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Education The Internet

High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-my-own dept.
lpress writes UCLA conducts an annual survey of first-time, full-time college freshman and this year they included questions about the use of online education sites like Coursera and The Khan Academy. It turns out that over 40 percent of the incoming freshmen were frequently or occasionally assigned to use an online instructional website during the past year and nearly 70 percent had used online sites on their own. Students enrolling in historically black colleges were much more likely than others to have used online teaching material. They also compile a "habits of mind" index, and conclude that "Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning." The survey covers many other characteristics of incoming freshmen — you can download the full report here
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High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online

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  • Of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Of course hose who push them selves are more likely to succeed. What kind of idiot do you have to be to not know that?

    It used to be that those who went to college were the ones. Then masters and phd's. Now you need a 4 year degree to work at best buy. Soon you will need a college degree to pick blue berries.

    The question is how high can we raise the bar before it collapses? Already we have to import illegals to do jobs that teenagers should be doing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It used to be that those who went to college were the ones. Then masters and phd's. Now you need a 4 year degree to work at best buy. Soon you will need a college degree to pick blue berries.

      Mainly because of the 'Everybody's gotta go to college!' nonsense. This is perpetuated by ignorant and greedy employers, people who have no idea what education is and think it's all about getting jobs, and the government for letting people who shouldn't be in college or university get loans and grants. If you're entering college/university with a 'I want to get a job!' mentality, you need to rethink your plans and go to a trade school or something, as you're just helping turn colleges into poor imitations o

      • and trade schools are roped into the college system as well.

        Now I think that tech / trades schools can be better off by not being tied down to the old college degree system. At least they have way less filler and fluff classes that other schools have.

      • Why wouldn't colleges seek to accommodate people who just want half-assed job training? It means they get more money.

        Elite colleges are similar to luxury brands in the sense that part of their perceived value is derived from their selectivity and exclusivity. If everyone can get a Harvard or Yale certificate online then the perceived value of a degree from those institutions is reduced. Selectivity and exclusivity allow prices to remain higher, offsetting the gains to be had from more graduates at lower prices per certificate or degree awarded.

        • Right. It's about brand protection. Like Beanie Babies or something. If everybody can get any one they want, the value of rares will plummet.

    • by solus1232 (958622)

      I do agree that many of these requirements are ridiculous and artificial.

      However, I wonder if "educational inflation" is really detrimental in the long term. The main problem seems to be the increased cost of education (caused by higher demand) rather than the side effect of creating a more educated population. I wonder if these can actually be treated as separate issues, and effort can be focused on the former.

    • will fail when jail / prison is better then paying back loans at the mc job wage and it comes with free room, board and doctors.

  • by mveloso (325617) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @04:56PM (#47496197)

    Just want to point out that iTunes U has amazing and free content available to anyone with iTunes. It's unbelievable how easy it is to learn almost anything you want. If you're not taking advantage of it you must be suffering from (in the words of an old colleague) recto-cranial inversion.

  • I'm genuinely jealous of younger students who have access to these resources. Of course not everyone is going to take advantage of them, but the options for independent learning were severely limited before these movements.

    What do people think about the potential for these movements to address the growing costs of quality higher education? Of course Coursera and The Khan Academy are not good enough to be replacements for existing systems (yet), but what is missing and how can we close the gap?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Concerning high school level - the options were quite available to anyone, but they were actually discouraged for whatever reason (e.g. "Little Johnny should remain with his peers.") Since I was in the "sweet spot" between the harder courses years ago, and the Internet age where you could learn stuff in bulk, the result was me being forced to learn material I already mastered.

      Beyond or outside high school - difficult as you generally needed to know specifically what to learn. You could get by, but it's e

    • The cost of course delivery is not the reason for higher ed price inflation. The only way these resources could fix the problem is if they cause people to route around the higher ed system. That said, there is very interesting thinking partially along these lines at places like the http://saxifrageschool.org/ [saxifrageschool.org]

  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @05:32PM (#47496351) Homepage Journal
    Any student that is disciplined, self motivated, and has learned how to learn, will be more able to learn in a an independent fashion that students who do not have these skills. In a traditional education one went to school where one listened to a professor lecture or read books on the subject. The actual pedagogy, after the teen age years, was minimal, and often involved simple discipline, not teaching of the skills one needed to learn more independently in later life. As long as we could live with the vast majority population engaged in semi-skilled labor, this was fine. However, now we really have more a need for skilled labor. This requires more people to have than a high school education. So we need an advanced pedagogy to help people reach the potential where they can learn more.

