Author Topic: The education bubble  (Read 152713 times)

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2012, 13:54:06 »
A look at another alternative learning model:

http://chronicle.com/article/No-Financial-Aid-No-Problem/131329/

Quote
No Financial Aid, No Problem. For-Profit University Sets $199-a-Month Tuition for Online Courses

Of his tuition pricing for New Charter University, the educational entrepreneur Gene Wade says: "This is not buying a house. This is like, do I want to get cable?"
By Marc Parry

It's a higher-education puzzle: Students are flocking to Western Governors University, driving growth of 30 to 40 percent each year. You might expect that competitors would be clamoring to copy the nonprofit online institution's model, which focuses on whether students can show "competencies" rather than on counting how much time they've spent in class.

So why haven't they?

Two reasons, says the education entrepreneur Gene Wade. One, financial-aid regulatory problems that arise with self-paced models that aren't based on seat time. And two, opposition to how Western Governors changes the role of professor, chopping it into "course mentors" who help students master material, and graders who evaluate homework but do no teaching.

Mr. Wade hopes to clear those obstacles with a start-up company, UniversityNow, that borrows ideas from Western Governors while offering fresh twists on the model. One is cost. The for-profit's new venture—New Charter University, led by Sal Monaco, a former Western Governors provost—sidesteps the loan system by setting tuition so cheap that most students shouldn't need to borrow. The price: $796 per semester, or $199 a month, for as many classes as they can finish.

"This is not buying a house," says Mr. Wade, co-founder and chief executive of UniversityNow. "This is like, do I want to get cable?"

Another novelty: New Charter offers a try-it-before-you-buy-it platform that mimics the "freemium" model of many consumer Web services. Anyone can create an account and start working through its self-paced online courses free of charge. Their progress gets recorded. If they decide to pay up and enroll, they get access to an adviser (who helps navigate the university) and course specialists (who can discuss the material). They also get to take proctored online tests for course credit.

The project is the latest in a series of experiments that use technology to rethink the economics of higher education, from the $99-a-month introductory courses of StraighterLine to the huge free courses provided through Stanford and MIT.

For years, some analysts have argued that ready access to Pell Grants and federal loans actually props up colleges prices, notes Michael B. Horn, executive director for education at Innosight Institute, a think tank focused on innovation. That's because institutions have little incentive to charge anything beneath the floor set by available financial aid.

"Gene and his team are basically saying, the heck with that—we're going to go around it. We think people can afford it if we offer it at this low a price," Mr. Horn says. "That could be revolutionary."

Yet the project faces tall hurdles: Will employers value these degrees? Will students sign on? And, with a university that lacks regional accreditation right now­—New Charter is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, and is considering seeking regional accreditation—will students be able to transfer its credits?

Mr. Wade banks on appealing to working adults who crave easier access to education. When asked who he views as the competition, his reply is "the line out the door at community college." In California, where Mr. Wade is based, nearly 140,000 first-time students at two-year institutions couldn't get into any courses at all during the previous academic year, according to a recent Los Angeles Times editorial about the impact of state budget cuts.

Mr. Wade himself benefited from a first-class education, despite being raised without much money in a housing project in a tough section of Boston. Growing up there, during an era when the city underwent forced busing to integrate its schools, felt like watching a "train wreck" but walking away unscathed. He attended high school at the prestigious Boston Latin School. With assistance from Project REACH, a program to help Boston minorities succeed in higher education, he went to Morehouse College. From there his path included a J.D. from Harvard Law, an M.B.A. from Wharton, and a career as an education entrepreneur.

The 42-year-old founded two earlier companies: LearnNow, a charter-school-management outfit that was sold to Edison Schools, and Platform Learning, a tutoring firm that served low-income students. So far, he's raised about $8 million from investors for UniversityNow, whose New Charter subsidiary is a rebranded, redesigned, and relocated version of an online institution once called Andrew Jackson University.

Breaking a Traditional Mold

To build the software, Mr. Wade looked beyond the traditional world of educational technology, recruiting developers from companies like Google. Signing up for the university feels more like creating an account with a Web platform like Facebook than the laborious process of starting a traditional program—in fact, New Charter lets you join with your Facebook ID. Students, whether paying or not, start each class by taking an assessment to establish whether they're ready for the course and what material within it they need to work on. Based on that, the system creates a pathway to guide them through the content. They skip stuff that they already know.

That was part of the appeal for Ruben Fragoso, who signed up for New Charter's M.B.A. program three weeks ago after stumbling on the university while Googling for information about online degrees. Mr. Fragoso, 53, lives in Albuquerque and works full time as a logistics coordinator for a solar power company. The Mexican-born father of two earned a bachelor's degree 12 years ago from Excelsior College. With New Charter, he mostly teaches himself, hunkering down in his home office after dinner to read and take quizzes. By week three, he hadn't interacted with any other students, and his instructor contact had been limited to a welcome e-mail. That was fine by him.

He likes that he can adjust his schedule to whatever fits—one course at a time if a subject is tough, or maybe three if he prefers. His company's education benefits—up to $5,000 a year—cover the whole thing. With years of business experience, he appreciates the option of heading quickly to a final test on a subject that is familiar to him.

"You don't have to sit there and read every single lesson, or do every single project, because the base is already there," he says.

At New Charter, even students who don't end up paying offer value to the university. That's because, behind the scenes, the Web site hoovers up data about what they clicked on and how they behaved. That data is used to help serve the next person with a similar profile—to diagnose them faster and recommend the right learning resources.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2012, 23:35:24 »
Quebec students are in for a real shock indeed:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/quebecs-university-students-are-in-for-a-shock/article2418431/

Quote
Quebec’s university students are in for a shock
MARGARET WENTE | Columnist profile | E-mail
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 01, 2012 2:00AM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, May. 02, 2012 7:18PM EDT

2022 comments
   
It’s a little hard for the rest of us to muster sympathy for Quebec’s downtrodden students, who pay the lowest tuition fees in all of North America. Even if the government has its way – no sure thing if the Parti Québécois gets back in power – they’ll still have the lowest tuition fees in North America. The total increase would amount to the cost of a daily grande cappuccino.

Students in Quebec are like no others, we’re told. We need to understand that tuition fees are not the real issue. The real issue is social justice. The real issue is the promise made during the Quiet Revolution that universities would eventually be free. The real issue is the fight against the ruling class, the greedy corporations, the tar sands, and the entire capitalist, neo-liberal elite. Of course, since universities actually do cost money, somebody will have to pay. Who? The greedy corporations!

The most militant protest group, the CLASSE (whose handsome spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, has become a celebrity on French TV), has lots of other ideas about social justice. It wants a boycott of Israel’s “apartheid regime.” It wants courses, lesson plans and reading lists to be “feminized.” It wants an end to free trade. You get the idea.

According to Pierre Martin, a political science professor at the University of Montreal, Quebec’s students dwell in a world of their own. They neither know nor care what’s happening in the rest of Canada. “The Quebec education system is a distinct system in the sense that very few students would contemplate the option of going elsewhere,” he said on As It Happens. “The system is very self-contained.” Now I get it: The kids are on another planet.

In fact, Quebec’s students have good reason to be furious. They should be furious at the professors who tell them that their cause is just, and who have deluded them into thinking that social justice can be achieved if only the greedy corporations are brought to heel. They should be even more furious at all the adults in the government and education establishment who have fooled them into thinking that the education they’re getting will equip them to thrive and prosper in the world.

