Education from OWS thread

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:57 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
we've been over this; if the purpose of college education is to 'enrich individuals and therefor society' then that's fabulous, and I encourage it. But not on the tax payers dollar

If universities are indeed enriching for people and society, why shouldn't tax dollars help to make that as widespread as possible?

Because I contend that thy are. Partially as evidenced by the current state of graduates who are unemployed with degrees. I agree with the idea of separating liberal arts from 'professional' degrees. I don't think studying a tangent of topics for four years makes you more qualified than someone who spent 2 years studying a single topic in greater detail.
People seem to be getting bent out of shape at the term basketweaving; does the same crowd recognize that the term 'myopic fuck head', and 'boring' has been applied to STEM and 'professional' degrees? Telling, that people feel college should be a place to study what you find fun. I guess I was just lucky that I enjoyed boring old 'profitable' biology. I can hardly say that with a straight face.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:15 pm UTC

I did the 'boring', very much including myself in there. Despite all the stuff I like personally, it's only fair to admit that most of it is highly boring unless you share rather narrow interests. And the same is true for lots of professional fields. Law, medicine, banking, accounting, teaching. If a little bit of exposure to such fields already makes you dislike them, you're not likely to turn into an enthusiast practioner, nor a good one either.

Exceptions aside (like the late finance peak), society mostly functions because enough people do manage to find such fields intrinsically attractive, or at least acceptable. Not out of greed or stakhanovite self-sacrifice, but because they honestly like enough of their work, get self-respect and social standing from doing it well, and enough money to get by at the standings of their social groups. But for others that same work is still mind-numbingly boring, and more Hermes ties and a Porsche would just plaster over their unhappiness.

Perhaps I am missing something in your sarcasm, but I'd say you are indeed lucky if you enjoy a field that gives you a good shot at an OK job. If you are actually struggling to get by you're less lucky, but then you're really a basket-weaver, right? I'd the goal should be to have enjoyable and beneficial work for everyone, including basket-weavers, not to create the maximum amount of GDP-contributors.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:32 pm UTC

Not having a degree I find this topic fascinating. The amount of information you need to acquire today to get a technical degree may indicate that the degree fields need to split. Is the problem of being overloaded in school a problem of not having a narrow enough focus or a problem of too many general study requirements. The broader your scope the more employable but the more difficult to acquire the knowledge in the first place. Perhaps my confusion lies in what I believe you are taught in technical fields, I had always assumed that you were taught the meaning of the vocabulary of you profession and the technical skill sets, math and so on, so that you could learn to do whatever specific job your employer needed you for. This lets the employer teach you just what he needs to teach you without having to teach the underlying skill sets. By implication that would mean that employment opportunities in STEM fields are a function of having a very broad focus instead of the narrower focus of say a degree in Romantic Literature.

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Re: Occupy Wall Street - Spreading. Check your town.

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:45 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:That's crap. Being an effective 'people person' requires a different personality then the one required to be a good engineer.
That's untrue. I work with 200 engineers, and the majority of them would be considered "people persons". This is a myth propagated by the fact that engineers who are socially inept get a societal pass on their failings due to their profession.
stevey_frac wrote:Go look at the breakdown of personality type by profession, and you will find that engineers are overwhelmingly in a pretty narrow band, and HR reps are something completely different.
Just because ASD folks and socially awkward people prefer engineering does not poor social skills are "required to be a good engineer."
stevey_frac wrote:You can't send me to a couple of courses and give me a profound understanding of human nature that allows me to interact with people better. When I come out the other side, I'm still going to be borderline autistic.
There's this thing called education. You learn things there. I'm sorry if your education failed you spectacularly, but the fact is that it is possible to teach interpersonal communication skills, and to teach folks to look beyond their narrow-minded interpretation of the world and embrace a broader worldview. This is what should happen in those "useless" humanities classes. If you can't see it, it's because either (A) your class sucked, or (B) your class fundamentally changed your worldview without your knowledge.
stevey_frac wrote:But, because I was taking those courses, I wasn't learning as much from the data structures course I was taking at the same time, and as a result, I am a worse engineer for it.
No, you're an engineer. You learned how to look at things the way an engineer does around your 5th semester. If you need to know stuff that's in a data structures book, you can look it up. The fact remains that your perspective is the perspective of an engineer, and not only that, but one of an engineer with historical perspective to back it up, and that is what can't be learned in a book.

