Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 18 submissions in the queue.
posted by martyb on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the dv/dt dept.

Higher education is generally a poor deal. A good course at a good institution will boost a career but the vast majority of higher education options are worthless or detrimental. Despite this, people are willing to get themselves into maybe US$100,000 of educational debt. Meanwhile, Ivy League faculty salary often exceeds US$150,000. What do students get for a lifetime of debt? Weed-out classes with a 50% failure rate then top grades awarded with abandon. An increasingly long-tail of third-tier academic journals which are full of bogus results. (A racket within a racket.) Deluxe gymnasiums and student accommodation with en-suite bathrooms. And, in some cases, pressure on staff to ignore plagurism; often due to financial or cultural reasons.

Yes, there's the social aspect and in-person interaction but why is online education seen like a poor substitute along with correspondence courses, vocational courses and community colleges? And here's a humdinger: Why don't the best educational establishments have ISO9000 certification? Are the inputs too variable or is the process too scattershot? Actually, how efficient is education? Are these guys with the US$150,000 salaries even 1% efficient at teaching? I doubt many of them care.

So, what's the Shannon channel capacity of education. Who knows? That's a really poor state of affairs. In the 1940s, telcos knew more about their operational efficiency than educators know now. So, how effective could an education be? How much can we accelerate learning? With CAL [Computer Aided Learning] running since the 1960s we should achieve small miracles. Well, it works brilliantly in limited domains, such as numeracy and vocabulary but the bulk of CAL, educational videos, are a sea of unending dross. So far, I've sat through 18 out of 42 hours of Buckminster Fuller and nine hours of Stanford cultural history. Computer history was the most enjoyable. There's no shortage of content. It ranges from whizzy edutainment to excruitiating virtual blackboards.

As a comparison, I took the small and concise topic of buffer bloat to see what had risen in popularity. Jim Gettys (who you may know from RFC2616) remains dull but at least I didn't have to look at him. The remainder seemed to be aimed at online gamers wanting to reduce latency. I repeated the exercise with Hamming codes. The best by far was also the longest by far: Richard Hamming explaining how he formulated the most important idea of his life. The worst was from the Neso Academy and could easily be mistaken for the Fonejacker mixed with Look Around You.

How much of these presentations consist of dead time, reading text aloud or drawing diagrams? At best, about 30% - which is shocking when presentations have 100,000 views or more. The more polished Kurzgesagt takes more than 1000 hours to produce one hour of output. CGPGrey takes more than 120 hours per hour of output. But many of the Khan Academy clones take one hour to produce one hour of output. That's an externalized cost when basic structure and editing would save significant viewing time.

So, is it possible to make dense, factual content which is fun, informative and structured? Yes. Have slides with concise text and diagrams. Remove silence. Remove "um" and "ah" sounds. Even if it takes 120 hours per hour of output, students will be almost 50% more effective and, for any given presentation, *total* exertion reaches break-even before the 500th viewing.

Excluding assignments and practical experience, 400 hours of structured presentations would take someone from high-school to graduate. If skimming, it wouldn't even require 400 hours of viewing. That's because the cool kids watch video at 1.5 times speed or double speed. So, a minimum of 200 hours would be required. That could fit around a full-time job; maybe during travel on public transport. So, it may be possible to get from layperson to physicist within 10 weeks.

What would happen if we had thousands of hours of presentations and millions of students? The curious? The unskilled? The unemployed? The imprisoned? Stuck in a refugee camp with 100,000 people? Well, 1080p video consisting of slides plus speech requires less bandwidth or storage than pop music. Yes, it is less than 1MB per minute. So, 400 hours of presentations requires a network file server with less than 24GB of storage. 40 courses with no common content require less than 1TB of storage and zero external bandwidth.

