Comments on: She opened the press release all by herself! http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:10:57 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-717875 Sun, 26 Sep 2010 05:20:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-717875 P.S. Lindsay’s right; I do have labs because I’m in foreign languages and do digital humanities; it almost seems, though, that physical presence in labs and in study groups is better for beginning students than traditional classes. I almost want class to be online and then step up lab and study group activity with lots of physical presence. At present, I’m trying to make class itself be more like a study group/lab, given that this is the situation, but the things is that they also seem to need and want lectures (they wouldn’t if they read the book, but they don’t read the book). These (lectures), then, are what could be online is what I’m thinking.

Has anyone else tried this? I can’t believe I’m acting as though online components will be better, but it is how it seems right now…

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By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-717741 Sun, 26 Sep 2010 01:24:44 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-717741 P.S. Lindsay’s right; I do have labs because I’m in foreign languages and do digital humanities; it almost seems, though, that physical presence in labs and in study groups is better for beginning students than traditional classes. I almost want class to be online and then step up lab and study group activity with lots of physical presence. At present, I’m trying to make class itself be more like a study group/lab, given that this is the situation, but the things is that they also seem to need and want lectures (they wouldn’t if they read the book, but they don’t read the book). These (lectures), then, are what could be online is what I’m thinking.

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By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-717735 Sun, 26 Sep 2010 01:21:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-717735 Very interesting re the open university, I must check on this.

I’m actually thinking of hybridizing my freshman courses, voluntarily. Now they meet 3 days a week + 1 lab hour that I sometimes run as a study group. The regular class meeting Friday is a bust for various reasons, including that the university is saving money by not turning on heat or air conditioning Fridays, so everyone is not just tired from the week but rather uncomfortable physically.

We have a lot of online resources and I think that if the Friday class took place virtually people might actually get more, not less individual attention from me, and might take better advantage of the wonderful online resources we have.

Has anyone else had an experience like this?

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By: Lindsay http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-717178 Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:23:14 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-717178 Besides all the excellent points the other commenters have made, there’s also the problem of how you would teach the more hands-on, procedural stuff. The kind of stuff we have labs for at the actual, physical universities.

I mean, you can teach yourself all about how a given technique works, even to the point of being able to predict how a given compound/DNA sample/protein/whatever will behave in a given procedure based on its mass, charge/mass ratio, polarity or whatever, but that’s not the same as actually being able to *DO* an electrophoresis! There are motor skills to be learned, and a certain comfort level with the various types of equipment to be gained — both things that require you to be there in person.

And even in the humanities, where there aren’t labs to worry about, I still think you’d lose a lot not having a room full of other students to discuss the day’s reading with, or who might think to ask the professor a question you couldn’t verbalize, but whose answer really helps you understand something.

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715922 Wed, 22 Sep 2010 13:38:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715922 I’d like to go back to Tony Grafton’s comment, because it articulates a key element to the development of the private uni in recent decades. It’s easy for us to lampoon how these media “discussions” of education focus on the private, elite schools (because most of us teach at public schools with vastly different salaries, research-teaching proportions, and sabbatical opportunities). But just looking at the Harvards and Princetons here – Tony is exactly right. Elite universities had to keep up with a certain demand and expectation from wealthy parents who had the cash to send their kids to the best schools in the country (for argument’s sake, let’s follow USN&WR here) – the Ivies. Everybody wanted a Lexus SVU, a McMansion with several acres of property, and to send their kids to the “best school” which in turn should offer spa-like amenities to their children. All of this happened in an environment of anti-intellectualism, where universities were seen increasingly as service industries to give middle class and rich kids a stamp of approval so they could move on to their corporate jobs, rather than as places of learning and exploration. Universities were also actively encouraged to model themselves after corporations rather than institutions of higher education. Because isn’t everything better once it’s privatized and corporatized?!? (Thus we now have “customers” instead of students.) And suddenly now that we’re in a recession, it’s the universities that are at fault! Because they’ve lost their sense of mission and instead care about things like staying afloat as they lose more and more of their funding!