The truth is, the education they’re getting is overpriced at any cost. The protesters do not include accounting, science and engineering students, who have better things to do than hurl projectiles at police. They’re the sociology, anthropology, philosophy, arts, and victim-studies students, whose degrees are increasingly worthless in a world that increasingly demands hard skills. The world will not be kind to them. They’re the baristas of tomorrow and they don’t even know it, because the adults in their lives have sheltered them and encouraged their mass flight from reality.

A university degree is no longer an automatic ticket to a decent job and a pleasant living. According to a devastating story by The Associated Press last week, more than 50 per cent of recent university graduates in the United States are either unemployed or working in jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degrees. They’re more likely to work as “waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined.”

Canada, too, is awash in soc and psych majors. And soc and psych majors who refuse to venture beyond their comfort zone – linguistic, geographical, or ideological – face even dimmer prospects. Someone should have told them that by now. Sooner or later, they’ll find out, and it’s going to be a shock.

Now contemplate a time in the not so distant future when the rest of Canada decides it can no longer afford to subsidize these students, or interest rate shocks make the model unsustainable (controlled or unco0ntrolled drawdowns). Even the market for baristas will dry up under those conditions. Expect Greek style "protests" against the new self induced reality.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2012, 23:43:57 »
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....and victim-studies students, whose degrees are increasingly worthless.....
Awesome, awesome line.   :nod:
I even read works I disagree with;  life outside  an ideological echo chamber.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2012, 00:12:57 »
Awesome, awesome line.   :nod:


It reminds me of a recent discussion, here on Army.ca, about the value of/need for a degreed officer corps. Fifty year ago a high school diploma was sufficient for a young person to enter, say, banking - at the very bottom - and aspire to be an executive; I know at least one person who did that. It was, equally, possible for a high school graduate to enter the CF - at the bottom of the officer corps - and aspire to be a flag or general officer; and I know more than one person who did that. Now, in two generations, we have a society that relegates a degree in, say, history to being equipped only to work in Starbucks. While I agree that some - far too many - degrees fall into the "vicims studies" domain and are intelectually empty, the "liberal arts" should still teach critical thinking. We don't need a world chock full of engineers, accountants, doctors and mathematicians; we need some people to tell us "why," instead of just "how."
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2012, 00:41:25 »
Sadly, most Liberal Arts students or graduates that I encounter do not know critical thinking (getting a self education in that was a long painful process for me and I am by no means there yet). This is the same question that I asked on the other thread on having a degreed officer corps; is a degree or credential necessarily the best way to ensure the candidate is able to be a critical thinker?

Looking around the library, I see "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence", which had the interesting thesis that traditional Western military culture supports and reinforces certain mental traits which are actually detrimental to operating in a fluid battlefield environment. Even quite intelligent officers can be trapped by rigid thought patterns and processes (the commander of Singapore was apparently one of the most outstanding cadets of his generation at Sandhurst, for example, yet he totally discounted the idea the Japanese could attack Singapore on the landward side...) The students in Quebec are certainly in an environment which is not encouraging critical thought.

Now does this mean that the best way to assess potential candidates is some sort of psychological test series? Probably not, since a flexible mind still needs a grounding in facts and analysis. Still, it points to important considerations outside of simple credentialism when selecting candidates for leadership or management roles.

In the face of an increasingly empty education system, I think many institutions may be attracted to some of the self learning models upthread since it is a positive predictor if a candidate was motivated enough to get a series of courses on line to gain a basic grounding in a subject. They may also go back to past practice; I recall reading that Boeing essentially ran an OJT/apprenticeship internally to raise people from the drafting rooms to become trained and qualified engineers.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2012, 04:09:31 »
Drifting even further off topic ...

I disagree, quite strongly, with the whole Psychology of Military Incompetence thesis. Neither Percival (Singapore) nor Maltby (Hong Kong) were incompetent, neither was even a "bad" general; neither did what was expected hoped but both were faced with extraordinary situations that, simply, got the better of them. Singapore was well designed to be defended ... from the sea, but the Japanese didn't follow London's plan; Hong Kong was not designed (or manned) for any kind of defence, but scapegoats explanations are necessary for the mothers and Percival and Maltby were blamed. Don't get me wrong: neither did as well as he might have, perhaps could have, but neither was anything like incompetent.

My favourite in the psychology of military incompetence rubbish is Haig. He was a good, solid, perhaps a tiny bit too stolid general who told his political masters the unvarnished truth; when the situation unfolded as he suggested it would the politicians, and the people - perhaps especially the Canadian people, looked around for someone to blame. There was plenty of blame - most of it in Paris, but Haig was unpopular: blunt, apparently unfeeling in an era that had begun to migrate towards Bill Clinton and "I feel your pain" - and so the blame settled on him. He wasn't a bad general; he just had a lousy press agent.

My impression is that most modern generals, begining with, say, Bernard Montgomery and Maxwell Taylor, lack "bottom:" that mix of robustness, stoicism, honesty and courage (physical and moral) that one needs to make hard decisions, give brutal orders and get up the next morning to do it all again. Looking at our generations, people like William Westmorland and David Petraeus seem to me more like puff pasty, play actors sent to reassure the people that "there is light at the end of the tunnel." I have a great deal of trouble putting e.g. Petraeus on the same intellectual or professional plane as, say, Wavell. Petraeus and most others seem smart, in a very media savy way, but not tough and not, really, intelligent. Where is a modern Wavell to tell us about generalship or a modern Haig to tell us, bluntly, how this long, long war will unfold?

Amongst Canadians I will reaffirm that we only ever produced one great commander: Leonard W Murray - head and shoulders the best Canadian to ever wear a lot of gold on his cap. Murray is the only Canadian to have ever made a significant contribution, at the highest levels, to an allied victory. (Arthur Currie was a good combat commander but he commanded just one of dozens of corps on the Western Front; a case can be made that Robert Leckie and few other senior RCAF officers made a vital contribution to victory through the British Commonwealth Air Traing Plan - and they did, but it's not in the same league as Murray and the Battle of the Atlantic.) But Murray probably was, according to the psychology of military incomeptence theorists, incompetent. Why? Because he was very unpopular - with his colleagues in Ottawa and with his political masters. Why? He told them the truth: a harsh, unvarnished truth about how tough the most important strategic battle in the history of the British Enpire was going to be; and because he didn't suffer fools at all, and Ottawa was full of them - Mackenzie King, Andrew McNaughton and Percy Nelles (Chief of the Naval Staff) amongst them. In fact it was Murray's unpopularity, not his operational ability or acumen that caused his downfall as soon as the war was safely won. Why was he good? Why was he unmpopular? Same reasons: he was tough, choleric, honest and brave but also blunt and very private, perhaps even shy. In any event he was our best ever and he simply doesn't fit the pyschology of military incompetence model, neither would the Duke of Wellington, or George C Marshall I suspect; I conclude the model is wrong.


Edit: spelling  :-[
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 13:53:04 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2012, 19:31:06 »
The one thing that stuck in my mind about the example of Singapore in the book isn't that the planners in London had only considered invasion by sea, but that General Percival not only discounted reports that the Japanese were coming by land, but until almost the last possible moment actively discouraged his subordinates from working on the landward defenses.

Since there is no question that General Percival was a smart man, there must be some explanation why he refused to look at the mounting evidence of a Japanese landward invasion, or prevented his subordinates from taking action.

Moving back towards the topic, one of the issues with the current education bubble is determining if the credentials gained from going to university are actually worth anything. STEM graduates should be considered to be educated in their fields, since there is an objective standard to measure their activites against (although there is nothing to stop a STEM graduate from believing in nonsense outside of his field of study). Since the given rational for the humanities is to train the student for critical thinking, then there should be some sort of testing mechanism to determine if the student can indeed think in a critical manner. What that might be is not clear to me...
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline DBA

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2012, 20:10:39 »
I accept that helping smart and/or motivated people get an education provides benefits for society as a whole. What doesn't seem worthwhile is giving the dumb and/or lazy a facsimile of one.

