2018-02-23 19:30:32 (edited by afrim 2018-02-23 19:41:23)

Hello, and thanks for bringing back this wonderful topic
On Monday, I start the last semester of my bachelor degree, and having been at university for two and a half years, I can say that it does more harm than good to the students who choose to pursue a major there.
There are a number of reasons I could highlight to explain my above statement, however I will focus mainly on how university works, at least here in Albania as a way of explaining the deficiencies of higher education.
The student, after graduating from high school, is offered the opportunity to apply for a discipline or major at university, based on his subject focus and GPA. If he is successful, the student goes on for three years with his bachelor degree, which is composed of subjects that make up the discipline he/she has chosen to study. The programs are well arranged; however, the amount of information you get per subject is by and large beyond your capacity, or, considering the time at your disposal, it can't be accomplished by any means. It's not simply about working hard or working wisely (these phrases often drive me up the wall); it is about processing, memorising, analysing and reproducing the information you have at hand. When you can smoothly manage to reproduce the information on a particular subject, only then should you be tested on that subject, but nowhere does that happen. Another point closely rlated is that the student does not have enough time to practice what has he learnt in theory. A student may read 30-40 pages of a lecture, and is given only two classes to bring out the knowledge he has gained. Only through two classes per week, (which we call seminars) can the professor assess the progress of his student. Of course, this is not true for all subjects, as some need more involvement by the side of students; however, the average is two classes. To ease the process of studying, professors frequently tell their students that they should focus primarily on the most important arguments, but how on the earth can they make a logical connection between arguments by reading only the main points? This is more like making him a computer-based mind rather than a logical mind that knows what it says and what it does. That is the tendency at university. I know that professors own and can use that knowledge, and I believe that most of that they have gained by reading, rereading, reading and then rereading again books after all the levels of studies they have completed. They certainly, and we too want to get the best out of university in terms of learning, nonetheless, I can't get how the student is supposed to succeed under such intensely tough pressure in such little time. This is the reason why I am more in favour of non-standard education, but sadly non-standard education is not recognised by public or private institutions. I'm completely disappointed by the university experience so far.

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2018-02-23 21:26:35

Vocational-related occupations seem to offer more of a promise for a guaranteed job, and therefore a stable income.

I'm fortunate to be interested in computers the way I am -- jobs requiring knowledge about software, developer-operations, etc, are in high demand here in the states.  However, many job listings I've found require a B.S. in Computer Science.  This is a hindrance to those who are lower in socioeconomic status.  By and large, college is still considered a luxury.  Only a small percentage of Americans actually attend some form of post-secondary-level of education, and an even smaller fraction attend a college or university.  This is all being told in the confines of America.

Mass in E flat, Op. 109 'Cantus Missæ' is one of my most favorite choral pieces ever.

Come listen to the Heinz Chapel Choir's excellent performance of Kyrie!

2018-02-24 05:35:23

@leibylucw, unfortunately I've met too many people in the Uk with a degree in computer science who have had terrible trouble job wise, maybe the degree is more common, or maybe it's that some universities are better than others, I was quite appalled when I found someone  had supposedly done a degree in computer science and when I asked them what programming language they preferd they didn't know what I was talking about big_smile.

Then again a separate problem in the Uk is the fact that in the mid eighties the government decided to up the number of people with degrees by making all technical colleges have the status of universities and hnd diploma qualifications have the status of degrees, which means unfortunately in the Uk your standard and type of teaching for a given qualification can vary pretty hugely, especially when a lot of places are offering degrees in fairly random, frequently made up subject that don't require much work, I famously heard of someone who took a degree in train spotting, and  standard joke is the amount of lager louts who take degrees in "sports science" as an excuse to  watch lots of football big_smile.

This means that a degree, even a degree from a prestigious university is on paper no more valuable than a degree which took someone a small  of work to get.

This trend might fall off with the increasing price of  higher education since I doubt that people who aren't serious would try to stump the money or get a lone to get a degree, which should theoretically cut out the pointless degrees and make good degrees more valuable, though in practice it is just resulting in fewer people going to any! unviersity at all and employers caring even less about degrees, ---- then again that is a social trend in general since if higher education is about stimulating individual thinking, that is not what most people in the prophet machine want of their employees anyway, and so the world of huxley comes ever closer.

