Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are University Professors Ignorant Luddites?

 
Here's an interview with Don Tapscott where he tells us what's wrong with universities and why they need to become more student focused [The future of education: reboot required]. The main theme is that today's students are wise in the ways of the internet and that will force universities to change.
I think the net generation will be a key driver for change. They have the knowledge and tools to challenge the existing model, and I see a growing generational clash.

I also think some administrations will recognize that the writing is on the wall.

If students can pass a course by never attending class and watching the lectures online, why should the student be restricted to only those courses available at that university? If it's online, why not choose from the courses offered at other universities. I also see a lot of the old guard faculty retiring soon. That will help generate fresh thinking.
There are several issues in this debate. They need to be sorted and clarified. First, many of the "old guard" faculty are among those who are most upset with the current system. At my university, they are the ones who are advocating change. Younger faculty in science departments just don't care about undergraduate education. They have much more important things on their minds. The situation isn't much different in the humanities except that there's a somewhat higher percentage of younger faculty calling for change. Many of them are postmodernists and the changes they're advocating aren't necessarily desirable.

Who is Don Tapscott and why is he an expert on university education? Here's what Wikipedia says [Don Tapscott].
Don Tapscott (born 1947) is a Canadian business executive, author, consultant and speaker based in Toronto, Ontario, specializing in business strategy, organizational transformation and the role of technology in business and society. Tapscott is chairman of business strategy think tank New Paradigm (now nGenera Insight), which he founded in 1993. Tapscott is also Adjunct Professor of Management at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
This brings me to a second point that needs clarification. People whose main concern is business and management aren't necessarily qualified to have an informed opinion on university education. That includes 99% of the faculty at the Rotman School of Management, here at the University of Toronto.

The third point that needs to be made is that there is widespread agreement that current university education is in bad shape. It should not be possible to skip lectures and still get an "A" in a course. It should not be possible to graduate with a degree when you have never physically attended a university. The fact that we are doing a bad job of teaching students how to think does not mean that we should abandon that goal and make it even easier for students to avoid intellectual challenges. We need to fix the problem, not surrender.

The fourth point concerns technological change. Tapscott is apparently one of the true believers when it comes to the internet and how it's going to change everything. I think he's wrong but that's not the point I want to make. The thing that annoys me the most is the assumption that universities are behind the times when it comes to technological change and that professors are luddites who don't know anything about computers and the internet.

There may be professors like that, but not in science or engineering departments. I suspect that they're rare in the humanities as well. This may come as a bit of a shock to Don Tapscott but some of us old fogies have been using computers for over forty years. We've been on the internet for thirty years. We know about electronic databases, listserves, social networks, webpages, and blogs. Some of us even have cellphones, iPads, and GPS—and we know how to use them. We have HD televisions, stereo systems that will blow your socks off, laptops, and—believe it or not—power windows in our cars.

We've been incorporating these technologies into our courses for over two decades. (That's before our entering class of students was born.) Our children, and the current crop of students, may be the first generation to grow up with personal computers and the internet but when they come to university they will be meeting the generation that invented those technologies.

Give us a bit of credit. We've been experimenting with new technologies long enough to know how they are affecting university education. We are not stupid. If they were capable of totally transforming university education then we would have discovered that by now. Fact is, these technologies have been around for decades and, while they are very useful supplements to education, they are not a panacea and they cannot replace everything that happens on a university campus.

Students need to be provoked, challenged, and stimulated. They need to be thrust into an environment that's outside of their comfort zone. They need to hear things they don't want to hear, even if it makes them angry. They need to see for themselves what kind of scholarship goes on at a university. They need to do a research project and that requires a mentor.

They need to meet graduate students and postdocs and professors who aren't teaching one of their courses. They need to play varsity sports, join the debating team, attend meetings of the student Secular Alliance, meet students from different cultures, protest, volunteer at the local hostel, play in the school orchestra.