Frankly the idea that humanities courses exist to "enrich society" and do nothing for the individual is an assumption, supported only by personal anecdotes. Well, my anecdote says y'all's anecdotes are wrong. :)

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Perhaps I am missing something in your sarcasm, but I'd say you are indeed lucky if you enjoy a field that gives you a good shot at an OK job.

I was being sarcastic; I consider myself lucky to have a natural interest in something that has managed to keep me gainfully employed. For various levels of the word 'gainfully', of course.
Zamfir wrote:If you are actually struggling to get by you're less lucky, but then you're really a basket-weaver, right?

No, again, the term 'basketweaver' is for non-professional track degrees, esoteric fields of study that serve as personal enrichment, not professional enrichment. Were I unemployed with a degree in Business Management, I wouldn't say I had a degree in basketweaving, I'd say I was unlucky and man, the economy sucks.
Zamfir wrote:But for others that same work is still mind-numbingly boring, and more Hermes ties and a Porsche would just plaster over their unhappiness.

Yes, and? I wager the opposite is also true; for every starving artist struggling to sell their work, as happy as the work makes them, they wish they could afford stuff and things. Thankfully, existence isn't black and white; some people can goto college and pursue a degree in Economics, to better qualify them for a position at some financial giant where they will do strange and mysterious voodoo to markets and gain oodles of cash in the process. Maybe they hate doing strange and mysterious voodoo to markets, so they treat it as their job; thankfully for them, they took a few classes on Photography in college, and now, in their spare time, take pictures.
As I see it, that's the point of college; it's a place to go study something that will get you gainfully employed, and provide the resources to also study a handful of things you find interesting. The name of the game isn't/shouldn't be reversing that priority; college should not be a four year babysitting program wherein people study everything and anything they find intriguing, then come out expecting a job, any job, all at the tax payer expense.

@Heisenberg: The notion that humanities courses taken by individuals enriches society is an assumption in and of itself.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby ShootTheChicken » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:49 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:As I see it, that's the point of college; it's a place to go study something that will get you gainfully employed, and provide the resources to also study a handful of things you find interesting. The name of the game isn't/shouldn't be reversing that priority; college should not be a four year babysitting program wherein people study everything and anything they find intriguing, then come out expecting a job, any job, all at the tax payer expense.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_Dichotomy
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Not having a degree I find this topic fascinating. The amount of information you need to acquire today to get a technical degree may indicate that the degree fields need to split. Is the problem of being overloaded in school a problem of not having a narrow enough focus or a problem of too many general study requirements. The broader your scope the more employable but the more difficult to acquire the knowledge in the first place. Perhaps my confusion lies in what I believe you are taught in technical fields, I had always assumed that you were taught the meaning of the vocabulary of you profession and the technical skill sets, math and so on, so that you could learn to do whatever specific job your employer needed you for. This lets the employer teach you just what he needs to teach you without having to teach the underlying skill sets. By implication that would mean that employment opportunities in STEM fields are a function of having a very broad focus instead of the narrower focus of say a degree in Romantic Literature.

As I stated in an earlier post, even removing general ed requirements from a STEM degree wouldn't really save more than a year- and even then, program directors would very quickly add another year of material to the program. You need to learn far, far more than vocabulary and the basic math and physics to get through a technical degree. You need to learn the most fundamental basics of your field (using my experience, this is would be stuff such as resistivity, capacitance, voltage, current, etc.). Then they use that to teach the basics of the advanced fundamental basics (simpler transistor types such as BJTs, Op-Amps, basic signal properties...). Then they need to teach some other background stuff needed to understand any of the prior (and future) subjects in detail (electromagnetism, advanced probability). All the while, you'll also be learning advanced math (Laplace transforms, three dimensional calculus) that are needed to understand those subjects. And then there are split "branches" of the subject- computers will require you to learn binary logic, basic programming, and computer architecture, among other things. After that, they will start some of the actual advanced stuff (and in my experience- this is where you're first allowed to do any branching out)- signal processing, neural networks, and so on. They also need to give you various design projects to make sure you can actually *use* that knowledge for something- understanding computer architecture isn't so helpful if you can't apply it to designing something.

From talking to various mechanical engineers, computer scientists, chemists and civil engineers, this was true for the engineering disciplines. I assume it'd carry through to other STEM subjects such as Physics and Math, but I can't say for certain.

For a lot of things, you'll still need on the job training to be useful, but you wouldn't be able to understand much of it without the prior years of background knowledge.

