Higher Education Part 2: It IS about Learning, Right?

We’ve all been there: You’re just hanging out with some buddies, but when you get to the club, one of them asks, “Who was Franz Ferdinand?”. You give it your best guess and say they’re a Scottish band, but no, he meant the guy who’s assassination started WWI. History class was a while ago though. No big deal, you think, but then the same friend blocks you from going inside because you answered wrong. You try again, but now he’s got a new question! After a few goes, he tells you that you’ve run out of attempts and must stay outside.

What?

You say that’s never happened to you because there’s no reason that forgetting your history class should stop you from going to a club? Huh.

Moving right along at a good pace but not so quickly as to draw additional attention, this second entry into my rants about higher education will focus mainly on that most hated of courses: gatekeeper course, or unnecessarily punishing courses. This isn’t about courses with difficult subject matter, such as computer science and advanced mathematics. Rather, it’s about courses that should be more doable than they are. Everyone going to college is going to take a few of these, but why do they exist at all?

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Higher Education Part 1: of Homework and Exams

Show of hands, who likes endless homework and cryptic exams?

No takers? Thought not. No one likes those things. They waste time and just make you wish crappy jobs paid better so you could stick with them. And yet, it seems just about every teacher at four-year colleges thinks this is the best way to teach. Why though? It’s not like it makes life any easier on them, they (or TAs) have still got to grade them after all. Huge waste for everyone.

Continue reading “Higher Education Part 1: of Homework and Exams”