Higher Education - How can we make it suck a little less?

1910111214

Posts

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Yeah, you don't actually know. The point is, attrition rate doesn't tell you everything.

    Basing funding on attrition rates is bad because it's unclear, not because it's "dumbing education down" or something.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    sanstodo wrote:
    Lol, ok. Repetitiously writing "Hahvahd" doesn't carry any overtones of resentment and/or mocking at all[/sarcasm]. I have my problems with Harvard but the cheap jokes are exactly that.

    I do that because I have a friend from Bawston whose accent has seeped its way into my braaaaain. I also say "Y'all" and "Howdy" way too much...

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    shryke wrote:
    Yeah, you don't actually know. The point is, attrition rate doesn't tell you everything.

    Basing funding on attrition rates is bad because it's unclear, not because it's "dumbing education down" or something.

    Really, there should be something like the MCAS that can be compared with the graduation rate to see how difficult the school is.

  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Lol, ok. Repetitiously writing "Hahvahd" doesn't carry any overtones of resentment and/or mocking at all[/sarcasm]. I have my problems with Harvard but the cheap jokes are exactly that.

    I do that because I have a friend from Bawston whose accent has seeped its way into my braaaaain. I also say "Y'all" and "Howdy" way too much...

    Cool. That accent is wicked contagious.

    Dammit.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    sanstodo wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    There is an undercurrent of resentment toward certain educational institutions that some posters here, you included, that I find strange. Harvard is certainly a bastion of the intellectual elite but is also one of the most generous universities in existence.

    You're reading resentment here where there is none. I don't resent them at all. It's simply their model of existence. I don't resent my university for neglecting its undergraduates... I'm taking advantage of it, if anything.

    I feel that, overall, there is something of an imbalance, a fixation on "excellence" that I suspect undermines the creation and development of the very same "excellence". I mean, with 34 000 undergraduates, I think we have a substantial pool of resources and talent which we could do a better job of cultivating. (Suggestions that our department turn graduate recruiting efforts to the undergraduates in our very same department are often met with open snickering.)

    I would suggest to you that your reflexive response that any mention of "elite" is more indicative of your character than it is of ours or at least mine.

    Also, you continually confound intellectual elite with financial elite, such that the two are one and the same at times, yet separate ideas at others. The fact that Harvard's undergraduate admissions policy is need-blind and offers financial support to any incoming student doesn't make it a non-elitist policy... it's just an academically elitist policy. The truth of the matter, though, is that it's not even that elitist a policy - many top American universities officially, or unofficially, restrict foreign admissions to 10% of their overall admissions, which means that they'll often admit less academically qualified Americans instead of more academically qualified foreigners. I believe this has something to do with the way federal funding works? I dunno.

    But again, what an institution does in one area doesn't wipe out what it does in another. Harvard is an elite institution. Among the reasons to go to Harvard are to interact with others of the academic elite, to have the elite institutional name on your resume, to attend seminars and workshops run by the academic elites of the world, to mingle with the business and political elite. (Commensurate with this is also not having stupid people in your class, asking stupid questions and wasting your time.) It's not a bad thing, but let's not deny that it's a core part of what Harvard is, regardless of how much money they give away. These are also the reasons to attend undergraduate studies (in most of the programs) at my university... not the teaching or academic experience, I assure you.

    Lol, ok. Repetitiously writing "Hahvahd" doesn't carry any overtones of resentment and/or mocking at all[/sarcasm]. I have my problems with Harvard but the cheap jokes are exactly that.

    I agree that larger universities sometimes neglect their undergraduates, which is why I went to a smaller school with an undergraduate focus.

    Btw, within your post about my conflation of intellectual elitism and financial elitism, you failed to mention the following:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Harvard is certainly a bastion of the intellectual elite.

    My problem is with the posters who, as Darkewolfe just wrote, believe that "...the top universities that are worth the big dollars aren't worth more because they provide a better education..." along with "Some of them will be successful because of the contacts and capital they already have. Others are brilliant."

    And I completely disagree. Darkewolfe implies that these are the only kinds of students who go to top schools, and that is untrue. I have many college friends from humble origins who are not brilliant but work insanely hard to achieve great things. There is considerable resentment in his and other posts that you must surely see.

    Top schools do provide a better education to a broad base of students, not merely the affluent and brilliant. Perhaps it is difficult to understand if you haven't experienced both (and teaching students from a state school truly made me understand the gulf).

    I'm not saying that you can't get a fantastic education at a lower-ranked school. Plenty of people do. But the overall level of instruction, resources, etc. is generally superior at higher-ranked schools, regardless of Darkewolfe's beliefs.