It is like the mortgage bubble: helping people who can make the payments get a mortgage can have wider benefits. Giving people who can't make the payments mortgages creates a bubble of demand that then collapses leading to widespread harm.

It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority.  By definition, there are already enough people to do that. --  G.H. Hardy

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2012, 08:53:50 »
Giving people who can't make the payments mortgages creates a bubble of demand that then collapses leading to widespread harm.


... which is responsible for much of the financial mess we're in now.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2012, 00:22:26 »
Disaggregation such as discussed here will make courses vastly cheaper and more accessable (Quebec students take note). What we need to think about in the CF is how we will accredit courses from such a wide range of sources. It is also possible to imagine serving or ex members of the CF creating courseware for potential candidates (DP 1.1 online primer!), it may well be impossible to police that kind of thing.

I will still stand by my prediction that "brick and mortar" schools will be needed for the STEM disciplines.


http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/05/16/this-is-the-way-the-higher-education-bubble-ends/?print=1

Quote
This Is The Way The Higher Education Bubble Ends…
Posted By James Carmine On May 16, 2012 @ 9:00 am In College,Technology | 32 Comments


Recalling T.S Eliot’s The Hollow Men, “not with a pop but a fizzle.” The higher education bubble ends with inevitable disaggregation of classes from the universities that offer them, and soon. No bang but a slow whimpering hiss. Classes, lectures, minors and majors are now being created by IT champions in partnership with credentialed professors and stored on racks outside of the university, then sold back to the universities to accredit them. This is the trajectory of folks like Udacity, Kahn Academy and others who have been creating courses separate from accrediting institutions. That is disaggregation. MIT and Harvard are developing their own joint web site to head this off. But the lid is already off the university’s course creating privilege. Now even Harvard has to compete with every rogue philosopher with an Internet connection.

The University is becoming a “white hat” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to bring in the students, because only accredited “XYZ Universities” hold the wand of certification. But even that is only temporary. Imagine Harvard and Yale undergraduate degrees, like the Educational Testing Service (ETS) that administers the SATs. When it comes to a BA or a BS all the Ivy’s will really provide are the Ivy League certified test results (a “Bachelor’s Degree”) of the free on-line education you received from the online classes you took from roaming on-line intellectuals. And who knows whom that Ivy school will ultimately farm out the brute labor of grading their certified tests, probably PhDs in Bangalore. Which makes sense since certified accountants in Bangalore already do vast millions Americans’ tax returns.

Professor Racks are coming: “GeekProfs” whose proprietary classes are stored and launched into the cloud from places like Web Hosting Geeks. The GeekProfs will be independent credentialed professors who use web sites designed for them by professional web designers. That is what the new much cheaper university classes and majors will look like. The age of disaggregated courses and majors created and taught by Professors without Buildings is upon us. Web Hosting services will soon house vast numbers of the on-line undergraduate courses that the wandering adjuncts will both own and teach for established Universities who in turn will serve the GeekProfs’ on-line courses as their own curricula. The long-exploited underpaid wandering adjunct professors will become the intellectual mercenaries of the Internet.



The coming age of GeekProfs returns us to the ancient Greece of Aristotle and the peripatetic teachers who wandered throughout the countryside selling wisdom. But now the classes will move, and the philosophers will stay in their coffee shops reaping residuals from their classes that travel without them. Saylor Foundation is already doing something like this and it, has been for years, and free to the students. Recently they teamed up with StraighterLine University to provide their accreditation.

Is your BS underwater? Are you upside down on your college mortgage? Many American students are, or certainly will be. By the end of the housing bubble, hordes of Americans who had taken out enormous mortgages found the houses they owned were no longer worth what they owed. Apply this to your college degree. What is the Return on Investment for your degree? Will your degree really be worth what you will owe to pay it off? It depends on where you went and in what you majored. How about that Sociology degree? Or Women’s Studies degree? Or even that, “Gee, my shrink seems rich” psychology degree. Probably not, if one of the main goal of your degree was to advance your professional life. As the higher ed bubble bulges to breaking, fewer degrees are giving profitable returns. Of course if your degree was a luxury expense, return on investment was never an issue. But for those of us who hoped to monetize our education. This is a serious problem. Just like those whose homes are now under water. Once the education really starts to fizzle, however, far fewer new undergraduate degrees will sink under water.

Why? Because when the cost of undergraduate degrees is based on what you know — what you learned relatively inexpensively from Prof Racks — well those of us for whom education is an investment rather than a luxury, will only go to the Web Hosting Prof Rack sites that actually teach us enough to pass the exams. Yeh, I admit it: I like high stakes testing. It means lower price, higher quality, higher education for the working class YouTuber. Brick and mortar university? “the twinkle of a fading star….”

Related: Kathy Shaidle’s 3 Reasons Higher Education Is Broken — and How To Fix It

Article printed from PJ Lifestyle: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/05/16/this-is-the-way-the-higher-education-bubble-ends/
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2012, 01:17:26 »
This seems to be a recurrent theme in many threads; education does not equal intelligence or even potential. There is also a vastly distorted world view both from within and without the education cloisters. Sadly, since credentialed (as opposed to educated) people are in positions of power, I don't expect to see policy changes coming any time soon:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/05/29/meaningful_work_114299.html

Quote
'Meaningful Work'
By Thomas Sowell

"Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, life-saving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society.

The lack of realism among many highly educated people has been demonstrated in many ways.

When I saw signs in Yellowstone National Park warning visitors not to get too close to a buffalo, I realized that this was a warning that no illiterate farmer of a bygone century would have needed. No one would have had to tell him not to mess with a huge animal that literally weighs a ton, and can charge at you at 30 miles an hour.

No one would have had to tell that illiterate farmer's daughter not to stand by the side of a highway, trying to hitch a ride with strangers, as too many college girls have done, sometimes with results that ranged all the way up to their death.

The dangers that a lack of realism can bring to many educated people are completely overshadowed by the dangers to a whole society created by the unrealistic views of the world promoted in many educational institutions.

It was painful, for example, to see an internationally renowned scholar say that what low-income young people needed was "meaningful work." But this is a notion common among educated elites, regardless of how counterproductive its consequences may be for society at large, and for low-income youngsters especially.

What is "meaningful work"?

The underlying notion seems to be that it is work whose performance is satisfying or enjoyable in itself. But if that is the only kind of work that people should have to do, how is garbage to be collected, bed pans emptied in hospitals or jobs with life-threatening dangers to be performed?

Does anyone imagine that firemen enjoy going into burning homes and buildings to rescue people trapped by the flames? That soldiers going into combat think it is fun?

In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great.

Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges.

Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle -- histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood -- is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism.

At the very least, many intellectuals do not want the poor or the young to have to take "menial" jobs. But people who are paying their own money, as distinguished from the taxpayers' money, for someone to do a job are unlikely to part with hard cash unless that job actually needs doing, whether or not that job is called "menial" by others.

People who lack the skills to take on more prestigious jobs can either remain idle and live as parasites on others or take the jobs for which they are currently qualified, and then move up the ladder as they acquire more experience. People who are flipping hamburgers at McDonald's on New Year's Day are seldom flipping hamburgers there when Christmas time comes.

Those relatively few statistics that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time show them moving massively from one income bracket to another over time, starting at the bottom and moving up as they acquire skills and experience.

Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.

