OT: Democracy in Action

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On 8/13/2011 1:13 PM, Swingman wrote:

And teeching the neu Inglish so that we mite understand hem,
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Very few full professors were teaching when my kids went to university (Columbia) 15 or more years ago. Even when I went (Holland, almost 50 years ago), only some were. Interestingly, some were giants in their fields. Now if I could only remember their names ...
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Best regards
Han
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Han wrote:

That ship doesn't fly as well as it used to, though there are exceptions.
Even when I went (Holland, almost 50

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Interesting if true that undergraduate courses are now taught by adjunct faculty. Used to be taught by grad students under the supervision of a faculty member.

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J. Clarke wrote:

Not all colleges have grad students in every department. Those that do obviously use them (first).

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Swingman wrote:

Hard to believe (maybe)? Tenured faculty members having benefits (medical, retirement, others) aren't cheap, by comparison, and hiring one is a long term commitment. Who are you going to use to teach 20 sections of XXXX-101? It's not like most of the adjunct professors are unqualified--a great many of them are retired high school teachers and do an excellent job. People looking for full time teaching positions, and who have invested a great deal to get there, are "victims" of this system too.
Is is true that colleges are being run more and more like a business. Their survival partially depends on doing so, no?

Your reasoning makes sense, but an aspect of this that doesn't show is that the student population and backdrop is different. Ironically, there is less community at many community colleges I think. Traditional colleges offer their own culture (just like the military offers a culture). I think most (all?) traditional students would be well-served by living on campus if they can afford it--it's a good way for them to develop good habits. I think a mature person (not a duffus) who knows how to handle responsibility, is organized, and who knows what they want, is likely to be successful no matter where they go. The goal is not necessary to help students to pass classes as it is to convert students into people who are organized, can work well with others and with numbers, can communicate and can handle responsibility. We want graduates who are prepared to learn what they need to know and are well-equipped to adapt to change. I'm sure there are plenty here who have found their own routes to acquiring these skills. College offers a concrete plan and certification, as would an apprenticeship (where are those).

Don't laugh--classes are already being taught through the Internet. Time zone differences start to become significant issues!
Bill
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On 8/13/2011 10:16 PM, Bill wrote:

Did you bother to read the referenced article that touches on that very subject?
Pretty important to further meaningful dialogue, as it was the basis for discussion.
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Swingman wrote:

Well, honestly, I had not read it. It was not a really a matter of my being bothered. But I just went back and read it, some parts of it 2 or 3 times.

I think, based upon my experience, I can only add one thing (if that):
That you can pretty much count on academic institutions to follow a path which is consistent with their economic incentives. Contrary to the opinion of some, there are some pretty smart people at colleges and universities, even some you might call "angle shooters", who will work like lawyers to get as big of a piece of the pie as they can. The pie not only includes governmental support and grants, but also the potential students (which colleges have some incentive to make as large of a group as possible).
To me, it feels a bit analogous to government--very difficult to mismantle and redesign...
Some similar problems: Medical costs, Suit-happy legal system, union/employer rules, ...
A common thread seems to be the "angle shooters" who are willing to put their economic self-interest ahead of "ethics". Entities have learned to use "politics" in place of ethics. This seems to be related to MARKETING--its not WHO you are, it's WHO THEY THINK YOU ARE that counts, right? No Wonder ADVERTISING is so popular!!!
Example: If you run BP, just spend a few bucks and video some clean water for the silver screen...
Bill
Extra Remark: I suspect (fear) that as we are pushed more and more into a state of information overload, that marketing will only be more effective as people will feel pressured to rely on sound-bites.
Extra question: Are ethics and religion related? Want to tie in cable-tv, single-parent families, disrespect for nature and natural resources,... ?
I think if everyone felt a compulsion to "do the right thing" we wouldn't be having this discussion. Are people entitled to be lazy? I don't know. It seems unethical. Someone I know (that you don't) says: "Laziness needs no explanation" (I think he is an extremely hard worker!)
I said above I could "only add one thing". Sorry if I exaggerated a bit. If I had to reduce my entire post to one word, it would be "ETHICS".
.
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It's not new. I taught a senior level CS course and a graduate level MIS course 30 years ago. At one point I asked the dean if I taught all the required courses, if I got my masters (I only have a BS). He didn't like the question.
Sometimes there are people in industry who know more about a subject than you can find to teach.