Edit: I just want to say I think I agree with everything Heisenberg just said- nothing about being an engineer makes, and definitely doesn't require, social awkwardness as part of the person.
Last edited by Ghostbear on Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:54 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:53 pm UTC

ShootTheChicken wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:As I see it, that's the point of college; it's a place to go study something that will get you gainfully employed, and provide the resources to also study a handful of things you find interesting. The name of the game isn't/shouldn't be reversing that priority; college should not be a four year babysitting program wherein people study everything and anything they find intriguing, then come out expecting a job, any job, all at the tax payer expense.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_Dichotomy

A riveting point you make. Perhaps you could enrich it, with, you know, content? The arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Decker » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:54 pm UTC

How about "College is what you make of it."
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby charolastra » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

WATCH OUT, ANECDOTE ON THE WAY: I majored in not one, not two, but 3 completely unmarketable fields (double major in international environmental policy and political science, minor in Latin American studies that was two classes away from being a major) with one marketable minor, environmental science. The goal was to go into a niche field of law - then the law market bombed out and that stopped being a good investment, so I changed strategies. Then I got cancer so I have 5 more years before I can pursue the foreign service or Peace Corps due to medical ineligibility.

My university has few true marketable majors at the undergrad level. It's the typical small, New England liberal arts school in that respect. I was hired back to that university to work in administration BECAUSE of the skills I learned in my "basketweaving" courses - strong writing skills, ability to vocally support my opinions, work ethic, yadda yadda. As an alumni relations staff member, I get the chance to see the educational backgrounds of some of our most successful alumni. The vast majority majored in incredibly esoteric subjects such as American studies and anthropology. Now, the world as a 2010 (or 2012) graduate is very different from graduating in 1990. I'm aware. I also know that going to a reputable school opens doors to my social science background that would not be available to me if I went to a less known school.

Frankly, most of the career paths I have interest in have no direct equivalent to a major. Some large state schools offer nonprofit management or higher ed administration for undergrads, but there is some argument against that in hiring practices for both areas. Focusing on interdisciplinary studies to develop writing and communication skills IS the most marketable approach for these fields. You make yourself otherwise stand out through internships or on campus work study.

The president of my university (a lawyer by training) often states that he resists changes to the ACADEMIC system to meet the needs of the EMPLOYMENT sector because the world is changing so rapidly that job training will always be a game of catchup. Instead, he is focusing on expanding the traditional educational scope while putting further emphasis on internships (particularly internships abroad to develop language skills), networking, and skills-based workshops. I concur with this line of thinking.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

Charolastra wrote:My university has few true marketable majors at the undergrad level. It's the typical small, New England liberal arts school in that respect. I was hired back to that university to work in administration BECAUSE of the skills I learned in my "basketweaving" courses - strong writing skills, ability to vocally support my opinions, work ethic, yadda yadda. As an alumni relations staff member, I get the chance to see the educational backgrounds of some of our most successful alumni. The vast majority majored in incredibly esoteric subjects such as American studies and anthropology. Now, the world as a 2010 (or 2012) graduate is very different from graduating in 1990. I'm aware. I also know that going to a reputable school opens doors to my social science background that would not be available to me if I went to a less known school.

Shoot me if I am on the wrong track here: how tied to elite background was your school? In my (presumably highly skewed) experience with Americans from small liberal arts colleges, they ooze a rich and well-connected background. So in my mind, I tend to connect such schools to the old upper class tradition of sending your kids to esotheric fields, because that underlines how they aren't relying on easily identifiable skills that can be learned from classes and books alone. But at this distance, I might be aiming my socialist suspicions at the wrong targets.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby charolastra » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:33 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Charolastra wrote:My university has few true marketable majors at the undergrad level. It's the typical small, New England liberal arts school in that respect. I was hired back to that university to work in administration BECAUSE of the skills I learned in my "basketweaving" courses - strong writing skills, ability to vocally support my opinions, work ethic, yadda yadda. As an alumni relations staff member, I get the chance to see the educational backgrounds of some of our most successful alumni. The vast majority majored in incredibly esoteric subjects such as American studies and anthropology. Now, the world as a 2010 (or 2012) graduate is very different from graduating in 1990. I'm aware. I also know that going to a reputable school opens doors to my social science background that would not be available to me if I went to a less known school.

Shoot me if I am on the wrong track here: how tied to elite background was your school? In my (presumably highly skewed) experience with Americans from small liberal arts colleges, they ooze a rich and well-connected background. So in my mind, I tend to connect such schools to the old upper class tradition of sending your kids to esotheric fields, because that underlines how they aren't relying on easily identifiable skills that can be learned from classes and books alone. But at this distance, I might be aiming my socialist suspicions at the wrong targets.