Copyright 2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2012, 00:22:00 »
Prior learning assessments provide another means of bypassing the traditional gatekeepers. Once again, the question for the CF is how are we planning to assess recruits in the near future who may be highly educated using these alternative means but are not credentialed?

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/15/earning-college-credit-moocs-through-prior-learning-assessment

Quote
Making It Count
June 15, 2012 - 3:00am
By Paul Fain

Massively open online courses, or MOOCs, are not credit-bearing. But a pathway to college credit for the courses already exists -- one that experts say many students may soon take.

That scenario combines the courses with prior learning assessment -- a less-hyped potential “disruption” to traditional higher education -- which is the granting of credit for college-level learning gained outside the traditional academic setting.

Here’s how the process could work: A student successfully completes a MOOC, like Coursera’s Social Network Analysis, which will be taught this fall by Lada Adamic, an associate professor at the University of Michigan. The student then describes what he or she learned in that course, backing it up with proof, in a portfolio developed with the help of LearningCounts.org or another service, perhaps offered by a college.

Generally those portfolios contain a broad array of demonstrated learning, like work experience and training, volunteering or even the voracious reading of a history buff. But MOOCs, such as those from Coursera, EdX, Udacity and Udemy, likely will be part of portfolios in the near future.

“It’s just a matter of time," said Chari Leader Kelley, vice president for LearningCounts.org, which is a subsidiary of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). And Kelley said CAEL will be ready to handle those submissions. “We are set up to do that. The infrastructure is there.”

Building a prior-learning portfolio isn’t easy. But if the final product passes muster with a CAEL-affiliated faculty member with discipline-specific expertise, the student could qualify for a credit recommendation that matches up with an equivalent course from a regionally accredited college. That credit recommendation, say for three credits in a course on social media, would have the backing of the American Council on Education (ACE), which runs the most established credit recommendation service.

With that document in hand, the student could then enroll in one of the many colleges that accept ACE’s recommendations, or the scores of colleges that have agreed to participate in LearningCounts.org. That means the student, having taken a free online course, taught by a professor from the University of Michigan and taken by tens of thousands of people around the world, could walk away with three credits from Argosy University, the University of Maryland University College or George Washington University, to pick a few LearningCounts.org partner institutions.

Andrew Ng, Coursera’s co-founder and an engineering professor at Stanford University, said the prior-learning pathway to credits for MOOCs is “fantastic” and a “big value add for students.” Furthermore, it doesn’t overlap with Coursera’s goals, as Ng said the company will not pursue accreditation as a means of issuing formal academic credits.

“Coursera is not planning to become a university,” he said.

Only a handful of institutions have used MOOCs as a direct means of granting college credit. In those cases, the colleges were overseas, like the University of Freiburg, in Germany, where students also had to complete university-proctored examinations. So at this point, prior learning may be a more viable way to earn credit for MOOCs.

In addition, the courses will have multiple uses at colleges that feature competency-based education. Excelsior College, for example, already steers students to open courseware in study guides for its proficiency examinations. Students can earn college credit by passing those tests, which are in subjects ranging from English composition to Earth science, as well as a swath of courses in nursing.

Excelsior has identified free, or cheap, online courses that students can use to prepare for the exams, and includes them in study guides. Some of those courses include offerings from the Khan Academy and the Saylor Foundation. Excelsior will look at MOOCs as it expands those guides, said William M. Stewart, a spokesman for the college. And Excelsior is a LearningCounts.org partner institution, so it would accept MOOC credits as part of portfolio-based recommendations from CAEL.

MOOCs and competency-based examinations are part of the “post-traditional era of higher education,” Stewart said. But even in this era, “the world still requires some credible evidence, credible proof, that you’ve learned what you say you’ve learned.”

Big Classes, Big Potential

Prior learning experts are unruffled about the prospect of a flood of MOOC submissions in student portfolios. That’s because the same process would apply to reviewing them as to any other form of prior learning.

"We see MOOCs as yet another structured learning experience offered outside of the traditional college classroom setting," said Tina Grant, director of the National College Credit Recommendation Service, which is affiliated with the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, and along with ACE is a primary arbiter of what counts for college credits.

The delivery mechanism for learning is relatively unimportant in prior learning assessment, experts said. And when done well, the prior learning process demonstrates what you know and how you learned it, with plenty of evidence.

“The proof is in the pudding,” said Melanie Booth, dean of learning and assessment at Marylhurst University. “The source doesn’t matter. Show me what you know.”

That process is fairly labor-intensive. In fact, some MOOC students might decide it’s easier to retake an equivalent course at a traditional college than to seek prior-learning credit for a MOOC.

With LearningCounts.org, students pay $500 to take a three-credit course on portfolio preparation and experiential learning theory. The fee for a one- to 12-credit portfolio review by a CAEL-affiliated faculty assessor in a given discipline is $250. For the reviewer to give a green light for credit recommendations, the student must explain that he or she has learned the concepts taught in a particular course at an accredited college, Kelley said, complete with detailed information that matches up with the content and actual syllabus of that course.

Each course-based description is “very similar to an end-of-course term paper,” she said. And although it can be a bit less formal than a research paper, “each concept needs to be addressed specifically.”

The student must present solid evidence as part of the portfolio. In the case of MOOCs, that would include the certificate or statement of completion, which will probably cost between $30 and $80 for a Coursera MOOC, as well as other citations. For example, Kelley said, other students from the course could be listed as references, if they interacted with the student in study groups or were peer evaluators of coursework.

A prior learning portfolio gets the pass-fail treatment at Learning Counts. Students must show that they are at a C level or better in the eyes of the faculty reviewer to receive a credit recommendation for a course equivalent. “The way we work, it’s all or nothing,” Kelley said.

However, an evaluator may give a student a chance to bulk up a portfolio that was close to the mark.

Boost for Prior Learning?

MOOCs may be just another form of nontraditional education in the context of prior learning. But the potential scale of the courses makes them different, experts said. For example, 104,000 students enrolled in a machine learning course that Ng taught last year. And 1.5 million people have signed up for Coursera, EdX and Udacity courses.

Groups like CAEL are already ramping up to handle increasing demand for prior learning, which is being driven in part by a big uptick in the number of adult students who are returning to college. Also at play is the college “completion agenda,” which has given a boost to prior learning because it can help students earn degrees quicker and more cheaply.

Some observers think the interest in MOOCs could help spur demand for prior learning assessment, building wider acceptance of the practice in the process. Many traditionalists in higher education, particularly at selective colleges, have been skeptical of prior learning assessment. But that may be more difficult when the learning occurs with the tutelage of professors at some of the world's most prestigious universities. And MOOCs might also make contributions to how prior learning is measured.

The explosion of MOOCs and other forms of open learning will increase the need for having strong standards in place on prior learning, said Nan L. Travers, an expert on prior learning and director of the office of collegewide academic review at Empire State College, which is part of the State University of New York. That’s because more students will cobble together their college educations through multiple sources of learning.

“This is going to help us get even better at what we’re doing,” she said.

Credit recommendations for MOOCs could serve as a "bridge" between the nontraditional and traditional college settings, said Grant, by "helping those students who want to take advantage of MOOCs and still earn a college degree."

But students shouldn't expect to get a leg up on their prior learning portfolio by underlining the name of the elite university that employs their MOOC professor. That's because what you know counts more in prior learning than where you learned it.

"It doesn't matter" which institution is affiliated with a MOOC, Booth said. "It's not more or less prestigious than other forms of prior learning assessment."

(NOTE: This story has been changed from a previous version to correct a reference to an affiliation of the National College Credit Recommendation Service.)