The faddish blockchain enthusiasts suggest that digital education can start from a foundation of digital identity but I'd start from digital education alone. Regardless, I hope you consider accelerated learning as practical in some form even if you dispute the details. The best part is accerated learning can be organized by volunteers who never meet. Retirees with a lifetime of experience. Agoraphobics. People in remote locations. People with illness or disability. Or just people who love to share the details of our technological society.


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:54AM (3 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:54AM (#509324) Journal

    A Degree within 10 Weeks with Accerated Learning
    ...
    So, it may be possible to get from layperson to physicist within 10 weeks.

    You make no difference between training and learning?
    Is learning reducible to: just watch this video at double speed and... you know Kung-Fu [youtube.com]?

    Really? Well, show me! Take a degree in something you haven't studied (I don't know: biology, chemistry, maths... just to stick with STEM and disregard, say, vet medicine, or law, or whatevs require a good amount of info be retained), pass the exams for all subjects and do it in 6 months... see, I'm generous, I'm offering you more that double your 10 weeks.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday May 15 2017, @11:56PM (2 children)

      by cafebabe (894) on Monday May 15 2017, @11:56PM (#510301) Journal

      Computer Aided Learning works well for rote teaching, such as learning vocabulary. It would be brilliant if, like the in the Matrix film, it was possible to learn helicopter flying or martial arts in a few seconds. Perhaps this is possible in the long-term? At present, it is possible to trivially compress or eliminate pad from lectures to the extent that a 60 minute lecture can be reduced to a 42 minute lecture or shorter and then divided by maybe a factor of two due to faster playback.

      I accept your challenge to obtain a degree of education within six months. I've already sat through nine hours of an online Stanford humanities class and, this year, I've probably spent more than 40 hours watching educational content. I'm willing to watch and absorb at least another 400 hours before Christmas. I'm not bothered about accreditation, although accreditation may increase choice significantly. Yes, STEM would be preferable although a medical topic may be most suitable to repetition and rote learning.

      Overall, I'm curious about untapped potential (teachers and students), the quality of education, the value of "college experience", how much of the remainder can be transplanted to less favorable circumstances, the quantity of padding in a four year degree courses, how good educational techniques can overcome bad educational techniques and what subjects can be taught most effectively without human interaction.

      Anyhow, unless you have better suggestions, I'm going to work through some of the MIT OpenCourseWare [youtube.com]. Specifically:-

      --
      1702845791×2
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Tuesday May 16 2017, @12:59PM

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday May 16 2017, @12:59PM (#510511)

        Strang's linear algebra videos encoded from the 80s VCR tapes are pretty good. They're from a long time before non-linear video editing, when he makes a mistake on the blackboard he gets flustered but the "show must go on" although sometimes I think he inserts mistakes to get the audience thinking. From memory when he's talking about subspaces of a matrix (ya know, row space, column space, null space...) he tries to invert a non-invertible matrix (or something like that, something like the matrix was supposed to be 3x3 but degenerated to 2x3 or something) and he gets all distracted about it for probably 15 minutes. Frankly you'd probably learn more in 50 minutes of studying his textbooks than watching him write on a chalk board, but its an interesting experience to veg out in front of a TV while eating dinner and remember stuff I forgot about 5 minutes after I learned it 30 years ago. If you don't use math you forget it extremely quickly but at least you can relearn it by watching some TV.

        Hopcroft and Ullman have a pretty famous automata theory textbook, at least I think its decent, and I think Ullman has a set of videos for it somewhere. I vaguely remember watching him try to prove 3SAT or something like that over the course of about an hour, its a minefield, one second of lapsed concentration and you lose it and its all turbo-encabulator from there out.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 16 2017, @02:05PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 16 2017, @02:05PM (#510530) Journal

        Anyhow, unless you have better suggestions, I'm going to work through some of the MIT OpenCourseWare. Specifically:-

        As a first note: the chosen subject don't seem connected - at the end of the exercise, you'll know a little about very many things. That's a little far from "So, it may be possible to get from layperson to physicist within 10 weeks."
        But.. I understand it may be impossible to find a complete course set to take you to "physicist", especially if you look for video presentations.

