve to be there, I mean. Rather, they'll encounter all of the others with no ability whatsoever who come from some "developing" nation and who just want a PDF of a meaningless certificate with their name on it. They'll run into the same people in college.

The MOOC will also prepare them well for the crap that these untalented students will spew forth. Just like at a real college, these students won't give a fuck about the material or actually doing any of the course work. They'll put more effort into badgering the lecturers about "what will be on the final exam" than they will into learning the material. This is how the foreigners will behave in college, too.

And the MOOCs will also prepare the college-bound students well for the special treatment that these foreign hacks think they deserve. These foreigners will demand extensions on any assignment deadlines, even well after the deadline has passed. They always manage to find some obscure day of observance in their foreign religions that ends up falling on the due date of any assignment! Not wanting to look "intolerant", the professors will always cave, just like at an actual college.

So as you can see the MOOC experience parallels the college experience quite closely. The MOOC experience will surely help prepare any American student who is considering going to college.

Historically black colleges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496195)

Does that mean what I think it means?

iTunes U (2)

mveloso (325617) | about 5 months ago | (#47496197)

Just want to point out that iTunes U has amazing and free content available to anyone with iTunes. It's unbelievable how easy it is to learn almost anything you want. If you're not taking advantage of it you must be suffering from (in the words of an old colleague) recto-cranial inversion.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496223)

All this amazing content (as you say) locked up in a proprietary hell.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496427)

The content is delivered through RSS. You only need to subscribe to the feeds to get the content. Stanford on iTunes U [stanford.edu] is a great example.

Re:iTunes U (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496537)

No it isn't. In fact, the previous commenter was, in the strictest terms, incorrect: there isn't any content on iTunes U whatsoever. iTunes U is just Apple's proprietary frontend for content that other parties are hosting independently on the open internet. Using iTunes might be a convenient way to browse and discover content, but there are other ways to do so, and iTunes isn't a necessity to access it at all.

Fucking pussies (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 5 months ago | (#47496819)

Jesus christ, shit is free and you're like "oh, my fucking technical skill suck so much that I need content spoon fed into my retinas."

Haven't you heard the good news about Wine? Install it on your lame linux box and run the iTunes installer. You can ask the interwebs how to do it.

Re:Fucking pussies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47498515)

Why would I want to run proprietary garbage?

Re:Fucking pussies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47499151)

I think you've failed to understand the complaint against proprietary software. Ironic for someone expounding stuff that's "free".

Re:Fucking pussies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47499633)

Hey asshole, you're an asshole. Also Steve Jobs is dead and you are still a poor excuse of a lifeform. Go kill yourself.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496243)

So it's free, you say? So I only have to pay hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for some iPhone or iPad that gives me a locked-down, inferior computing experience? Or I just have to buy an Apple laptop for several thousand dollars? Or even just an Apple desktop for several thousand dollars more than the laptops? Wow! That's a fucking great deal! It's only thousands of dollars away from being free! Sweet!

iTunes for Windows (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47496259)

I was under the impression that you could buy a copy of Microsoft Windows for whatever PC you already have and run iTunes in that.

Re:iTunes for Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496293)

Thanks for the totally useless suggestion, tepples, you fucking cockhead. Spending hundreds of dollars on a copy of Windows sure does solve the cost problem! Wow! That's a fucking great deal! It's only hundreds of dollars away from being free! Sweet!

Re:iTunes for Windows (0)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47496315)

Why would you spend money on a copy of Windows? It's on sale in certain places for the low, low price of $0.

Re:iTunes for Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496363)

Thanks for the totally useless suggestion, jellomizer, you fucking cockhead. Downloading malware-ridden copies of Windows that Russians will then use to send spam and commit other criminal activity from my computer that'll result in my Internet being disconnected and me possibly charged and convicted for my unwitting involvement in these crimes sure does solve the cost problem! Wow! That's a fucking great deal! It's only thousands of dollars in fines, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, a decade in prison, and repeated and forced sodomy on a daily basis away from being free! Sweet!