    That's not what he's saying, you are just reading your own prejudices into the statements. He's not saying anything about how only the affluent and brilliant go to these schools (although that's not exactly inaccurate since high standards and legacy admissions mean those 2 main types you will get)

    Elite educational institutions are, in large part, about networking. Maybe not upfront and that's not everything they do, but that's pretty much one of the main benefits of going there.

    shryke on
  • Smaug6Smaug6 Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    There is an undercurrent of resentment toward certain educational institutions that some posters here, you included, that I find strange. Harvard is certainly a bastion of the intellectual elite but is also one of the most generous universities in existence.

    You're reading resentment here where there is none. I don't resent them at all. It's simply their model of existence. I don't resent my university for neglecting its undergraduates... I'm taking advantage of it, if anything.

    I feel that, overall, there is something of an imbalance, a fixation on "excellence" that I suspect undermines the creation and development of the very same "excellence". I mean, with 34 000 undergraduates, I think we have a substantial pool of resources and talent which we could do a better job of cultivating. (Suggestions that our department turn graduate recruiting efforts to the undergraduates in our very same department are often met with open snickering.)

    I would suggest to you that your reflexive response that any mention of "elite" is more indicative of your character than it is of ours or at least mine.

    Also, you continually confound intellectual elite with financial elite, such that the two are one and the same at times, yet separate ideas at others. The fact that Harvard's undergraduate admissions policy is need-blind and offers financial support to any incoming student doesn't make it a non-elitist policy... it's just an academically elitist policy. The truth of the matter, though, is that it's not even that elitist a policy - many top American universities officially, or unofficially, restrict foreign admissions to 10% of their overall admissions, which means that they'll often admit less academically qualified Americans instead of more academically qualified foreigners. I believe this has something to do with the way federal funding works? I dunno.

    But again, what an institution does in one area doesn't wipe out what it does in another. Harvard is an elite institution. Among the reasons to go to Harvard are to interact with others of the academic elite, to have the elite institutional name on your resume, to attend seminars and workshops run by the academic elites of the world, to mingle with the business and political elite. (Commensurate with this is also not having stupid people in your class, asking stupid questions and wasting your time.) It's not a bad thing, but let's not deny that it's a core part of what Harvard is, regardless of how much money they give away. These are also the reasons to attend undergraduate studies (in most of the programs) at my university... not the teaching or academic experience, I assure you.

    Lol, ok. Repetitiously writing "Hahvahd" doesn't carry any overtones of resentment and/or mocking at all[/sarcasm]. I have my problems with Harvard but the cheap jokes are exactly that.

    I agree that larger universities sometimes neglect their undergraduates, which is why I went to a smaller school with an undergraduate focus.

    Btw, within your post about my conflation of intellectual elitism and financial elitism, you failed to mention the following:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Harvard is certainly a bastion of the intellectual elite.

    My problem is with the posters who, as Darkewolfe just wrote, believe that "...the top universities that are worth the big dollars aren't worth more because they provide a better education..." along with "Some of them will be successful because of the contacts and capital they already have. Others are brilliant."

    And I completely disagree. Darkewolfe implies that these are the only kinds of students who go to top schools, and that is untrue. I have many college friends from humble origins who are not brilliant but work insanely hard to achieve great things. There is considerable resentment in his and other posts that you must surely see.

    Top schools do provide a better education to a broad base of students, not merely the affluent and brilliant. Perhaps it is difficult to understand if you haven't experienced both (and teaching students from a state school truly made me understand the gulf).

    I'm not saying that you can't get a fantastic education at a lower-ranked school. Plenty of people do. But the overall level of instruction, resources, etc. is generally superior at higher-ranked schools, regardless of Darkewolfe's beliefs.

    That's not what he's saying, you are just reading your own prejudices into the statements. He's not saying anything about how only the affluent and brilliant go to these schools (although that's not exactly inaccurate since high standards and legacy admissions mean those 2 main types you will get)

    Elite educational institutions are, in large part, about networking. Maybe not upfront and that's not everything they do, but that's pretty much one of the main benefits of going there.

    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    steam_sig.png
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    sanstodo wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Lol, ok. Repetitiously writing "Hahvahd" doesn't carry any overtones of resentment and/or mocking at all[/sarcasm]. I have my problems with Harvard but the cheap jokes are exactly that.

    I do that because I have a friend from Bawston whose accent has seeped its way into my braaaaain. I also say "Y'all" and "Howdy" way too much...

    Cool. That accent is wicked contagious.

    Dammit.

    Technically, it's "Hahvihd." Kind of. There's very little stress on the second "a."

    Bagginses on
  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    Smaug6 wrote:
    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    Double levels of filtering. Plus, it's harder, particularly in certain areas like engineering or CS, to get a 4.0 at a place like Princeton.

    @Shryke: Perhaps. But his assertion that top schools do not provide a better education is suspect at best and wrong in my experience.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    sanstodo wrote:
    Smaug6 wrote:
    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    Double levels of filtering. Plus, it's harder, particularly in certain areas like engineering or CS, to get a 4.0 at a place like Princeton.

