August 31, 2006
— Slublog Interesting.
The University of Illinois is in many ways a classic state university system. Urbana-Champaign is a flagship, with a history of Nobel laureates and competitive admissions. The Chicago campus has been very much on the rise in the last 10 years, expanding research and graduate programs and attracting academic stars. Springfield has more of an undergraduate and liberal arts focus.Obviously, this plan is extremely unpopular with faculty, because tenure is the one thing faculty will fight to the death to protect, as shown by this quote in the article from an unidentified faculty member:
All three campuses have some distance education programs, but the university system is now getting ready to launch a whole new campus, creating an online division that could eventually rival the individual campuses in enrollment levels, operating in a very different environment. The University of Illinois Global Campus would be operated as a separate for-profit entity, have almost entirely part-time faculty members (and none with tenure), and focus on a relatively small number of degree programs.
Tenure is a very critical concern because it is a hallmark of the academic freedom that is needed for intellectual inquiry, said the professor. If people are all part-time and non-tenure track, is that a university? Is that a faculty? Its certainly the University of Phoenix, but its not traditionally what has been the University of Illinois.If academic freedom is so important, then I think faculty across the country should be more critical of those in their ranks who abuse it. As we've seen in the cases of Ward Churchill and Kevin Barrett, some faculty consider academic freedom a license to delve into any crackpot theory or personal tirade in the classroom. With the cost of higher education going up, people are going to be much less patient with professors who waste classroom time on political issues unrelated to their academic discipline.
Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 06:23 AM (9CC1D)
My sis-in-law took an online writing class from the local community college, and it sounded to me like it was just as legit as one where people's butts were in particular seats at particular times. It's a great way for a full-time working person to get an education.
Posted by: meep at August 31, 2006 06:34 AM (5j3FI)
this is not to say that online classes aren't valid, and i certainly appreciate the way that people (like myself) are able to use the online courses to accomodate their work lives.
but i think that in almost all cases, there is a drop-off. and i don't think the dropoff has to do with whether or not the instructor is tenured or not- it's inherent to the difference in formats.
Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 06:42 AM (G7s9a)
You know what would be really cool? A movie where this boat is destroyed by terrorists, and everybody dies, except for a cabin boy:
I hope you understand that the intentions behind the movie are good.
Posted by: Dan Collins at August 31, 2006 06:53 AM (Ouds1)
Posted by: William McKinley at August 31, 2006 07:05 AM (ATbKm)
Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 31, 2006 07:07 AM (ljMCs)
And that may not be a bad thing.
Posted by: Slublog at August 31, 2006 07:10 AM (R8+nJ)
That's interesting: my experience has been that school is a series of hoops that you jump through to acquire a document that proves you attended. Most everything I actually learned, however, came by a lot of studying on my part. Nobody at school taught me how to program, and the Web was a big giant mystery. I learned the way most people learn--through doing and trying, not through "face to face" classes.
A class can teach you how to use Word, maybe. If you're such a helpless gimp that you can't experiment and try things and learn that way, a step-by-step process to teach you what the "bold" icon looks like may be useful. But that's not learning. That's training.
Online classes will allow people who are interested in learning the same thing to get together. If there's online collaboration, even better. Nothing is quite so useful for learning as to be in a crowd of people all wanting to learn as much as you do. That is not usually the case in undergraduate bricks-and-morter higher education.
Posted by: rho at August 31, 2006 07:15 AM (aLDBr)
It's too bad, but technology always wins. Power Point is not the answer to higher education.
Posted by: kevlarchick at August 31, 2006 07:40 AM (qeubn)
It's fairly common for those who teach at the University to also teach at the local communtiy college.
Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 07:44 AM (9CC1D)
The reason they will be so opposed to this is that many colleges are expanding rapidly to fit demand for more degrees. Some have major investments involved, and some are looking for those juicy govt contracts. Web based ed fucks that for them, Big Time.
Posted by: Sinistar at August 31, 2006 07:46 AM (FUWRQ)
Posted by: Governor Le Petomane at August 31, 2006 08:04 AM (N0Cex)
Bingo. Schools are businesses.
Posted by: Dave in Texas at August 31, 2006 08:06 AM (N0Cex)
Most professors and instructors don't really like to be interrupted with questions. Some say it is okay, but they are lying. Professors have given the same lectures year after year. They have heard all the ususal questions and will include the answers in their lectures.
Yet there are still a-holes in the classroom that insist on asking stupid questions. Every single class I've been in has at least one ninny who regularly disrupts the class with a stupid comment or question, or will ask a stupid question and answer it themselves to show the rest of the class how smart they are.
The classroom is good for when the students are in small groups for labs or sections. Otherwise, presence in the classroom is unnecessary.
Posted by: Bart at August 31, 2006 08:09 AM (NE2DL)
Nothing is quite so useful for learning as to be in a crowd of people all wanting to learn as much as you do. That is not usually the case in undergraduate bricks-and-morter higher education.
possibly, rho, but that certainly was not my experience. I found that online classes lacked the kind of intellectual camaderie provided by being in a classroom with ten other people, all of whom wanted to be there. (grad school, granted.)
Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 08:13 AM (G7s9a)
Yeah, imagine if Frisch had had tenure; there'd be one more whack job with more security than brains.
Posted by: John H at August 31, 2006 08:18 AM (Pay8H)
If online classes aren't taking advantage of those kinds of tools, it's the execution that is at fault, not the theory.
Until you get into the higher-level classes, most of the university experience is a tedious slog.
IMO, what we call a liberal arts education now used to be called "8th grade" back in them olden times.