I can only speak to my two smaller programs (10 majors or minors in Latin American studies and 25 in environmental science my year - so I knew them all quite well) but most of us were scholarship stories. I go to a Jewish affiliated university that is relatively new by US standards (around 60 years old)- the majority of our support still comes from friends of the university rather than rich alumni.

There certainly are people at my university from rich, well-connected backgrounds but I wouldn't say that it's the majority. That's one of the stereotypes I most disdain.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Exceptions aside (like the late finance peak), society mostly functions because enough people do manage to find such fields intrinsically attractive, or at least acceptable. Not out of greed or stakhanovite self-sacrifice, but because they honestly like enough of their work, get self-respect and social standing from doing it well, and enough money to get by at the standings of their social groups. But for others that same work is still mind-numbingly boring, and more Hermes ties and a Porsche would just plaster over their unhappiness.
I disagree. Society has got to where it is today, mostly because people have done work they dislike. Farming, mining, factory labor, construction, soldiers etc. It's only in the past 50 years or so that the idea of working a job you enjoy has really become prominent, and even then I don't really believe I think its the situation for most people in the world today. Work is work. It's not supposed to be enjoyable or a self-respect and social standing booster.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:06 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I was being sarcastic; I consider myself lucky to have a natural interest in something that has managed to keep me gainfully employed. For various levels of the word 'gainfully', of course.

Sorry, whoever your talking about isn't me.

Ghostbear I understand what an Electrical needs. What I suggested is that possibly the field has become to broad and needs to narrow its focus, or possibly create electrical engineers and then go past that in a Post Baccalaureate degree where you specialize. Are the programs reaching the point that there is too much to be taught in the time available? Look how much has been added to the lore since say 1950.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Tiberius » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:I disagree. Society has got to where it is today, mostly because people have done work they dislike. Farming, mining, factory labor, construction, soldiers etc. It's only in the past 50 years or so that the idea of working a job you enjoy has really become prominent, and even then I don't really believe I think its the situation for most people in the world today. Work is work. It's not supposed to be enjoyable or a self-respect and social standing booster.


Well that's all not really unique to the US or even developed nations. I'm sure there are many farmers in Sierra Leone who hate farming but they do it anyway and it is still ponderously destitute. What makes the difference is people who loved their high tech jobs that made those poor schmucks more effective. Thomas Edison extended the work day by hours. Eli Whitney made cotton farming (and the slave trade but we won't go into that) feasible. Without people that loved their jobs and found ways to make people more efficient those guys complaining (or not complaining) about their shitty jobs would be complaining about subsistence farming instead of what they are complaining about now.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Exceptions aside (like the late finance peak), society mostly functions because enough people do manage to find such fields intrinsically attractive, or at least acceptable. Not out of greed or stakhanovite self-sacrifice, but because they honestly like enough of their work, get self-respect and social standing from doing it well, and enough money to get by at the standings of their social groups. But for others that same work is still mind-numbingly boring, and more Hermes ties and a Porsche would just plaster over their unhappiness.
I disagree. Society has got to where it is today, mostly because people have done work they dislike. Farming, mining, factory labor, construction, soldiers etc. It's only in the past 50 years or so that the idea of working a job you enjoy has really become prominent, and even then I don't really believe I think its the situation for most people in the world today. Work is work. It's not supposed to be enjoyable or a self-respect and social standing booster.

That's not how society works right now though- and in the past, as Tiberius notes, it was the people who were lucky (and wealthy) enough to find "jobs" that they enjoyed who got to advance everyone else's lot in life, intentionally or not. Society advancing to it's current point is not a product of people having slogged through farming and soldiering and mining that they hated, for thousands of years- certainly, those things were necessary to maintaining society at all, but none of them caused society to advance to where it is now. Modern society does function, at least partly, as Zamfir said, enough people find work that they enjoy or find acceptable enough.

morriswalters wrote:Ghostbear I understand what an Electrical needs. What I suggested is that possibly the field has become too broad and needs to narrow its focus, or possibly create electrical engineers and then go past that in a Post Baccalaureate degree where you specialize. Are the programs reaching the point that there is too much to be taught in the time available? Look how much has been added to the lore since say 1950.

I was going over the requirements because you said that you didn't understand what was needed for such a degree*. I don't really think there is a (viable) way to narrow the focus of such a degree. And it many cases, you do need to go beyond a Bachelor's degree to know everything you need to know anyway.

