Protests?

If the Ivory Tower is the brain of the board, and the Transformers discussion is its heart, then General Discussions is the waste disposal pipe. Or kidney. Or something suitably pulpy and soft, like 4 week old bananas.

Moderators: Best First, spiderfrommars, IronHide

Jack Cade
Smart Mouthed Rodent
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Whitechapel
Contact:

Protests?

Post by Jack Cade » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:02 pm

Anyone been able to get to any yet?
Sidekick Books - Dangerously untested collaborative literature

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:07 pm

No, I'm a little too scrawny/girly for the likes of manual labour. Protesting looks like hard work, particularly all the heavy lifting and throwing involved ;)

I'm with them in spirit though :) Fingers crossed they get another shot at Charles and Camilla! :lol:

User avatar
Metal Vendetta
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4950
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Lahndan, innit

Post by Metal Vendetta » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:56 am

I went down on Thursday night after work but couldn't get anywhere near the protest itself - there were lines of riot police with shields blocking every approach to Parliament Square. After trying a few times to get access, I was politely but firmly removed by the law. I'll definitely be trying again though.
I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
Impactor returns 2.0, 28th January 2010

Professor Smooth
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 3132
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 11:00 pm
:: Hobby Drifter
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Post by Professor Smooth » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:35 am

What's being protested?
snarl wrote:Just... really... what the **** have [IDW] been taking for the last 2 years?
Brendocon wrote:Yaya's money.

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:16 pm

Professor Smooth wrote:What's being protested?
It's quite complicated, but the long and short of it:

Britain has a very subsidised University system. Universities are given large sums by the government and students are partially subsidised to study.

This has been done for reasons of social betterment, i e allowing poorer students access to higher education on a grander scale than that achievable by scholarships, and because Britain's economy has largely changed to one where most half-decent jobs require a degree rather than more vocational skills.

The smallest of our three major political parties, the Liberal Democrat party, fought the last election (and the last few before it, if memory serves) on a platform of making University more accessible. They were against the system of student loans and wanted to restore it to grants (as it was back in the 1970s and 1980s) and explicitly fought the last election promising to not increase student tuition fees (the amount a student pays per year to a Uni for attending).

The last election was a stalemate. No one party got enough to form a government with enough of a majority to actually pass any laws without co-operation from another party.

The Liberal Democrats teamed up with the Conservative Party to form a coalition government.

The coalition has decided that not only will the student loan system will continue, but also that they will cut the amount given to universities and that the limit on charges a University can levy will be removed: effectively raising the cost of University to up to £10,000 per year (about $14,000).

Naturally, those of us who voted Lib Dem are pretty angry. They have actively done the exact opposite of what they said, and wheeled out as a defence 'well we have to make compromises in a coalition'. The theory is that they represent the people who voted for them, but that's another story.

They are also seen as 'pulling up the ladder behind them', because they all went to Uni in an era when it was either free or heavily subsidised.

On top of the other cuts the coalition is making across the board, and in light of the coalition continuing expenditures such as 'universal' internet access for everyone in the UK up to 25MBPS regardless of location, foreign aid programs, the Olympics in 2012, wining-and-dining FIFA officials trying to get the 2018 world cup and paying for the royal wedding next year, some people are angry.

Certainly I very much feel that asking young people to pay three times the amount for less of an education cannot be called an improvement, even though I accept the way the amount will be paid is more fair (you pay it back proportionally to how much you earn).

You can't pay for today by stealing from tomorrow, and that's what cutting higher education represents IMO.

Lots of like minded people went to protest in London. From what Rob has said, and the noise I've been hearing from others who went, is that the police were very heavy handed.

Their tactic is to kettle the protesters: box them in. The police encircle and then press in. So the demonstrators then had to push back to avoid being crushed. Then the police got their riot sticks set on 'wollop', and the students started hitting back.

Then, halfway through a riot going in outside parliament, the royal car carrying Charles and Camilla conveniently happened to arrive and had a window broken and some paint thrown at it.

Naturally all the newspapers are now reporting how evil the demonstrators are and how stoic the royal family are. They've also been balanced enough to interview every academic and student they can find who is willing to tell them that the changes and cuts are a good idea.

I'm unbelievably cynical and I just see a sick stunt designed to make the protesters look deranged when I think they have pretty damn good reason to be angry.

So, that's my (biased) understanding of what is going on. Actual results may vary.