This is all part of a university education and you can't do it by sitting in your bedroom at home staring at your monitor.

The article on the CBC News site makes reference to two videos. I'm including them here in order to provoke discussion. The first one is a classic example of the kind of superficial thinking that passes for knowledge among today's generation of students. Although that's not its intent, it illustrates perfectly what's wrong with university education. There's no evidence of critical thinking. The students are holding up sound bites of meaningless phrases.

The second one is similar except that the students are much younger. It's an example of brainwashing. They are "digital learners"—but what the heck does that mean? It doesn't mean a damn thing.






33 comments :

  1. "It should not be possible to skip lectures and still get an "A" in a course."

    Well, agreed; it should not be the case that required courses are that simple. But if they are, then why not allow a 'test out'? Either that, or put some more real value into the course design. That might serve both teacher and student.

    "Students need to be provoked, challenged, and stimulated. They need to be thrust into an environment that's outside of their comfort zone. They need to hear things they don't want to hear, even if it makes them angry. They need to see for themselves what kind of scholarship goes on at a university. They need to do a research project and that requires a mentor.

    They need to meet graduate students and postdocs and professors who aren't teaching one of their courses. They need to play varsity sports, join the debating team, attend meetings of the student Secular Alliance, meet students from different cultures, protest, volunteer at the local hostel, play in the school orchestra."

    On this set of goals we agree.

    However, I sit here with enough years of education to acheive my graduate degree, and I have never had a mentor. In fact, my 'advisor's' courses were some of the courses that allowed me to 'test out'. As someone who had to work while going through school, I was never involved with extra-curricular activities, other than signing up for student loans.

    You are describing a wonderful world; I truly hope that it exists at your school and I commend you for taking that much time and effort with your students.

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  2. burntloafer says,

    You are describing a wonderful world; I truly hope that it exists at your school and I commend you for taking that much time and effort with your students.

    It does not exist at my school and I don't take that much time and effort with most of my students.

    That's not the point. The point is that this is the ideal we should be fighting for. A point that seem lost on most people who are advocates of getting an "education" on the internet.


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  3. After 10.5 years in the system getting my education (Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering), I would say I completely agree with you Larry.

    I think a lot of students don't view education the right way. They see it as something they have to do to get a job and not as the opportunity for growth and learning that it is. If they truly wanted to understand the material rather than regurgitate facts on an exam, I would have had more people come by my posted office hours with questions and students wouldn't routinely miss large numbers of lectures. But sadly that is not the case.

    I am sure that part of this falls on their teachers/professors for not instilling this view in their students. I think that getting more people to learn for the sake of learning is very important. I try to live by the following when teaching:

    "Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty. " - Albert Einstein

    I'm not sure what the answer is to engaging students more. If I ever head back into academia, I hope I can do a good job at it. I just try to remember what I didn't like about my professors and make sure I don't repeat their mistakes.

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  4. "It should not be possible to skip lectures and still get an "A" in a course."

    Why?

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  5. My simple take on the video was: What on earth is wrong with these students? Why do they not take an active role in their education? Why would they not read from the textbook they spent so much on? Do they expect the knowledge to fly into their head with no effort expended? Education requires engagement with the material; this was not on display in this singularly apathetic looking batch of students.

    The key would seem to be: Where have they developed such a miserable mode of interaction? Who is to blame?

    As an educator, I try to encourage my students to engage with the material and to make connections between diverse areas of understanding. If they cannot actively participate in the integration of the information they are acquiring, the information never becomes knowledge, and remains nothing but a temporary mental preoccupation.

    What I cannot understand is why so many students pursuing college and graduate degrees, and paying no small coin for the privilege, remain apathetic in the face of active encouragement to participate in the learning process. Some take advantage; many do not. I find that I often have to teach our graduate students how to learn. In many cases, it has simply not occurred to the student to constantly test the incoming material against an existing mental model, and to advance their internal models by identifying points of difference. It is only this active process that enables true learning. I am just shocked that I have to teach it to students that have graduated college!

