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294 comments

Portfolios (4, Insightful)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632222)

Is the only badge relevant for self teaching.

Re:Portfolios (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632474)

What about subjects that don't lend themselves as easily to the portfolio approach? Works great for designers, but what about geneticists?

Re:Portfolios (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632530)

Published, peer-reviewed, papers go in a portfolio for any subject like that...

Illegal to experiment without a licenes (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632554)

Published, peer-reviewed papers generally result from some sort of experiment. But I'm under the impression that some subjects are so tightly regulated that just doing experiments by themselves is illegal without a license. Only people who already have a degree from an incumbent accredited institution can get a license to supervise experiments in person. Case in point: the decline of chemistry sets [blogspot.com] after the strengthening of toy safety standards and the public awareness of the illicit manufacture of stimulant drugs.

Re:Portfolios (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632626)

Published, peer-reviewed, papers go in a portfolio for any subject like that...

I'm curious as to how many people with no university or industry affiliation have published papers, especially those that have published without any collaborators with such affiliations. As a CS grad student, I haven't run across any that I can remember, but perhaps I haven't been around long enough and there are too many other disciplines and specializations to count. Some disciplines would be easier than others -- in Computer Science, for example, there are plenty of research areas that don't require a huge amount of resources.

That said, peer review publications are pretty much by academics and for academics; only few (non academic or industrial research) outsiders would care so much to publish unless they are hoping to gain the very affiliation the eschew.

Re:Portfolios (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632642)

only few (non academic or industrial research) outsiders would care so much to publish unless they are hoping to gain the very affiliation the eschew.

You said "industrial research". I guess the point of the comments by Deus.1.01 and TheRaven64 is just that: one's industrial research should get one into industry.

Re:Portfolios (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632750)

Where on the god's flat disc are you going to do the practical lab work? Besides, genetics is a research discipline, you would have to get involved in academia anyway.

the problem is profit (5, Interesting)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632228)

I think the idea of models for education that have been around for a long while apparently arent meeting the peoples needs.. the popularity of khan and mitx is just but one example...

the 'threat' of people learning more stuff only exists if your business relies on selling people an education..

for everyone else its good news!

Re:the problem is profit (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632360)

Actually, not so much. Setting aside diploma mills like DeVry, University of Phoenix, etc, it is helpful to society to have professors in colleges who aren't just there to provide "here's the video for the lecture, here's the choose-a-guess test, here's your certificate" classes but instead provide actual interactive discussions, answer questions relevant to the topic at hand from a learned perspective, continue to do research in the subjects they are teaching, and continually update the curriculum thereby.

On the flipside, yes, there are certain areas of the economy where "college" has taken over the role previously taken by what were called "trade schools", and there's the inevitable degree-creep that's been caused by the brainless HR sector constantly requiring more and more of a checklist of "must have this, must have that" to apply for jobs that has come with the computerization era. The idea of "all jobs require a college degree", whereas 30 years ago it was a HS diploma, or the number of jobs now requiring a Master's rather than a mere Associate's or Bachelor's degree, all pushed even further by a complete refusal by companies to actually provide on-the-job training, instead insisting that all new hires should drop in like made-to-order cogs on day one.

Khan and MITx look a lot to me like the Idiocracy approach to "education" - one size fits all, just take your multiple-guess test and keep taking it till you get your cert.

If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632520)

it is helpful to society to have professors in colleges who [...] provide actual interactive discussions, answer questions relevant to the topic at hand from a learned perspective

Can't this be done online with software such as Slash or phpBB?

Re:If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632560)

it is helpful to society to have professors in colleges who [...] provide actual interactive discussions, answer questions relevant to the topic at hand from a learned perspective

Can't this be done online with software such as Slash or phpBB?

No. In-class discussions use peer pressure to weed out trolls. Moderation and reputation systems are not an effective substitute.

Re:If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632630)

In-class discussions use peer pressure to weed out trolls.

They also, unfortunately, use peer pressure to weed out bright students who just happen to have impaired mobility or an autism spectrum disorder.

Re:If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632646)

"Install" software is insignificant, the question is who's actually answering the questions and discussing the topics. Khan is free because as a broadcast medium, it requires very few knowledgeable people for each student. If you make it two way, you suddenly need the same number of teachers as a regular college.

Re:If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632772)

If you make it two way, you suddenly need the same number of teachers as a regular college.

But no room and board, and no textbook fees if the teachers contribute to Wikibooks/Wikiversity or another Free courseware project.

Re:If Khan or MITx were to install Slash (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632684)

It can be and is done using popular software like Webassign and Blackboard, and at least one of those can pretty-print formulas for math and science classes.

It's close enough - what the teacher usually does is require that each participant post x number of comments or answers to others' questions. It's like actually going to class in the sense that you have your front-seat hand-raisers and you have your unmotivated back-row dwellers who respond only when called upon, and with generic answers.

It's better in a lot of ways for controversial discussions. I took an art class online where the teacher was a totally cool professional troll, showcasing Serrano's Piss Christ [wikipedia.org] in a very conservative Christian area. The whole forum was stirred into a frenzy and I defended Serrano's work saying, "In history, only the most cherished objects were adorned with gold. What is the only golden substance the human body can produce?"

In a censorship discussion, I declared that nothing, not even child pornography, should be censored. I would have had the shit beat out of me had I actually said that in class.

DeVry is a tech / trade school not a diploma mill (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632542)

And if any thing tech / IT needs trade like learning.