Yaya
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 3374
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:58 am
Location: Florida, USA

Post by Yaya » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:32 am

Karl wrote: The coalition has decided that not only will the student loan system will continue, but also that they will cut the amount given to universities and that the limit on charges a University can levy will be removed: effectively raising the cost of University to up to £10,000 per year (about $14,000).
That sounds like the shenanigans that are being pulled off here in America.

I usually get crucified for saying this, but I believe college in the US to be an institution that disguises itself as an entity of higher calling, as a noble necessity designed to educate the younger generations and to prepare them for the practical world in which they will live, whereas in reality it is a money-making scam, nothing more than a glorified business.

Most here in the U.S. disagree with me on this, but if they would just open their eyes. Why the [composite word including 'f*ck'] should I take dance class, sculpture, etc. when I know what it is I want to do with my life already? Proponents say "oh, but it's so you become a more well-rounded individual". I call ********. They just want to tack on as many mandatory classes as they can so they can keep you paying out the ass for as long as they can.

There is so little practical preparation in those four years. At that stage in life, one should have programs where students actually go out into the field of whatever professions are out there and observe so they can best decide whether it's something they would like to do.

But noooo, what's determined to be a greatest signficance is those initials after one's name, the B.A. or B.S. degrees that, in reality, don't amount to a hill of beans in the real world.

How many college graduates are left still scratching their head about what they want to do with their life even after four years? And how many students graduate with a bachelors degree and major in something, yet find out later in the real world their efforts have very little payoff in the practical sense?

Now if you don't know what you want to do, I can understand four years. But for me, college was two years too long. Half the classes were simply repeats of things I took in high school.

My best friend from high school dropped out of Yale, out of ******* Yale!, realizing the utter waste of time it was, and started his own computer company. He's now a millionaire without a degree. Don't know about you, but I don't think I'd feel too bad about the "no degree" part.

Four years for those who want to continue it, but only two years for those who have already determined what they want to do with their lives.

I want my two years back.
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

Professor Smooth
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 3132
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 11:00 pm
:: Hobby Drifter
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Post by Professor Smooth » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:23 am

Yaya wrote:
Karl wrote:
Four years for those who want to continue it, but only two years for those who have already determined what they want to do with their lives.

I want my two years back.
Sorry to go off topic. Didn't you say awhile back that you were a doctor?
snarl wrote:Just... really... what the **** have [IDW] been taking for the last 2 years?
Brendocon wrote:Yaya's money.

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:15 am

Maybe he's a doctor like Dr. Pepper is a doctor?

User avatar
Metal Vendetta
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4950
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Lahndan, innit

Post by Metal Vendetta » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:02 pm

More like Dr Dre I think
I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
Impactor returns 2.0, 28th January 2010

Guest

Post by Guest » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:35 pm

Doctor who?

User avatar
Metal Vendetta
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4950
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Lahndan, innit

Post by Metal Vendetta » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:47 pm

I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
Impactor returns 2.0, 28th January 2010

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:02 pm

Holy cow

User avatar
Brendocon
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 5299
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: UK

Post by Brendocon » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:59 pm

"How can we stop them seeing through our lies?"
"We could always blind them."
"Excellent plan. But difficult to pull off. How can we get away with it without making it look deliberate?"

Yaya
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 3374
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:58 am
Location: Florida, USA

Post by Yaya » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:22 pm

Professor Smooth wrote:
Yaya wrote:
Karl wrote:
Four years for those who want to continue it, but only two years for those who have already determined what they want to do with their lives.

I want my two years back.
Sorry to go off topic. Didn't you say awhile back that you were a doctor?
Yeah.
Wow.
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

Jack Cade
Smart Mouthed Rodent
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Whitechapel
Contact:

Post by Jack Cade » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:49 pm

Yaya wrote:I usually get crucified for saying this, but I believe college in the US to be an institution that disguises itself as an entity of higher calling, as a noble necessity designed to educate the younger generations and to prepare them for the practical world in which they will live, whereas in reality it is a money-making scam, nothing more than a glorified business.
That's certainly what the Coalition are trying to do over here. The report that recommended these changes expressly talks in terms of turning universities into a system regulated by 'the market', wherein consumers (ie. 18 years olds making what could be the biggest decision of their lives, but previously having no experience of spending these vasts sums of money) choose which products thrive and which disappear based on what looks like a good 'deal'. Apparently, they will do this based on what job prospects they can get out of it, which completely holes the notion of education as a worthwhile principle itself and recasts it as a means to a high pay packet. It seems that all we could reasonably want from life or our government is the best shot at being a banker and accountants.