        Second: you see, a degree that doesn't enable you to solve specific problems in the field doesn't worth the paper is printed on. Referring you to the "I know kung-fu/Show me" [youtube.com] scene, I think your proposal is lacking the "sparing partner" at the end - somebody to "through you around" with real problems**. How will you demonstrate yourself you got the skills/knowledge/capabilities? How much of these you "internalized" enough to last with you for at least 1 year afterwards (assuming you want a career based on them).

        Anyway, in spite of the shortcomings above, it will be interesting experience - even if I doubt you'll reach the benefit of getting a "honest degree" (I'll let the formal certification aside, I'm not interested in the paper, but rather interested in the actual learning outcomes), I reckon the experience won't be without merits/benefits.

        And don't get me wrong, I do agree with you that the price to pay for tertiary education is outrageously high.

        ---
        ** Not, grid testing is not a good measure of learning. Back in 2000-ish, I sit and took a MCSE exam with over 90%. After 2 days of cramming. One month after, I completely forgot everything (thanks God!). The company I was working for needed a number of certified MS professionals, so it paid for both the 2 days of study and the exam, so it wasn't a total waste. But:
        - I wouldn't do it for personal development purposes - that's not development, that's less than shit (at least, the night soil is a good fertilizer)
        - nowadays, I rather consider the mentions of MS certification in a CV as detrimental to the employment chances, especially when in great numbers; look, if you waste so much time learning for those stupid exams, when the hell are you getting the skill-set necessary for the job you applied to?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:55AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:55AM (#509325)

    That was one annoying post to wade through. A chain of why-ask-whys.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:43PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:43PM (#509516) Journal

      I agree -- asking questions in this way isn't an argument for anything, just a diatribe against a laundry list.

  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:00AM (6 children)

    by edIII (791) on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:00AM (#509326)

    The irony of an article about education with a spelling error in the title :)

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:18AM (1 child)

      by SpockLogic (2762) on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:18AM (#509330)

      The irony of an article about education with a spelling error in the title :)

      Perhaps it should be mac•er•ate - to soften or separate into parts by steeping in a liquid. Needles to say the liquid most of my students used was beer.

      --
      Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
      • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:07AM

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:07AM (#509339) Journal

        Perhaps "accerate" is what happens when macerated food comes out the other end. Or, perhaps this is new college lingo for farting or crapping in someone's food -- "Man, we're really gonna get Jim with this prank!" "Yeah, let's just let that sandwich accerate a little in the emanations from my flatuliferous region!"

        The latter actually makes a bit of sense. What would happen if an entire degree was compressed into 10 weeks? Likely quite a bit of accerated learning.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:13AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:13AM (#509361) Homepage

      Attuhney Genrul Jeff Sessions spells it "plagurism" and, goddammit, that's how we're gonna spell it 'ere! But that spelling mistake would likely not have happened had the summary been plagiarized.

      Also, ISO9000? Holy Jesus fuck, really? The cost of education is already such a huge goddamn problem, and now instructors have to write procedures for sitting down on one's ass and labeling everything in the goddamn classroom?

      Note: in the electronics industry we like to be difficult come ISO-time -- for example, we will demarcate with tape a spot for the stapler, label that spot "stapler" and then put another "stapler" label on the stapler itself -- then we'd do the same for every other piece of equipment on our benches, no matter how insignificant. Sometimes we would literally label a FOD container "can of nuts." So for those of you who've never experienced the joy of an ISO inspection, now you get the idea of just how goddamn stupid those things can be.

      It's no secret that online classes are there for the students who don't give a shit about the material at the freshmen and sophomore levels. Upper-division online classes are there for student with the discipline to do much of the legwork and reasoning that would ordinarily be offloaded onto the professor. That lends itself well to something like computer science but not so well to engineering, in which you need access to expensive FPGA dev boards and engineering labs full of test equipment with each gadget costing as much as a high-end Italian sports-car -- and I got bad news, you're not gonna find anything even close to a PNA-X [keysight.com] at your local makerspace.