    @Shryke: Perhaps. But his assertion that top schools do not provide a better education is suspect at best and wrong in my experience.

    What do you have it to compare to? From your statements, it appears you went to a "top school"? Did you also go to other "not-top schools" to compare them?

    At best, you can say that on average, a top school will provide a better education then a not-top school, but it's highly dependant on the area of study and which schools and so on and there's certainly places where a non-top school can provide an equal or better education.

    What those non-top schools can't provide though, is the best networking opportunities money/scholarships can buy and an extremely prestigious name to help you out in life.

  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    shryke wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Smaug6 wrote:
    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    Double levels of filtering. Plus, it's harder, particularly in certain areas like engineering or CS, to get a 4.0 at a place like Princeton.

    @Shryke: Perhaps. But his assertion that top schools do not provide a better education is suspect at best and wrong in my experience.

    What do you have it to compare to? From your statements, it appears you went to a "top school"? Did you also go to other "not-top schools" to compare them?

    At best, you can say that on average, a top school will provide a better education then a not-top school, but it's highly dependant on the area of study and which schools and so on and there's certainly places where a non-top school can provide an equal or better education.

    What those non-top schools can't provide though, is the best networking opportunities money/scholarships can buy and an extremely prestigious name to help you out in life.

    I teach at one. Plus, I spent time in HS taking classes at less prestigious schools than my alma mater to get pre-reqs out of the way so I could jump straight to mid-level courses when I started college. Comparing my workload, lecture notes, etc. with my friends at other schools helped as well, although I only did this recently.

    Your point about department to department fluctuations in quality is true.

    sanstodo on
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    shryke wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Smaug6 wrote:
    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    Double levels of filtering. Plus, it's harder, particularly in certain areas like engineering or CS, to get a 4.0 at a place like Princeton.

    @Shryke: Perhaps. But his assertion that top schools do not provide a better education is suspect at best and wrong in my experience.

    What do you have it to compare to? From your statements, it appears you went to a "top school"? Did you also go to other "not-top schools" to compare them?

    At best, you can say that on average, a top school will provide a better education then a not-top school, but it's highly dependant on the area of study and which schools and so on and there's certainly places where a non-top school can provide an equal or better education.

    What those non-top schools can't provide though, is the best networking opportunities money/scholarships can buy and an extremely prestigious name to help you out in life.

    Another problem is that lower schools also have a population that didn't get into the top schools, so that the classes can't move as fast.
    As for networking, you want to know people in your area, so someone going into religious, middle eastern, or Judaic studies would meet more useful people at Brandeis than Yale.

  • iammattpleeveeiammattpleevee Registered User regular
    I scheduled my classes today. I have 13 credit hours but only two classes. One of them is 10 credit hours.
    Should be easy. I wanted to take another class but it's my first quarter so I'm going to see how hard doing 13 hours is. If it's easy then I'll take another class next quarter so the credit hours add up to around 20.

    SteamID [email protected]
    Battle.net: Matt 3999 or [email protected]
    PSN?: iammattpleevee
    life-before-google.jpg
  • Smaug6Smaug6 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    shryke wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    Smaug6 wrote:
    Almost as importantly, they are viewed in a much better light for jobs and/or admission to graduate schools. Hey I got a 4.0 from Princeton vs. I got a 4.0 from State Tech. Guess who is getting the job? (All other things being equal. Even with disparity, how unbalanced would it have to be before the State School applicant would be favored over the Ivy League one? In any large instutionalized business, my guess is fairly large imbalance.

    Double levels of filtering. Plus, it's harder, particularly in certain areas like engineering or CS, to get a 4.0 at a place like Princeton.

    @Shryke: Perhaps. But his assertion that top schools do not provide a better education is suspect at best and wrong in my experience.

    What do you have it to compare to? From your statements, it appears you went to a "top school"? Did you also go to other "not-top schools" to compare them?

    At best, you can say that on average, a top school will provide a better education then a not-top school, but it's highly dependant on the area of study and which schools and so on and there's certainly places where a non-top school can provide an equal or better education.

    What those non-top schools can't provide though, is the best networking opportunities money/scholarships can buy and an extremely prestigious name to help you out in life.

    I didn't say that the school doesn't provide better education, but even if you could hold the education levels constant, I think that institutionalized firms would prefer someone from a school with better name recognition. The name has cache that people respect, regardless of whether its true for that individual. This is outside for the networking effect. I would go so far as to call it a pedigree effect.

    Edit: What I think is really interesting is what is the price point that you should be willing to pay to get these benefits. If you paid for a private college education at a top tier school, out of pocket, it would be what 200k? In state tuition would be what? 80k? is the 120k premium worth it? Is it field dependent? Whats price you should be willing to pay?

    Smaug6 on
    steam_sig.png
  • AtomikaAtomika Gay Mergirl Registered User regular
    The best thing high-priced colleges provide is high-profile networking opportunities.

