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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Three year graduation

There seems to be a lot of discussion wandering its way across campus about being able to graduate in three years. Word has it that this is a state requirement. I have seen one possible schedule for such a student. It would require a full summer and at least one semester where sthe student takes 30 hours. Before everyone jumps up and down the thirty are split between two 8 week sessions. I think at one time we called those quarters. There are all sorts of issues that present themselves including having both lots of 8 and 15 week classes and the pressure on both students and faculty. I am not going to really argue for or against such a plan, but I do believe there are lots of consequences for the student and that it will take a special student to make it work. My argument is rather, why go through this? If you allow students to take 18 hours a semester for no extra charge then after six semesters that have accumulated 108 hours. With one summer, they have achieved the necessary hours and should be able to graduate.That would really be true if the number of hours required to graduate is lowered to 120. Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

How many students will sign up to do 30 credit hours in one semester, even if it's 15 credits during each of 2 eight-week sessions? How quickly will these courses turn into "seat-time" served rather than objectives obtained or content learned?

Anonymous said...

Once again, we work from the wrong starting point. What does a college degree mean? What is required to receive a college degree in a particular program? THEN we can ask, how long does it take to get there. Instead the current efforts say, 3 years. What can we cut to achieve THAT goal. If the latter is our approach, why don't we just give the student a price and grant them a degree if they can write the appropriate number on the check. Better yet, offer a degree depending on what they are willing to pay. Name that degree... " I can achieve that degree in xxx hours".

Anonymous said...

It has to be about the meaning of college education, whether students complete it in 3, 4, 5 or even 7 years, but the problem is that the K-12 system is failing them (not as much as those deluding themselves with home schooling though...)

If the K12 programs could offer the depth of education European students receive (SEVERAL years of math, geography, history, literature), universities would be able to graduate students in 3 years (without the summers) and provide more meaningful major courses with fewer (but more advanced) GE courses.

The way universities are set up in the US is to slow students down so that they get more into student loan debt. This is good business for capitalism (banks, lenders, and their rich/loyal friends in university administration) where the rich still benefit. Besides, intellectuals pose a danger to a both capitalist and communist systems because well-educated (no, not the brainwashed) people are less likely to believe and put up with party lies and propaganda -- they indeed pose a threat to demagogues and their one- and two-party systems.

So, you can be the horse in Orwell's "Animal Farm," and may still be taken to the glue factory because after three years of toiling, you either go to the glue factory or get more of the same BS (but more debt) for a MS. Soon rich kids form abroad (this means big bucks coming in, not grants going out) will flood American universities to the point that some Americans will still be Orwell's horse headed for the glue factory, literally or metaphorically.

Anonymous said...

I have not heard anything about this - is there any more info? I think it's possible now for students to graduate in 3 years, if they attend summer sessions in each of the 3 years. Particularly, what is meant by having 16 week semesters and 8 week quarters running concurrently? How could UT possibly staff or manage such a system? Does anyone know of any other university that has adopted such a schedule.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of the specifics either, but I think the idea is this: 16 week "traditional" classroom semesters combined with 8 week online "virtual" sessions. I would also speculate that the majority of the virtual classes would be classes that satisfy the general ed requirements, which the powers that be presume can be taught in enormous virtual classrooms - a way not only to reduce staffing costs but also a way to get STEM majors thru the general ed classes faster. The plan would also encode an even more rigid faculty hierarchy, where you will have Profs teaching STEM classes - who are also required to do research - pitted against the grunt Profs teaching virtual classes with hundreds of students - who are judged principally on teaching evals. It would also probably be the death kneel of a number of graduate programs - solidifying the previously mentioned goal of relocating a number of programs to BGU (UT the STEM mecca; BGU the humanities ghetto).

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