Computers have successfully replaced college professors

by moshe 22 Replies latest social current

  • moshe

    -While faculty worry about the quality of online courses, the truth is that our education system, primarily designed to test rote memorization, is built to scale and be independent of teacher interaction. A review of research by the Department of Education in 2009 found that "students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction."

    Other occupations have had to deal with " technical progress" that allowed companies to automate and outsource and downsize jobs in the quest for more profits, so it should come as no surprise to the economics professor when he is replaced by a $200 online class .

  • garyneal

    I attended a community college from 1993 to 1995 and received my Associate's. Then I went to a university and since my university degree was different enough from my college degree (Electrical Engineering in Uni, Computer Info Systems and IT in college) I had to essentially start over. So, I attended university from 1995 to 2001.

    The interesting part of the whole experience is that I drove to the community college to attend courses at the university even though the university is over 200 miles away. We were part of a project for taking university courses, getting university credits, and a university degree through satellite. We'd go to a small room with a handful of other students and watch the professor give his lecture from a remote classroom on campus. This was especially good for the navy since in some cases navy ships would simply drop anchor at some port and the students could attend these courses via satellite right on the ship.

    I also took online courses at the 200, 300, and 400 levels either at this university or at another college. Two of my 200 level courses were taken online from another community college since the community college in my area was not offering them at the time. I just needed the credits to transfer to my university degree program. It was an experience as I had a mix of courses in the classroom at the community college, in the satellite rooms for the university, and online from either the university or other community colleges that were not in my area. I had to take three university lab classes throughout the course of my degree program, two of them were taken at an approved community college in a neighboring city and the third was taken online from the university.

    I agree that college is way too expensive and most people either do not have the time or the inclination to go full time on a college campus. I tried going for a Master's degree back in 2009 at a nearby university and found the whole experience unpallatable. I dropped out after the first course, too expensive to park there, class itself was too expensive, and they even try to charge for things like printing documents on their printers. Perhaps I have been out of college too long but I could not help but to wonder what would be the value in obtaining this degree. The whole college thing needs to change because it has gotten too expensive for what little return you will get on the investment.

    I applaud these technological advances, we need more choices and more ways to obtain our degrees because not everyone can afford to go to the traditional route at a university.

  • Cagefighter


    You should revisit the Star Trek Episode, "Spock's Brain". I think we are heading towards that time of planet. Do you rememeber that episode? It's one of my favorites, mostly because of Bone's outright chauvinism.

  • moshe

    Yes, CF, I do remember that episode.

  • insearchoftruth4

    Any ideas Moshe?

  • Cadellin

    As someone who's both taken online college classes and who currently teaches at a large four-year university, I think it's a stretch to claim that computers will completely replace traditional face-to-face classroom instruction. Online courses run a very wide gamut from little more than a glorified correspondence course to truly top-notch classes with educational quality to rival the best bricks and mortar.

    However, online classes have a much higher attrition rate than traditional classes. It takes a heightened level of motivation to keep going, simply because you don't have the physical presence of classmates and a professor who will hold you to account as she gazes in your eyes. When I did (an admittedly unscientific) survey of my students, I found that a high percentage of them had taken online classes but preferred face to face because it was easier. They told me that when you're on your own, you have to figure everything out yourself. Sure, you can email your teacher a question, but you've got to wait to get a response and then maybe it's not clear and you have to ask again, etc. Conversely, most questions can be explained/handled in person in a fraction of the time.

    As well, in my classes, I spend a lot of time working with students step by step as they brainstorm, draft, revise and so on. We do mini-lessons on the fly as they need them--I respond in real "real time" based on what they're currently doing and need. That said, I think MOOCs and similar venues definitely have their place, especially for higher level college courses and non-traditional students who are typically more focused and motivated. There's no question the education landscape is changing.

  • AGuest
    I think it's a stretch to claim that computers will completely replace traditional face-to-face classroom instruction.

    I agree that they may not "completely" do so, dear Cadellin (peace to you!), but given what's happening at some of the Ivy League institutions (Stanford, NYU, UCLA, and others... who are expanding their online curriculums AND their attendance to include outside students), it certainly is trending toward replacing many... and, perhaps at some point, most.