This line gets somewhat wobbly where it comes to some sciences, because it's tacitly admitted that, "****, we might actually *need* scientists, so maybe we *shouldn't* just leave the kids to go off and be bankers and accountants", so incentives are being talked about. But the arts and humanities have been absolutely torpedoed. The only question is whether this is because the politicians and businessmen behind this are too stupid to see the value in philosophy, history, writing etc, or are working on the premise that the more illiterate and ignorant people are, the easier they'll be to enslave.
Sidekick Books - Dangerously untested collaborative literature

User avatar
Best First
King of the, er, Kingdom.
Posts: 9750
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Post by Best First » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:02 pm

Metal Vendetta wrote:This is a bit worrying

http://thethirdestate.net/2010/12/the-t ... r-cannons/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/1 ... t-protests

She's said they won't be used this afternoon.

Just been reading a few bits on this, mainly in the gaurdian.

Part of the problem with the 'debate', in regard to the protests themselves, seems to be those in authority saying 'it waz dem stoodents' and those on the other sied saying 'it was dem polis'

Leaving plenty of opportunity for self reflefction and improvement going begging on both sides.

On the wider piece, while i am entirely sympathetic as someone who pretty much went to Uni for free and spent a good deal of it either pissed, wanking, playing SNES or a combination thereof i don't have a way of converting that sympathy into cash to fund the next crop of students.

Part of the problem to me seems to be, as with many systems, we have pushed it to breaking point before attempting to reform it meaning that when the change comes it is a huge shock to the system and clearly unfair. Again though that doesn't mean that the system is not broken.

However, it does strike me that Universities don't seem to be being asked to cut their cloth in the same way pretty much every member of the public sector are - i realise Universities are not quite public sector in the same way as say, the NHS, but they certainly are a public service and their financial operation strikes me as something that should be subject to far more scrutiny, especially given what i know about how much those in senior positions there earn. I would imagine if this were done there would certainly be less of a financial hit for future generations.

Conversely though i can't halp but agree with Yaya that there is a case for more vocational training and compressed degrees - i could have done my degree in 2 years with a bit of rigour. **** i could probably have done it in 1 if i worked as hard as i do now. And while i do believe that the time at Uni probably does lead to a degree of growing up and personal development that's not their primary purpose and i'm not sure there is a good justification for that aspect being funded given it's not an option open to everyone. Which is part of the problem, university has probably become a mix of 'good elitism' (some people need higher education, some dont) and a slightly more dubious brand (i demand my funded 3 years on the lash because that is what i am entitled to). Part of the problem with the debate around this, at least in terms of public sypathy i think, is there is no seperation of this.

Which is not to say i would not be annoyed if i missed out on my 3 years funded on th piss, but as i say i am not sure i can defend others paying for it either as much as i would be miffed previous generations got away with it.

I'm also not seeing much in the way of sensible suggestions from student leaders as to how this could be avoided, even though i think there are some things that could be done (as per above). Altho maybe i am just looking in the wrong places - have seen quite a few students on BBC breakfast tho and not much compelling has been forthcoming.

It's that that prevents me from having much sympathy with the Lib Dems - i think there is more they could have advocated/suggested. If they had exhausted all the options and still come to this point i think that there would be a case for 'put yourselves in their shoes' as it is i don't think they deserve the benefit of the doubt in this instance.

eh, that is a bit of a ramble.
Image

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:06 pm

Come on, boffins! We can solve this! [/Raymond Terrific]

Guest

Post by Guest » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:31 pm

Karl wrote:Come on, boffins! We can solve this! [/Raymond Terrific]
How about a protest hotline.

It could be premium rate, just loops the phrase "Thank you for calling the Student Protest Hotline. Your call is important to us." and all costs go to help subsidise the students. The longer you're on the phone for, the more you contribute to someone's education!

User avatar
Shanti418
Over Pompous Autobot Commander
Posts: 2632
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:52 pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Post by Shanti418 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:32 pm

To me the US analogy is the health care or tax cut debate, where Libs here excoriate Obama for folding and compromising too early, while on both sides of the pond economic considerations are trumping looking politically and ideologically sympathetic.

