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Third level socialising schools for some


patslatt

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See Higher education: Not what it used to be | The Economist

Modern mass education at third level has produced huge numbers of graduates and presumably competition among them for jobs has helped maintain education standards at least among a sizeable minority. This minority vastly outnumbers the majority of students a generation ago when few students attended university in most countries. Even if standards have dropped at undergraduate level,selectivity at post graduate level can compensate for this.

However,large numbers of students are being set a low bar or are not being challenged at all,going by trends in the USA as described in the above link:
-"...literacy of college educated citizens declined between 1992 and 2003.Only a quarter were considered proficient..."
-"Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term."

The head of the American Teachers Union said a generation ago that Americans were going to college to get the equivalent of a high school education a generation before. If he were around today,the 40 pages of reading statistic would prompt him to say that many Americans were going to college to get a grade school (ie primary) education.

That may not necessarily be a bad thing if students socialise actively and learn good social skills. Those skills are important in many jobs requiring customer relationships and teamwork. Surveys of employers show that hiring decisions usually are influenced by whether the job applicant can get along well with the people in the job.

That said,colleges should demand more than 40 pages of reading a term.
 

Mercurial

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I'm not clear what we're supposed to be discussing exactly.
 

Mercurial

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The 40 pages metric seems pretty pointless.

In my field the average article is about 18-20 pages or so. In my flatmate's it's more like 5-8. That doesn't mean that there's necessarily more content in what I read than in what she does.
 

patslatt

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The 40 pages metric seems pretty pointless.

In my field the average article is about 18-20 pages or so. In my flatmate's it's more like 5-8. That doesn't mean that there's necessarily more content in what I read than in what she does.
Even for the flatmate,40 pages would be a low bar,about 6 articles a term.
 

Mercurial

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Even for the flatmate,40 pages would be a low bar,about 6 articles a term.
I've never known anyone on any course who has had to reach so little material in a year as 40 pages. 40 pages wouldn't be enough for an essay let alone a module in most arts courses, for example.
 

seabhcan

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However,large numbers of students are being set a low bar or are not being challenged at all,going by trends in the USA as described in the above link:
-"...literacy of college educated citizens declined between 1992 and 2003.Only a quarter were considered proficient..."
-"Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term."
Holy cow.

I still have my notes from my undergrad. They're up in the attic in a hold all bag. I weighed it once - 70kg.
 

southwestkerry

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When one thinks about the experts that Irish college/university turn out, I must wounder why everything is run so badly.
The US, now thats a different matter.
SWK
 

Mercurial

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Holy cow.

I still have my notes from my undergrad. They're up in the attic in a hold all bag. I weighed it once - 70kg.
...So you found a bag in your attic that was about the weight of a human...
 

stopdoingstuff

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I think the premise of the Economist's article is basically correct- University education at American prices does not represent a good investment for many majors. Would you borrow between 20 and 60 grand a year to pay for an Arts degree, when you could be an accountant for a fraction of the cost? There has been a lot written on this topic recently- student debt is going through the roof, graduate unemployment is depressingly high, the Education industry in the states has sold a lot of people false hope and left them in debt, and much of this is a result of unscrupulous public and private institutions and artificially subsidized Federal loans. It's a real mess.

'The Student Loan Scam' | Inside Higher Ed

How the Notion That a College Degree Is Essentially Worthless Has Become One of the Year’s Most Fashionable Ideas -- New York Magazine

The second article is cool.

Luckily, as mentioned in the Economist article, there are new more technologically enabled alternatives, and with 1 out of 2 recent graduates in the USA either unemployed or underemployed, I bet there will be a nice healthy shake-out coming soon.
In Weak Job Market, One In Two College Graduates Are Jobless Or Underemployed
 

Dan_Murphy

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http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20120909.gif

This comic seems somewhat appropriate for the topic at hand.

To be honest, I blame lazy HR companies using a degree as a filter on job applications. It causes many people to treat college as an extension of their leaving cert that they just have to do if they don't want to be flipping burgers for the rest of their life.
 