As in IT

CS is very top level and has a over load of theory.

Certs are vender based and some are ones that you can cram for and pass with no idea on how to do the real work.

Tech school and trades is the right fit with some real apprenticeships / interns (that are not office boys and ones the get paid and do real work with a learning part to it)

Re:the problem is profit (0)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632570)

it is helpful to society to have professors in colleges who aren't just there to provide "here's the video for the lecture, here's the choose-a-guess test, here's your certificate" classes but instead provide actual interactive discussions, answer questions relevant to the topic at hand from a learned perspective, continue to do research in the subjects they are teaching, and continually update the curriculum thereby.

Yeah, 'cause that happens in bricks and mortar universities *all* the time.

Re:the problem is profit (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632712)

It does once you get past the freshman weed out classes: at least that was the case for me when I got my engineering technology degree from Texas A&M and my mathematics degree from the University of Houston . .

Re:the problem is profit (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632496)

The question becomes what level of education does our society want to support, and how do we support teachers to make that possible? If we want a college level of education for our populace, then we really need to rethink things. The traditional approach is highly problematic - it doesn't reach everyone, it is very expensive... Then again, this new method as theory is not a sustainable way to support teachers, and leaves out in person instruction. (In practice one would expected these classes are actually used in "real-world" classes to supplement instruction).

Re:the problem is profit (1, Insightful)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632862)

Or you're just a loud minority supported by an even smaller minority who want to break public education due to their political goals and personal views alongside their ability to profit. This is a better mousetrap conundrum, if you can do it you'll get rich but nobody has. Humans only learn in a handful of ways and frankly a traditional academic setting is preferred.

Not optimistic. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632232)

The usual purpose of attending college isn't to learn the material, so much as being adequately credentialed for consideration for employment. So the question is, will the people doing the hiring consider them as sufficient alternatives to a traditional degree.

I suspect they'll stay slightly less influential than industry certifications, which stand well below degrees from accredited universities.

Re:Not optimistic. (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632374)

I tentatively agree, but I think the entrance of "big-name" universities into this experiment potentially changes things, if they keep standards up. Anything with the name MIT or Stanford associated with it has some amount of built-in cachet. I think that even if it's not a regular degree, but Stanford-with-an-asterisk, employers, and especially smaller and less rigid employers like we often find in technology, will be willing to consider it if Stanford does a reasonable job with it.

I can especially imagine employers with specific needs taking it seriously, e.g. someone needing a data analyst may consider certification in 2 statistics and 2 machine-learning classes from Stanford good enough for the job.

Re:Not optimistic. (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632428)

someone needing a data analyst may consider certification in 2 statistics and 2 machine-learning classes from Stanford good enough for the job.

Yeah the problem for Mr Badge is that badge collection is all that is need to do the job, but the unemployed guy with a masters in math also applied for the same job, along with 10 new B.S. 4-year grads and 5 guys with 3 years of experience, and that "retired" EE prof with a PHD who was denied tenure. And also 20 guys who don't have the education or experience but they're good liars and know how to work the system, so one of those 20 will almost certainly be hired.

I'm not thinking the depths of the second great depression is all that great of a time to roll this idea out.

Re:Not optimistic. (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632458)

In tech there seems to still be enough of a shortage of skilled people that people without degrees do get hired regularly, though not as easily as people with degrees. Silicon Valley startups seem to already consider "some cool projects on GitHub" to be the moral equivalent of a bachelor's degree...

Re:Not optimistic. (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632612)

Thats awesome for the (number of people in silly valley in the field)/(number of people in USA) * 100 percent of the population. In other words just about no one.

Similar, I could move to one of the oil/gas production hubs, and be one of the 10 or so McDonalds employees making more than $20/hr.

It's just not relevant to most of the population.

Re:Not optimistic. (3, Insightful)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632784)

In tech there seems to still be enough of a shortage of skilled people that people without degrees do get hired regularly, though not as easily as people with degrees. Silicon Valley startups seem to already consider "some cool projects on GitHub" to be the moral equivalent of a bachelor's degree...

It sounds like you don't think much of people that don't have degrees, as if they're hired only to fill a chair until a properly-educated person comes along. Please explain why college degree should confer higher value than real, visible work. As an employer I prefer to see what someone can really do, regardless of their papers. As an employee, I would rather show off the things I'm capable of (and interested in) now, not how much I can borrow/spend on having someone else spoon-feed concepts to me.

Don't get me wrong, I went to college and I think an education is important. I find that intelligent people that don't attend college often lack the critical thinking skills that come with a well-rounded scholarly experience, which is a waste of their potential. They miss the real point of an education, which is to teach you how to think. I just believe that there is frequently too much emphasis on papers, not enough on actual capability. Maybe some of the "startups" think that too.

Re:Not optimistic. (2)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632404)

That's the nub of it. From the article:

After all, traditional college diplomas look elegant when hung on the wall, but they contain very little detail about what the recipient learned.

I think the author has made a fundamentally false assumption here. "Traditional college diplomas" are not meant to contain the details of what the recipient learned. That's what a Transcript is for. A degree certifies that you have learned how to learn; that you know how to read and analyse, how to find information and sift it for fact and fiction, how to write what you have learned clearly and concisely, and how to support your argument by pointing at what others have done. It also certifies that you have done all this within a specific discipline, so there is an implication that you know the basics of your chosen field[s].

That may certainly provide adequate credentials for some kinds of employment. But it excludes the large number of specialist institutions whose business is to teach the basics and practicalities of a discipline, without the same level of emphasis on the other skills.