    Two of my cousins graduated from a pricey private institution, and now one of them makes $100k/yr and got a Mercedes as a signing bonus right out of school. He's also the same kid that had to take a year of remediation because he couldn't read.

  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    I was gonna say I didn't think I had any weed-out classes, but then I realised I had tried to forget intro quantum mechanics.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    sanstodo wrote:

    My problem is with the posters who, as Darkewolfe just wrote, believe that "...the top universities that are worth the big dollars aren't worth more because they provide a better education..." along with "Some of them will be successful because of the contacts and capital they already have. Others are brilliant."

    And I completely disagree. Darkewolfe implies that these are the only kinds of students who go to top schools, and that is untrue. I have many college friends from humble origins who are not brilliant but work insanely hard to achieve great things. There is considerable resentment in his and other posts that you must surely see.

    Top schools do provide a better education to a broad base of students, not merely the affluent and brilliant. Perhaps it is difficult to understand if you haven't experienced both (and teaching students from a state school truly made me understand the gulf).

    I'm not saying that you can't get a fantastic education at a lower-ranked school. Plenty of people do. But the overall level of instruction, resources, etc. is generally superior at higher-ranked schools, regardless of Darkewolfe's beliefs.

    What the fuck are you talking about? I want to a reasonably high tiered school to benefit from the networking. I'm not putting it down. I am saying that you repeatedly misunderstand these high level universities. The most valuable difference between a top-tier university and a mid-tier one is the fact that you'll establish relationships with other people more likely to excel far beyond the norm. This has a string-along effect, because successful alumni will in turn make other alumni more successful. This in turn compounds the value of the school to new recruits, who will then be more likely to succeed as well.

    What is this I don't even.
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Networking is definitely a big benefit of any college, especially the more prestigious ones. When I moved to Seattle, I was stunned by how enthusiastic the whole city was about UW. I mean, huge balloon displays and a stuffed husky in a dog house in Safeway, gold and purple pansies and other annual flowers for sale at Fred Meyer, politicians with signs in purple and gold instead of red, white, and blue. Having UW on your resume will help you get a job in Seattle, even if you don't directly take advantage of the connections the school has to various businesses.

    That said, learning to think critically about the world is the more important benefit of college. The very humanities classes that some people will tell you are "useless" have been the ones that have given me the most insight into how the world works. I understand why some people view college as nothing more than a stepping stone to a better job--in large part because it costs beaucoup $$$ to attend--but its ability to impart knowledge is the more valuable contribution to the individual student and to society.

    Unfortunately a lot of students are there more to party for four years than to learn, simply memorizing information in an all-nighter and retaining it only long enough to barf it onto a test. I don't what, if anything, can be done about that.

    In unrelated news, has UW completely dropped its work study program? Last year I was awarded some, this year nothing. Also, twice as many loans this year. :(

    LadyM on
  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    I really don't want to flame people: I'm not saying they are silly gooses. But the silly goosery that some people have proudly proclaimed in this thread is, IMHO, proof enough of the importance of the humanities. From the complete ignorance of Plato's cave to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year, not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (and that there's no apparent reason that history undergrads would challenge themselves to a higher standard for no pecunial rewards), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    Back to the whole, "Let's make students pay interest while they attend college" thing.

    I hope you will indulge me in a terrible analogy. I haven't made one here in quite a while, so I feel that I wholly deserve to make one.

    *deep breath*

    That's like getting somebody into a car loan that they have to pay interest on (or let interest pile up) for 4 years before they get to drive it! Don't get me wrong, I love school and learning and all but having free access to scientific publications does not necessarily put food on the table and keep your lights on until you get the shiny piece of paper that says you are not the dumb. It's like Boehner has never heard the words "poor college student" before!

    Okay, I feel better now.

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    Lolken wrote:
    I really don't want to flame people: I'm not saying they are silly gooses. But the silly goosery that some people have proudly proclaimed in this thread is, IMHO, proof enough of the importance of the humanities. From the complete ignorance of Plato's cave to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year, not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (and that there's no apparent reason that history undergrads would challenge themselves to a higher standard for no pecunial rewards), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

    Amen.

  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    Freshmen year I took Calc 1 with most of the other engineers on the recommendation from my adviser would said, despite having taken Calc 1 in high school and passing the AP exam, it'd give me a better foundation going forward. I took the class and 40% of the class got through it with a passing grade. About 40% dropped. About 20% just didn't make a passing grade. This happened about 4 semesters in a row before they finally removed the professor. I remember doing problem sets that I had to consult with TAs about who commonly looked at the problem sets and went "the fuck?" To some degree, the administration ignored it because that was one of the classes that was supposed to cull people out. It ended up culling too many people and they got that guy the fuck out. I remember thinking, while going through it, this is why people don't like hard sciences. This shit exists. They were looking more at getting the right number of people out of the class, and not looking to just successfully teach Calculus. It seemed to me that teaching the actual material was a bonus to basically seeing who could handle the course load and impossible problem sets and not lose their shit.