    All these computer classes are great for the natural learner, the 20% or so of students who have that ability. But these are the same students who have been graduating high school for year, who can go to the public library and learn everything that they would if they got an MBA(one of good friends did this), who, like reported in the NYT today, did not complete school but invented Scotch Tape.

    While we need to make sure not to apply negative pressure to these kids, which means to let them take the online courses, give them independent study, allow to explore, we also cannot use this an excuse to stop the more expensive education of the kids who really need to be taught. The correlation between online courses and independent skills(Or as it says, habits of the mind) in no way indicates that online courses teach independent skills. Sure, you could put a kid a computer and give him an F if she does not complete statistics, but is that teaching? Some would say yes. I would say we are accepting that most of kids will be semi-skilled laborers without the jobs to insure a high rate of employment, which means more welfare checks.

    • Any student that is disciplined, self motivated, and has learned how to learn, will be more able to learn in a an independent fashion that students who do not have these skills. In a traditional education one went to school where one listened to a professor lecture or read books on the subject. The actual pedagogy, after the teen age years, was minimal, and often involved simple discipline, not teaching of the skills one needed to learn more independently in later life.

      This reminds me of something I rea

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > . Students enrolling in historically black colleges were much more likely than others to have used online teaching materia

    What? Didn't you get the message? It is "black culture" that holds black kids back. There is no way that black kids would circumvent crappy schools and search out other ways to get an education. Not possible, their culture forbids it!!!!!

    • They'd have to circumvent their communities, just like the rest of us. My community valued sports and other shit like that, which I thankfully got around. Everybody's situation is different.

  • The blog about the second link (2013 in particular http://www.heri.ucla.edu/brief... [ucla.edu]) doesn't really add much value.

    The UCLA report, however, is pretty interesting. Many of the application strategies described were the same my daughter (entering college in September) and wife and I adapted. We told her that the mortgage crisis of 2008 was triggered by a bunch of adults who were told at 17-18 that signing student debt notes for university was rational and wise, and that it so confused people that it's no

  • Stale stereotype.

  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @07:59PM (#47497033)

    Kahn Academy was a God-send for me. I didn't even have a high-school level of maths before I managed to find my way into an Engineering degree. I learned all of High-school maths and a lot of university level maths in the space of a few months thanks almost totally to the excellent instruction available through Kahn Academy.

    Many universities make researchers/professors teach. Some of them do an excellent job because they give a damn, or are passionate about sharing (as opposed to selfish and arrogant which many scientists are). Many of these lecturers are in academia because that's what they personally are good at - and so they don't understand how to teach people who aren't as naturally suited to the subject they are teaching as they were. They don't know what *normal* people find difficult or else they assume they know but completely miss the mark.

    Nearly every single mathematical person I have met utterly fails at communication, as I have only found two: a really gifted guy who breezed through university maths and is currently working on his PhD and Salman Kahn of Kahn Academy [khanacademy.org] who is the best communicator of mathematical concepts I have ever found - hands down. He seems to know what normal people find hard and even pre-emptively answers your questions right as they pop into your head.

    This only reinforces how outdated the model of university education is and how poor value the university education itself generally is. Normal people can find higher quality resources online and consume them quickly and efficiently and apply them the next day. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars and 2+ years getting a fairly poor imitation of a "T-shaped" education I think the real solution is to set up strong learning resources (online and meatspace workshops) and allow people to cheaply sit certification tests (and portfolio checks) on university-level subjects. People can build their core education as narrow and tight as needed and expand the "arms" of their education out as far as needed in a dynamic fashion which suits this ever-changing world. Hey, if a person completes a whole degree in this fashion they can sell good-ole' degree certificates too!

    • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @08:25PM (#47497209)

      http://articles.chicagotribune... [chicagotribune.com]

      Could millions of college dropouts get a second chance through a GED-style equivalent of a college diploma? In today's age of blue-collar blues and online education, the idea of college-equivalency exams doesn't sound so outlandish anymore.

      These are the new realities: The high school diploma is not the gateway to the middle class that it used to be. Amid new corporate efficiencies and the migration of high-paying, low-skilled jobs overseas since the 1950s, growing numbers of college graduates are occupying jobs like postal worker or restaurant manager that used to be filled by high school grads.

      The results are new pressures on blue-collar families and the sort of class tensions voiced by presidential candidate Rick Santorum with his recent verbal jab ("What a snob!") at President Barack Obama's push for more college attendance. In fact, Obama, like Santorum, also has been a major cheerleader for community colleges and trade schools. He did not say college was something everyone should do; rather, he said it is "an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."

      Yet, give Santorum his due. He touched on a reality that deserves more public discussion: College isn't for everyone. Some very bright students thrive better while learning a hands-on trade, for example, than they do in a classroom. Others simply can't afford the time or tuition of college because of their personal circumstances.

      As a result, the percentage of college graduates who come from households in the bottom fourth of income earners — as I did — has declined to only 7.2 percent from 12 percent in 1970, according to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, who also is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

      Santorum's remarks while campaigning in Michigan moved me to call Vedder, whom I have known since he tried to put some economics knowledge into my noggin when I was one of his students many years ago.

      Author of the 2004 book "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much," Vedder sees a disconnect between the cost of college and the needs of the job market. He has found as many as one out of three college graduates today to be in jobs that historically were filled by people with less education.

      "These are jobs that do not require higher-level learning skills, critical thinking skills, or writing skills or anything of that nature," he said in a telephone interview.

      At the same time, we see cheaper alternatives to college like online education growing to the point where we see Internet Age stories like online student Kayla Heard. The Union, Wash., 16-year-old graduated last year from Washington State University with a 3.7 grade-point average in social sciences without ever stepping on campus, except to pick up her diploma.

      Let's go a step further, says Vedder.

      "As college costs rise," he said, "people are asking: Aren't there cheaper ways of certifying competence and skills to employers?"

      People typically believe there are no good substitutes for college. But if prospective employees can certify to potential employers that they are as bright, knowledgeable, good at communicating and eager to learn as a better-than-average college graduate, they can present themselves as a bargain — willing to accept wages that are higher than normal high-school-graduate standards but low compared to most college-graduate salaries.

      Vedder is encouraged by recent agreements between the Education Testing Service, which operates the famed SAT test for the College Board, and the Council for Aid to Education to provide competency test materials to students online through StraighterLine, an online education firm. The challenge is to persuade college-accreditation organizations and the business community that colleg

      • These are the new realities: The high school diploma is not the gateway to the middle class that it used to be.

        No piece of paper should be a gateway to any class to begin with.

      • Sadly, it can't happen, because the whole 'college' bit is also a bit of a racket. (it's much more than that obviously, I am not cutting it short) Where I work if you don't have a degree from Purdue you just can't be taken seriously (why I would take seriously anybody with a degree from Purdue who fucking stays in Indiana after graduating is beyond me, of course).

        It's gonna take a long time for the people with the ol' college ties to give it up.

  • Trust, but verify (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomhath (637240) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @08:01PM (#47497061)
    Did they bother to check if any of the students had really taken a course? Most likely the students were just picking the check box that made them look good. I would bet that the actual % who took a course is far lower.
  • This is just the modern example of a student who engages in independent study. Did they account for students who prefer to grab a textbook, and work through the problems?

  • "Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning."

    While the above statement from the summary doesn't directly suggest causation, do to the intricacies of the English language, it implies that taking online classes contribute to academic success and lifelong learning. However, I would assert that, if you're going to imply causation, it may be accurate to suggest those who have bee

  • "'Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning.'"

    In other words, students who are more motivated to learn generally do better in academic settings and generally learn more. Glad we had a study to prove what we already know.

    Next up. Study proves that practicing a sport can affect one's ability to perform in said sport.

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