Unfortunately it also excludes a significant number of institutions who accept payment to allow a student to graduate without proper checks on whether they have or have not achieved anything of worth, based on other aspects of the individual's social background. As degrees-for-cash become more prevalent, whether state-sponsored or privately-funded, it is becoming more difficult to distinguish this class of graduate from the first.

Re:Not optimistic. (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632508)

For large employers, there's also the meta-skill of showing some amount of self-discipline and aptitude for following rules and navigating bureaucracies. A degree is in part a certification that you've successfully followed a series of requirements and tasks for four years. That's harder to replicate in these DIY educational approaches, because not being huge and bureaucratic is sort of the whole point of the alternative approaches.

Re:Not optimistic. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632632)

For large employers, there's also the meta-skill of showing some amount of self-discipline and aptitude for following rules and navigating bureaucracies.

They could introduce some classes whose subject is "navigating bureaucracies", "meeting requirements", etc.
With hands-on project work, and learn by doing used extensively....

Re:Not optimistic. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632418)

"If students can collect credentials from MITx and Khan Academy and other free Web sites, why go to a campus?"

I was going to say that the student misses out on puking in dorm rooms during keggers, fending off advances from lecherous profs, being forced to participate in the college textbook scam, outrageous tuition increases, and on and on...

Free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632234)

This is free market competition, and by definition, good.

"why go to a campus?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632236)

To woo women!

Re:"why go to a campus?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632364)

That's why Techers go to another campus.

Safe for a while (3, Informative)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632238)

I really don't know if this is a good thing. While I think I would have loved the idea while I was in school, looking back I think I would have missed out on a lot of social interaction that was probably really important.

If left to my own devices, I would have spent every hour of my free time on a computer. Luckily I had friends who dragged me to various things.. and begrudgingly I actually had a lot of fun.

In other words, I think education is only part of the education process. Social development is the other big part. Technical skills are great, but in todays work environment everything is team driven and being able to get along with people is almost (or even more) important than being able to crank out killer code.

Re:Safe for a while (2)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632454)

looking back I think I would have missed out on a lot of social interaction that was probably really important.

And that's true. Putting it in more stark terms, a lot of higher education is really just a lifestyle for 19 year olds. That's not a bad thing, hell, I've lived that life far longer than one human should.

But colleges make this lifestyle absurdly expensive, when all you really need to do is set aside a neighborhood for 19 year olds.

Re:Safe for a while (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632488)

Sure, I agree that there are additional hidden values that may be found in traditional education (such as the development of social skills and social networks).

However, it is completely possible that you can succeed in attaining your education without gaining these social skills or developing those networks, just like it is possible to develop social skills and networks without traditional education.

Additionally, not everyone is in the financial position to attain the luxury of having both a traditional education and a rewarding social experience. Some will be unable to afford to go at all, while others need to spend almost all of their time split between school and the job they need to pay for it.

So what you speak of is fine for an ideal, but the reality of the situation is that the people that benefit the most from open and freely available knowledge are those that can't afford (or would struggle to afford) a traditional education anyway. I doubt it will have much benefit on traditional education since there will always be parents of privileged kids who share your attitude that the "college experience" has great value in personal development.

Though, if there is an effect, I hope it would be to create downward pressure on the cost of education.

Re:Safe for a while (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632528)

In other words, I think education is only part of the education process. Social development is the other big part

The problem is that only applies if you're doing the education process thing while 18 to 22 years old. The real world educational process is somewhat more complicated. For example, I'm in my 30s and I'm well aware that due to ageism, getting a "tech job" after 40 is roughly as likely as getting hit by lightning, and only 1 in maybe 30 will ever get into management. So, if I make the cut thats a pleasant miracle, but facing reality, I better start planning in my head for a non-STEM job, which means going back to school.

I REALLY don't think the strategy of tossing me in with the 18 year olds and telling me to learn how to play nice is going to work out. If nothing else I would probably get busted for buying the underage hotties booze in exchange for adult services or something. No... I'm not thinking this will work out.

Technical skills are great, but in todays work environment everything is team driven and being able to get along with people is almost (or even more) important than being able to crank out killer code.

That's something I've heard all my life yet never experienced. There are anecdotes where total sociopath / psychopath / lunatics who are good coders are useless, but the existence of an extreme doesn't prove that therefore "joe average coder needs to get used to the commune / collective farm and from each according to their ability and to each according to their need" and all that rot. Decades of experience show social skill and ability is more like a step function, like an amusement park ride poster "you must be this connected to humanity to succeed and no less" "you must have been laid/drunk/stoned X times to get a job here" "you must be friendly with the HR interviewer lady no matter what she says for a minimum of 10 minutes to get this job" or whatever.

Re:Safe for a while (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632540)

Of course you are right that education is received best when you have active interaction with smart people. Which should happen at real university. Unfortunately it does not. There are 300 people on single year of civil engineering studies, and this university (PG, Poland) is the best one in whole country when it comes to civil engineering. And let me tell you: teachers are sick of that many students. Teachers don't pay attention to students. They *can't* pay attention. There are too many of students. The university is swamped.

Khan academy or MITx would be a great relief for the universities to get rid of students who would waste professors' time. And instead it will let the teachers to focus on brilliant students who made a choice of not studying online, but wanted to come & discuss. It's a win-win.

