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Is the point of college to learn? If so, it isn't working
Old 01-24-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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Is the point of college to learn? If so, it isn't working

brain drain most college students learn next to nothing new study says: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

College students learn very little, according to new study and book.

But maybe if the parents pay more, it will work better

Ha
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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Maybe too many young people go to college to be taught instead of to learn.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:11 PM   #3
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From the book synopsis:
Quote:
According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, 45 percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skillsóincluding critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writingóduring their first two years of college.
So less than half didn't improve. Without wanting to seem unduly optimistic, this suggests that more than half improved. That's not too shabby. (Maybe my expectations are too low.)
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:11 PM   #4
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I once had a HR person tell me that the main thing a college degree proved was that the person had enough self discipline to make an 8:00 class. The rest we will teach them.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:17 PM   #5
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All a college degree means is that you have put up with enough bad profs you get angry and agree to be coachable, or figure out stuff yourself and become smarter than any boss you have...........
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:18 PM   #6
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(Maybe my expectations are too low.)
Ya think? If I set out to teach my dog, he learned. SHouldn't college students do at least as well? Especially for $80,000 to $175,000 to secure the degree.

Ha
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:23 PM   #7
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I guess there is college, and then there is engineering school.

No way to graduate from the latter without learning a LOT.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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If I set out to teach my dog, he learned.
He learned "critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing"?
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:37 PM   #9
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He learned "critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing"?
No, he got a liberal arts degree.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:38 PM   #10
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But is this new?? I recall being in college in 1970 a number of guys who were there soley to beat the draft, and spent all their time playing bridge, as well as a number of others who smoked weed all the time.
College is somewhat what you make of it, its major purpose is to teach you how to teach yourself (even more grad school). For example I spent the last part of my career in computers but what was known in 1968 about computers compared to what was known in 2004 bore no resemblance. (I actually moved to computers from Geophysics, and between solid state geophysics and exploration geophysics as well). So much of what I needed to know to do the job had to be learned on the job.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:45 PM   #11
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He learned "critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing"?
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
No, he got a liberal arts degree.
You win the "best answer" award!
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:21 AM   #12
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But is this new?? I recall being in college in 1970 a number of guys who were there soley to beat the draft, and spent all their time playing bridge, as well as a number of others who smoked weed all the time.
College is somewhat what you make of it, its major purpose is to teach you how to teach yourself (even more grad school). For example I spent the last part of my career in computers but what was known in 1968 about computers compared to what was known in 2004 bore no resemblance. (I actually moved to computers from Geophysics, and between solid state geophysics and exploration geophysics as well). So much of what I needed to know to do the job had to be learned on the job.
Agree that it is what you make of it. Self-starters seem to do better, not only in college, but also later.

BTW there was quite a lot going on with computers in 1968 -- you probably just didn't see it. I started in 1973 and had some old-timer professors (and some that were not such old-timers, but very good anyway), and they had to learn it from somebody . . . . Their Computer Science curriculum was added in 1969.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:44 AM   #13
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I learned a lot in college. I can't imagine graduating and not learning a lot. I have to admit, I'm a bit skeptical of the study. They say they're measuring "critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing" but most of those skills I learned before I reached college. I'd say 95% of my writing skills and 80% of the other were already fully developed by then. That doesn't mean I didn't learn calculus, and economics, and corporate finance, and . . . in college.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:07 AM   #14
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I learned a lot in college. I can't imagine graduating and not learning a lot. I have to admit, I'm a bit skeptical of the study. They say they're measuring "critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing" but most of those skills I learned before I reached college. I'd say 95% of my writing skills and 80% of the other were already fully developed by then. That doesn't mean I didn't learn calculus, and economics, and corporate finance, and . . . in college.
Agree. I certainly would do it all again. Learned a ton.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:15 AM   #15
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I admit I didn't read the article but I take all of these "US kids are dumb" articles with a grain of salt. They have been saying this stuff since the beginning of time. It was the Japanese that beat us silly in the 70s/80s, now it is the Chinese. In my day it was the Russian geniuses launching Sputnik. During the whole period we were always 15th or 20th or whatever in math and geography. But we always seemed to do just fine in world competition and draw the world to our universities. Just watch Cash Cab when a group of smart 20 somethings get in and you will realize today's kids are as smart as we were and are picking stuff up along the way - just like we did. As long as a portion of our kids keep performing at that level (and as long as we continue to encourage immigration) we will be fine.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:18 AM   #16
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He learned "............. writing"?

Don't be ridiculous. Dogs don't have an opposed thumb.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:49 AM   #17
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Don't be ridiculous. Dogs don't have an opposed thumb.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:09 AM   #18
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From the book synopsis:
I wonder if the author feels that we'd learn more by buying the book.

Whenever I read about the disaster in American education it reminds me why so many American teens are applying to overseas schools and why so few foreign students want to come to American colleges.

Oh, wait. That's not what's happening. Gee, maybe all those students are too dumb to even pick the right schools...
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:17 AM   #19
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Hey, I'll have you all know that my degree in Geography/Geology taught me how to camp and drink beer.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:34 AM   #20
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brain drain most college students learn next to nothing new study says: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

College students learn very little, according to new study and book.

But maybe if the parents pay more, it will work better

Ha
Assuming (yeah I know) the author is correct, the solution is to have the students pay the education fare from their own pockets.

I paid full fare out of my own pocket while working full time.

Many benefits. The student now has a personal stake in the business deal. Student pays, and in return expects relevant and useful info from the profs. Tolerance for professorial blather is inversely proportional to the dollars paid.

But there will always be the well to do paying Harvard/Yale/Stanford tuition for their kiddies. The kiddies can take their take their 4 year intellectual vacation filled with the requisite debauchery and still get high paying positions in the parents well connected world.

Of course there is a small percentage of bright, highly motivated bunch who actually enjoy learning and gaining understanding. I'm glad for those.
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