Posted by: rho at August 31, 2006 08:37 AM (aLDBr)
Go ahead and give the Illini tenure, and the 38 1/2 point spread.
Posted by: iowahawk at August 31, 2006 08:41 AM (C9YlT)
Posted by: hobgoblin at August 31, 2006 08:48 AM (p1s9n)
My only complaint about such matters is eye strain. I've had courses where there was no text book, all reading was from online sources, and let me tell you, you can only read so much from a monitor before you want that physical book back.
Posted by: Hal at August 31, 2006 08:53 AM (OyI5W)
One of the biggest is the fact that you can study and "go to class" when you have the time, great when have a job and a family. You can also spend as much time as you like perusing the "lecture."
There is also a lot more exchanging of ideas online, and a much more lively discussion at times through newsgroups and individual emails. While facetime is nice, I have found that I learned more in my online classes than I did in my lower-level old-school (pardon the pun) classes.
That is really interesting when you you consider that most upper division nursing courses are notoriously inane.
Posted by: Kanelin at August 31, 2006 08:58 AM (DHWob)
The Air Force plans to fly planes over Wake Island after Typhoon Ioke passes, to see how much damage the storm inflicted on the mid-Pacific U.S. military refueling outpost.
Forecasters have predicted the storm would submerge the 2.5-square-mile island and demolish any non-concrete structures.
Posted by: Roy at August 31, 2006 09:02 AM (Kk+xJ)
But we should be careful what we wish for. The American system of colleges and university's is the envy of the world. The influence of radical faculty is only actually a short 20 year bump on the road, which is already leveling off as an entire generation of post-60s graduates are replacing those who retire.
If we disregard those who are retiring, on the whole, things are better than they've been in years. And the tenure system will enable younger faculty to challenge the orthodoxy of senior faculty without having to worry about getting canned. If you trash the whole system just to get back at high profile nuts like Churchill, we will lose more than we gain.
We will end up with a fraudulent system where you just pay more money, fill out some forms, and get a degree that is meaningless. College in America is a real opportunity for social and economic advancement in our society. Merit is actually rewarded in most fields. And it matters more than privilege. I would hate to close that door of opportunity off to people who need it, just to get back at a handful of annoying teachers. Aside from all the BS, a poor kid from the ghetto can go to college, study hard, and become a CEO on his own merits. And he will learn how to live and succeed in an environment different from the ghetto. We need to increase the numbers of success stories, not smash the institutions down. (The radicals, by the way, tried to do it in the 60s.)
The solution is and always has been the same: Don't take a class from a crazy teacher. Inform yourself on the subject matter and the faculty member. And when in doubt, go to the library. Your ideas are and always will be your own. No need to cry "victim" about YOUR own education. And, if you really are that sensitive, shop for a school or program that won't offend you. Nobody is forcing you to read something you don't want to.
There is supply and demand operating here. I don't like dirty movies, they offend me. So, I don't go to them. If more people made the right decisions, there would be no more dirty movies. But, in a free society, I am willing to tolerate that. It's better than living in a place where they burn down embassies over political cartoons.
Posted by: Well at August 31, 2006 09:32 AM (1WdUw)
Not to mention slutty girls and keg parties. Let's not lose sight of the big picture here, people.
Posted by: UGAdawg at August 31, 2006 09:49 AM (9DumO)
When I was in school there was no online. Would have come in handy after a late night kegger.
Univ. of Illinois-Champaigne Fighting Illini, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago Flames(?), Univ. of Illinois-Online.
Okay, we need a nickname, we need to know how good their football team is going to be, and we need to know if there is any football team in Illinois, college or pro, that can compete with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Posted by: T Gonzo at August 31, 2006 10:33 AM (/ALBe)
I'd say either the L33T Haxx0rZ or the Desk Jockeys.
Posted by: Hal at August 31, 2006 10:42 AM (OyI5W)
Hey, this could work.
All the classes are online.
Instead of the slutty girls at keg parties we have porno and webcams with chat.
The football team could play with Madden 2006.
We can do everything virtually!
Posted by: Entropy at August 31, 2006 10:57 AM (m6c4H)
Im taking it from your sig you went to U.Ga. I went to high school in Athens, at Cedar Shoals, in the early/mid 70s. Went to quite a few keggers etc. on campus, it was an awesome way to go through highschool!
Posted by: Kanelin at August 31, 2006 11:45 AM (DHWob)
(Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, p177)
Posted by: Toren at August 31, 2006 12:44 PM (3OWQR)
UIUC continues to have problems with Chief Illiniwek, so I suppose Chief Fugawi is out of the question.
Posted by: DaveC at August 31, 2006 02:01 PM (QiR6e)
Well boys, you broke your end of the bargain. The experiment failed because you couldn't control yourselves, and now you're paying the price. Did you really think it would end any other way?
Freedom carries with it responsibility, always. If you cannot bear the responsibility, you lose the freedom.
Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2006 05:36 PM (FuM7z)
There are problems with tenure and with universities, but free speech isn't one of them.
Conservatives must be going to liberal colleges these days.
Posted by: Well at August 31, 2006 06:22 PM (DwFzZ)
We as a society give people the ability to exercise their rights freely until they demonstrate they are not able to do so responsibly. That's why we have jails. I you cannot conduct yourself responsibly, you don't get to have the same level of freedom.
Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2006 07:46 PM (FuM7z)
"Having pets at your home is not a right, it is a privilege. And privileges can be revoked for those who are irresponsible."
Posted by: Well at September 01, 2006 09:18 AM (1WdUw)
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