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  6. Larry thanks for calling out nonsense from this snake oil salesman. Business schools should be forbidden from having anything to do with perspective planning for a university. B-School profs have made a career out of no teaching at all, peddling make it up as you go along using the abominable case study method.

    Truti

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  7. What we have here is another example of wishful postmodernist garbage thinking. When the system is not working, their best hope is for a new technology to come and magically fix it.

    Truth: technology matters very little. All you need is 1) motivated student, 2) teachers having a vested interest in teaching. (Modern Universities have neither of the above in the majority). Fundamentals of learning haven't changed for the last 3000 years and humandkind did good enough with it, thanks you very much. Internet is only a tool, not a solution per se.

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  8. Don Tapscott is a snake oil salesmen of epic proportions. A pollyanna "futurist" who's main reason for speaking on issues to further the bankroll of one Don Tapscott.

    Don't take anything he says seriously.

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  9. It should not be possible to skip lectures and still get an "A" in a course. It should not be possible to graduate with a degree when you have never physically attended a university.

    I have two degrees via off-campus study. I never attended a lecture, and sat exams wherever the university had them, which wasn't usually the university's campus. I couldn't study on campus because I was working full time. I reckon I worked hard to get those degrees. I once attempted a degree which was on campus, attended all the tutes and lectures and didn't find the study side any different. I don't think I had it easier studying in my spare time. I'm glad my employers didn't view my first degree as you seem to view it.

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  10. @anonymous,
    @Brian,

    If lectures are going to be valuable components of a course they have to explain difficult concepts that the students may not understand by reading a textbook or browsing the internet. By definition, a university course should be far more difficult than high school or it's not really a university-level course. A course MUST contain challenging concepts that half the students will find difficult or it's not a real university course. (It's glorified high school.)

    The lecture time is also important for student interaction and discussion about the content of the course. Valuable insights and understanding should come from that kind of interaction. A good teacher can make sure this happens.

    If those things are happening then the grades of the students should reflect what they have learned in class. If they skip lectures, their grades should suffer, in an ideal situation.

    The fact that students can get good grades without attending lectures or buying the textbook is simply a way of pointing out that the course is not properly taught. The fact that students can get a degree without ever setting foot on campus is more evidence of the deterioration of university education. It's something that we should strive to fix, not encourage.


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  11. They need to be thrust into an environment that's outside of their comfort zone.

    This, more than anything else you described or that I can think of, is the key point.

    Thanks for putting this up, Larry.

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  12. The live interactive experience, if done well, will always be more valuable than a canned presentation. Music concerts have no trouble drawing fans even though they cost many times more than a CD with the same music.

    Classes with lively and interesting lecturers, where there is realtime personal interaction with the faculty, and with a positive and productive classroom group dynamics will always be in demand and worth a premium over lectures downloaded on the internet.

    The classes that will and should disappear are large 100-1000 student classes with untalented lecturers. Some faculty are rock stars in this setting and their lectures are a wonder to behold. But most of us just get by. These classes are currently an economic necessity but nobody thinks they are ideal.

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  13. The fact that students can get good grades without attending lectures or buying the textbook is simply a way of pointing out that the course is not properly taught.

    I agree completely for advanced classes. But not for large introductory classes.

    This problem is an unavoidable downside of overly large classes. And is partly the result of rigid requirements. Most large introductory classes are designed to reach a common denominator, to ensure that everyone has the same foundation before going on to more advanced material. The fact is, a small but significant number of students arrrive with this foundation and just don't need the class. Or can pick up the few missing concepts easily.

    As a physics major I had a biology requirement that I fulfilled in my senior year with a freshman level general ed. microbiology course. For most of the students, this was their only university science course. I had worked in a microbiology lab in high school and knew almost everything in the class. There is no way that class should have been changed to make it challenging for me, rather I should not have been in the class. But it fulfilled the requirement and I was happy to have an easy class along with my advanced math and physics courses.