The University system is certainly in a pickle. I join the chorus in saying that a Bachelor's mainly prepares you for being a grown up, soldiering through s***, and putting up with bureaucracy, rather than any real applicable skills. And even then, those skills could be easily acquired in workplace situations. Although it must be said, BF is right in that basic University education and the environment of a diverse campus does foster a broader, tolerant, and more informed worldview.
The paradigm for so long (at least in the US) was don't go to college, find a decent salaried job that would train you. Go to college, now your collar is white instead of blue and you get paid more for more intellectual work. But now most of BOTH of those jobs are gone, and the educational system can not turn on a dime.
Basically, just another system that is broken IMO, and the funding cuts/decomposition of social mobility is going to get worse before it gets better.
Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

User avatar
Denyer
Over Pompous Autobot Commander
Posts: 2155
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:00 pm
:: Yesterday's model
Contact:

Post by Denyer » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:50 pm

Jack Cade wrote:which completely holes the notion of education as a worthwhile principle itself
Material is increasingly available; how much value is there in paying someone to do little more than read it to you? A lot of undergrad arts courses -- judging by essays of people I graduated alongside and some of the tat I submitted -- would fare badly in comparison to the rigour of Wikipedia articles.

It's quite a different situation to a few decades ago when there was less access to information.
Best First wrote:i could have done my degree in 2 years with a bit of rigour. **** i could probably have done it in 1 if i worked as hard as i do now.
Speaking personally, there was also little or no attempt to teach skills. The assumption was that writing is something already developed by university level and that the purpose of courses should be to throw material against a wall and see what sticks.

Which is bollocks: formula first, diversification after that's in place.
Karl wrote:Come on, boffins! We can solve this!
As things stand, colleges factory-farm UCAS applications; there was very little awareness of OU-style courses, and no suggestion that we investigate them.

Institutions are loathe to touch it because it means a reduction in assets, and there's a lot of associated administrative machinery that's grown up around the current way of doing things -- much of it also aiming to protect itself.

User avatar
Best First
King of the, er, Kingdom.
Posts: 9750
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Post by Best First » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:00 am

Denyer wrote:
Best First wrote:i could have done my degree in 2 years with a bit of rigour. **** i could probably have done it in 1 if i worked as hard as i do now.
Speaking personally, there was also little or no attempt to teach skills. The assumption was that writing is something already developed by university level and that the purpose of courses should be to throw material against a wall and see what sticks.

Which is bollocks: formula first, diversification after that's in place.
This mirrors my experiance - feedback was also limited in supply.

Which is not to say that i did not enjoy my degree and learn quite a bit, but this varied wildly from module to module and as you say there was little focus on academic skills more on the subject matter.

I get the impression is that the attitude is somwhat, "oh, well if you want to learn to be a proper academic you can pay us to do a postgrad".

Be interesting to see if the increased financial onus on students leads to more demands in terms of what they get from their courses.
Image

Mr_Tigg
Back stabbing Seeker
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:51 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by Mr_Tigg » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:03 am

Best First wrote:
Denyer wrote:
Best First wrote:i could have done my degree in 2 years with a bit of rigour. **** i could probably have done it in 1 if i worked as hard as i do now.
Speaking personally, there was also little or no attempt to teach skills. The assumption was that writing is something already developed by university level and that the purpose of courses should be to throw material against a wall and see what sticks.

Which is bollocks: formula first, diversification after that's in place.
This mirrors my experiance - feedback was also limited in supply.

Which is not to say that i did not enjoy my degree and learn quite a bit, but this varied wildly from module to module and as you say there was little focus on academic skills more on the subject matter.

I get the impression is that the attitude is somwhat, "oh, well if you want to learn to be a proper academic you can pay us to do a postgrad".

Be interesting to see if the increased financial onus on students leads to more demands in terms of what they get from their courses.
Agreed. I have mixed feelings about my university experience.

I found tutors a mixed bag, with some (particularly on my art course) making as little input into actually guiding me as possible. I also felt an expectation to 'jump through their hoops' to achieve grades, thus I ended up producing a lot of art based around subject matter that really didn't interest me.

I looks back at my arts degree and do feel that the money spent by my parents (who partially financed my degree) did not really reflect what I was getting out of it tutorial/courses wise - one particular semester (for which my parents paid all the usual fees), I only had one lecture a week!!

Must admit I also feel strongly that 18 is perhaps too young to start uni anyway - all I cared about was getting pissed!!! If I was to start my degree now (at 26) you can bet all your chips that I would apply myself a lot harder than I did - attitude to work ethic is usually something that comes with age and maturity.

Ultimately, the greatest failing of university in my eyes was that there was no actual structure in place on my arts course to prepare you for life after uni - zero career direction on how to establish yourself in any field of work!