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/15/earning-college-credit-moocs-through-prior-learning-assessment#ixzz1xvVRfcJo
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2012, 12:16:30 »
Yet another example of how the economies of scale work in favour of the Internet. Delivering a course for $1/student? The model described can also be adapted to some higher level military instruction; think of courses where you have to solve problems in syndicates; now your syndicate may not even meet in person, one member is in Halifax while another is in Edmonton. The fact that large numbers of people sign up but only a fraction graduate isn't really a big deal in my mind; this is a form of self selection and the supervisors doing the ratings can include the ratio of attempted courses to the ones completed as a factor (does the person have the ability to select items that fit his interests/needs and does the person have the will to complete these courses?).

Our DL models of instruction/course delivery need to be examined in light of these models and allowed to evolve to:

a. scale rapidly
b. provide useable content (mixed bag, so far in the CF)
c. provide useful "credentials" once training has been completed; both internally in the CF and also externally for soldiers retiring or releasing:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303807404577434891291657730.html

Long article; this is the money quote:

Quote
Frustrated that his (and fellow Googler Peter Norvig’s) Stanford artificial intelligence class only reached 200 students, they put up a website offering an online version. They got few takers. Then he mentioned the online course at a conference with 80 attendees and 80 people signed up. On a Friday, he sent an offer to the mailing list of a top AI association. On Saturday morning he had 3,000 sign-ups—by Monday morning, 14,000.

In the midst of this, there was a slight hitch, Mr. Thrun says. “I had forgotten to tell Stanford about it. There was my authority problem. Stanford said ‘If you give the same exams and the same certificate of completion [as Stanford does], then you are really messing with what certificates really are. People are going to go out with the certificates and ask for admission [at the university] and how do we even know who they really are?’ And I said: I. Don’t. Care.”

In the end, there were 160,000 people signed up, from every country in the world, he says, except North Korea. Rather than tape boring lectures, the professors asked students to solve problems and then the next course video would discuss solutions. Mr. Thrun broke the rules again. Twenty-three thousand people finished the course. Of his 200 Stanford students, 30 attended lectures and the other 170 took it online. The top 410 performers on exams were online students. The first Stanford student was No. 411.

Mr. Thrun’s cost was basically $1 per student per class. That’s on the order of 1,000 times less per pupil than for a K-12 or a college education—way more than the rule of thumb in Silicon Valley that you need a 10 times cost advantage to drive change.

So Mr. Thrun set up a company, Udacity, that joins many other companies attacking the problem of how to deliver the optimal online education. “What I see is democratizing education will change everything,” he says. “I have an unbelievable passion about this. We will reach students that have never been reached. I can give my love of learning to other people. I’ve stumbled into the most amazing Wonderland. I’ve taken the red pill and seen how deep Wonderland is.”

“But Wonderland is also crazy!” I interrupt.

“So?” . . . I ask why he always takes on these quantum changes instead of trying something incremental. “That’s what Google taught me. Aim higher. Udacity is my playground—to radically experiment and find out. I’ve seen the light.”

Now Mr. Thrun is talking like a true Silicon Valley entrepreneur. “The AI class was the first light. Online education will way exceed the best education today. And cheaper. If this works, we can rapidly accelerate the progress of society and the world. If you think Facebook is neat, wait five to 10 years. So many open problems will be solved.”

I’ve met a few others like Sebastian Thrun. When you ask them why they took on a huge challenge, they ask: Why not?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2012, 20:19:27 »
Bill Maher nails it...

http://www.real-time-with-bill-maher-blog.com/real-time-with-bill-maher-blog/2012/6/19/the-endth-degree.html

Quote
June 19, 2012
The Endth Degree
By Bill Maher

Is going to college still even worth it? College grads are coming out with degrees, yes – and herpes – but also with student loan debt totaling $60,000, $80,000, $100,00. These kids haven’t even gotten started in their careers and they’re already saddled with what’s tantamount to a full mortgage. In this sucky economy, graduates find themselves back in their old bedrooms at their parents’ homes, taking jobs in the service industry that they could have gotten without a college degree.

The cost of higher education in the US has soared in recent decades while median incomes have stagnated. The California State University schools raised their tuitions for the second time in less than a year, making this year’s tuition over 23% higher than the previous fall’s. And those are just the most recent increases. Attending a Cal State school now costs twice what it cost just back in 2007. And that’s not even counting the price of weed.

The old canard is that people with bachelor’s degrees make twice as much as high school graduates over their careers. But average starting salaries for college graduates just fell 10% and, if you take into account the higher income taxes paid by college grads and the four to six years they spend out of the job market getting their degrees, is that $60,000 to $100,000 in college loan debt really worth it?

And is the degree really worth it? A new comprehensive study of college grading over the decades finds that just about everybody who pays their tuition bills is deemed exceptional. 43% of letter grades awarded today are A’s as compared to just 15% back in 1960. By 2008, A’s and B’s represented 73% of all grades awarded at public colleges and 86% of all grades awarded at private colleges. It’s Lake Wobegon, “Where all the children are above average.” And that’s in spite of studies that show college students spend far less time studying today than they did decades ago.

If everybody is a genius, aren’t you paying $100,000 to $150,000 just to get your ticket stamped? You’re not buying an education so much as you’re buying a degree with a commendable GPA. Has the college degree with a B average become just a consumer product you can buy with a $100,000 loan? Wouldn’t a bright, industrious kid be better off in this economy to just jump into the job market and try to excel through merit?
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
- Helen Keller

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2012, 09:31:31 »
More on the roots of our current university education system. Governor Scott Walker of WI is making an attempt to change this, if his program is successful, watch for the floodgates to open in other American States. The question is can this model be imported here, and (of course) the perennial issue of how other agencies recognize the academic achievments of people who choose to go outside the traditional University route:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/07/07/scott-walker-prepares-to-reform-higher-education/

Quote
Scott Walker Prepares to Reform Higher Education

Bad Boy Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, fresh from taking on collective bargaining and triumphant after winning the recall election, is headed for more controversy, more upheaval and more angry squeals as he prepares to go after yet another sacred cow. His next mission is to take on Wisconsin’s higher education system. On June 19, Walker and officials from the University of Wisconsin announced a “revolutionary” flexible degree program. From the press release:

The unique self-paced, competency-based model will allow students to start classes anytime and earn credit for what they already know. Students will be able to demonstrate college-level competencies based on material they already learned in school, on the job, or on their own, as soon as they can prove that they know it. By taking advantage of this high quality, flexibility model, and by utilizing a variety of resources to help pay for their education, students will have new tools to accelerate their careers. Working together, the UW System, the State of Wisconsin, and other partners can make a high-quality UW college degree significantly more affordable and accessible to substantially more people.

It is one thing to proclaim an ideal, and something else to develop a system that actually works, but the language at least points toward exactly the kind of flexible programs Via Meadia and others have been advocating.

Change has to come. After World War Two the United States built its modern university system by extending a model that was originally intended to groom the sons of a social elite to succeed their fathers as government and business leaders to manage the preparation of tens of millions of people for the business of life.

The template doesn’t work in many cases, and the result increasingly is that training and job preparation takes too long and costs too much. The problem isn’t that America has “too much” education. The problem is that a 21st century society needs to be able to teach more skills to more people at a much lower cost and in much less time than our 20th century institutions can manage. It’s really that simple. The most urgent business of a state university system at this point must be to reform and improve the kind of education (in many cases, training) that can enable the state’s citizens of any and every age to acquire skills and prepare themselves to flourish in a rapidly changing economy.

Those who like myself are the products of the traditional elite educational system are naturally and properly concerned about the future of liberal as opposed to utilitarian education as this transformation takes place. But even we have to recognize that the first priority of state governments has to be to get the utilitarian stuff right.