You can't force a student to do the real studying if he doesn't want to. If that student is at the university, he is wasting everyone's time, only to get away with a degree. If that student will make a degree online, then the real science will go forward faster & easier. That is unfair? Oh this is being solved naturally, add more "experience levels". It is already happening. There was a /. story that what currently is a PhD, was a bachelor's degree about 60 years ago, in terms of required scientific work that you had to do to obtain that degree. A new degree "habilitation" is being added on top of PhD to compensate this. Everybody knows that bachelor is now pretty common nowadays, everybody knows it is less worth than 60 years ago.

The education diversity is much *higher* than in caveman ages. There is much more knowledge our there which can me known or unknown to each of us. I'm surprised that it took half a century to add more education degrees. Look where our civilization was 50 years ago.

Online universities are a natural step in the right direction: dumb down bachelor's degree, add another degree on top. And let everyone choose which level of education they want too have. Too much work to get habilitation? Everyone has a choice. Remember that we have made a lot of discoveries in last century.

Funding? Well, that's another story. Science goes forward even if there are funding problems, albeit slower. The most important thing is a fruitful interaction between professors and brilliant students. And online universities will let this happen.

Re:Safe for a while (4, Interesting)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632566)

short version for tl;dr:

- let's allow online universities
- so we have fewer lazy students at the universities
- students who actually come to study are served much better, and really have interaction with teachers, who suddenly have more time

Re:Safe for a while (1)

heironymous (197988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632688)

Social interaction is education. Did any undergraduates actually learn anything from their professors? The only things I remember learning, I learned from my peers.

What answer to you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632240)

You're asking SlashDot, so you expect the typical "degrees don't matter if you're truly driven" answer. Tell that to every HR department in any reputable company.

because they don't want to be laughed at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632242)

during their job interview. unless it's clown tryouts. but i imagine those are more scary than funny anyway.

Good, about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632252)

Something to cut the universities down to size. Those cults have been inflating degrees and causing degree creep for long enough.

Getting a degree (4, Interesting)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632278)

The most important thing in getting a degree is getting that ticket punched. There are jobs that just won't even talk to a person that doesn't have a degree.
My degree is in music but in interviews I've never been asked what my degree was in. I've often been asked if I have a degree.

Re:Getting a degree (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632368)

Getting that ticket punched is only one goal. If I hire a somebody on the basis of having his ticket punched and then find out he doesn't know how to do anything, I'm going to fire him pretty soon.

Re:Getting a degree (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632518)

Yeah but the point was you hired him - possibly overlooking a better employee who didn't "get his ticket punched".

It's a pretty nasty system, as you just illustrated.

Re:Getting a degree (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632584)

Getting that ticket punched is only one goal. If I hire a somebody on the basis of having his ticket punched and then find out he doesn't know how to do anything, I'm going to fire him pretty soon.

That's the problem with degree inflation / underemployment, if you hire a math major to do what amounts to a secretary job (real world example, a friend of my wife) and later find out she's really no good at solving Riemann Geometry problems, its kind of hard to fire her if she does a good job at filing orders.

Lets say I lied at my current job and I don't really know C++ despite having had to take something like 4 semesters. Other than the honesty thing, would anyone care, seeing as we switched mostly from perl to ruby years ago and I've never written a line of C++ for salary in my life despite it being the core of my "IT" training?

From a training standpoint all you need is a 2-year AS IT cert collection to do my job. Doesn't matter if I got my M.S.C.S. out of a crackerjack box as long as I've got the 2-year A.S. skills to do the job once I get in here.

I have been seriously thinking about the diploma mill thing because I'm not worried about not learning how to do PHD level work, because I'll probably never get a "real" PHD level job anyway, so it seems it would be "safe" to buy some fancy wallpaper if it helps me avoid downsizing or whatever.

violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632564)

JIM COLLISON

Employers should not fear the EEOC warning. In fact, employers should use it to focus their attention on identifying the actual essential qualifications needed to perform a job...and how to assess whether or not a candidate has these qualifications. Because education has been so dumb-downed in the last 50 years, a high school graduation diploma or a high school equivalency certification simply is not evidence that an individual possesses the essential qualifications to perform a job. The same is true for many if not most post high school degrees. Check out the new book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. Also check out the new Skills Gap research report from A.C.T. showing that just having a diploma or certificate is no evidence an applicant possesses the foundational skills of reading for information, locating information, and applied math needed for almost every job today. Jim Collison, President, Employers of America, Inc.

Re:violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, (3, Insightful)

olderphart (787517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632666)

As a result of the 1971 SCOTUS decision http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griggs_v._Duke_Power_Co [wikipedia.org] it's extremely dangerous to an employer to use perceived aptitude in hiring decisions. The gap has been filled by wasting 4+ years out of the life of all kinds of people (with no interest in learning per se) who need a certificate of aptitude that is immune to discrimination lawsuits. The badges are designed to serve the same need. Let competition roll!

No threat. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632286)

Until employers recognize a khan academy badge or certificate as being just as good as degree it's not threatening anything.

Colleges are in the business of printing degrees and making sure that employers know how "wonderful" their degrees are. They will fight tooth and nail to make sure all employers know how "inferior" self-taught people are, whether they self-taught from MIT or self-taught from decades of work experience.

College grants an education, but it's also a racket and it's a racket with a lot of money behind it.

Networking! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632288)

College is as much about establishing your social network as it is about learning. You don't even really have to know everyone to have the advantage of having gone somewhere; perhaps a hiring manager went to school there 10 years earlier. He'll still have a preconceived notion of what you went through to get your degree. I have to think that having those ties with a physical institution and actual contact with actual people will be worth more than "Some guy who posted to an online forum around the same time that I did."