@Afrim,  I can't speak about the quality of your teaching, but I'm afraid that just sounds like how university is.
In my degree I did six modules a year on different aspects of philosophy, Each week we got one lecture per module, and each fortnight we got one seminar, which meant an average of six lectures and two seminars a week.

The seminars were there to discuss in smallgroups with a professor and work out the various arguements. The lectures were meant as an overview of the salient aspects of the field, each also came with a reading list which listed materials we should go and read privately in each subject.

For each module, we had to write one 2000 word essay a term, an essay for  which we usually have had to have read at least five or six different sources (papers or chapters from books), and in most subjects the essays counted towards our final mark for the year.

In  the third term we had one exam per module meaning six exams, each exam requiring us to answer two or three questions, usually on whatever we'd written the essays on.

So the lectures and seminars gave us a broad overview, our essays allowed us to specialise to a limited extent, and the exams we were supposed to argue in a structured manner and show we'd understood the subject (which in a subject like metaphysics or logic could be quite interesting).

In the final third year we did only four modules (each with exam and essay), however for the last two modules we had to write one ten thousand word dissertation on a subject of our choice, ---- well ten thousand words for the actual dissertation, usually a couple extra thousand for the bibliography, since we were supposed to show we'd read extensively (I think  my dissertation's bibliography  had about 20 different things on it).

And if that was bad, the masters was even worse big_smile.


I'm not sure what's happening at your uni or why your finding things problematic, but  was how mine was.
the odd thing is I absolutely loved! it! the work, the reading, the lectures, it was the only place in my life I've been a fully accepted part of a community and if you offered me to go back I'd do it in a second, essay deadlines and all! big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-02-24 05:53:30

I'm currently working on a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. If all goes well I will graduate next year and will be able to become licensed in 2 to 3 years. I just started an internship where I'm being treated like an employer and this is really great experience. I am hoping that this degree + if I get licensed that I will be able to find a job. I think it all comes down to the degree and what you want to do with it. With counseling, nursing, and almost everything in the human services field you need a master's degree. I also think a lot of programs are moving toward the direction of licensure and master’s degree at least in human services.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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2018-02-24 08:30:41

Re: Computer Science, it seems that colleges have responded to the demand by making it easier to get a CS degree, and so we get CS grads who can't do Fizzbuzz. (A first semester CS student should have no trouble with Fizzbuzz!)
Is reality going to set in, students realize they're not getting their money's worth, and things change? lol Who can say?

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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2018-02-25 20:34:14

@CAE_Jones, I think you're correct.  Hence my post earlier about experience versus the education.  Obtaining a degree is important, yes, but I believe the experience you receive through working at a company is invaluable.  This university is fairly decent at field placement, but the CS curriculum isn't the most amazing.  If I'm not mistaken, we do hold a spot on the top 50 universities for CS, but barely scraping by to hold one of the lower spots.  Carnegie Melon has one of the most extensive programs and infinite list of resources available to their students.  I encourage potential undergrads to look for a university that can juggle between a good education and a good set of resources and opportunities to gain "real-world" experience.

Mass in E flat, Op. 109 'Cantus Missæ' is one of my most favorite choral pieces ever.

Come listen to the Heinz Chapel Choir's excellent performance of Kyrie!

2018-02-25 22:30:27

@Dark, well it actually sounds quite better than mine as you seem to have had a more structured curriculum, but the program as far as I can understand allows you to work more than study, and by study I mean read and memorise, without having a sense of what you're reading. That may also depend on the discipline, though philosophy and linguistics are related.
Our curriculum consisted of four modules in the first year, two modules in the second year, and two in the third year. However, we have many subjects that are organised in a semester basis. We also have language practice (first year), IELTS (second year), and Integrated Skills (third year) which are organised in four seminars per week. Translation and interpreting has an important role at our university. And so the curriculum is complete. The program, as I said in my previous post is not badly arranged, but the amount of information the student should deal with is staggering, provided that he's not been in contact with any fraction of that information before and the professors expect him to discuss the knowledge he gains in an academic level.