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  14. jbw says,

    ... I should not have been in the class.

    Exactly.


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  15. You are all missing the most important point. Those videos were quite well produced!

    It's not a trivial skill to be able to make a video that delivers a message while engaging its audience. I'm sure the producer/director had a significant amount of training and experience. The second one even had a bibliography at the end.

    If you had 5 minutes to get across a message about evolution, do you think you could do as well?

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  16. Blue says,

    You are all missing the most important point. Those videos were quite well produced!

    It's not a trivial skill to be able to make a video that delivers a message while engaging its audience. I'm sure the producer/director had a significant amount of training and experience. The second one even had a bibliography at the end.


    You are expressing an important example of what's wrong with education these days. There's a focus on style instead of content.

    I really don't care how good the production is. What's important is whether the content is worthy of the effort that was put into the production. It wasn't.

    This is the same problem we see when evaluating lecturers. What seems to be important to most people is whether the lecturer is performing well and seems friendly and erudite. Nobody seems to care whether the content is any good. Very few people know how to judge content.

    But that's the most important thing. Style should always take a back seat to substance.

    If you had 5 minutes to get across a message about evolution, do you think you could do as well?

    I think I could do much better. What is the most important message you got from either of those videos?


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  17. Brian,

    In India off-campus learning is v. popular, because for many who seek an educational upgrade (adding a higher or different degree for career advancement) that is the only way they can balance work-life. We call them "correspondence courses" and they are invariably limited to non-lab-work majors. So mathematics, humanities, and even social sciences can be taken thru "correspondence programs". There is also the IG National Open University apart from many other universities who offer these programs. But in all cases students are expected to attend a series of lectures some time during the study term (usually scheduled during the holiday season in summer or "winter"). These are called "contact classes" and spread over 2-3 weeks with as much as 12 hours of classes everyday. Annamalai University in southern India, possibly the largest provider of distance learning arranges for distance science students to complete their lab work at partner institutions in other parts of India. The town of Annamalai where the university is located hosts students (from all over India and many places abroad) round the year who visit to attend their contact classes. And it is these contact classes, that friends of mine who have taken them, that students look forward to. Learning is not a one way one person process only. The classroom is a place for serious learning and unlearning. No snake oil salesman and "technology" peddler is about to change that. And for Pete's sake please stop using the word technology in place of IT. There's heckuva lot more to technology than "technology"

    Truti

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  18. This brings me to a second point that needs clarification. People whose main concern is business and management aren't necessarily qualified to have an informed opinion on university education. That includes 99% of the faculty at the Rotman School of Management, here at the University of Toronto.

    This has come up before in posts on this topic. Larry, can you think of a group of people who are well qualified to criticize current university teaching practices, who are not themselves employees of a university? The outside-university caveat is to avoid the inevitable (justified or not) charges of conflict of interest. I'm thinking along the lines of government departments, but I haven't thought of anyone or any organization specifically, yet.

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  19. Spot on, esp. on noting that younger faculty don't have much time/energy to even think about undergraduate education.

    Those videos were disturbing examples of this style of throwing numbers up on a screen (without citation...are they just making them up?), expecting everyone to nod in agreement.

    I was disturbed by the emphasis on students demanding to create something themselves. That's fine for art classes, but where is the place for that in learning calculus or organic chemistry? How much creativity is required to learn basic algebra--something which the overwhelming majority of Americans fail to do? It seems one should only expect to savor the sweet taste of creativity when one has paid dues and earned the right through hard study.

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  20. Larry Moran said,

    Style should always take a back seat to substance.

    Are you dismissing all of art with that attitude?

    Also, it's just not that simple. What about the difference between a modern computer and one that's 30 years old? They can both do the same computations. Would you really prefer using a 1980 command-line text editor with fancy commands to a modern word processor with fewer commands but a WYSIWYG interface? I'll take that style over that substance any time.