      As for the refusee camp example, well, no. Just no. Refusees are basically animals, they will be too busy yelling, fighting, and trying to muh-dik everything in sight to focus on educational TV. Even a dog might watch something on TV and find it interesting, but refusees are like rabid jackals and should be shot on sight.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @09:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @09:56AM (#509407)

      pressure on staff to ignore plagurism;

      How could they NOT ignore it, if they cannot even spell it? One might ask.
      (I, for one, am tired of illiterate college drop-outs whinging about how useless what they never got is, and then proving they never got it, and thus do not understand what they are missing. There is a name for this syndrome . . . )

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday May 16 2017, @01:09AM (1 child)

      by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday May 16 2017, @01:09AM (#510319) Journal
      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday May 16 2017, @01:32AM

        by edIII (791) on Tuesday May 16 2017, @01:32AM (#510330)

        Perhaps not, but it was the funniest :)

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:03AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:03AM (#509327)

    What would happen? Can anything go wrong?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:20AM (#509331)

      Would there be more misuse of the subjunctive mood?

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:15AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:15AM (#509329)

    Before degree: you're underqualified for every available job.
    After degree: you're overqualified for every available job.

    Good luck with that! It's a scam to fuck you both ways.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:40AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:40AM (#509350)

      That's why it often times makes more sense to get one of those liberal arts degrees that people around here get hard knocking. They don't prepare you for one specific job, they prepare you for the usual learn on the job and change with the times environments that we have now. Unless you're looking for a job in a field where there is a mandatory degree, you're better off getting one that's more general and teaches you how to learn.

      Also, it's frequently not the college's fault that the graduates are well-educated morons. They can provide and education, but some people are just so intellectually lazy and stubborn that they'll do what they need to get the degree, and then be less useful than a bag of fertilizer afterwards.

      Not to mention the fact that what looks like a promising job now may likely be hard to get or worthless in a few more years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:01AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:01AM (#509373)

        I'd try that, but if the only job that hadn't been outsourced by the time I graduated was barista, I'd still be the butt of jokes.

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:12PM

          by Pino P (4721) on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:12PM (#509503) Journal

          Then go into robotics so that you can automate away the job of barista.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:06AM (#509410)

        They don't prepare you for one specific job

        Nor should they; that is not what education is about. We should not be preparing people for jobs at all, except maybe at trade schools. If someone is able to self-educate and they have a deep understanding of the theories of a particular field, they will be able to tackle just about any job related to that field if they train themselves a bit. The vast majority of colleges and universities do not provide you with such an education and are little better than the K-12 system that nearly everyone already knows is terrible.

        Unless you're looking for a job in a field where there is a mandatory degree, you're better off getting one that's more general and teaches you how to learn.

        It depends on the person. Some people are better off self-educating. You're certainly not better off getting a degree if you go to some abysmal community college, at least not if what you seek is a good education. If you're a parasitic job seeker, then maybe you'll be better off no matter what, since lazy employers are often fooled by people who merely possess degrees.

        Also, the vast majority of people don't actually need to learn how to learn, having been born with that ability already; that's just a tired meme. When you get into the specifics of what they are actually doing, that is not it at all. It's just an oversimplification.

        Also, it's frequently not the college's fault that the graduates are well-educated morons.

        It's not only the college's fault that the graduates are frequently uneducated morons, but they certainly played a part in that process by failing to weed out the garbage and failing to have stricter entrance requirements. It's also the graduate's fault for going to a college when that is simply not the type of environment they belong in to begin with; they are usually primarily interested in jobs and money, and not academics.

        Colleges and universities should be for academics, not for people who are primarily interested in making money. Sadly, that 'American dream' nonsense has convinced many that everyone who breathes needs to go into higher education even if they are not academics at heart, and the already low standards at many of these institutions have dropped even farther as a result.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:24AM (#509366)

      After degree: you're overqualified for every available job.