Scott Walker will not be the last state governor to try his hand at education reform. It will be a bumpy road, and there will be failures and lessons learned. But through efforts like this one, through borrowing best practice from other states and countries and through trying new ideas in many states and many institutions, public and private, non-profit and for-profit, we will eventually develop an educational system that better serves the people than the one we have now.

Last month saw a crisis erupt at the University of Virginia. Now we have some radical proposals surfacing in Wisconsin. There will be more. The conflict between society’s need for more education and the high costs of the system we’ve built is intensifying. The fiscal squeeze at every level of government makes it impossible to manage the problem simply by shoveling more money into a dysfunctional system. Higher education in the United States is headed towards the biggest and most revolutionary upheaval since the birth of the mass modern university system at the end of World War Two.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2012, 11:50:50 »
Interesting article by the BBC. The raw numbers of university graduates may be one measure of academic prowess, but as we all know (and as is noted in the article) quantity is no measure of quality. Indeed, the numbers of "Studies" graduates could be counted as a negative, since they really don't bring anything to the table (lowering the results of US and Western university graduates by subtracting these people from the results).

OTOH, people who are "graduating" from non traditional on line learning are increasing at a rapid rate, and they do not show up in these sorts of figures. How they "count" isn't clear either, their "credentials" may or may not be recognized and this is probably beig done on an individual basis by employers right now. Displacing university graduates with on line students might be the real trend here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18646423

Quote
End of empire for Western universities?
By Sean Coughlan
 
BBC News education correspondent

Knowledge economyWhen schools are casualties of war
New York's tech-shaped future
MIT + Harvard = edX
Italian university switches to English
By the end of this decade, four out of every 10 of the world's young graduates are going to come from just two countries - China and India.

The projection from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows a far-reaching shift in the balance of graduate numbers, with the rising Asian economies accelerating ahead of the United States and western Europe.

The forecasts for the shape of the "global talent pool" in 2020 show China as rapidly expanding its graduate numbers - set to account for 29% of the world's graduates aged between 25 and 34.

The biggest faller is going to be the United States - down to 11% - and for the first time pushed into third place, behind India.

The US and the countries of the European Union combined are expected to account for little more than a quarter of young graduates.

Russia is also set to decline - its share of the world's graduates almost falling by half since the beginning of the century.

Indonesia, according to the OECD's projections, will rise into fifth place.

Degrees of change
 
Is this an end-of-empire moment?

Higher education has become the mirror and magnifier of economic performance - and in the post-World-War-II era, universities in the US, western Europe, Japan and Russia have dominated.

The US in particular has been the university superpower - in wealth, influence and until recently in raw numbers.

 Chinese parents rent apartments near schools to cut travelling time during university entrance exams Up until 2000, the US still had a share of young graduates similar to China. And Japan had as big a proportion of young graduates as India.

Now China and India are the biggest players.

Their rise in graduate numbers reflects their changing ambitions - wanting to compete against advanced economies for high-skill, high-income employment.

Instead of offering low-cost manufacture, they are targeting the hi-tech professional jobs that have become the preserve of the Westernised middle classes.

Fivefold growth
 
As the OECD figures show, this is not simply a case of countries such as China expanding while others stand still.

Across the industrialised world, graduate numbers are increasing - just not as quickly as China, where they have risen fivefold in a decade.

The OECD notes that by 2020, China's young graduate population will be about the same as the total US population between the ages of 25 and 64.

 India will have the second largest share of the world's graduates by 2020, says the OECD This changing world map will see Brazil having a bigger share of graduates than Germany, Turkey more than Spain, Indonesia three times more than France.

The UK is bucking the trend, projected to increase its share from 3% in 2010 to 4% in 2020.

This push for more graduates has a clear economic purpose, says the OECD's analysis.

Enough jobs?
 
Shifting from "mass production to knowledge economy occupations" means improved employment rates and earnings - so there are "strong incentives" for countries to expand higher education.

But will there be enough graduate jobs to go round?

 Ballpark figures: The US has been the university superpower in the post-World-War-II era The OECD has tried to analyse this by looking at one aspect of the jobs market - science and technology-related occupations.

These jobs have grown rapidly - and the report suggests it is an example of how expanding higher education can generate new types of employment.

These science and technology jobs - for professionals and technicians - account for about four in every 10 jobs in some Scandinavian and northern European countries, the OECD suggests.

In contrast - and showing more of the old order - these technology jobs are only a small fraction of the workforce in China and India.

The OECD concludes that there are substantial economic benefits from investing in higher education - creating new jobs for the better-educated as unskilled manufacturing jobs disappear.

Quantity or quality?
 
The OECD forecast reveals the pace of growth in graduate numbers. But it does not show the quality or how this expansion will translate into economic impact.

There are other ways of mapping the changing distribution of knowledge.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
Each era has its own distinct geography. In the information age, it's not dependent on roads or waterways, but on bases of knowledge”
End Quote
Prof Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
 
Oxford Internet Institute
 A team at the University of Oxford's Internet Institute has produced a set of maps showing the "geography of the world's knowledge".

This measures how populations are consuming and producing information in the online world - mapping the level of internet use, the amount of user-generated material in Google, concentrations of academic activity and the geographical focus of Wikipedia articles.

And in contrast to the rise of the Asian economies, this tells a story of continuing Western cultural dominance.

"In raw numbers of undergraduates and PhDs, the Asian economies are racing ahead," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, from the Oxford Internet Institute.

"But what's interesting is how the West persists in its positions of strength - because the West controls the institutions.

Mapping a new world
 
"There are more students in China than ever before - but they still use Western mechanisms to publish results, they accept the filters," says Prof Mayer-Schonberger.

 In Oxford's world map of internet users, Europe is bigger than Africa "The big question will be whether the Chinese researchers can be as insightful as their Western counterparts - we don't know yet."

The maps also reveal how much Africa and South America are losing out in this new scramble for digital power.

Prof Mayer-Schonberger said he was "completely shocked" at the extent of the imbalance.

Another feature of the Oxford study is to show how research bases and their spin-out economic activity are clustered into relatively small areas.

In the US, says Prof Mayer-Schonberger, there is hugely disproportionate investment around Silicon Valley and the Boston area, with large tracts of "wasteland" between.

"Each era has its own distinct geography. In the information age, it's not dependent on roads or waterways, but on bases of knowledge.

"This is a new kind of industrial map. Instead of coal and steel it will be about universities and innovation."
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2012, 14:08:41 »
The United States spends more than almost anyone else on the planet for "education", yet students going to school in Nigeria have much better outcomes. It isn't how much is being spent, it is how the money is spent:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/to-some-africans-in-us-childrens-education-is-best-left-to-the-homeland/2012/07/16/gJQAfSAfpW_print.html

Quote
To some Africans in U.S., children’s education is best left to the homeland
By Tomi Obaro, Published: July 16

Twelve-year-old Oladimeji Elujoba kept getting into fights at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown. Every time the teacher took attendance in the morning, she would stumble over his polysyllabic name and inadvertently elicit jeers and giggles from his classmates.

“I’m not the kind of person to watch people laugh at me,” Elujoba, now 17, says matter-of-factly.

And so he fought. He fought so much he got in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, after-school detentions. His parents, Ruth and Olalekan Elujoba, worried.

“One of the teachers in the middle school called me,” Olalekan Elujoba recalls. “They had suspended him and said that if I don’t take any action on this, I will spoil the boy’s future. I couldn’t sleep that night.”

Within a few weeks, Olalekan Elujoba had decided what to do. His two sons, Oladimeji and Kunle, later followed by his daughter, Comfort, would go to boarding school.