Re:iTunes for Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496575)

You're a fucking douchebag. You understood what the OP meant, now you're just being a difficult Linux neckbeard fucktard. And you wonder why no one listens to you and uses Windows or OSX anyway...it's not because Linux sucks, it's because you do!

Re:iTunes for Windows (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47502013)

Yeah, nobody uses Windows or OSX. Kind of like the asshole elite media types that wonder how conservatives get elected because they don't know anyone that votes conservative. Look at the world around you and realize you inhabit an insignificantly small portion of it.

Hundreds of what country's dollars? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47496699)

For one thing, 120 USD [arstechnica.com] != "hundreds" unless you refer to a non-U.S. currency also called "dollar". For another, if your laptop was purchased from nearly any vendor other than System76, it almost certainly already came with a copy of OS X if made by Apple else Windows.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496395)

Search for iTunes U without iTunes. Use your favorite RSS reader to subscribe to the feed. Enjoy all the content without having to install or use iTunes.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496579)

iTunes U is just a proprietary RSS aggregator. All of "its" content is being hosted elsewhere, by others, in open formats.

Re:iTunes U (3, Interesting)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about 5 months ago | (#47496895)

I don't typically feed the trolls, but I'll bite on this one.
Don't like itunes? Fine. Don't use it.

Material from Khan Academy [youtube.com] and MIT [youtube.com] are freely accessible on youtube.
MIT's Open Courseware got me through DiffEQ (professor was a researcher who had the burden of a single class to justify his presence on campus...).
If there are concerns about vulnerabilities in Flash, I came across multiple helpful documents in plain ol' HTML while I was going to school. A motivated student can find what they need. An idiot will complain about resources that are essentially available at no extra cost to them.

Re:iTunes U (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#47498115)

I downloaded some of the Khan Academy apps from iTunes back when I still used an iOS device. Lo and behold, the backed up 'Itunes Mobile Applications' on my PC are zipfiles. I pulled out the nicely organized and sized-for-mobile Khan Academy videos.

Re:iTunes U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47497097)

So it's free, you say? So I only have to pay hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for some iPhone or iPad that gives me a locked-down, inferior computing experience? Or I just have to buy an Apple laptop for several thousand dollars? Or even just an Apple desktop for several thousand dollars more than the laptops?

Yes. No. No. No.

Re:iTunes U (0)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47501997)

You know, sometimes people need to pay for stuff. have you ever actually asked yourself, honestly, what would happen if everyone was like me and expected everything for free? How often do you apply your "free" expectations to your life outside of technology? Food, gas, transportation, medical care, etc. Or do you truly never pay for those because you either steal it, jump the turnstile and live on welfare (let everyone else pay for you)?

I'm Genuinely Jealous (1)

solus1232 (958622) | about 5 months ago | (#47496245)

I'm genuinely jealous of younger students who have access to these resources. Of course not everyone is going to take advantage of them, but the options for independent learning were severely limited before these movements.

What do people think about the potential for these movements to address the growing costs of quality higher education? Of course Coursera and The Khan Academy are not good enough to be replacements for existing systems (yet), but what is missing and how can we close the gap?

Having, you know, standards might help. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496339)

I've taken several of the online courses. The material is better than one might expect for a free offering, but the credentials are totally worthless. Some of the courses I took had requirements involving peer-graded assignments, quizzes, and timed exams. Everybody who wasn't a filthy scumbag watched the lecture videos, studied the material, and submitted all of the assignments, quizzes and exams on time. But then the exam ended, and the certificate-seekers (most with Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern names) came out of the woodwork. They would openly admit in the course forums that they hadn't watched any of the videos, performed any of the required work, or learned any of the material. But that didn't stop them from demanding some sort of a certificate from the course provider, just because they had signed up several months earlier. Probably hundreds of these people would swarm the course forums, bitching and moaning about how they deserved a certificate without doing any sort of work to earn it. They'd bring up every sort of bullshit reason imaginable, from illnesses they never suffered from to bullshit religious obligations and holidays they never had. And instead of telling these people a stern "No.", the people running some of the courses decided to retroactively change the requirements so that they could grant certificates to these people who didn't actually do anything to earn them! I don't really give a fuck either way, to be honest. I was there to learn the material. But it made me realize that the credentials from these online courses are even less than worthless. They may very well indicate that the holder is somebody who basically cheated or cried their way to their certification. I will never consider these types of certificates to have any sort of value as long as those offering the courses basically give them away to any third-worlder who moans loudly about not getting one legitimately.