Sorry, I've rambled a bit and gone off topic, so I'll finish on a joke -

Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn't!

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:41 pm

My experience seems quite different.

My course was a good mixture if academic knowledge and practical skill. That said its entirely possible that i engendered that myself. I worked very hard, doing all nighters at one point to get the work done, and got a good degree as a result.

That education has not only allowed me to go quite a bit further than i would have done already, and also given me the mental tools to think at a higher level than i would otherwise.

Everyones mileage varies, but i probably wouldn't have gone to uni if it had cost what it looks like it now does. Or more accurately i would not have gone. My family are not wealthy and the idea of geting 30k in debt would kill the idea.

In theory both myself and the state better off: i pay more tax and spend in general more, doing my little bit at keeping the economy moving.

I think uni directly benefitted me and my country, long and short of that :)

Yaya
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 3374
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:58 am
Location: Florida, USA

Post by Yaya » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:06 pm

Wow. Interestingly bumped into this article today and thought of this discussion:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_med_fake_doctor

Here is a guy who didn't even receive his medical degree, faked his entire residency and fellowship training, and managed to impress his peers in the field of invasive cardiology to the point of them "missing his work".

He was a total fraud....on paper.

Which brings me back to my point. College degrees lack practical signifance.

I have no doubt in my mind that I could take any of you, give me three months, and I will teach you to perform diabetic and glaucoma laser procedures as good as any ophthalmologist.

I am a firm believer in something I would call Practical Preparation. Those people who go straight from high school to technical school to learn such trades as mechanics, electricians, etc are ahead of the game by that stage than the average college student who is "broadening his horizons".
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

User avatar
Optimus Prime Rib
Over Pompous Autobot Commander
Posts: 2215
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: College Station, TX
Contact:

Post by Optimus Prime Rib » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:42 pm

LOL Oh man. I have to show this to my mom. Both of my parents are from Battle Creek, MI. She still lives there, I think my dad is in Kalamazoo now. I need to ask them if they have ever had this guy as a doctor!
Image
Shanti418 wrote:
Whoa. You know they're going to make Panthro play bass.

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:44 pm

But how do you measure that when you interview him, yaya?

Do you let him have a stab at a surgery to see if he can do it, do you go by references (which is biased against new career starters) or do you rely on a formal level of education?

Certification is imperfect but that does not mean it is without value I think.

User avatar
Optimus Prime Rib
Over Pompous Autobot Commander
Posts: 2215
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: College Station, TX
Contact:

Post by Optimus Prime Rib » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:56 pm

Yaya wrote: I have no doubt in my mind that I could take any of you, give me three months, and I will teach you to perform diabetic and glaucoma laser procedures as good as any ophthalmologist.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wkw9nvRCY8 here is your challenge. Hes smart enough to get it done. MAKE IT HAPPEN!


yes I know, grossly inappropriate. I couldnt help myself.
Image
Shanti418 wrote:
Whoa. You know they're going to make Panthro play bass.

Guest

Post by Guest » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:33 pm

Yaya wrote:Which brings me back to my point. College degrees lack practical signifance.

I have no doubt in my mind that I could take any of you, give me three months, and I will teach you to perform diabetic and glaucoma laser procedures as good as any ophthalmologist.

I am a firm believer in something I would call Practical Preparation. Those people who go straight from high school to technical school to learn such trades as mechanics, electricians, etc are ahead of the game by that stage than the average college student who is "broadening his horizons".
Not sure what the US equivalent would be, but over here, universities do offer sandwich courses, by which, usually immediately prior to the final academic year of their degree, the student may undertake a year (or sometimes several) working in an industrial placement, so that when they graduate, they already have relevant experience under their belt as well as the knowledge, etc. they were taught.

This probably doesn't apply to all courses and possibly not all universities either, but the option is there.

Jack Cade
Smart Mouthed Rodent
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Whitechapel
Contact:

Post by Jack Cade » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:44 pm

Denyer wrote:Material is increasingly available; how much value is there in paying someone to do little more than read it to you? A lot of undergrad arts courses -- judging by essays of people I graduated alongside and some of the tat I submitted -- would fare badly in comparison to the rigour of Wikipedia articles.
The quality of teaching and marking is insanely variable, by all accounts. You can't begin to generalise. Going by my experience, university was important for these reasons:

1) Pushed you to research/investigate theory/argument/material that you would normally find off-putting because it's (a) dense, and (b) challenging to your way of thinking.