    I think I could do much better [making a 5 minute video about evolution].

    I'd like to see the result!

    What is the most important message you got from either of those videos?

    Well, I didn't really like the second one. It's message seemed to be that the burden is always on the instructor to "engage" the student. I disagree.

    As far as the first one, I learned that some of his video techniques were effective.

    The most important message-message from the first is that the world really is different from the way it was even 20 years ago. I think that's a useful message. Of course it's not an original message, but it's an important message, and it was delivered effectively.

    That doesn't mean that the Internet replaces thinking, but it does mean that it expands possibilities in ways we are still learning to use effectively.

    Kids who are continually texting each other essentially have eyes in many places at once. To be almost present in a lot of different places at the same time, makes one's sense of the world different from what it was when it took a letter months to cross the ocean. The magnitude of the quantitative difference makes a qualitative difference.

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  21. Those are very disturbing videos. What they say to me (presumably not the intended message, though I'm unclear on what exactly that was supposed to be) is that there are many students at school and university who are not prepared to engage and are therefore wasting their time. What is especially disturbing is that neither they nor the authors of the videos seem to recognize that the problem lies with them.

    This is a problem with high school and especially primary school education, which is where students should be taught how to take responsibility for their own learning, and it is a problem with society, which causes people to go to university when they really shouldn't be there.

    But I do not see how the unwillingness of students to engage in their own learning process is supposed to indicate a problem in tertiary education.

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  22. Konrad says,

    But I do not see how the unwillingness of students to engage in their own learning process is supposed to indicate a problem in tertiary education.

    University professors are educators (among other things). We have these adult students under our control for four years. We are graduating students who think the video is a reasonable and responsible critique of their university education. We are graduating students who are scientifically illiterate. We are graduating students who don't even know they SHOULD take responsibility for their own education.

    We have to accept a good part of the blame for this lamentable state of affairs. We have to fix it.

    Unfortunately, the short-term effects of any fix are going to mean that a lot of students flunk out of university.


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  23. When I said that "Style should always take a back seat to substance," Blue asked,

    Are you dismissing all of art with that attitude?

    Of course not. I was talking about a situation where concepts, ideas, and facts were being presented in a speech, lecture, video etc. I was contrasting two situations: (a) the effectiveness of the presentation is being judged on style, and (b) the effectiveness of the presentation is being judged on content. I maintain that the judgment should be based on whether the information being delivered is accurate or not. If it passes that test, then you can judge the ACCURATE presentations on style to determine the ones that are the most effective. The INACCURATE presentations are relegated to the trash bin regardless of style.

    The bottom line, in case you still don't get it, is that a well produced presentation—such as the video we're looking at—is still crap if the information it delivers is worthless. In these kind of presentations, substance trumps style every single time.

    It's the duty of critical thinkers to make sure they don't get bamboozled by style. You flunked.


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  24. Blue says,

    The most important message-message from the first is that the world really is different from the way it was even 20 years ago. I think that's a useful message. Of course it's not an original message, but it's an important message, and it was delivered effectively.

    You're right about the message not being original. There hasn't been a single year in the past century where university students couldn't have said that their world was very different than it was 20 years earlier.

    We certainly said it in the 60s when I was a student and my parents thought the same thing in the 1940s.When my grandparents were young, automobiles, airplanes, and radio were becoming common.

    If that's the most profound thing that these students are saying then they all get an "F" for critical thinking.

    What I got from the video is that these students think they're the first students to "multi-task" and they must think their professors have never heard of cellphones, laptops, and facebook. One of the students is very proud of the fact that she attends lectures but plays on her computer instead of paying attention. Another seems proud of the fact that she only completes only 49% of her assignments. Another buys $100 textbooks that he never opens—how stupid is that?

    One of them reads only 8 books a year but accesses 2300 webpages and 1281 facebook profiles. Why is that worth mentioning? I read twice as many books and access 20,000 webpages. I probably started reading webpages before she was born. So did her professor. What's the point?