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2018-02-26 06:47:35

@Afrim, it's a bit difficult for me to say precisely what is happening since to be brutally honest, yeah, it's university and it's not easy, at Durham at least you were expected! to be at a certain academic standard for being there and while the lecturers would always provide assistance, from answering questions to providing reading lists (which I can tell you as someone who has had to do their own research are a god send), your still expected to put in the work yourself, and quite a lot of work at that.

I do know when I was having a serious problem in both metaphysics and in philosophical logic the tutors for both subjects were willing  to help, particularly the logic tutor who's tree diagram method obviously didn't work too well with a vi student, he even offered to personally teach me a completely different approach to propositional calculus, though I didn't take him up on this and found a way of creating  trees using a numerical system instead.


Of course, doing a masters (which was probably work wise the hardest thing I have done) given the extremely! limited time (it was basically like writing four undergrad dissertations in a year), then doing a phd does change my perspective on this, these days the idea of writine a 2k essay with all the books provided sounds like something I could get done over lunch, hell most of the book reviews I have done on www.fantasybookreview.co.uk are pretty much that length big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-02-27 03:43:41

@Dark,

I speculate the amount of people who attend university in the UK is a vastly larger number than that of the US.  Education is outrageously expensive here.  European education is but a mere fraction of the cost of even a decent university in the states.  The Ivy League is notorious for being highly selective and prestigious, but the quality of education isn't far greater than that of any other given highly-ranked university; nevertheless, they are some of the most expensive in the country.  Many bright students do not get into an Ivy because their parents' gross income exceeds the threshold for receiving any form of generous financial aid.

Mass in E flat, Op. 109 'Cantus Missæ' is one of my most favorite choral pieces ever.

Come listen to the Heinz Chapel Choir's excellent performance of Kyrie!

2018-02-28 01:25:45

Well that is changing rather badly since in 2012 the government basically told universities they could charge what the hell they liked and so fees literally trebbled over night.
I think the average is now about £9000 a year,(roughly $23000),  which isn't quite as bad as the states, but is getting that way.

i suspect eventually Britain will be like the states where only the extremely rich or those who  get some sort of financial assistance will go to university, though then again, there is no sign of the numbers of random degrees dropping or of the government stepping in and stopping student lones from having their idiotic interest rates since they're still under the bizarre impression that all graduates will earn massive wages.

i'll confess I was lucky in that not only did I do my degree before! all this stupidity when it was actually affordable to do so, but also because  doctorate started before then it isn't covered by the fee restrictions, though I confess it is very! irritating to me that I can't now go and do a degree in voice.

Of course the above stated social bennifits of going to university are still there, at least in Britain, I still remember my time at uni as the best in my life and the only point I was fully accepted, it's just a shame now people will need to be in debt for the rest of their lives and likely not given a qualification that employers will value afterwards, ---- of course since these days most employers aren't looking for people who can actually think anyway and just want corporate cogs they can slot into the prophet machine, it's not too surprising.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-02-28 22:57:36

@Dark, to conclude it, I'm not against the hard work or large amounts of information, but I think there should be more time at student's disposal to meet his learning needs.

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2018-03-01 09:52:39

@Afrim, I'm not intending to argue here, I'm just stating my own perspective on the matter which  I will admit has slightly changed as I've had more academic work to do myself. Back when I was an undergrad I had my own issues, not so much with the actual amount of work but generally with how things were distributed, since the final week of each  required six essays all! to be complete, which of course meant a huge scramble each time to get everything done, and I do remember thinking it would've been better to spread due dates throughout the year, this was especially true in my third year where I basically  most  of my dissertation in the last three weeks.

Then again it taught me to prepare in advance and take time over things, indeed one of my masters essays I actually misunderstood the due date and got it finished in November instead of december  essentially had an extra long christmas which was very nice, ---- that was actually back in 2006 when I was checking out every single game on the db here, as well as watching my way through babylon 5, indeed had I actually not! got things in early I might not have played half as many audiogames big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-03-04 13:51:38

@Dark, I'm not intending to argue here either, I was just like you stating my opinion on the matter. I simply want that the student be given the necessary time to complete his tasks at school. Deadlines are important, but the way you think of deadlines is also quite important.

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