Re:Networking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632592)

Stanford University for example.

Most of the students are complete idiots, but their rich parents will fund your startup.

easy answer (3, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632292)

because if you go to a campus, then your education costs will increase. that means you need to take out a bigger student loan. this, in turn, means that some hedge fund or investment bank can resell your student loan to someone else, take a huge profit, and retire to Fiji.

what you need to understand, is that all of those perks of on campus life are very important to the economy of Fiji.

Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632294)

The students still have to pass the state and federal tests to ensure that their teachers getting their jobs done...

                                  That's why.

Would you be comfortable getting surgery ... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632304)

... from someone who says, "I don't actually have an MD, but I do have a 'Great Listener' badge!"?

Re:Would you be comfortable getting surgery ... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632590)

Now you've stumbled onto a situation where the fancy bit of paper doesn't cut it. Yeah, you heard me right. A doctor isn't going to get to cut on you just because they have that bit of paper. They also have to go through a sort of traditional apprenticeship. The education itself isn't considered enough.

So an MD is kind of a bad example.

Re:Would you be comfortable getting surgery ... (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632768)

Fair enough. Okay, try applying to a residency program with your "Great Listener badge" and see how far you get.

What's wrong with Boy Scout badges? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632310)

See the subject line. I'm an Eagle Scout and I'll acknowledge that that badge doesn't really account to much in the technical world, but I must protest to the idea that Boy Scout badges are worthless. At least the merit badge booklets can provide a decent crash-course session on many subjects for less than $5.

Being an Eagle Scout got me my first few jobs. The First Aid and knot-tying skills I learned have continued to be useful throughout my adult life. Your "playfull riff" is offensive, sir anonymous reader.

Re:What's wrong with Boy Scout badges? (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632576)

Being an Eagle Scout also entitles enlistees in the Army, Navy, and Air Force to start as E-2's instead of E-1's.

Re:What's wrong with Boy Scout badges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632744)

Case in point. While very drunk, I got talked into working at a scout camp for a summer when they were desperate for someone's who entire job qualification appeared to be breathing past their 21st birthday and not on the sex offender's list. Well, so, I was the archery range director. Apparently, there's a class for archery range directors, and whatnot, and generally you had to see a bow and arrow to get the interview, but they were desperate. I spent a week with the merit badge book and 2 councilors (kids) who loved archery during prep week, and taught a thousand kids how to shoot a bow and arrow. Still can't hit the target myself, but no one got hurt, most of them learned how to shoot a bow and arrow decently, and almost all of them had a good time. The merit badge books are remarkably effective, at least were then.

Is it about the campus, or the tuition? (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632322)

Plenty of reputable schools have offered online programs for ages, and nobody's complained about that before.

So is the problem now that they're talking about making them free, and nobody who has paid for something wants someone else to get it for free?

This sounds a lot like the complaining about scholarships for minorities and the disadvantaged.

IT's time to rework colleges and universities (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632324)

A lot of way colleges work is stuck in the past and some of it does not fit into today's world. But some of that stared years ago.
Also there are a lot of people who not college material but can go / have other ways of learning.

The cost of colleges is only part of what needs to be fixed.

The tech schools do get a lot of stuff right and fill in some big gaps.

community colleges do have a good fit and it's said that took state laws for 4 years colleges to take credits.

4 years is to long (for most people) and some times all the filler and gen edu needs push it out to 5 years.

post grad is geared to staying in school and becoming a teacher.

The PHD systems needs a lot of work as well.

The tech / IT field needs the apprentice systems so people can get the skills to do the job and so we have people who know what they are doing. Tech school is a good starting point but for most tech jobs 4 years CS is not.

A 4 year college should be the place to go to do IT work.

Why do people like jobs' who DON't have a college degrees get look down on? Job's did a lot with out the high cost piece of paper (and that was back in the day where less people where going to college)

Does does tech schools get look down on?

Why does tech not have apprenticeships?

Why was the PayPal founder Peter Thiel paying for entrepreneurs to skip college and work on startup's?

Why in CS is there a BIG GAP from what you learn in college and the real job? tech schools have alot more real job skills.

people who are not college material. but can do a tech schools or apprenticeships?

community colleges and tech schools have night classes and let people drop in for on going education.

Re:IT's time to rework colleges and universities (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632392)

Why in CS is there a BIG GAP from what you learn in college and the real job? tech schools have alot more real job skills.

This is the way it is supposed to be. Universities are not vocational schools, and a degree in computer science is not a professional certification. People forgot that a long time ago...

Re:IT's time to rework colleges and universities (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632668)

The problem is that Universities are marketing it as something akin to professional certification (and many businesses are treating it as something akin to professional certification).

Re:IT's time to rework colleges and universities (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632394)

A 4 year college should be the place to go to do IT work.

Sure about that? I did the 2-yr associates in a IT related field (telecom) and it was way more than necessary for entry level IT work. Basically it was a 4-year engineering degree minus almost all non-technical classes, and maybe skip a couple of senior year classes. Think about it, take your average EE degree requirements, strip out all the liberal arts, strip out all the math and classes that are utterly impossible without the math, and you're pretty much got my associates degree program. Think about it... take a typical 128 credit BS, subtract out 30-40 credits of liberal arts, knock out a couple senior year classes, thats your AS degree.