    The only message I really liked was the one that said, "That's a total of 26.5 hours a day." At least there's one student in the class who's got the gumption to point out how silly their survey was.

    One more thing. I saw a standard cliche that really, really annoys me. A young woman held up a sign saying, "When I graduate I'll probably have a job that doesn't exist today." Think about that. If it's a valid generality then it means that three years from now half the class will get a job that doesn't exist right now.

    That's totally ridiculous. Any student who thinks that is completely out of touch with reality and it's embarrassing that they are in university.

    It's embarrassing that a class of 200 students would have agreed to make this one of the things they want to say about themselves.

    Here's a little test for those of you who continue to fall for this nonsense. Name five common jobs that exist today that didn't exist five years ago. Give us your best estimate of the percentage of students who fill those jobs fresh out of university.

    Finally, let's think about the young lady who held up the sign saying, "I did not create the problems, but they are MY problems." Profound. Another example of how cliche replaces thinking in our younger generation.

    My parents inherited the problem of Word War II and my generation inherited the problems of racial injustice, Vietnam, and the subjugation of women. The important question for these students is not whether the world is perfect, it's what you intend to do about it. For many of them the priority seems to be to get a job that doesn't yet exist.

    I'm sorry, but this video does not inspire me to place my hopes for a better world in that generation. They're much too self-centered to care about anyone else. It's the "me" generation.


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  25. They're much too self-centered to care about anyone else. It's the "me" generation.

    That has generally been my experience with students these days. When I was teaching, the ones who didn't come to class, only did 49% of the work or didn't open their $100 textbooks appropriately earned a C/D/F. Then they came by my office to complain because they didn't get the A/B that they feel they are entitled to. My only thought was "you missed three quarters of the lectures and only handed in three assignments..... how is your low grade my fault?"

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  26. I agree those videos are messed up- but I disagree that our generation is a "me" generation.

    The fact is that most of our generation will spend time fixing things that the older generation- that is the generation of most of our educators f****d up. I was going to write a list- but after brainstorming, I found the list ghastly long.

    You guys sure F****d up a lot.

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  27. One more thing- I think one should be able to earn a degree without attending class or on campus.

    A member of my immediate family is wheel chair bound because of an aggressive form of muscular dystrophy- she was/ still is severely impaired visually- however she is very intelligent and has graduated with a degree from U of T- and currently is pursuing graduate work at UCL. She also never attended many of her classes- and has never seen many of her professors.

    I think it was great that she was able to earn her degree without attending class. However it was a shame she couldn't attend most of her classes because the buildings/ classrooms were inaccessible ( and she didn;t like being relegated to the front or back row. Also most materials she was given were not in an accessible format. Laboratories were also a pain but thanks to a student lawyer she was exempted from horrible introductory chem/bio/physics labs. Skipping these did not at all effect her in her more intensive lab physics lab courses.

    I know this is anecdote- but when evaluating the value of online learning, accessibility is one of the features that make this method of content delivery so appealing. Due to Prof Moran's verbal diarrhea, he sometimes forgets other issues that come into play when discussing "attendance" as a requirement for a degree.

    Holla at your boy,

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  28. Larry says,

    "We have to accept a good part of the blame for this lamentable state of affairs. We have to fix it."

    I disagree with the first point - children should be taught the point of education from an early age, and certainly before they reach university. Willingness to put an effort into one's own education really ought to be an admission requirement for university (I just don't know how it could be enforced).

    I agree with the second point. Given that primary and (to a lesser extent) secondary school education has failed us, it's up to us to do the best we can with the situation we face. Enforcing a ban on communication technology from the lab/classroom and tyrannically checking up on whether students have been reading their text books might be the only way to help most students (shudder).

    On the other hand, creating an environment based on fascism rather than enquiry does not exactly help the students who really _should_ be at university.