2) Gave you access to material that is still not available except by an expensive subscription to something like JStore. The amount of bona fide academic literature that has made its way onto the internet for free is still miniscule, because the way people make money from their research is to have people pay for access to it. Universities pay for subscriptions that give their students access.

3) Gave you the structure, space and environment that actually fostered serious study and thinking. Completely different from the world beyond its doors, which seems to be an endless succession of mundane obligations demanding quick-fix solutions and following of arbitrary rules and procedures. This isn't just that 'broadening your horizons' stuff - I'm talking about making some kind of progress towards knowing how to effect change on a large scale, or in the long-term, rather than: how do I use this computer program that will be redundant in five years? How do I increase my salary? Where do I buy a nice sandwich?

In short, I did more useful learning in my years there than I've managed in the seven or so since I finished, despite the fact that I appreciate the value of that learning more than ever, because it's key to how I've got as far as I have (however pitiful a distance that may be) in actually being able to articulate my thoughts properly and engage with people and subjects coming from a completely different direction.

Vocational courses should, of course, come within the structure of universities too, but the idea that knowledge is just some sort of slow alternative route to practical application is dangerous indeed. Ideas about culture shape public attitudes on a massive scale. Take away professional/serious thinkers and you give up the world to the manipulations of newspaper columnists and politicians. Yaya says he can teach any of us to perform diabetic and glaucoma laser procedures as good as any ophthalmologist, but isn't that just monkey see, monkey do? That's pretty much all I've been taught by anyone since I left uni.

And actually, the way I'm phrasing it here isn't even right - it's not about being 'taught' things. It's about what parts of your brain you're actually exercising. It's about beefing up the part of your mind that thinks on a bigger scale, about how to begin to tackle unthinkably massive problems like war, tyranny, poverty, or (on a more modest scale) marshalling cogent arguments against ill-considered policy or wrong-headed sloganeering. You don't learn how narrative and rhetoric works on our rational minds, or how popular mythology is created and sustained, or what happened the last time the superpowers started carving up Africa, from doing woodwork.

Obviously, it's hard to get beyond my own experience, but very little of what I've gone through as a professional exercises the 'serious thinking' part of my brain, and much suppresses it. The mantra is: "Don't think; do." If you're sitting there mulling over something, or doubting it, or thinking there might be a better way of doing it, you're not 'working'. The ideology behind this legislation seems entirely designed to turn universities into an extension of this professional world, where anything that doesn't solve a short-term problem or move you towards a short-term goal is frivolous, time-wasting, a 'hobby'. And art? Art is either a means to profit by entertaining people, or something you do on your day off to relax.

[composite word including 'f*ck'] that. [composite word including 'f*ck'] the tories. [composite word including 'f*ck'] them all.

And by the way, all that stuff about it being necessary in our harsh economic climate, everyone tightening their belts, etc? Absolute bag of bollocks:

http://manchestermule.com/article/fight ... -the-myths
Sidekick Books - Dangerously untested collaborative literature

User avatar
Kaylee
Big Honking Planet Eater
Posts: 4071
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 12:00 am
:: More venomous than I appear
Location: Ashford, Kent, UK.
Contact:

Post by Kaylee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:04 pm

Obviously, it's hard to get beyond my own experience, but very little of what I've gone through as a professional exercises the 'serious thinking' part of my brain, and much suppresses it. The mantra is: "Don't think; do." If you're sitting there mulling over something, or doubting it, or thinking there might be a better way of doing it, you're not 'working'. The ideology behind this legislation seems entirely designed to turn universities into an extension of this professional world, where anything that doesn't solve a short-term problem or move you towards a short-term goal is frivolous, time-wasting, a 'hobby'. And art? Art is either a means to profit by entertaining people, or something you do on your day off to relax.
Absolutely. Part of the reason I'm valuable as a software developer is my ability to continually question and re-evaluate my work, my goals and my performance. I don't just 'write' code, I refactor it and cover it with more extensive tests and make it more readable/maintainable because I evaluate it in a critical way from many perspectives.

I improve other people's code because I try to impart to them that they should question their understanding of 'good' software and to evaluate their performance and work.

That analytical, critical thinking is not something you can pick up on the job when you're just rushed from one project to the next. It's something you need to cultivate and make time for and University absolutely gave me the tools to do that.

Again, making me a better worker and giving more back to society through higher tax and more disposable income.

Again again, other people's milage may vary.

Post Reply