I can relate that in almost two decades of IT work I never used calculus or Spanish or early american pre-civil war history (which is what eventually earned me my BS degree)

I later did a 4-year CS which with transfer credits, amounted to little more than a lot of liberal arts classes, some math, and a couple upper level classes... If you do a "real" CS degree with intensive math, it does take 4 years.

Why Educational Technology Has Failed Schools (3, Insightful)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632464)

Great points. See also my: http://patapata.sourceforge.net/WhyEducationalTechnologyHasFailedSchools.html [sourceforge.net]
"Ultimately, educational technology's greatest value is in supporting "learning on demand" based on interest or need which is at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to "learning just in case" based on someone else's demand. Compulsory schools don't usually traffic in "learning on demand", for the most part leaving that kind of activity to libraries or museums or the home or business or the "real world". In order for compulsory schools to make use of the best of educational technology and what is has to offer, schools themselves must change. ... So, there is more to the story of technology than it failing in schools. Modern information and manufacturing technology itself is giving compulsory schools a failing grade. Compulsory schools do not pass in the information age. They are no longer needed. What remains is just to watch this all play out, and hopefully guide the collapse of compulsory schooling so that the fewest people get hurt in the process."

See also these collections of links i put together:
http://p2pfoundation.net/backups/p2p_research-archives/2009-October/005379.html [p2pfoundation.net]
http://p2pfoundation.net/backups/p2p_research-archives/2009-November/005584.html [p2pfoundation.net]
http://p2pfoundation.net/backups/p2p_research-archives/2009-November/006005.html [p2pfoundation.net]

Re:IT's time to rework colleges and universities (1)

KPU (118762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632854)

Why was the PayPal founder Peter Thiel paying for entrepreneurs to skip college and work on startup's?

So they won't have other options when it fails.

HR is the only important actor (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632346)

The only important actor in this transaction is HR. No one else cares about degrees or badges or whatever, all that matters is skill.
Someone wake me when "HR" as a group cares more about badges than, say, 2 year associates degrees (which they do not care about at all).
Or perhaps certifications. For decades my local 2-yr tech school has offered endless certs for IT and pretty much anything else they can train over a weekend.
Even vendor certs. What is my old CCNA or CCNP worth? Well, I guess it would make a nice placemat under a drink at a restaurant.

Re:HR is the only important actor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632430)

It's beyond HR. I just talked to a guy a couple weeks ago who was looking for an entry level server operator - and he was offering on the job training - but only to people with degrees. He flat out would not substitute decades of computer experience for a degree.

I didn't bother to ask him why and I hope he enjoys his 22 year old "degree holder" who will skip out on him after a year and a half.

tell him that he is braking the law (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632606)

As you need to offer that to people with learning disabilities who don't have a degrees but can do the job.

Never mind whether online schools work. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632358)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/students-of-virtual-schools-are-lagging-in-proficiency.html [nytimes.com]

The number of students in virtual schools run by educational management organizations rose sharply last year, according to a new report being published Friday, and far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and in traditional public schools.

http://www.kunc.org/post/report-finds-more-virtual-k-12-students-are-falling-behind [kunc.org]

The number of private companies operating full-time online K-12 schools in Colorado and other states continues to grow. Meantime, student performance is declining. That’s according to a new report by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado.

These articles pertain to K-12 schools but I think the dynamic behind why these schools don't work very well can be generalized. Probably nothing works as well as direct face-to-face instruction.

More focussed education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632370)

Could be useful in avoiding the situation in which HR people ask for CS degrees for sys admin jobs in which much of the content of such courses is just fluff. We've been moving in this direction for some time, with colleges offering more specialized courses. Biggest question though is how seriously these badges will be considered? Could be that many of these badges will carry as much weight as a "degree" from Patriot Bible University, who if other universities required practical demonstration of sexual prowess under lab conditions, would be happy enough to give a degree to anyone on receipt of a condom filled with sponge.

Could Khan Academy or MITx exist alone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632382)

You still have to find highly-trained and qualified people to teach -- people who actually know stuff and have some practice giving courses -- and they need to make a living somehow. I'm not sure MITx or Khan Academy could exist unless there was a campus somewhere from which teachers could be hired, or where they are already doing that job (MIT). I think the most that's going to happen is traditional universities augment their delivery methods, but nothing is going to replace the one-on-one training that happens in more advanced programs (i.e. when students get to the point of working on thesis projects and the like). At some point you have to go from hundreds of students taking a standard course on-line to specialized stuff that has to be custom-tailored for each student, and which pushes them harder to start figuring stuff out for their own. If all you do is teach on-line courses and think that is "good enough", eventually you won't have any people left who are qualified to teach them.

really, why.. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632410)

Honestly, my wife has asked that lately. a "degree" is useless as tits on a bull outside of science or education. Mostly because Business degrees are a complete joke.

She has a Bachelors in accounting and a CPA license. does not make her get a job any easier. In fact it hinders her right now, because companies dont want to pay a realistic wage that a BS and CPA would ask for. They are more interested in paying $25,900-$33,500 to a 21 year old kid that just got their AS and will take the peanuts pay happily.

I'd go a step further (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632414)

High school is supposed to prepare you for entry into the workforce, and get you ready to maintain regular schedules and routines, and working to a goal. Given this, why is college regarded by society so highly? To go into the workforce? Isn't that what high school is for?

Re:I'd go a step further (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632478)

High school is supposed to prepare you for entry into the workforce, and get you ready to maintain regular schedules and routines, and working to a goal. Given this, why is college regarded by society so highly? To go into the workforce? Isn't that what high school is for?