    Xbox Live: Hero Protag
    SteamID: devCharles
    twitter: https://twitter.com/charlesewise
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    devCharles wrote:
    They were looking more at getting the right number of people out of the class, and not looking to just successfully teach Calculus. It seemed to me that teaching the actual material was a bonus to basically seeing who could handle the course load and impossible problem sets and not lose their shit.

    I had the same experience with a sophomore level CS programming class. The professor was basically like "You should already know this material. If you did not know how to program, why are you in computer science?" The TAs were like "What the fuck? I can't even do this!" in the labs and the majority of the class - including myself - dropped. I had a great TA who stayed with our lab until nearly 4 a.m. because half the class had showed up, and he was ashamed that he could not be of more help to us.

    Since it was a large class in a small college, this meant that the CS department had effectively forced out almost the entirety of its sophomore class. I was more than a little amused when I got a fairly panicked email from my advisor telling me that they had added an additional section of the once-a-year course the next semester and that I would have no trouble getting in it. Also noticed that that particular professor now sticks to high level and graduate classes.

    Took the class again, and it ended up being fairly easy under an instructor who wasn't punishing us for actually needing instruction. I also learned to love the Stanford CS courses on Youtube, both because they were amazingly helpful and made me to realize just how bad my instructor had been.

    Phillishere on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    I had the same experience with a sophomore level CS programming class. The professor was basically like "You should already know this material. If you did not know how to program, why are you in computer science?" The TAs were like "What the fuck? I can't even do this!" in the labs and the majority of the class - including myself - dropped. I had a great TA who stayed with our lab until nearly 4 a.m. because half the class had showed up, and he was ashamed that he could not be of more help to us.

    This is probably one of the more common failings in engineering departments when you daisy chain material together without any solid coordination to make sure people learn what they need to know in each class. In my experience, it sometimes worked (I can do all kinds of cool stuff with modeling and matrices because of all those god damn math courses) and it sometimes crashed and burned (I had to learn electromagnetic stuff like 4 times until my circuits professor finally did an adequate job explaining some of it.)
    Took the class again, and it ended up being fairly easy under an instructor who wasn't punishing us for actually needing instruction. I also learned to love the Stanford CS courses on Youtube, both because they were amazingly helpful and made me to realize just how bad my instructor had been.

    I learned differential equations through MIT's youtube channel because my professor sucked.

    Xbox Live: Hero Protag
    SteamID: devCharles
    twitter: https://twitter.com/charlesewise
  • iammattpleeveeiammattpleevee Registered User regular
    I posted this in the SE++ forum but I don't know if you guys read over there and I'd like to get some input so I will post it here as well.



    Ischeduled my classes the other day. Schedule seems easy. I'm going the local community college to get my paramedic license and be certified to be a fireman. First quarter is 13 credit hours which is composed of 2 classes. It's anatomy for emergency services or something and English Comp. It's not what i expected though. I'm doing the English online. I still have to go to the campus though Mondays 8-1:00 and Friday 8-1:00 with a lab from 1:30 to 5. This is my first college experience but that seems like a lot for one class. I don't mind though.

    The thing that does suck is that if I want to get this done in 2 years I have to go non stop, no summer breaks. I'm hoping 13 hours is cake though so i can take an extra class or two next quarter and drop my time to something like a year and a half.

    After that I'm going to transfer to a university and I'm not sure what i'll do yet, logically I should do my BSN or something else in the medical field. I think it'd be awesome to do Organic Chemistry though. I just don't know how good the job market is for that degree. Anyone have any info about that?

    I'm pretty excited to start college. My life has been feeling stagnant lately and I've been in a bit of a rut and I feel like this is the perfect thing to pull me out of it.


    P.S. I'm hoping the Paramedic bit is easier than I am told. My friends brother and his friends tried to do it and failed or took multiple tries to pass the final test. They are party people though and I have no life so I don't think studying will be a problem. We shall see.


    I'm curious if anyone has tips about Organic Chemistry or Chemistry degrees in general and if the job market is good for them at the moment or expected to be in the future. Also if anyone has anything else to add I'd love to hear it.

    SteamID [email protected]
    Battle.net: Matt 3999 or [email protected]
    PSN?: iammattpleevee
    life-before-google.jpg
  • TokenBrownGuyTokenBrownGuy Registered User
    A great way to help your own particular flavor of Higher Ed. is to participate in the University's student leadership programs. I worked my way into the local Student Senate my Freshman year, and this last semester (Sophomore) I've managed to get elected to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Student Senate gave me quite an interesting look into how my school functions, but my eyes have been opened by transitioning into the VP seat. The influence that a dedicated Student body can have is ridiculous. My state has a executive committee that all of the student leaders from each state university sit on. We use our collective influence to lobby our representatives on the state and national level. Unfortunately, that has been made extremely necessary by our State's budget climate. Being an overwhelmingly Red state, we have to struggle on a daily basis for our funding.