Doregos Private Academy, to be more specific.

In Lagos, Nigeria — 5,424 miles away.

Counterintuitive? Certainly. After all, for families such as the Elujobas, the whole point of coming to America is to stay here. Ask them why they came to the United States, and the Elujobas will simply stare at you, perplexed. The answer is self-evident: When you win the visa lottery as they did, you pack up your things and you go. So to book three tickets and send their children, ages 11, 12 and 13, back to the country they had not lived in since they were toddlers seems extraordinary.

But the decision made by the Elujobas and a small number of other families reflects a discomfort shared more broadly among immigrants from Africa. For all the material advantages this country offers — the jobs, the houses, the roads, the higher education — the Elujobas insist there are still pitfalls. They don’t like the expensive child care, the lax public school system, the sense of entitlement that comes with living in a country so privileged.

“Kids here, they do whatever they want,” Ruth Elujoba says. “There is no fear of parents in their minds.”

She tells an anecdote about the time she was washing her car and saw a group of 14- and 15-year-olds across the street smoking: “I called my husband and I said, ‘Look at these kids. What are they doing?’ All the information we kept hearing about kids carrying guns to school, joining gangs, we decided we will not wait until something like that happens to us.”

Praise for African schools

Sending children back to be educated in their parents’ country of origin “is not just happening among Nigerian immigrants in the United States,” John Arthur, the director of African and African American studies at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, says in an e-mail. “Despite the stereotypical media portrayal of Africa and anything associated with Africa as underdeveloped, the region has some of the best educational systems in the world. These prep and public schools emphasize STEM courses,” or classes focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.

Arthur says the quality of Africa’s education system is seen in the number of Africans who pursue postgraduate degrees at esteemed universities around the world.

It is hard to establish firm numbers, but many of the elite private schools in Abuja and Lagos boast at least a few American-born Nigerians in their ranks. Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls in Lagos has 21 U.S.-born Nigerians out of a total of 364 students. Ibadan International School, a smaller school in the southwestern part of the country, has had Ni­ger­ian Americans attend in the past.

What is easier to gauge, at least according to Edem Andy, a high school physics teacher in Prince George’s County who has taught in the United States and Nigeria, is the academic advantage that children who are sent back to Nigeria gain when they return to the United States.

During his 16-year stint as a teacher in the county, he has noticed that those children come back “better organized [and] basically more prepared. A child that has been to school in Nigeria knows how to study and take notes, which is lacking with American kids.”

He credits the Nigerian school system, which prizes mastery over self-esteem and ranks its students stringently. Nigerian students also attend school earlier, starting kindergarten as early as 3 or 4 years old. Because school is a luxury, Andy says, Nigerian students take their schoolwork more seriously.

That rigor is something Vicky Akinola, a 24-year-old business analyst from Upper Marlboro, struggled with when she was sent back to Nigeria at the age of 12.

“We had to write notes verbatim from our teachers’ lectures, and I wasn’t used to that,” she says.

Then, of course, there were all the other forms of culture shock — the suffocating humidity, the foreign accents, the frequent use of corporal punishment, the food, the uniforms, the tacitly accepted bullying of younger students by older students.

“I think I cried for the first year and a half,” Akinola says.

Lara Showunmi, a 25-year-old Silver Spring native who works at a rehabilitation clinic, was sent to Nigeria for school three separate times on account of her self-described insubordination.

“The second and third time it was really hard,” Showunmi says. “Like washing my clothes for myself, fetching water by myself — all of that was hard.”

Still both Showunmi and Akinola, who spent three years as a boarding student at Doregos Private Academy before returning to the United States to start college, say that, on the whole, it was a good experience.

“I would say it changed my whole perspective,” Akinola says. “You see people really struggle there because there’s no middle class — you’re either poor or rich. It really opened my eyes to what goes on outside of the U.S.”

Her father, Bode Akinola, a real estate broker, agrees. He had to refinance his home to afford to send three of his four children back to Nigeria, but the results were worth it, he says.

“My daughter, before she left to go to Nigeria, I couldn’t get her to do her homework,” he says. “She was getting failing grades. When she went there, believe me or not, it totally worked.”

Not according to plan

Not all Ni­ger­ian Americans who are “sent back” think it was worth the trouble. Rasheed Adeokun, 22, of Lanham spent three years in Lagos attending King’s College, one of Nigeria’s few prestigious government-run schools.

“I guess my parents’ grand master plan was to send each of us back when we were 10,” he says.

After he got into a series of fights with his brother while there, his mother decided to send them back to the United States. “Experiment over,” Adeokun says.

But the transition back was difficult. In Nigeria, Adeokun enjoyed his status as an American. Students assumed he had met Hollywood celebrities, and they got to sample the bags of Doritos he brought with him.

Returning to the United States, where Adeokun started ninth grade when he was 12, proved disorientating. Nigeria’s entrenched social conservatism made the comparatively liberal behavior at the American high school jarring.

“Seeing kids kiss openly in the hallways, not even boys and girls, but gay couples,” he says. “In Nigeria, you have teachers going nuts even if it was just boy and girl, so that I wasn’t used to.”

His newly acquired Nigerian accent and his youth didn’t help matters. The experience was so negative, Adeokun opted out of school altogether for a while, joining the Marines after his freshman year of college. He is now a marketing junior at Bowie State.

Though Arthur expects the trend of Africans sending their American-born children back to Africa to continue, Andy and Bode Akinola are not so sure. The recession has made it harder for parents to afford the hefty school fees, which can reach up to $6,000 a year per child, excluding travel and living expenses. Growing civil unrest in Nigeria hasn’t made parents in the United States any more comfortable about sending their children back to their ancestral homeland, either.

The Elujobas, however, are convinced that all the extra hours Ruth, a nursing assistant, and Olalekan, a security officer, put in to pay for boarding school were worth it.

“They know when to go to school, when to study, even when we are not home, they know how to call us. I think they acquired more knowledge at home and they’ve grown more mature,” Ruth says.

Their youngest son, Kunle, is finishing up his last year of secondary school in Nigeria, and their other two children are in college, Oladimeji at Montgomery College and daughter Comfort at Carleton.

Oladimeji has no regrets about the experience.

“Now I know how to work,” he says, the remnants of a Nigerian accent still clinging to his speech. “I know practice makes perfect.”

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2012, 00:47:26 »
Building a University for YouTube with "5 minute lectures". Interesting idea to get a course precis or introduction:

http://www.prageruniversity.com/mission.html
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2012, 01:01:09 »
Building a University for YouTube with "5 minute lectures". Interesting idea to get a course precis or introduction:

http://www.prageruniversity.com/mission.html

"Prager University seeks to create a better understanding and appreciation of our unique American Judeo-Christian value system by leveraging the viral power of the Internet with content-rich, visually compelling courses."

WTF?  That doesn't sound like education to me.  No wonder the the Nigerians are kicking our ***.
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2012, 01:24:33 »
I am more interested in the idea of compressing content, but virtually every University or institution of higher learning has some set of founding principles, and at least this institution has it out in the open. You certainly don't have to subscribe if you don't believe in these principles.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2012, 20:55:10 »
A series of YouTube pieces on the founder of the Internet educational movement. Quite interesting and a useful primer for those wishing to explore the movement more deeply:

http://www.slate.com/articles/video/conversations_with_slate/2012/10/salman_khan_and_youtube_the_khan_academy_s_online_global_education_mission_video_.html

Quote
The Tech-Driven Teacher
Salman Khan’s audacious mission to offer online education to anyone, anywhere for free.

