Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Something to think about...

I graduated college almost 10 years ago - I can't believe it's been that long. And as I began, things were beginning to change as email infiltrated our world and began a trend that so many of us have come to rely on for a majority of our communication. There was also the advent of listservs and being able to access some (precious little) course assignments online. However, overall, higher education hadn't changed that much since my parents attended in the late 60's/early 70's. In fact, higher education hadn't really changed that much in a hundred years. Sure, the course content, programs, and different ways of doing things had changed, but the basic formula had not. You went to class, got your course syllabus, bought your books, did the reading (well some of us did), did the assignments, went to discussion/lab, wrote the papers, and took the exam (in one of those old blue books).

But in the past 10 years, things have changed exponentially and it's interesting to see how some colleges are adjusting. Honestly, if the school doesn't adjust they will make themselves completely irrelavent as days go on, but that's another post.

So a friend of mine, also in higher education just sent me the link to this video and I thought it was really interesting. Of course, my master's degree is in higher education administration and I work in higher education so this is my field and you might not find it that intersting, but it really gives you something to think about since these students are the future of our country. Yep, the students with the cell phones stuck to their ears, always on Facebook/Myspace and getting all their information online are the future. Of course, I don't think that this is a bad thing like some older generations may but then, I'm not that far removed from the current undergraduates. So take a look and tell me what you think....

7 comments:

bracken said...

Very interesting video! You know this is my thing too.

Christine said...

Am I supposed to be upset by those statistics? So what if your courses aren't seemingly relevant to your life? Maybe they're preparing you for the next step.

They're ONLY working 2 hours a day, class for 3 and studying 3??? Boo-hoo... Ummmm..multitasking IS important in life....

And it seems to me that technology IS making the world a better place in general..there will ALWAYS be poor countries and not-so-poor countries with poor people in them. If these kids appreciated the opportunities given them, they'd go to class prepared (ie read ahead), get to know the profs and make the most of their education.

OK- I think I'm giving you more than you asked for, but I probably could go on. Don't want to get too conservative on you!

Christine said...

Not trying to hijack you blog :) but I want to clarify that I don't WANT there to be poor people- I just don't think that their existence justifies kids not going to their lit classes or whining about school in general. If they want every class to be directly related to their life, why not just go to a trade school for 18 mos and come out with a trade?

And just FTR, I found plenty of time to go to class, go to work, study and write papers, have a steady asshole (oops, I mean boyfriend), loads of friends, sorority (not a huge priority for me but it did take some time), and even kill a few brain cells with beer most weekends! Yes, I'm still paying it off, but using the money I'm earning with the degrees earned.

Sorry Erika- you asked for my opinion....stepping away from the keyboard now...... I am curious about your take on it, though.

Erika said...

Not a problem Christine - I understand a lot of what you're saying and agree from the perspective if kids think they have it "oh so much harder..." They clearly don't! (So I totally agree w/ you on that!)

I also am a strong believer in the notion of a liberal education at a 4 year university. Not all courses will be geared toward your line of work someday - but the original goal of a university education is to produce well rounded individuals. So when I hear a student complain about having to take art history as an engineering major or a "hard" science as a history major, I don't have any sympathy. The courses I took outside of my discipline gave me a different perspective on the world and for that I'm thankful.

But for me, that video told me something else - I saw it from the perspective that many "brick and mortar" universities are NOT meeting the needs of their students and are continuing to teach in ways that are becoming irrelavent. It's harder for the older generations to grasp that the old school, university philosphy of teaching has changed. The entire world is full of information that can become parts of the courses a student is taking and often instructors fail to see beyond the assigned readings.

I think it's also an interesting video in that it helps non-college students see what college students ARE up to and what kind of things they are balancing in their life. Just as it is a student's responsibility to come to a university to learn, it is the university's responsibility to continually figure out how they can better educate and reach their students. A holisitic educational enviroment is often at the core of a university's mission but if they fail to understand the changing culture of the student body, that just isn't possible.

Okay, so I felt like I just wrote a paragraph from my comprehensive exams. Did I pass?

Christine said...

Obviously, I've been out of academia for a while so I don't understand how the kids today are being failed. If they're sitting in the classroom with their laptop, they're bringing technology into the equation, right? I guess I'm just out of the loop because I don't get what they're lacking. I definitely agree that modern technology should be incorporated into classes as it's relevant, but I don't see how facebook plays into literature classes, etc (I can see the relevance in sociology or econ or even poli sci). Anyway, I've got a screaming baby to deal with... I'll probably keep thinking about this!

jason said...

I'm sure that some of the people in this video will one day have children. Those children will also believe that they have it more difficult than their parents did. It is a generational issue that is perpetuated. With time and some more maturing they will come to realize that what they felt was difficult was simply just the way things were at the time, and really all that is, is that things were different than previous generations. I wonder how "hard" things will be for their kids?

Erika said...

It's not that I think students are being failed - if they want to get the information that is being handed out, they need to do what is being expected of them - go to class, actually listen, and do the work. My issue is that not all faculty members are comfortable with using technology to enhance their class and better connect with their students. I see it all the time. I work with some faculty who are very well versed in using it, but then I work with others that have barely mastered email. It's an attitude thing - you just have to understand that technology in the classroom is here to stay and is the way to connect and keep your students engaged in class. That is my argument.... Faculty have to understand that using technology in the classroom/out of the classroom will enhance their students' learning experiences since they use technology for everything else in their lives. So having a student walk into class and having professor that barely can answer their email seems a bit backwards in 2007. But it isn't that uncommon.

I too think it's obnoxious for students to be doing things like Facebook/Myspace during class or just fiddling around on their laptop. I'm amazed at the amount of time students spend these days online with social networking - but then I also know how much time I spend online socializing too.