Re:Having, you know, standards might help. (1)

solus1232 (958622) | about 5 months ago | (#47496549)

As you point out, evaluating how much was learned by a student from these courses is a big problem. Existing standardized comprehensive examinations like the AP or SAT programs seem like at least a starting point for high school students to prove their abilities, but there isn't really anything equivalent for undergraduate students.

Re:Having, you know, standards might help. (1)

mattwarden (699984) | about 5 months ago | (#47508691)

Evaluating what was learned in standard courses is a big problem.

Re:Having, you know, standards might help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496625)

So exactly like a Bachelor's degree from an American 4 year university then?

I wouldn't let this experience shape your perceptions of the international population. In classrooms with 30-40 students I see the same shit from American children in their 20's("delayed adulthood"). These are the people who haven't had a job that makes more than minimum wage in their life and think a 4 year diploma is some magic coupon for an $80K salary regardless if you learned anything while you were getting it.

The fact that there are so many with crazy foreign names is probably as much a reflection of the language barrier & high percentage of MOOC students who are from the international community. If American sounding names are underrepresented in the forums it is probably because the language barrier makes social interaction more difficult for them.

After watching these people for nearly a decade I kind of think of them as plague rats which filter through any process in a near uniform ratio no matter how hard you try to weed them out. They are the dandelions to education's grass seed.

What harm do they do? When they hit industry they are the parasite's which use Machiavellian politicking and nepotism to keep food in their mouths. Any organization which doesn't have a sufficiently good bullshit detector/human resources immune system will be brought to it's knees as they demoralize everyone around them capable enough to be doing actual productive work.

Eventually the talented employees get sick of the bullshit from these coworkers and leave for greener pastures. The ones who stay behind to try to immunize the organization go down with the ship.

These wastes of flesh latch on to any group effort like remora fish and are nothing but dead weight to anything they touch. Engaging them is like wrestling with a greased pig. The only thing I've seen work well on them is giving them lots of rope to hang themselves with. If you give them everything they claim to need to accomplish something they will still fuck up because they are incapable of accomplishing anything regardless of how well equipped they start off with. They will look for a sucker to "delegate" their job to that they can blame when things go pear shaped.

Just isolate them, give them rope, and watch them swing in the wind. The Dunning–Kruger effect pretty much says it all.

Re:I'm Genuinely Jealous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496415)

Concerning high school level - the options were quite available to anyone, but they were actually discouraged for whatever reason (e.g. "Little Johnny should remain with his peers.") Since I was in the "sweet spot" between the harder courses years ago, and the Internet age where you could learn stuff in bulk, the result was me being forced to learn material I already mastered.

Beyond or outside high school - difficult as you generally needed to know specifically what to learn. You could get by, but it's extremely difficult unless you are assisted by a teacher.

Re:I'm Genuinely Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496535)

I tried to take a couple course from the local university while in highschool. The people I talked to at the university said I couldn't take a few of the programming courses since I'd intimidate the students...

Re:I'm Genuinely Jealous (1)

mattwarden (699984) | about 5 months ago | (#47496683)

The cost of course delivery is not the reason for higher ed price inflation. The only way these resources could fix the problem is if they cause people to route around the higher ed system. That said, there is very interesting thinking partially along these lines at places like the http://saxifrageschool.org/ [saxifrageschool.org]

Re:I'm Genuinely Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500511)

It's kind of the same as books. I forget the original quote, but something like: someone who doesn't read is just as unlucky as someone who can't read

So we have material available, but some people won't take advantage of it.