That depends on whether or not our high school education system is actually teaching people how to read, write, and perform basic arithmetic. Unfortunately, it is not, and moreover jobs in America are becoming so demanding that people require additional training just to perform their job.

My view is this: the focus on vocational training has to become secondary. America is supposed to be a democracy, and in order for a democracy to function we need people who can read newspapers and understand important political issues. College should be about educating our citizens and making our democracy strong, not just about training people for high tech jobs. People can go to technical schools to get technical training, and the entire college system should be restructured to be friendlier to non-matriculated and part-time students.

Why should mechanics and truck drivers be less educated than investors and managers? We need people to do all of the above, and in theory we want people from all walks of life to be able to participate in democratic processes in a meaningful way.

Re:I'd go a step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632770)

Wow. Have you stopped to consider that (1) because of diversity of pay, some people have to work long hours, and don't have the time or the energy to participate in the democratic process, (2) some people simply are not interested in participating in the democratic process, (3) some people don't have the brain power to participate in the democratic process, (4) some people realize that participation is a complete waste of time since (corporate $$) >> (votes) when it comes to influencing politicians. Theory is nice. Then, there is reality.

Re:I'd go a step further (2)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632840)

I was taught how to read, write, do arithmetic, be aware of world events, care about the US constitution, be aware of modern political events, and also practical skills that are usable in the workforce through the School-to-Work program in WA state. I interned at a locksmith, and an audio installation shop. I have learned valuble skills from these internships that I still use to this day. (I work at a auto dealer here in town)

We are not a democracy, and never have been. "god" willing, we never will be either. In a democracy, 51% of the population can kill 49% of the population by a simple vote. We are a constitutional republic, not a democracy. The word "Democracy" appears nowhere in the US constitution. Hell, back in high school, I used to read the Constitution and history book for fun. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "A democracy is where three wolves and a lamb vote on what to have for dinner, a republic is where the lamb has a gun".

As to your question about why should mechanics and truck drivers being less educated; I contend that they are equally as educated. They are trained in skills that you do not have, and there is a market demand for those skills. Furthermore, to be a certified ASE automotive technician, it requires ongoing education in automotive repair. Vehicle technology changes rapidly, and a technician needs to be kept up to date regarding the latest changes.

Why is a "well rounded education" limited to knowing about shit you'll never use in the real world, such as Socrates, advanced calculus, Cantonese III, The History of Rock and Roll, underwater french basket weaving, etc? Why aren't practical skills such as automotive engine repair, Small engine repair and electricity, plumbing, wood craftsmanship, etc, (which are practical skills), considered part of a "well-rounded education"?

trade school should come after not just college (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632700)

College is not setup to tech job's skills and alot of it is for moving up in the college system and doing teaching / R&D type stuff and that is OVER KILL for most jobs.

Not everyone is cut out for school. Not every school is worth the tens of thousands in loans it takes to go there.

Let's be honest about it.... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632456)

Colleges and the educational system as a whole didn't evolve much. It's driven by the old "teacher and student" ideal and by the ready-to-serve needs of corps.
When you see people moving on to something else.... maybe you should make your own system evolve?

Re:Let's be honest about it.... (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632544)

Here is an idea for evolution: stop treating bachelor's (and increasingly master's) degrees as professional certifications. People who want an in-depth understanding of a given field should major in that field, but for people who just want to get a job, how about this plan:
  1. Go to a trade school and get a professional certification.
  2. At night, take interesting courses at a university -- in particular, courses in political science, economics, basics about technology (not those courses about how to use Word and Excel -- courses about how computers work, how the Internet works, etc.), courses in science, etc.
  3. Be an educated citizen who can identify politicians that support the things you support, now that you understand the issues facing our society
  4. Profit (for society, now that democracy works because people know what they want)

Universities should become friendlier to part-time and non-matriculated students, working people who want to get a decent educated while support a family. Rather than being institutions where kids can party at their parents' expense, they should be institutions where adults can be serious about scholarship.

Re:Let's be honest about it.... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632694)

Here is an idea for evolution: stop treating bachelor's (and increasingly master's) degrees as professional certifications.

Talk to corporations about that. They're the only ones who can do it.

What's wrong with Boy Scout badges? (1, Insightful)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632498)

Reposting while logged in since my AC comment was virtually ignored.

See the subject line. I'm an Eagle Scout and I'll acknowledge that that badge doesn't really account to much in the technical world, but I must protest to the idea that Boy Scout badges are worthless. At least the merit badge booklets can provide a decent crash-course session on many subjects for less than $5.

Being an Eagle Scout got me my first few jobs. The First Aid and knot-tying skills I learned have continued to be useful throughout my adult life. Your "playfull riff" is offensive, sir anonymous reader.

Re:What's wrong with Boy Scout badges? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632648)

I guess it all depends on where you live.

Where I grew up, the boy scouts were made up of local criminals and future members of the Ku Klux Klan.

I hope so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632500)

I sincerely do hope so.

Universities are in no risk at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632534)

For certain things, it's absolutely essential to go to an institution of higher learning. There are basically no self-made physicists and mathematicians. A great example is Srinivasa Ramanujan who didn't really make a good contribution until Hardy recognized his genius and brought him to England. And he's (obviously) an extreme case [of genius]. Basically, you need an academic environment and resources to academically thrive. In addition: labs? funding? Graduate students (in science most notably) get paid for the work that they do, and many researchers need access to very expensive machines.

who knows who is actually doing the work? (1)

vsigma (154562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632562)

Let's just be honest here.. one class or a badge, at a time. Do we even really know who is actually doing the work?