      Not in US. After degree, you are still unqualified, just with a big debt already.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday May 14 2017, @09:53AM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday May 14 2017, @09:53AM (#509406)

      Schooling is the scam. Schooling often does not actually supply you with an education, and even interferes with your ability to get one. Do not confuse the two things.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:23PM (#509533)

      After degree: you're overqualified for every available job.

      Not if you get an H1B degree. Those are a golden ticket to a job (a job that has parallels to indentured servitude at the mercy of your employer).

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by remoteshell on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:43AM (1 child)

    by remoteshell (3182) on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:43AM (#509334)

    The author was very excited, and that's a turn on. My nipples got stiff.
    Without examining each assertion, and criticizing each spelling mishap,
    there are a several good questions, if you accept the base assertion that
    education's a poorly executed racket.
    What's the Shannon channel capacity of
    the traditional medium? Why isn't there ISO certification? Could you really
    nail degree level competence in 10 weeks? Could prisoners, economically disadvantaged
    and disabled do well with this idea? Who IS Keyser Soze?
    Questions abound! But the author's excitement is wonderful.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:43AM (5 children)

    by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:43AM (#509335) Journal

    I'm completely with the submission/summary on a few points. (Is it actually a "summary" of one of the multitude of links, or is this actually all written by the submitter? SN has a lot of great things, but I notice a lot of summaries begin with "SN user X writes:" followed by a long quotation from a linked article, rather than something actually written by the submitter. It makes cases like this really hard to figure out what's going on.)

    Anyhow, higher ed has a lot of problems. College debt is out of control. College costs are frequently out of control. I disagree with a lot of the implications in the first couple paragraphs though.

    A good course at a good institution will boost a career but the vast majority of higher education options are worthless or detrimental.

    Citation needed. Even supposedly "worthless humanities degrees" will generally boost a salary significantly and create a better shot an employment compared to a high school education. See here [aacu.org], for example. Stats there: bachelor's degree unemployment in 2013 was 4.6%; for those with only a high school diploma, it was 9%. Median salary for those with bachelor's degree: $57,000; for those with high school diploma, $35,000. Even for humanities degrees, unemployment was 5.4% and median salary was $50,000.

    SOME higher ed options are likely "worthless or detrimental," but there's little evidence that the "vast majority" of them are so.

    Meanwhile, Ivy League faculty salary often exceeds US$150,000.

    "Often" is an interesting term here. Unfortunately the first link is clearly so ignorant as to not realize the difference between "full-time professor" (as in full-time employee) vs. "full professor" (as in the highest academic rank). They mistakenly equate the salaries of the latter with the former, as you might figure out if you look at the second link.

    And Ivy League salary averages are highly skewed upward by professional school faculty. Doctors, lawyers, business leaders, etc. command VERY high salaries in the private sector, and universities have to compete for their time and interest. There are obviously exceptions, but if you actually look at salary lists of professors at any institution, you'll realize there's often a huge discrepancy between what the business school or med school faculty are being paid compared to guy teaching you physics 101 and definitely compared to the instructor teaching you history or English lit. In fact, tenured and tenure-track faculty ("full-time professors") become a smaller and smaller percentage of faculty each year at most universities, as administration realizes they can generally hire adjuncts to teach courses for an average of $3000 per semester-long class [chronicle.com].

    Again, I'm not at all saying that you can't find overpaid professors. But this idea that everyone is making $150k is just bunk. (For the record, the average salary, still skewed by the high salaries of professional faculties, is a little less than $80,000 [insidehighered.com]. Adjunct faculty, on average, earn $16,700/year; granted, many of them are part-time, though generally not by choice. IMHO the discrepancy of pay rates between full-time professors vs. adjunct faculty is one of the most disturbing aspects of higher ed finances.)