People that want to actually learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496299)

have already figured out that traditional schools are not going to teach you shit. They just give myopic lectures and proctor exams. That's it.

Khan Academy et al are actually making knowledge accessible to people who want it through videos, exercises, and through student feedback and collaboration.

Employers want the proctored exams (2)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47496741)

Except when the job market is dominated by myopic employers who prefer proctored exams (as represented by a traditional degree) over actual learning.

Re:Employers want the proctored exams (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#47498167)

Employers want compliant employees who can follow direction and complete assignments on a schedule. That's one of the things any college graduate is 'tested' on no matter what courses they take.

DUH (2)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#47496351)

Any student that is disciplined, self motivated, and has learned how to learn, will be more able to learn in a an independent fashion that students who do not have these skills. In a traditional education one went to school where one listened to a professor lecture or read books on the subject. The actual pedagogy, after the teen age years, was minimal, and often involved simple discipline, not teaching of the skills one needed to learn more independently in later life. As long as we could live with the vast majority population engaged in semi-skilled labor, this was fine. However, now we really have more a need for skilled labor. This requires more people to have than a high school education. So we need an advanced pedagogy to help people reach the potential where they can learn more.

All these computer classes are great for the natural learner, the 20% or so of students who have that ability. But these are the same students who have been graduating high school for year, who can go to the public library and learn everything that they would if they got an MBA(one of good friends did this), who, like reported in the NYT today, did not complete school but invented Scotch Tape.

While we need to make sure not to apply negative pressure to these kids, which means to let them take the online courses, give them independent study, allow to explore, we also cannot use this an excuse to stop the more expensive education of the kids who really need to be taught. The correlation between online courses and independent skills(Or as it says, habits of the mind) in no way indicates that online courses teach independent skills. Sure, you could put a kid a computer and give him an F if she does not complete statistics, but is that teaching? Some would say yes. I would say we are accepting that most of kids will be semi-skilled laborers without the jobs to insure a high rate of employment, which means more welfare checks.

Re:DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47498869)

Why would you want to force-feed knowledge to people who are just not into learning? The high participation in moocs that don't offer academic credit or even a validated certificate shows that there is no worldwide shortage of motivated learners. Students who aren't motivated by anything else than money are a burden on everybody else and will be useless on the job.

Re:DUH (1)

Freebirth Toad (1197193) | about 5 months ago | (#47513101)

Any student that is disciplined, self motivated, and has learned how to learn, will be more able to learn in a an independent fashion that students who do not have these skills. In a traditional education one went to school where one listened to a professor lecture or read books on the subject. The actual pedagogy, after the teen age years, was minimal, and often involved simple discipline, not teaching of the skills one needed to learn more independently in later life.

This reminds me of something I read here about how taking optional advanced science/math courses in high school was positively correlated with better outcomes later in life, so some government officials wanted to make the courses mandatory. What they were missing is that what was really correlated with better outcomes was choosing to take difficult courses that were not necessary to graduate. The students wanted to learn more despite the fact that there was an easier way.

As long as we could live with the vast majority population engaged in semi-skilled labor, this was fine. However, now we really have more a need for skilled labor. This requires more people to have than a high school education. So we need an advanced pedagogy to help people reach the potential where they can learn more.

Universities and colleges are not^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hshould not be trade schools. They are supposed to teach you how to be trained by an expert in the field who has no special pedagogical knowledge. Do you think companies want to hire college grads who can only learn with the aid of dedicated, inspiring teachers who know about advanced teaching techniques? No, they want their new hires to be able to be trained by there existing staff who just know how to do their job. Of course, most companies don't want to invest in training. Maybe more trade schools (even online ones, with cheap certification centers) are the answer. But that still doesn't solve the problem of everyone wanting 5 years experience, but no one willing to give them that first 5 years. Perhaps shorter, more accelerated (and above all, CHEAPER) college degrees, and redirect college loan funds to funding those first 5 years on the job.

