"The Great University Con"

vimothy

yurp
but "audit culture" seemed to really arrive with the adoption of the school effectiveness and school improvement movement by blair.
 

vimothy

yurp
which went hand in hand with (and indeed motivated) increased funding for and profesionalisation of education
 

john eden

male pale and stale
but "audit culture" seemed to really arrive with the adoption of the school effectiveness and school improvement movement by blair.
Yep absolutely and I think this is another key component along with the other stuff I mentioned. The “tripadvisor”isation of education. We know this stuff has unintended consequences - like that bit in The Wire when they change the crime stats and incentives for cops.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
which went hand in hand with (and indeed motivated) increased funding for and profesionalisation of education
Not sure what you mean by professionalisation here? (Not having a go - it can mean a lot of things).

It also went hand in hand with some Universities sticking loads of their eggs in the basket of overseas students which has bitten them on the arse in 2020.
 

Leo

Well-known member
meanwhile, google says "screw your college bullshit, all we need are people who can crunch data and do some UX design"

Google Plan To Replace The Need For College Degrees With Six-month Certificates

The tech giant Google has announced they will begin accepting Google Learning Certificates in place of college degrees, offering six-month courses for prospective employees to train for in-demand jobs in a fraction of the time it would take at University. The qualification will see successful students graduate with a Google Career Certificate, which will be viewed by the company as the equivalent of a four-year degree for similar roles.
 

Leo

Well-known member
I learned quite a lot but it was mostly self-taught.
I guess the question is whether you would have actually taught yourself to that extent if you didn't have the college structure. kind of like someone saying "ah, if I hadn't bought my house and paid a mortgage for the past 10 years, I'd have another $300k in the bank"...but would they have actually saved that much, or blown chunks of it on other thing?

I'm hardly a big college booster but it forced me to read things I'd probably never bother with or even know about otherwise, think about certain things I'd never otherwise think about, be in direct contact with thousands of people from around the world who I'd never otherwise have a chance to meet. all of that had a huge positive impact on my development. not to say I wouldn't have developed without it, but it definitely broadened my perspective.
 

beiser

Well-known member
i definitely did learn things in school, and many of my classmates did too. the merit of the harder sciences is almost purely that it’s much harder to pretend that someone is able to build a bridge when they can’t than that they’re making incisive political arguements when they aren’t.

it’s telling though that one of the top stats that gets considered in rankings is “four year graduation rate,” which is more than anything a measure of how clever the school pulls, multiplier by its willingness to help any poor sod through, no matter how little work they do.

personally, I think schools need to add more shame to the process. one of the best courses I ever took, the professor took the first set of essays and flunked all but two people on them. pure theatre but sufficient to demonstrate that weak shit wasn’t going to cut it. the grades were patched over, but that was never the point; anti-grade inflation bonkers are just as off the mark as the pro-grade inflators, they think the grades are the first mover here.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
I do think there's a lot to be said for accountability regarding university courses. I genuinely thought mine was a complete waste of time, I may be able to say I graduated from a course that only accepts 30 applicants but there's no point if the skills I learned from it were "oh did you know the internet is changing the face of journalism" essays written twice a year. The creative writing modules were a waste of time because they were based on peer review rather than criticism and feedback from experts. I don't feel qualified in any way to go out into the real world and increase my career/earning potential and I think that as a measure it's been a complete failure. Learning about eg queer theory may have shaped my personal and political beliefs but for the majority of people I studied with a lot of the theoretical stuff was rote learning for essay submission and abandoned quickly.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
I think "group work" at university as a concept is joke too. You get put into groups of four-to-six and asked to produce something, whether its a presentation or whatever, and then you spend three of the four weeks fighting over scheduling concepts and at the behest of other people's committments, while trying to figure out relative strengths and weaknesses. In the real world, there is a clearly defined leader/manager and consequences for not following up on work. If I learned anything from a group exercise in education it was how to keep my best ideas to myself so some lazy chancer couldn't steal them from me.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
Also in the real world you have clear, definable metrics of success - things which can be as generic as "turn a profit" or specific as "complete X documents by X date" or whatever. This means when you work you can figure out what a goal is and how best to achieve it and in what timeframe. At uni you get asked to submit essays and sit exams and hope for the best without ever seeing a marking scheme so you can tailor your work and strategise your priorities the way you would in an actual job.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
But also thereby enabling me to persist with apparently boring books that revealed themselves to be brilliant, and enabling me to write an incredibly popular rap reviews column for The Wire.
Do you happen to have links to some of these Corpsey? I've only read a few things of your serious institutional writing and it's fun to connect it to your dissensus / real life person.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
None of those are online, they're all in back issues. Probably not worth looking up anyway tbh
 

kumar

Well-known member
i did an art degree which fucked me off in lots of ways but on balance was not a terrible thing to do. certainly get more bang for your buck than any essay writing course. i stopped painting and drawing obsessively as soon as i started which was curious. someone would regularly come and do a talk where they said something vague about "in these times of crisis we need artists more than ever" without qualifying it at all, and that felt extremely suspicious and reactionary, highly off putting in fact.

one good thing i remember a tutor saying when everyone was talking about what a painting we were looking at reminded them of or what it suggested or what theory it illuminated was "lets talk about whats in front of us" and then said something about feeling it in their stomach, which, well he had bad ibs as well, but it was a slight zen koan moment. at the very least i met some very nice downwardly mobile aristocrats who let me be hungover at their spacious pimlico apartments.
 
i stopped painting and drawing obsessively as soon as i started which was curious. someone
had a similar experience in my teens. When someone else took the lead, rather than being guided by imagination, can kill the joy in it, too many others in your head
 

kumar

Well-known member
yeah partly that, partly not knowing what to do with it, how it could be more interesting than idle scribbling in the margin of your spanish textbook
 
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