Community colleges are often a good idea.

Internet classes are already happening. Something like a third of my son's classes are via the Internet. Why not from New Delhi? That's where all the instructors came from 40 years ago.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

That may be very true, but that doesn't mean it's safe to assign them total responsibility for a class if they haven't taught before.
What is likely to happen is that the "industrial expert" is likely to assume too much.
That surely doesn't mean those industrial experts can't be put to good use. The students love such invited speakers like that.
B.

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And the choice is, don't teach the class?

That happens. In fact, I assumed that seniors in CS would have some idea how to program a computer and even know something about binary arithmetic. I'm not above learning, however.

What good is an "invited speaker", when the subject of the entire course is the adjunct's specialty? You assume education majors know something worth teaching.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

It's the department chair's call. Offering a substitute class may be viewed as more appropriate than the possibility of having to deal with an angry mob of 20 students (and their parents) with legitimate complaints. Of course, the chair has to answer to the dean who has to answer to a vice-president. Offering an alternative class starts to look more and more attractive.

Here you are mixing apples and oranges. Invited speakers serve many useful purposes in teaching. I think education majors come in a wide variety. You assume they are all useless?
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Again, you assume that only a "professional teacher" can teach. That is a *very* bad assumption. One which is partly responsible for our piss-poor education system.

No, you're saying that only a "professional teacher" can teach, even a technical subject.

Perhaps, but *THAT* is the changed subject.

Yes! But you have to admit, they're particularly useless teaching college level Computer Science. Good grief!
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Yes, but, they are, well, "professionals."
Years ago I did some research. I found that the following were ineligible to teach in the high schools of my state:
* All living Nobel Laureates (this was back when Richard P. Feynman was alive). * All winners of the Fields Medal * Almost all literary prize winners, including Pulitzer, Edgar, Booker, Caldecott, Newberry, etc. * Virtually all members of the federal judiciary * Virtually all members of the Congress and all living ex presidents
And on and on.
Simply because without the requisite "education" courses, it was presumed they didn't know how to teach.
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HeyBub wrote:

That had to do with the fact that they would be teaching minors. The laws are strict to protect minors. Colleges are different--they establish their own policies. However they will act in ways to maintain or enhance their accreditation with accreditation bodies. These concerns are not taken lightly.

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says...

Protect them from what, getting a decent education?

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J. Clarke wrote:

I'm just presenting what I know or believe. I wasn't present at the debate and am not even taking sides. I believe some states (including LA?), started allowing professionals to teach a few years ago. I'm not sure how that went. Perhaps someone can confirm.
Bill

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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

I am Not saying that only a professional teacher can teach. I am saying that my department is not willing to take the chance on someone that has never taught a class before. It's just a matter of "prudence". Plenty of things go astray every semester even without taking such risks.

Yes, but the notion of asking an education major to teach computer science is absurd.
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That is not what you said. YOu were making a general statement. The argument is nuts anyway. There is no magic to teaching. ...well, other than having a good grasp of the subject matter (something "professional teachers" *very* often don't have).

You're the one who was saying otherwise.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

"There is no magic to teaching. ...well, other than having a good grasp of the subject matter"
If you took that attitude into the classroom you'd disappoint everyone except yourself (seriously)! You may get away with it in a class of graduate students, but at the other end of the spectrum you'll encounter real issues if you are concerned about student success. If you expess a sentiment like the one above during a teaching interview, you won't be teaching.
Ironically, you don't need a "perfect understanding" of the subject matter to be a good teacher. You might even be a better teacher if you don't have it (and in many cases, concerning ever-changing technology for instance, it's practically impossible to have it).
I hope you have a chance to teach someday, and I hope you get great results! However, before you do so, you'll have to learn something about teaching. The students will not applaud you over your knowledge, no matter how vast--in fact, if it appears too vast, they will tune you out even faster. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can be an effective teacher.
Bill
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