    I personally love the age of technology... although I'm not on the cutting edge... as it has made my own life much easier; however, as with anything else, there are costs, even considerable. Consider just the lost of jobs/industries as a result, for example just in the printing business: logging, milling, printing, binding, publishing, ink, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, delivery, fuel, tires, parts, clothing, housing, and much, much more. And books, magazines, newspapers, forms, book stores, newstands... libraries. And all that these once employed. Not that cutting back on paper is a BAD thing, but I'm just saying.

    And the computer is one of the foremost things that has led to the high unemployment in this country: many folks have not kept up... and many business have gone extinct. There are 2-3 generations now that are about to be phased completely out of the workforce... because of technology and not keeping up... or working in businesses/industries that are no longer necessary. Anyone remember answering services?? Answering machines? How about printers (for things like letterhead, business cards, etc.). Beta/VHS/DVDs? Anyone remember Hollywood Video? What about film developing? And so on and so on. Heck, with thinks like lasik surgery, another 20-50 years and there go glasses.

    Which is another reason why I chose to do law school: THAT industry ain't goin' NOWHERE - LOLOLOL! Even with all of the DIY forms and such, the lawyers aren't never going to let that industry die. Heck, they've all but run paralegals and document assistants out of town! LOLOL!

    So, the knife cuts both ways... as technology always has. It virtually brought an end to the industrial age... which virtually brought an end to the agricultural age. And as technology advances... it does faster and faster.

    I love it, again, because it has made MY life easier. But I am sure that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling, if not actually suffering... because they weren't able to keep up.


    A slave of Christ,


  • Mum

    Online study is great, but I prefer CD's. The only way I can learn certain things, such as math, is to be able to have everything repeated about a million times (slight exaggeration). Some concepts are more easily remembered than others. Watching the process on screen over and over again is the only way I can grasp some concepts.



  • Chaserious

    given what's happening at some of the Ivy League institutions (Stanford, NYU, UCLA, and others... who are expanding their online curriculums AND their attendance to include outside students)

    This kind of thing is definitely out of the comfort zone for elite schools, yet they're doing it. I think we will never see top-tier schools do a complete paradigm shift, though. These schools emphasize the college experience, not just the classroom experience. Most elite schools will not allow you to attend unless you live in the dorms for your first 1-2 years. But there is definitely change in the works. Harvard Law is even offering its first (free) online course:

    BTW - Stanford, NYU and UCLA, while all excellent schools (and at least in Stanford's case an academic peer of the Ivies), are not Ivy League Institutions.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I am an Ivy League grad. The schools listen are often termed "Ivy League Comps" and students and alumni of these schools are most welcome at Ivy League events and commercial dating sites. MIT and Cal Tech are beyond Ivy League. Duke. There are quite a few. The Ivy League was a bunch of colleges that felt academics should come first and sports second.

    The New York Times had a long article about monetize Coursera. I've taken a few courses. It does not resemble a four year real world college. You do learn things. I also read about online courses in several other articles. The model they are asserting is that online courses can teach rote items. It is the same philosophy as the Khan Academy. Class time should be devoted to actual exercises and student-teacher input.

    I don't like online courses. It is nice to see others suffering through a boring class. None of my "aha" moments during college came from reading text or listening to lectures. The remarkable moments came with teacher/student and student/student interaction. I suspect that certain forms of knowledge are better suited for online courses.

    Today there was an opinion piece that celebrated some schools for offering the bar exam after only two years, rather than three. I know what will happen. It will be the battle of the haves and have nots. Low income students will be forced to take the two year option. Wealthier students will opt for the three year course load. I was bored third year. Nevertheless, compared to a lifetime of practice, I am so grateful for the third year. They could offer more skills based classes in third year. Also, the push to two years will tone down funding for poorer students. The move may be good if it is very limited to a few schools. My law is one that is planning a two year option.

    Please, some of my best classroom memories included times where there was live faculty in real life. One day our criminal law prof. kept stretching his legs so much (maybe he was bored) that the seams ripped on his pants. It was hard to focus on his lecture with his undershorts showing. Our civil procedure prof, a woman with no figure, kept shifting seductive poses. The men were laughing so hard. College and grad school are a bunch of experiences. Dorms are frightful, too. With computer learning how will we ever appreciate our own apartments and homes!

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