Posted Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at 11:15 AM ET

When you hear Salman Khan’s story, it sounds like an Internet-age fairy tale, one that goes something like this. Once upon a time, a brainy MIT graduate working as a hedge-fund analyst started tutoring his cousin in math and science online. He decided to make YouTube videos of his tutorials. The videos racked up millions of views and reached audiences around the world, and appreciative students offered stirring testimonials. After three years, the hedge-fund analyst quit his day job to set up an educational nonprofit called The Khan Academy. The mission: provide a world-class education to anyone, anywhere for free.

Khan knows that his mission statement is a bit grandiose, but he believes the Khan Academy’s online teaching materials, including its archive of more than 3,000 videos, have the power to reach students in ways that classroom settings sometimes can’t. The Khan Academy combines video tutorials with exercises and problems tailored to an individual student’s performance level.

But does it work? Khan sat down recently with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg to talk about his new book and the results his nonprofit is producing.
Advertisement

In Part 1 of the interview, Khan explains how The Khan Academy flips the teaching model on its head. And in the third segment, he addresses how the education establishment has responded.

http://www.slatev.com/video/tech-driven-teacher/
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline ballz

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2012, 22:59:45 »
This is a great thing that the Globe and Mail has, lots of interesting content on here including a "pay-off" function where you can input the degree program and compare it to others / high school diploma.

Michael Ignatieff is one of the people you can get a sound clip on, and he uses the term "degree factory" a few times. I like it.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/transforming-the-ivory-tower-the-case-for-a-new-postsecondary-education-system/article4588986/
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
- Helen Keller

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #48 on: October 15, 2012, 12:22:42 »
An unexpected bonus; unbundling course content also means breaking free of ideological indoctrination. The student gets more choices and is potentially exposed to many more viewpoints from the multitude of institutions and on line courses he can access. (Even if you believe that Marxists or Socialists will attempt to infiltrate the universe of online learning, you will still be exposed to multiple viewpoints and start to wonder why the various viewpoints don't coincide with each other or with reality. Once you start thinking along those lines, you have achieved the goal of a true Liberal education and are no longer indoctrinated):

http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=2749

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Education for Liberty

Advocates of limited government can turn pending changes in higher education to their advantage.

By George Leef

Comments
October 11, 2012

Last week, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation held its annual Liberty Forum in New York City. The foundation’s mission is to strengthen freedom around the globe by sponsoring institutes that promote limited government. Among the panel discussions at the two-day program was one entitled “Disruptions in Higher Education: An Opportunity for the Freedom Movement?”

I spoke on that panel, along with Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and Ines Calzada Alvarez, Secretary General of Online de Madrid Manuel Ayau, an organization that provides online economics education in the free-market tradition of Manuel Ayau. (Ayau founded the University Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala.)

The consensus was that the impending disruption in higher education—the bursting of the bubble and subsequent changes in the way students learn—should indeed create opportunities for education to advance liberty.

My argument was that it will do so because the old model of higher education was (and is) heavily stacked in favor of the proponents of collectivism, but future education will not be. To a large extent, our higher education system has been colonized by faculty and administrators who are sympathetic to the expansion of government and unsympathetic to laissez-faire. College students were (and are) much more likely to hear from Marxists than from conservatives or libertarians.

In that old model, a student faced the “bundle” problem. Once the student chose a school, he or she had to choose from the courses and majors offered there. It was as if when you walked into a grocery store, you were allowed to buy either Bag A or Bag B, when both bags contained many items you’d never want to buy individually.

When I was an undergraduate, for example, the only macroeconomics course was taught by a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian who was absolutely certain that federal authorities could manage the economy to give us high GDP and low unemployment. There was no alternative to that misinformation-laden course, except taking a different major.

Consumers don’t like having to buy bundles, whether it’s food, cable-TV, or education. They would much rather shop for the best and buy only what they want. New developments in education are making that increasingly possible.

Students will be drawn more toward schools that permit them to shop around for the best courses and transferring those credits from other schools rather than requiring them to take their entire bundles. Perhaps in time the very concept of a college degree will change, as students assemble online portfolios of their learning and accomplishments (certificates, badges, and other indicators of capability) to show the world.

In that new educational environment, the old constraints such as accreditation and transferability will matter less and less. None of the huge number of students who signed up for Sebastian Thrun’s initial Udacity course on artificial intelligence cared in the least that Udacity is not accredited. Thrun’s reputation was all that mattered.

With students shopping around for educational products that are high in quality as well as interesting, the market will be open. The old course offerings with their mild-to-severe leftist orientation will have to compete with courses that are balanced or take an intelligent pro-liberty view.

In my comments, I mentioned one such course—an introductory economics course taught at Wake Technical Community College and Florida State University that overturns the usual way of teaching economics. Eliminating much of the graphs and math, the course concentrates on economic concepts, such as the role of incentives and comparative advantage. Understanding those concepts is a big step toward understanding the value of liberty. The course designers intend to “scale up” its availability.

The other two panelists have both embarked on online education. Professor Cowen recently launched, with his faculty colleague Alexander Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution University. The first course available on MRU is on development economics. As Professor Cowen explained in his talk, the cost of producing the material for the site was almost zero (if you don’t count the time the creators put into learning all they know about their subject) and students can partake of their offering for free.

At present, there is no official credit for taking an MRU course, but Professor Cowen said that he would be happy to write a personal letter of recommendation for any student who demonstrates that he or she has mastered the material. That might be a better advertisement for the student than merely completing another official college course where professors are known to frequently dispense gift grades.

In her presentation, Ines Calzada Alvarez explained how her organization, OMMA, brings the great economic insights of Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and other giants to students through online education. As is the case with Marginal Revolution University, her budget is very small, but that is not a barrier to education.

We are at the beginning of a discovery process in the new world of boundary-less education. Among the questions “edupreneurs” will seek to answer are:

How can we create educational products that will most appeal to students? For example, what maximizes the likelihood that a young person will want to spend time learning about development economics rather than playing Halo?

Is it better to work within the framework of existing higher education institutions, or to go around them?

How can we best certify that students have in fact learned course material?

And last but not least, can the business community be persuaded to break its bad habit of screening out individuals just because they don’t have the standard college credentials and evaluating them on the basis of other indicators of competence?

Change is undoubtedly coming to higher education. That’s good news for many reasons, but especially because it will mean that students won’t have to go through institutions that wrap them in socialistic thinking. They will be able to choose professors who understand the virtues of freedom. Seize the opportunity!
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: The education bubble
« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2012, 10:49:42 »
The mantra that we need to spend more money has always been suspect (who is getting all this money?) but now a new study in the United States demonstrates conclusively that it is not how much money you spend but how efficiently you spend it. If we could import some of these ideas to Canada then we could improve our students education and/or reduce the amount of money going to the public school system (education is usually the second largest item on the Provincial budget after health care), reducing pressure on Provincial budgets:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/11/28/the-texas-education-miracle/

Quote
The Texas Education Miracle

The Department of Education has just released its first state-by-state comparison of education statistics, and the report has a few surprises. Texas performed extremely well, tying five other states for the third-best graduation rate in the country, at 86 percent.

And Texas isn’t the only high-performing red state: Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Tennessee all place within the top ten as well. Meanwhile, New York, Rhode Island, and California, all of which take a traditional, high-spending, blue model approach to education, are closer to the middle of the pack , with graduation rates in the mid-70s.

This is convincing evidence against the popular notion that we can fix the public education system if only we are willing to spend more money. Not only does Texas do a better job of graduating its students than its blue state competition; it does so at a fraction of the cost per student.
Education reformers should pay close attention to how Texas achieved these results. Clearly, it’s doing something right.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.