But this will only make worse the problem of how HR depts. view college degrees. Thirty to forty years ago, they were used as a simple way to weed out most of the population from the labor pool. (It was shorthand for rich, white men; or the very motivated and/or lucky minority, who will work even harder because they were living the dream.) But if everyone has a degree, they're worthless for this. If everyone could easily get those first 5 years experience via some sort of federal loan program, then "5 years experience" on your resume' would be useless too. As it is now, all this push to get "college educated workers" more cheaply is just an attempt to lower salary costs by saturating supply side of the job market.

I would say we are accepting that most of kids will be semi-skilled laborers without the jobs to insure a high rate of employment, which means more welfare checks.

The real problem is that the economy only really grows by blood, sweat, tears, or fossil fuels. And we don't have enough of the last, nor much will to spend the first three. Even if everyone had a college degree, we as a nation cannot afford to give everyone the kind of paycheck that such a diploma earned 30 or 40 years ago. The only reason these high-tech jobs paid better was that they automated away several other jobs. The pie isn't getting any bigger, we're just getting better at cleaning the plate. Welfare checks (or something like them; perhaps a basic income with onerous strings attached?) seems like the best possibly endgame for a civilzation whose population continues to grow unchecked as we eventually deplete out fossil fuel reserves. Much more likely is that the whole thing implodes via war, famine, & plague sometime in the next 500 years.

No way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496379)

> . Students enrolling in historically black colleges were much more likely than others to have used online teaching materia

What? Didn't you get the message? It is "black culture" that holds black kids back. There is no way that black kids would circumvent crappy schools and search out other ways to get an education. Not possible, their culture forbids it!!!!!

Re:No way! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#47498125)

They'd have to circumvent their communities, just like the rest of us. My community valued sports and other shit like that, which I thankfully got around. Everybody's situation is different.

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47498293)

> They'd have to circumvent their communities, just like the rest of us

That's just witch-hunt style thinking.
If they fail its because their culture is no good.
If they succeed it was in spite of their culture.

> My community valued sports and other shit like that

Yeah, that's exactly the same.

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501227)

If they fail its because their culture is no good.
If they succeed it was in spite of their culture.

Nothing wrong with that logic. The chance of failure could be increased because of the culture, but that doesn't mean failure is inevitable.

Meat is in 2nd Link (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 5 months ago | (#47496503)

The blog about the second link (2013 in particular http://www.heri.ucla.edu/brief... [ucla.edu] ) doesn't really add much value.

The UCLA report, however, is pretty interesting. Many of the application strategies described were the same my daughter (entering college in September) and wife and I adapted. We told her that the mortgage crisis of 2008 was triggered by a bunch of adults who were told at 17-18 that signing student debt notes for university was rational and wise, and that it so confused people that it's no surprise they never saved to buy cars or houses and brought the whole economy down. We figured that more and more applicants were coming from overseas, which is a good thing as otherwise the middle tier colleges in the USA will collapse. Like the averages in the report, we told her to apply to many more colleges, as the cost of the application (about $100 per college) was probably less than the standard deviation between financial aid offers from the 1/4-1/3 of institutions she'd get admitted to.

If you are going to apply to college, or have kids headed that way, the report is definitely worth reading. We managed to find a way to get the full cost down to about $15K including room and board. All the things people were told to consider in choosing a college 20-30 years ago don't matter. You can choose based on selectivity, class size, strength of degree programs, etc. but aside from geography the only thing you will remember is people - roomates, classmates, bandmates, workmates, and professors - and there's no way to analyze that in advance, so just take the deal you can afford.

autodidacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47496545)

Lesson 1: you don't need anyone's permission to learn.