    Deluxe gymnasiums and student accommodation with en-suite bathrooms.

    Now we're getting a little closer to main college price increase issues. You may ask: "Huh, with college enrollment going higher and higher, and with most universities refusing to hire more full-time professors and depending on cheap adjuncts, why does college cost so much?" Some of it is still due to instructional staff costs, but a lot of it is also administrative growth, which has massively outpaced instructional staff growth over the past few decades. Combine that with facilities costs for that expensive dorm with the climbing gym, and you're getting close to explaining the internal factors for tuition skyrocketing.

    But there's also the external factors, particularly for public institutions, which have seen huge losses in public funding support in recent decades. That's driving the majority of tuition increases at many public institutions.

    And, in some cases, pressure on staff to ignore plagurism; often due to financial or cultural reasons.

    Uh, the link doesn't actually support that claim. Yes, some international students don't understand formal academic guidelines for appropriating others' work when they arrive, but the reaction from faculty is either to (1) report them formally for plagiarism to a school disciplinary board, or (2) explain the error to the student and handle it internally depending on the severity of the infraction. The linked article there explicitly says that this is a SMALL problem "at most, a few per semester per school" and that NO school has official guidelines to deal with international student plagiarism differently. So I have no idea where you're getting this claim of "pressure to ignore plagiarism."

    Are these guys with the US$150,000 salaries even 1% efficient at teaching? I doubt many of them care.

    To be clear -- full-time professors at most institutions aren't generally evaluated much in their job performance for teaching. Research is generally priority #1, regardless of discipline. You can complain about that (and personally I think it has really screwed up higher ed), but the incentive if you want to keep your job or get a salary increase isn't to perform better teaching -- it's to publish more. So yeah, most of them don't care as much about teaching. But that's the screwed up system. University rankings frequently incorporate research production strongly, and administration wants to drive that research because it drives prestige and allows the grant money to flow faster if you're on the "right lists" of high-ranking research institutions. Those who WANT to care more about teaching frequently don't have time to, since they're under pressure to publish more.

    I know I haven't even gotten to the "meat" of the submission yet, but I'm going to quit with the nuances and actually looking at the submission's links here because I have better stuff to do with my time than responding to misleading claims.

    But just briefly -- the reason why a degree "within 10 weeks" is a terrible idea is because human learning works best when spread out over time. Breaks, sleep, periodically revisiting material, etc. are all ESSENTIAL to cement long-term learning. If you view a degree solely as a "credential" to get you in a door somewhere, then sure, do it as fast as possible. If you actually expect learning to occur, cramming doesn't work. It's for stuff that you want to memorize short-term and forget the next day. Perhaps some people feel college courses are mostly stuff that's worthless anyway, but if the submission is actually serious about improving teaching, etc., then the ultimate cramming session is NOT going to achieve better learning. As for why online learning isn't as good -- I don't even know what to say. Interaction is important to education. There CAN be good online courses (with various types of interactions built in), but watching non-interactive videos online may sometimes be entertaining, however it's also not an optimal learning strategy.

    Excluding assignments and practical experience

    Huh... you mean where most of the actual learning is accomplished? I'm done.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by GungnirSniper on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:15AM (2 children)

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:15AM (#509362) Journal

      A college degree is both a class indicator and a quick way to weed out candidates. Like looking down on fat people, it's an accepted form of discrimination.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:46AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:46AM (#509370)

        It's not discrimination. You've shown that you can take instructions and follow through on at least one thing. You might also happen to know some things that are useful and have the ability to learn. Given how little time is available for screening, what would you suggest they use instead? Perhaps shoe size would be more to your liking?

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:14AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:14AM (#509413)

          You've shown that you can take instructions and follow through on at least one thing.