(I don’t mean this as a defense of the status quo.)

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By: shaz http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715808 Wed, 22 Sep 2010 09:53:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715808 You know, by this logic, why not eliminate all schooling? Kids are naturally curious; get them a computer and away they go! Knowledge acquisition can be a passive experience from birth onward.

I loves me some internet, but I think (one of) the (many) underlying issues here is a lack of understanding of how learning happens — related, I’d wager, to the increasing emphasis on testing as a measure of knowledge. If teaching to the test=successful education, then class (or virtual) interactions with faculty and other students seem unecessary. It isn’t about creativity, new ways of thinking or combining knowledge, it is about a pre-defined body of information/skills that you can check-off completing, like getting to a new level on a video game.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715724 Wed, 22 Sep 2010 04:43:06 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715724 Well, since as a college professor I do no work, I have my first free minute of the day at 9:30. Hmmm. Where to start? I believe in autodidacts; they are often eccentric, but always interesting. My favorite autodidact’s book is 84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff. And that is some serious self-education. Using old-fashioned books.

As for the Open University, following Historiann’s rule of listing the faculty — they do list the faculty, and have some great people. It’s flexible, not cut rate.

I do think it’s amazing that someone like Gates, who is putting LOTS of money into education, doesn’t get that teaching is a relationship.

Oh, and for the Tennessee guy: everyone knows that the in look in higher ed is RIMLESS glasses :)

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By: undine http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715715 Wed, 22 Sep 2010 04:30:59 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715715 Let me see, now (adjusts wire-rims and tweed vest–sadly, no beard).

Back in 1922, according to Sinclair Lewis (_Babbitt_) the characters were all keen to take correspondence courses, which were much more useful and much cheaper than learning all that “history and junk” at a place-bound university.

Then radio courses. Then TV was the big edu-wave of the future. Then distance learning by video.

Now it’s “free and online,” like the Edupunk movement.

In the meantime, where is that place with the fabulous raises, salaries, and sabbaticals? As best I can tell, it exists only in the feverish imaginations of newspaper columnists.

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By: quixote http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715570 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 22:46:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715570 I’ve been on all sides of this: putting together online classes, teaching them, participating in online groups as part of work, and, waaay back in the day, taking a correspondence course. The other bit of background is that I love computers and like few things better than getting away from people and their problems and living on the web.

And even given all that, when I take an online class, or I’m part of an online group, there is a level of involvement that is just plain missing. You can only get that in the real world. If you know the others in real life, it’s less of a problem, but even then and even for someone like me, there’s a missing element. It’s not just social or networking, either. There’s something missing about how one learns and connects information.

On the teaching side, there’s actually less missing, at least in my experience. But online classes take two to three times as much time because you have to be constantly in touch with the students. Otherwise they lose what little connection they have to the learning. In this group, everybody already knows that all that extra work is unpaid.

After I was initially wildly enthusiastic about online education, I’ve come to see that it can only be successful where it’s given the extra resources it requires. (Australia actually has some of the best longstanding examples at the school level.) The other thing I’ve seen is the motivation. Administrations and others figure this is something teachers can do in their copious free time, and nobody even needs to keep the lights on, which means more money for presidential salaries! What could possibly go wrong?

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By: Kathie http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/21/she-opened-the-press-release-all-by-herself/comment-page-1/#comment-715566 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 22:42:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12536#comment-715566 Then there is the comment from Tennessee’s lt. governor last week:
college professors “step off campus and they’re lost. They like to get up in the morning, comb their beard, put on their wire-rim glasses, throw their little tweed vest on, and go to school for three hours . . . and hate Republicans.”
http://tndp.org/blog/2010/09/13/ramsey%E2%80%99s-boot-takes-aim-at-higher-education/
Don’t hold your breath waiting for support from him!!

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