Also, almost all post secondary schools have classes where the course syllabus/outline are freely available, where you can see what topics are covered and the recommended textbooks.

Anti-autodidact bias among suppliers (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47496765)

Some majors depend on materials whose possession is regulated, and enrollment in an accredited face-to-face degree-seeking course of education is the easiest way to gain access if not already employed by an established company with legitimate access. Examples include dangerous chemicals for chemistry majors, "academic" editions of proprietary software, etc.

Re:Anti-autodidact bias among suppliers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47497903)

"academic" editions of proprietary software

For people who are philosophically opposed to proprietary software, this is not a problem, because we wouldn't use it anyway.

Re:Anti-autodidact bias among suppliers (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47499813)

In that case, there are entire fields of study that are still practically off limits to "people who are philosophically opposed to proprietary software".

Freshmen (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 5 months ago | (#47496711)

Stale stereotype.

Researchers mostly aren't good lecturers (3, Interesting)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 5 months ago | (#47497033)

Kahn Academy was a God-send for me. I didn't even have a high-school level of maths before I managed to find my way into an Engineering degree. I learned all of High-school maths and a lot of university level maths in the space of a few months thanks almost totally to the excellent instruction available through Kahn Academy.

Many universities make researchers/professors teach. Some of them do an excellent job because they give a damn, or are passionate about sharing (as opposed to selfish and arrogant which many scientists are). Many of these lecturers are in academia because that's what they personally are good at - and so they don't understand how to teach people who aren't as naturally suited to the subject they are teaching as they were. They don't know what *normal* people find difficult or else they assume they know but completely miss the mark.

Nearly every single mathematical person I have met utterly fails at communication, as I have only found two: a really gifted guy who breezed through university maths and is currently working on his PhD and Salman Kahn of Kahn Academy [khanacademy.org] who is the best communicator of mathematical concepts I have ever found - hands down. He seems to know what normal people find hard and even pre-emptively answers your questions right as they pop into your head.

This only reinforces how outdated the model of university education is and how poor value the university education itself generally is. Normal people can find higher quality resources online and consume them quickly and efficiently and apply them the next day. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars and 2+ years getting a fairly poor imitation of a "T-shaped" education I think the real solution is to set up strong learning resources (online and meatspace workshops) and allow people to cheaply sit certification tests (and portfolio checks) on university-level subjects. People can build their core education as narrow and tight as needed and expand the "arms" of their education out as far as needed in a dynamic fashion which suits this ever-changing world. Hey, if a person completes a whole degree in this fashion they can sell good-ole' degree certificates too!

we need a college ged (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47497209)

http://articles.chicagotribune... [chicagotribune.com]

Could millions of college dropouts get a second chance through a GED-style equivalent of a college diploma? In today's age of blue-collar blues and online education, the idea of college-equivalency exams doesn't sound so outlandish anymore.

These are the new realities: The high school diploma is not the gateway to the middle class that it used to be. Amid new corporate efficiencies and the migration of high-paying, low-skilled jobs overseas since the 1950s, growing numbers of college graduates are occupying jobs like postal worker or restaurant manager that used to be filled by high school grads.

The results are new pressures on blue-collar families and the sort of class tensions voiced by presidential candidate Rick Santorum with his recent verbal jab ("What a snob!") at President Barack Obama's push for more college attendance. In fact, Obama, like Santorum, also has been a major cheerleader for community colleges and trade schools. He did not say college was something everyone should do; rather, he said it is "an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."

Yet, give Santorum his due. He touched on a reality that deserves more public discussion: College isn't for everyone. Some very bright students thrive better while learning a hands-on trade, for example, than they do in a classroom. Others simply can't afford the time or tuition of college because of their personal circumstances.

As a result, the percentage of college graduates who come from households in the bottom fourth of income earners — as I did — has declined to only 7.2 percent from 12 percent in 1970, according to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, who also is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Santorum's remarks while campaigning in Michigan moved me to call Vedder, whom I have known since he tried to put some economics knowledge into my noggin when I was one of his students many years ago.