    I guess what i'm trying to say here is that you can make a difference. You, the college student who is knee deep in the shitty system. Yeah, most of what the student body does is vaguely masturbatory busy work/ParlemPro, but the ability to actively make a difference for not only yourself and your friends, but also the students that follow after you is immensely rewarding.

  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Lolken wrote:
    I really don't want to flame people: I'm not saying they are silly gooses. But the silly goosery that some people have proudly proclaimed in this thread is, IMHO, proof enough of the importance of the humanities.

    Alright, Let's see what you've got.
    From the complete ignorance of Plato's cave

    I've read the Republic and honestly, so what if others haven't? You really haven't made a case here. Please explain why knowledge of the Allegory of the Cave is so important, especially since ancient philosophy isn't even a core requirement in all humanities degrees.
    to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year,

    Can you point to the post where someone actually made this argument? Also, I find it very telling that you're comparing professions, not academic achievements. Could this be because you recognize that "social status" in the first world is, by and large, economic status?
    Would you consider a plumber of lower status than an data entry drone making $30,000 with a MA in Communications?
    A barista with an BA in Mesoamerican Culture?
    A chronically unemployed gent with a BA in English?
    not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

    I initially made the point back on page five that most humanities majors would be "better off going to trade school and getting a library card". This was a very straightforward, no bullshit way of saying that most students are spending tens of thousands of dollars to pick up a degree because our educational system is broken. Again, I don't believe that it is "the same", but since you can find course syllabuses online for pretty much any subject, it isn't all that difficult to learn for the sake of learning outside a university setting.

    Deebaser on
    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited July 2011
    The best thing we can do for higher education is make it affordable so grads are not saddled with a mountain of debt when they get out.

    I would address this by:
    1. Changing the formulas on government assistance calculations to make it easier for people whose parents make too much for Pell grants but can't afford to contribute to college expenses, to get Federal financial aid based on their own income and not their parents.
    2. I would also massively expand the Pell grant program, and the subsidized loan program, by moving wasteful defense dollars and taxing the rich.
    3. I would also disallow and stop providing subsidized loans for private and discriminatory educational institutions.
    4. Finally, I would make college much easier to do for non-traditional students through online and evening and weekend courses, that would be federally subsidized and mandated. Put out the mandate and tax the rich to pay for those changes so the rich have the employees (peons, serfs, whatever) the need with the skills their jobs require.

    hanskey on
  • CantelopeCantelope Registered User regular
    Lolken wrote:
    I really don't want to flame people: I'm not saying they are silly gooses. But the silly goosery that some people have proudly proclaimed in this thread is, IMHO, proof enough of the importance of the humanities. From the complete ignorance of Plato's cave to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year, not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (and that there's no apparent reason that history undergrads would challenge themselves to a higher standard for no pecunial rewards), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

    The more society wants something, the more they are willing to pay for it. Humanities is all well and good, but if you can't get a job whats the point? Sure you learn more about people and the way they think, and are better able to communicate with and understand other people. However, if you have trouble getting yourself into a situation where that is necessary (employment) it's wasted.

  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    Deebaser: You're correct, people don't need to read the Republic. But is it too much to ask that people have at least some notions about, well, one of the most important books in Western culture - and probably the most influential philosopher in all history?

    Yes, in the first world, "social status" is, by and large, "economic status" (a statement that needs to be put into historical perspective, however; 50 years ago, it wasn't so). It isn't exclusively so.

    I would not "consider" a plumber to be of lower status than an data entry drone, if they were making the same amount of money. The plumber WOULD be of lower status. An unemployed plumber WOULD be of lower status than an unemployed PhD. A plumber making 120,000k WOULD be of lower status than a PhD making the same 120,000k (or a PhD making 110,000k, for that matter).

    Obviously, you can learn outside of an university setting. It's the quality of this learning that would be, IMHO, very different, and significantly worse. Yes, you can read, say, "Postwar" or "The Age of Extremes" quite easily outside an academic setting. Without a proper academic basis, you cannot - no, seriously, you cannot - read something like Origen's Peri Archon or Mommsen's Römisches Staatsrecht.