          You could also do that if someone ordered you to dig giant holes in the ground with a spoon for multiple years and you complied. I think you've missed the point of education, however; it's not to please lazy employers, and it's not so they can have an easier time of weeding out candidates. There are plenty of highly intelligent self-educated candidates who understand the theories in the field, but they are frequently overlooked merely because they do not possess a degree. There are also countless graduates who have absolutely no idea what they're doing because the vast majority of colleges and universities have abysmal standards, and they often slip right past lazy employers. The solution is to test potential employees properly, not just lazily rely on a degree. If there are too many candidates, then it would be better to randomly throw out resumes.

          You might also happen to know some things that are useful and have the ability to learn.

          Those two things might also be true if you don't have a degree. Either way, it's unlikely.

          Also, if someone didn't have the ability to learn, I have to wonder how they even made it that far in the first place. I'm surprised they didn't get hit by a car, not being able to learn anything and all. This looks like another misunderstanding of what education is, in the form of a oft-repeated and incorrect meme.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:31AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:31AM (#509367) Homepage

      The problem with higher education is that the people on top make way too much goddamn money for what they do, and are accelerating creation and hiring of bullshit make-work jobs for token minorities, like "diversity compliance officer" and "societal correctness police."

      Recent SDSU president, Elliot "No-I'm-not-a-Jew-okay-I'm-a-Jew" Hirschman was paid an unprecedented $400,000 a year to be big boss of SDSU, then left for a gig more than doubly lucrative, probably a result of Jewish Nepotism. The UC regents make millions a year and are given perks like beachfront property. A good third of those are Jews. The rest are Beaners ("Wow, we're in the big-leagues now!) and a handful of plain ol' Whites. And don't forget that Janet "Crypto half-Jew" Napolitano was just caught hiding $175 million while simultaneously demanding more money from the state.

      Now, more money is always good, but it should go to the instructors and the students and infrastructure serving them. Fuck the top-heavy ivory-tower fucks, there are plenty of people who are willing to do those jobs and do them well for $200K. The nepotist thieves and embezzlers can kindly fuck off.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @10:20AM (#509414)

      Citation needed. Even supposedly "worthless humanities degrees" will generally boost a salary significantly and create a better shot an employment compared to a high school education.

      That might mostly be due to discrimination. But even if it is true, the fact that we look at education (or degrees) as a way to make more money is sad in and of itself. Most parts of our society do not value real education in the least, including the writer is this ridiculous article and many people in this comment section. What a shame.

  • (Score: 2) by srobert on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:11AM

    by srobert (4803) on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:11AM (#509340)

    ... Magna cum Aude

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:34AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:34AM (#509376)

    "Learn Foo 101 In Seven Days Head-First Underwater Blindfolded For Dummies In a Nutshell Super-Bible Unleashed"

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by requerdanos on Sunday May 14 2017, @12:59PM

      by requerdanos (5997) on Sunday May 14 2017, @12:59PM (#509442) Journal

      Learn Foo 101 In Seven Days...

      ... with one weird old trick that Foo experts hate.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by requerdanos on Sunday May 14 2017, @12:57PM

    by requerdanos (5997) on Sunday May 14 2017, @12:57PM (#509440) Journal

    Despite having a university degree that came with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, composed of both traditional and online schooling, and therefore likely being in the author's target audience, I found his mix of semirandom links and half-finished thoughts a little too scattered to follow. Careful examination indicates probable human authorship rather than buzzword-generator, yet still the whole hangs together like a finely tossed word salad, a spill of alphabet soup without rhyme nor reason.

    This perhaps raises the question of whether my faculty for comprehension is suffering, or whether the author simply is heavy on ideal and light on cohesion. Whatever the case may be, I salute his time and effort and thank him for it.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:52PM (2 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday May 14 2017, @02:52PM (#509466) Journal

    In another century, probably less, our computer overlords will be able to outthink us on everything. Right now, AI is better than any human at chess, checkers, go, poker, and Jeopardy. They aren't flexible enough yet to learn any thinking game and trounce the worlds best humans, but give it time. Sports is another area that'll probably fall to AI when robotics is good enough. A robot specially designed for two or four legged running, staying on a course, and unable to do anything else would surely be able to win races easily against any and all animals which have all evolved with compromises to enable them to do many different things. A running robot probably could do a marathon in 1 hour. We have many machines that can cover distances of far greater amounts far faster than any animal can.