Author of the 2004 book "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much," Vedder sees a disconnect between the cost of college and the needs of the job market. He has found as many as one out of three college graduates today to be in jobs that historically were filled by people with less education.

"These are jobs that do not require higher-level learning skills, critical thinking skills, or writing skills or anything of that nature," he said in a telephone interview.

At the same time, we see cheaper alternatives to college like online education growing to the point where we see Internet Age stories like online student Kayla Heard. The Union, Wash., 16-year-old graduated last year from Washington State University with a 3.7 grade-point average in social sciences without ever stepping on campus, except to pick up her diploma.

Let's go a step further, says Vedder.

"As college costs rise," he said, "people are asking: Aren't there cheaper ways of certifying competence and skills to employers?"

People typically believe there are no good substitutes for college. But if prospective employees can certify to potential employers that they are as bright, knowledgeable, good at communicating and eager to learn as a better-than-average college graduate, they can present themselves as a bargain — willing to accept wages that are higher than normal high-school-graduate standards but low compared to most college-graduate salaries.

Vedder is encouraged by recent agreements between the Education Testing Service, which operates the famed SAT test for the College Board, and the Council for Aid to Education to provide competency test materials to students online through StraighterLine, an online education firm. The challenge is to persuade college-accreditation organizations and the business community that collegiate certification can be as reliable as the 70-year-old GED, which certifies high school equivalencies.

There are challenges, of course. College-level testing would have to be more than a multiple-choice list. It would have to be a fair judge of critical thinking, among other factors, and it would have to pass muster regarding suspected racial or gender bias. But these challenges are not unbeatable. At a time when economic success is increasingly defined by educational achievement beyond high school, future generations need as many alternatives as we can offer.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune's editorial board, blogs at chicagotribune.com/pagespage

cpage@tribune.com

Twitter @cptime

Re:we need a college ged (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47497911)

These are the new realities: The high school diploma is not the gateway to the middle class that it used to be.

No piece of paper should be a gateway to any class to begin with.

Re:we need a college ged (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#47498139)

Sadly, it can't happen, because the whole 'college' bit is also a bit of a racket. (it's much more than that obviously, I am not cutting it short) Where I work if you don't have a degree from Purdue you just can't be taken seriously (why I would take seriously anybody with a degree from Purdue who fucking stays in Indiana after graduating is beyond me, of course).

It's gonna take a long time for the people with the ol' college ties to give it up.

Trust, but verify (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#47497061)

Did they bother to check if any of the students had really taken a course? Most likely the students were just picking the check box that made them look good. I would bet that the actual % who took a course is far lower.

Re:Trust, but verify (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47497213)

sounds like real college sleep thought some classes and just cram for the test and pass.

Trust, but verify (-1)

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Uh, yeah "black" colleges (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47497239)

People are more likely to use minority websites to get a decent education because of reverse racism, what else is new.

times are changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47499337)

adapt or die

did they correct for reading? (1)

jehan60188 (2535020) | about 5 months ago | (#47499405)

This is just the modern example of a student who engages in independent study. Did they account for students who prefer to grab a textbook, and work through the problems?

Poor Implication of Causation in Association (1)

eepok (545733) | about 5 months ago | (#47500759)

"Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning."

While the above statement from the summary doesn't directly suggest causation, do to the intricacies of the English language, it implies that taking online classes contribute to academic success and lifelong learning. However, I would assert that, if you're going to imply causation, it may be accurate to suggest those who have been academically successful have already started on the road of lifelong learning and utilizing online classes is just one method of travel along said road.

Dear America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500981)

What the fuck is a freshman?

Obvious (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47501897)

"'Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning.'"

In other words, students who are more motivated to learn generally do better in academic settings and generally learn more. Glad we had a study to prove what we already know.

Next up. Study proves that practicing a sport can affect one's ability to perform in said sport.

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