ManOfReason

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I've heard from a couple of different sources that the next bubble to burt in America is the university education scam. Lets hope so - my oldest is six years from college.
 

seabhcan

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I think the premise of the Economist's article is basically correct- University education at American prices does not represent a good investment for many majors. Would you borrow between 20 and 60 grand a year to pay for an Arts degree, when you could be an accountant for a fraction of the cost?
Its worse than that. The article says "A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are As, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006."

I worked in a UK university for a few years and they were feeling increasing pressure not to mark down students because they were now paying customers. The 'customer is always right' is a toxic concept for universities.
 

Dan_Murphy

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I've heard from a couple of different sources that the next bubble to burt in America is the university education scam. Lets hope so - my oldest is six years from college.
Worst decision of my life was to go to college. If I could write a letter to my 17 year old self I would tell him avoid it and focus on certifications and distance learning. At least I don't have the crushing debts that some in America would have, wouldn't know what I'd do if I had a few dozen thousands in bills on my back.

That being said, I am in IT, such courses of action might not be possible in other fields... yet.
 

theObserver@hotmail.com

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Worst decision of my life was to go to college. If I could write a letter to my 17 year old self I would tell him avoid it and focus on certifications and distance learning. At least I don't have the crushing debts that some in America would have, wouldn't know what I'd do if I had a few dozen thousands in bills on my back.

That being said, I am in IT, such courses of action might not be possible in other fields... yet.
I would say something similar to my 17 year old self. A two year college certification, then get out and catch the rising tide of IT. The four year degree destroyed my interest in IT. The final year and half of the third year was complete guff. Most of it is obsolete now anyway.
 

stopdoingstuff

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Its worse than that. The article says "A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are As, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006."

I worked in a UK university for a few years and they were feeling increasing pressure not to mark down students because they were now paying customers. The 'customer is always right' is a toxic concept for universities.
I think it's definitely happening. My original degree was Arts and the attitude back in the 1990s was that they'd do their best to give people a bare pass just to save their blushes, but getting any kind of decent grade required some work. About 8 years later, my job paid for me to go back to Smurfit to do one of those ************************y business post-grads and they were passing out decent grades like spliffs at a Rastafarian wedding. I got a grade that I was really proud of but in the back of my mind, I know it was as much due to grade inflation as anything else.
 

Dan_Murphy

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I would say something similar to my 17 year old self. A two year college certification, then get out and catch the rising tide of IT. The four year degree destroyed my interest in IT. The final year and half of the third year was complete guff. Most of it is obsolete now anyway.
I did chemistry, trained to be a teacher. Couldn't see myself doing it as a career though, I just didn't know what to do at the time.
 

seabhcan

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I would say something similar to my 17 year old self. A two year college certification, then get out and catch the rising tide of IT. The four year degree destroyed my interest in IT. The final year and half of the third year was complete guff. Most of it is obsolete now anyway.
Might be something specific to IT in Universities in late 90's, perhaps?

I did Physics and it has stood to me, even though I don't work directly in that area. However, we did have one or two IT courses thrown in which were useless. We had a written (pen and paper) coding exam, for example.
 

seabhcan

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I think it's definitely happening. My original degree was Arts and the attitude back in the 1990s was that they'd do their best to give people a bare pass just to save their blushes, but getting any kind of decent grade required some work. About 8 years later, my job paid for me to go back to Smurfit to do one of those ************************y business post-grads and they were passing out decent grades like spliffs at a Rastafarian wedding. I got a grade that I was really proud of but in the back of my mind, I know it was as much due to grade inflation as anything else.
You should see the carry on in the UK unis. I was working in a fairly prestigious place (was top of a Guardian poll one year) and without exaggeration half of all final year students skipped an exam using a medical cert ('stress', most of them). They still graduated, and didn't have to re-sit.
 

cobhguy

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God if only i could get away with 40 pages. I am going to college at night and am doing around 100 pages a week reading. I have an assigment to be in next week on the legal services bill. The bill by its self is 120 pages long not to mentions all the dail debates and committe discussions and legal articles to read. And its only worth 20% of one sudject for the year.
 
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