    You're saying the educational system is broken. I agree completely. But it's not because of what the students are learning. It's because the university system is WAY too expensive in the USA.
    to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year,

    Can you point to the post where someone actually made this argument? Also, I find it very telling that you're comparing professions, not academic achievements. Could this be because you recognize that "social status" in the first world is, by and large, economic status?
    Would you consider a plumber of lower status than an data entry drone making $30,000 with a MA in Communications?
    A barista with an BA in Mesoamerican Culture?
    A chronically unemployed gent with a BA in English?
    not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

    I initially made the point back on page five that most humanities majors would be "better off going to trade school and getting a library card". This was a very straightforward, no bullshit way of saying that most students are spending tens of thousands of dollars to pick up a degree because our educational system is broken. Again, I don't believe that it is "the same", but since you can find course syllabuses online for pretty much any subject, it isn't all that difficult to learn for the sake of learning outside a university setting.
    [/quote]

  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    Gah, editing fail for me. Going to fix it when I can, got to go now...

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I'm curious if anyone has tips about Organic Chemistry or Chemistry degrees in general and if the job market is good for them at the moment or expected to be in the future. Also if anyone has anything else to add I'd love to hear it.

    Back when I was in school it was possible to come out of a Chemistry BS with a certification that would allow one to essentially walk directly into a job as a... I've forgotten the term, but basically an industrial chemist. My professor for Organic had decades of experience in industry and would go on at great length about how spectacular a career opportunity this was and how much better it was to get this certification and go work for an Asprin manufacturer than anything else if you wanted to make money. I have no idea if this was accurate, but it's my understanding that, as science jobs go, Chemistry is the easiest physical science to get a job in straight out of an undergraduate program. It's not going to be a very glamorous job, but it's at least a job.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • SavdecSavdec Registered User
    Cantelope wrote:
    Lolken wrote:
    I really don't want to flame people: I'm not saying they are silly gooses. But the silly goosery that some people have proudly proclaimed in this thread is, IMHO, proof enough of the importance of the humanities. From the complete ignorance of Plato's cave to the sincere belief that there's no social distinction between a plumber and, say, a lawyer who make the same 60k per year, not to mention the quaint notion that going to a humanities course in a college is the same as going very frequently to the local library (and that there's no apparent reason that history undergrads would challenge themselves to a higher standard for no pecunial rewards), this thread is filled with misconceptions that are based both on a very real prejudice against the humanities and on a very, very narrow (again, $$$-based) vision of how you can measure one's happiness, success and contribution to society at large.

    The more society wants something, the more they are willing to pay for it. Humanities is all well and good, but if you can't get a job whats the point? Sure you learn more about people and the way they think, and are better able to communicate with and understand other people. However, if you have trouble getting yourself into a situation where that is necessary (employment) it's wasted.

    What I've been trying to say (and what I think the other two are getting at to some extent, though nomadic circle confuses me and I want to distance myself from him) is that this, this thought right here- It's why we need humanities. It is only through those subjects that require not objective but subjective thought do we come to the conclusion that the above may not be necessary. It is only through the rigorous action of thought that we are able to decide for ourselves that economic value is not the deciding factor for what we do with our lives. It is how we see alternatives.

    But on the subject of practicality: Why are humanities the one segment of the University we single out as a waste of time? What does a pure maths major get that's of practical use? What does an undergrad degree in biology do for you? The people who pursue these degrees may have an end goal (PhD, MD), but out of the gate they are less prepared that say a history major who has done significant writing and can (for the sake of this example) use excel. Yes, the maths major could take those skills that he/she learned and understand quickly a numbers job in a company, but then you have to admit that just as quickly an English major with substantial communication experience should be able to hop into a role composing a newsletter for a company. To the response "BUT WHAT ABOUT GETTING THE FIRST JOB," I have this to say: No degree (besides MAYBE engineering at a good school --and I mean GT-good), gives an auto-good job because you have the degree. Experience in the marketplace trumps what your BA or BS says.

    I'm not going to give a department by department defense of a liberal arts college's list of majors. That's silly. I would, however, recommend that before you decide that a course of study is worthless is to actually understand it. I apologize for any misunderstandings I may have created despite myself in this post; I admit my own ignorance.

    NOTE TO INVADING ALIENS: Avoid this town. (Like this town avoided us.)
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    It's a myth that Humanities won't get you a job. It seems to be fueled by the unjustified ethos of advantaging "product" over "process".

    Do you know what got my friend an accountant job? It wasn't her ability to do maths, but to communicate effectively and concisely in a worded argument. Basically, the interview asked her to answer two short essay questions. More and more businesses are looking for people with Humanities backgrounds because, frankly, they tend to communicate better. Jobs can train people on computers and software; writing and critical thinking skills take years to build and require more effort.

    At a IT school I work for, do you know what they are pushing? Not harder math, not longer hours in the labs, but harsher restrictions on writing and critical thinking skills because that's what employers are asking for. Again, critical thinking skills do not come from code monkey classes, but from the Humanities.

    Being able to write your ideas down coherently (again, Humanities skill) is far more important than what most people think. It's a problem adopted at large by the American mindset and it's often a point of contention in higher ed threads or discussions. Honestly, I find it sick when people say "what good are the humanities for?" How about to learn more about what it means to be human, you boorish fool.