Granted, the same could be said about large universities - but the chances of that happening are significantly lower!!

But the reality is that part of the educational process is learning how to work with other people in real time under different conditions. I don't care how many certificates, or whatever you have saying that you know something. But if you can't actually communicate with other people, and work under actual multiple time pressure constraints - you will *NOT* succeed. That's the bottom line.

It depends upon your goals ... (3, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632572)

If you're looking to work for someone else, then you need to prove yourself to them. Sometimes you do that through portfolios. Sometimes you do that through work experience. Sometimes you do that through references. And yes, sometimes you do that through accreditation.

If you're the type of person who wants to start their own business though, these forms of independent learning can be nearly as good as schooling. Of course you would have to go a little beyond hitting the books, since there is definitely a human element to learning.

Of course, the people who are most successful at learning this way are probably self-starters to begin with and probably already know that.

No need for a 'campus', but no problem with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632596)

Students can collect credentials from anyone competent to give them. I teach some students at campus - and give the same courses on the internet. For the student, it is a matter of preference. They can go to a campus, actually meet people, but also having to live in the town where the university is. Or they can take courses on the net, not meet anyone but get the same credits.

These that go the traditional campus route tend to be young people. Those who take internet courses are more of a mix - some older who want to add to their education, some younger who study part-time and work the other part of their time.

Net-based education won't be a problem for the established universities, ot at least it won't have to be a problem for them. For who is best positioned to do online teaching? The established universities, who already have professors, the required knowledge, and a reputation. All they need is to adapt to a slightly new way of teaching. And I say slightly new - there have always been mail-based courses. And even the campus-based students use the net for a lot of things these days - such as managing their exercises.

plumbing has trades and apprentices systems (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632682)

tech needs some like that as well the traditional classroom does not fit for a lot of tech stuff and there is a BIG form say IT admin, Cisco, and doing programming.

But people thing that CS is the one big fit all (it's not and even then each schools does CS in different ways) and thing tech schools are a joke (they are not 2 years in a tech schools covers more stuff that is used in real jobs then 4 years in CS)

Now IT should be 1-1.5 years class room trade / tech school and 0.5-1+ years on the job apprentices + on going class room. Or some mix of that based on what the best fit is maybe even part time class and part time job.

Re:plumbing has trades and apprentices systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632838)

Apprentices get paid. It's cheaper to have interns, as those are free.

Rising costs are the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632698)

For some reason, Universities and Colleges are falling into the trap that the only worthwhile education must be expensive. You must spend thousands of dollars on short-print books that are only good for a few years of classes. College professors must right a book or two, so that they can require it for the upper classes. Infrastructure costs must continue to climb, so that you can have perfectly manicured lawns and expensive looking buildings.

Essentially, they have a lot of things that cost more so that it can be prestigious so can therefore justify their expense.

No (1)

rcharbon (123915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632726)

If 20 years of experience doesn't preclude the need for a diploma when applying for a job, why would a few online classes?

why? (2)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38632792)

How about the ability to actually build a machine that actually produces semiconductors, and I certainly got my money out of the program.

~$30K for materials and `$20K budget for the lab equipment including things like hydrogen purifier, mass-flow controller, incinerators, custom bell-jars, UV light source, and other assorted materials and equipment. Then there's access to a machine shop to cut angle iron, a scanning electron microscope and x-ray diffraction system, all in the same building of the university.

And this was just undergrad work.

Now how are MIT Online and Khan going to replace that?

Ivy League not there for the edumacation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38632798)

Well, alright, big name universities do teach stuff, but so do state colleges, and some of both are pretty good. "Online", done well, can be equally good, or equally bad (top-posting MIT grads? seen'em). It's just different.

Some of the arguments here are really about formal education; a certificate not unlike an industry certificate that certifies you meet and possibly exceed some base line minimal competency in a certain subject. Such as, "consistently pick the options that makes $vendor the most money", as some industry certificates are infamous for. Academia itself is also infamous for petty and stupid rules and whatnot.

We also have far too many PhD courses and a general overvaluation of degrees. Much of that really should be "downgraded" back to vocational school, with a re-appreciation of that to match. Less overspecialising in universities, more general science skills, that sort of thing. Going "virtual" with more mix-and-match power might actually help there, though it should be perfectly feasible to do in RL-teaching too. Just that we've forgotten it's really important.

Not surprising when everybody from the first line clerk to the janitor is called an "engineer" now, when but a few years ago they'd be called a "manager" of something or other. Managers ought to manage, engineers ought to engineer. Meaning the former get things done and the latter fix things, whatever they might be. Most drones (especially the overpaid and dreaded middle management variety) are essentially small-script-driven. Back when, even, an engineer was a military title. Engineers used to be people that built bridges while under fire. Not so much now.

The online stuff doesn't come with formal certification, but it might. In-person education is also valuable but you could do one-on-one virtual sessions too, or even make an appointment to see someone in person, next to all the virtual and canned stuff. Perhaps insist on in-person examination if you like. It's all methods of delivery and as long as they sort results, it's all fine. People just need to understand what's what, and that takes time.

What virtual doesn't bring is habitual drinking binges and fraternizing yourself into the old boys network, the established way. It also doesn't bring peer pressure quite the same way. So you get a slightly different breed of grad. Whether that's good or bad, well.

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