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  29. Huey Freemnan says,

    I agree those videos are messed up- but I disagree that our generation is a "me" generation.

    Go back and look at the signs they're holding up. Did you notice how many were about "me"?

    The fact is that most of our generation will spend time fixing things that the older generation- that is the generation of most of our educators f****d up. I was going to write a list- but after brainstorming, I found the list ghastly long.

    You guys sure F****d up a lot.


    Welcome to the real world! If you're gong to do a good job then you'd better stop pretending that facebook is going to help you.

    In the olden days, university undergraduates were on the front lines of social change. Today, they are more interested in becoming doctors, lawyers, or business executives.

    You guys don't exactly inspire confidence among those of us who screwed up. I'm actually worried that your generation is going to lead us backward rather than forward. Your comments, and the video, reinforce than concern.


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  30. Wait.. people are taking classes that teach material they can easily learn from books?? Why would they put themselves through that?
    I never did that in undergrad.

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  31. As a (slightly) older than average undergrad student I found those videos and some of the comments a reflective but scary view of university students today.

    It was amazing to me that the students in both videos seemed to have a very real sense of entitlement. Engage me. Do something that makes me want to be here. Take responsibility for that fact that I surf facebook in class, but do not expect me to shoulder any responsibility for my own actions. I am a student. I paid to be here. You owe me. Scary stuff.

    And comments like those of Huey Freeman only serve to illustrate the aggressive "I have spoken!" entitlement view of this generation.

    You guys sure F****d up a lot.

    What an impressive statement. Where is the content in that?

    You were going to write a list, but it was too long. Is that not reflective of what others here are trying to say?

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  32. I don't imagine you will want to display my comment - you'd probably be more comfortable censoring it. Nonetheless I feel the need to let you know you make yourself sound ignorant and make the case for Don Tapscott.
    What you display is passive aggressive behavior. But not only that - you reveal that you are a hypocrite and to me that is a central characteristic of assholes. Please check your assumptions. In addition you might be able to see the long term consequences of what you seem to be peddling if you objectively let your ego go and look again; ie. re-do the analysis without your ego intact.
    Tapscott was not making a personal attack on you. He is making suggestions for improving a situation that very few are satisfied with now. I don't see you similarly contributing in any positive way - all I see from you is unhelpful negativity. Which, coincidentally ensures you keep your job at least until you retire. Shame on you for not trying to contribute in a positive way rather than this crap. I hope your research is better than your poorly formed opinions on this subject but I kinda doubt it! I once believed the kind of propaganda you spew onto the internet but then I got an MA in Econ at one of Canada's top schools. I'm rather grateful that I waited until my early 30's to do this because it gives me an 'adult' perspective that most 20 year old students simply don't have. Just because you can sell your crap ideas to a bunch of children doesn't in any way indicate you are right. Try living in the real world with the rest of us for a while and Grow up!

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  33. some coward who prefers to remain anonymous says,

    I don't see you similarly contributing in any positive way - all I see from you is unhelpful negativity.

    I do my best. I been introducing new technologies into my classrooms and student laboratories for thirty years. I've experimented with dozens of different ways to teach and evaluate. I've attended many conferences on undergraduate education where, incidentally, I never met Don Tapscott.

    I'm on the editorial board of an education journal and I read all the papers. I publish a textbook for university level courses.

    I once believed the kind of propaganda you spew onto the internet but then I got an MA in Econ at one of Canada's top schools. I'm rather grateful that I waited until my early 30's to do this because it gives me an 'adult' perspective that most 20 year old students simply don't have. Just because you can sell your crap ideas to a bunch of children doesn't in any way indicate you are right. Try living in the real world with the rest of us for a while and Grow up!

    Excuse me? What does getting an M.A. in Economics have to do with whether or not you have an informed opinion about university education?

    Perhaps you could give me a few suggestions on what needs to be done to fix university education? Your negativity isn't helpful. :-)

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