    When that time comes, what will we do? Despair that there's no point in learning anything any more? Young children have always faced the problem that adults are better than them at everything, yet they don't sit around in despair and apathy. Why? Because learning can be fun! This is one big way formal education has gone wrong. Education is no longer primarily for the sake of learning, for the fun of it, somehow it's been turned into a grind and a cutthroat contest, to train students to be employable office worker drones. Necessary, and thoroughly unpleasant, hard, and harsh. Education is seen more as a means to some other end. So, why not accelerate it, if that's all education is?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @07:59PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @07:59PM (#509592)

      AI is better than any human at chess
      We do not have AI yet. We have expert systems currently.

      An AI could learn chess then turn around and stomp you at something like DOOM all while driving you to work.

      The expert systems we have are very good. But they are one trick ponies. They do that trick *VERY* well.

      They aren't flexible enough yet to learn any thinking game and trounce the worlds best humans
      Actually they are. Just at that one task. Our best chess and go players can not beat the current best computers. 20 years ago what you said was true. But that ended long ago.

      Also for anyone thinking 'ooo I can learn quick'. No, no you can not. The key word is accreditation. If your institution is not accredited *NO ONE* will recognize your degree. Even though you can do the task.

      Most things take time. Learning is one of them. Our brains take time to become habituated to new material.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday May 15 2017, @12:50PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday May 15 2017, @12:50PM (#509981)

        If your institution is not accredited *NO ONE* will recognize your degree. Even though you can do the task.

        That's solely vocational and his point was automation and "economic forces" are eliminating most jobs.

        So if you have no job and become educated for fun, like the good old days (not the '50s as in 1950s I mean like the 50s BC) then a job that no longer exists being concerned about your accreditation is not terribly relevant.

        An interesting effect of the "publish or perish" is the expense does close academics away from outsiders which arguably is useful. Some of the amateur/create-writing math and physics on arxiv.org is pretty low quality. Yet as the economy declines and academia turns even more into vocational training for the ever shrinking pool of jobs and diversity hires, eventually all real research, however little, will come from amateurs once again.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @03:23PM (#509483)

    Is someone making a point in this post?

    Because amidst the numerous potentially interesting links, I'm not sure I see a news story. A lot of distracted rambling and spelling issues, and an apparent assumption that I will believe the same things as the author with only passing justification.

    Maybe the author drank too much coffee? Why did the editors let this slide? Ah, posted by someone named cafebabe. Guess that answers both questions.

  • (Score: 1) by TheSouthernDandy on Tuesday May 16 2017, @06:12PM

    by TheSouthernDandy (6059) on Tuesday May 16 2017, @06:12PM (#510644)

    Deluxe gymnasiums and student accommodation with en-suite bathrooms.

    The luxury university meme comes up a lot, and one wonders how taxpayers would put up with such outrage! Here's a breezy video [youtube.com] from the University of Colorado that makes a couple of good points in the first half.

    • Funds come in categories. Have a budget surplus from dining revenue and classrooms that are falling apart? Tough, dining funds are limited to dining expenditures. If someone needs blame, it's legislators that create these (sometimes well meaning) distortions.
    • State funding can be a minor component of a university budget. If a philanthropic donor wants a rock climbing wall emblazoned with their name, so be it--the university trustees would be dumb to turn down free money, even if it's frivolous from an educational perspective. Then again, maybe students will build some skills or make connections on that wall.

    TFS basically saying automation can produce operational efficiencies, while blithely ignoring humanistic subtleties of knowledge delivery. I think I know how this one ends, but will enjoy watching the futurists bump into walls figuring it out. Again.

(1)