  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    I'm curious if anyone has tips about Organic Chemistry or Chemistry degrees in general and if the job market is good for them at the moment or expected to be in the future. Also if anyone has anything else to add I'd love to hear it.

    Back when I was in school it was possible to come out of a Chemistry BS with a certification that would allow one to essentially walk directly into a job as a... I've forgotten the term, but basically an industrial chemist. My professor for Organic had decades of experience in industry and would go on at great length about how spectacular a career opportunity this was and how much better it was to get this certification and go work for an Asprin manufacturer than anything else if you wanted to make money. I have no idea if this was accurate, but it's my understanding that, as science jobs go, Chemistry is the easiest physical science to get a job in straight out of an undergraduate program. It's not going to be a very glamorous job, but it's at least a job.

    I don't know, having not tried, but I would imagine it is, or at least used to be, fairly easy to get a job as monkey of some kind in a chemistry plant with a BS degree. That said, you will most likely not be called upon to exert creativity in said monkey job. And you're probably not anywhere near the promotion-ladder.

    If that's ok, then it's great. I happen to think Chemistry grad school is pretty good gig. You get paid to get a degree. You work hard, but the rules are generally fairly lax, depending on field and lab (I'm looking at you computational chemistry, you're bullshit.) Getting a good job after that has gotten much much harder than it used to be, though. Or so I'm told.

    Chemistry in general, and organic in particular, is really tough until you "get it." After that, I think it's a lot of fun, problem solving, creative thinking, etc.

    Steam = VishnuOwnz
    Dota2 = Glitchmo
  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    I'm curious if anyone has tips about Organic Chemistry or Chemistry degrees in general and if the job market is good for them at the moment or expected to be in the future. Also if anyone has anything else to add I'd love to hear it.

    Back when I was in school it was possible to come out of a Chemistry BS with a certification that would allow one to essentially walk directly into a job as a... I've forgotten the term, but basically an industrial chemist. My professor for Organic had decades of experience in industry and would go on at great length about how spectacular a career opportunity this was and how much better it was to get this certification and go work for an Asprin manufacturer than anything else if you wanted to make money. I have no idea if this was accurate, but it's my understanding that, as science jobs go, Chemistry is the easiest physical science to get a job in straight out of an undergraduate program. It's not going to be a very glamorous job, but it's at least a job.

    analytical chemist? When we were doing some boring kinetics lab our supervisor got half way through saying "you know, this is what you would be doing every day after you graduate" before he realised how much it would discourage everyone

    a huge percentage of our chemistry grads go straight to Fonterra (NZ dairy company that has a near-monopoly on the industry)

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Honestly, i almost think we need to completely decouple students from their families when means testing for financial aid. If it means we hand a few trust fund babies a few grand, oh well... I've known too many people who got fucked because their parents (who looked good on paper) either grossly mismanaged their money or were just dicks.

    And if they have a trust fund that would be the student's asset anyway... Just an aside.

    But I just can't agree with screwing eighteen year old kids (technically adults) because their parents have money. It's not like we base their taxes on parental income, why the hell base financial aid on it.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Savdec wrote:
    What does a pure maths major get that's of practical use?

    Logic, and theory of problem solving. Math is not calculation once you get past calculus, its about the structure and organization of formal systems. It is valuable in the same way the content of a philosophy degree is valuable. It helps you think.

    This is why humanities degrees are not worthless despite the actual content of them being no better for getting you a job than the communications skills you would generate by reading and contributing to this forum. Yet no one would say "hey, screw getting a humanities degree, just read and write on forums all day you will be just as good off".

    wbBv3fj.png
  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    Actually, a lot of the end of the curiclum Math courses are applications of previous courses, not to mention that almost every research team on campus will have a math major on the list.

    There was this grant a year ago from a local (huge) milk/dairy company that included a chimist, a chem engineer, a system engineer and a mathmetican.

  • SavdecSavdec Registered User
    edited July 2011
    Goumindong wrote:
    Savdec wrote:
    What does a pure maths major get that's of practical use?

    Logic, and theory of problem solving. Math is not calculation once you get past calculus, its about the structure and organization of formal systems. It is valuable in the same way the content of a philosophy degree is valuable. It helps you think.

    This is why humanities degrees are not worthless despite the actual content of them being no better for getting you a job than the communications skills you would generate by reading and contributing to this forum. Yet no one would say "hey, screw getting a humanities degree, just read and write on forums all day you will be just as good off".
    That's the point Im trying to make! Hi5. I'm not putting down a maths degree; I have enormous respect for it.

    Well. The first half was. These forums are hilariously hostile to more academic thinking sometimes, see the literary theory thread from months back.

    Savdec on
    NOTE TO INVADING ALIENS: Avoid this town. (Like this town avoided us.)
Sign In or Register to comment.