* Unless I read this wrong? Feel free to tell me if I did.
morriswalters wrote:Perhaps my confusion lies in what I believe you are taught in technical fields, I had always assumed that you were taught the meaning of the vocabulary of you profession and the technical skill sets, math and so on, so that you could learn to do whatever specific job your employer needed you for.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:That's not how society works right now though- and in the past, as Tiberius notes, it was the people who were lucky (and wealthy) enough to find "jobs" that they enjoyed who got to advance everyone else's lot in life, intentionally or not. Society advancing to it's current point is not a product of people having slogged through farming and soldiering and mining that they hated, for thousands of years- certainly, those things were necessary to maintaining society at all, but none of them caused society to advance to where it is now. Modern society does function, at least partly, as Zamfir said, enough people find work that they enjoy or find acceptable enough.
Are we sure it isn't that way now? At least partially? It almost certainly is, as there are still jobs that need to be done that no one enjoys. The modern version of that could well be engineering, even if some people coincidentally enjoy it.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:That's not how society works right now though- and in the past, as Tiberius notes, it was the people who were lucky (and wealthy) enough to find "jobs" that they enjoyed who got to advance everyone else's lot in life, intentionally or not. Society advancing to it's current point is not a product of people having slogged through farming and soldiering and mining that they hated, for thousands of years- certainly, those things were necessary to maintaining society at all, but none of them caused society to advance to where it is now. Modern society does function, at least partly, as Zamfir said, enough people find work that they enjoy or find acceptable enough.
Are we sure it isn't that way now? At least partially? It almost certainly is, as there are still jobs that need to be done that no one enjoys. The modern version of that could well be engineering, even if some people coincidentally enjoy it.

Partially? Yes, of course. I did not mean to apply absolutes- sorry. The modern version of that is more likely construction workers, fast food workers, and the like; I believe there's a phrase of something to the effect of "In the end, somebody has to be the janitor". Which would seem to fit that idea well.

If you're looking at what allows society to advance and function on a higher level though, it seems to me that it'd be entirely reliant on people who are able to find jobs that they enjoy or find acceptable.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:50 pm UTC

Dark, your examples are hardly professional jobs. Professions with their high-level educational programs tend to develop for fields where job performance is hard to monitor for supervisors or clients, not for jobs that could be chain-ganged if the situation allows it. Modern society has by historic norms a very broad reliance on such professions, and job satisfaction and status from the job are important parts to make that work.

Engineers usually like being an engineer and hate doing their work badly, even when no one would notice. People who don't are very rarely good engineers. They don't have to love their work, far from it. But they have to identify with it to do their job well, which limits how much they can hate it.

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Re: Occupy Wall Street - Spreading. Check your town.

Postby addams » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:58 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Belial was claiming that we need more esoterically educated individuals to diversify and otherwise improve society, and I disagree with that claim.


I said no such thing. If so, I would have been defending philosophy degrees, not gen ed requirements.


Is this thread an argument about education?

Wonderful! May I take a side? What are the sides?

I am grateful for my education. I was forced to take classes outside my department. At the time I was very unhappy about it. I went through regular channels. I wrote to my department and the university administration. I lost. I am glad. They were right. I was wrong.

I HAD to take some classes in the Art and Music departments. They were right. I will never know what it is like to play an instrument well. I will never know the depth of that experience. But; I do know what it is to learn a piece of simple music well enough to play it in public and to keep going after a mistake. It is so hard.

The side that I want to be on says that Music Majors have to take enough Science to have respect for us. We need to take enough Music to have respect for them.

Oh. I know for a fact that all humans are Scientists; And; All humans are Artists.
Not all humans are good Scientists; Not all humans are good Artists.

Yuck. I have seen some crap Art.
What are we calling Science these days?
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Dark, your examples are hardly professional jobs. Professions with their high-level educational programs tend to develop for fields where job performance is hard to monitor for supervisors or clients, not for jobs that could be chain-ganged if the situation allows it. Modern society has by historic norms a very broad reliance on such professions, and job satisfaction and status from the job are important parts to make that work. Engineers usually like being an engineer and hate doing their work badly, even when no one would notice. People who don't are very rarely good engineers.
That's certainly true. But that doesn't mean its still not a problem, just that the only way to fix it is undesirable.

I guess hypothetically, lets look at a different profession: medicine. If there were a large shortage of doctors, but no one wanted to become doctors, are we going to sit here and say that we shouldn't be trying to get more people to be doctors? They might end up not being very good doctors, but its still probably better to have them then not.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:05 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:The modern version of that could well be engineering
Maybe it could be, but it's most definitely not in reality. People don't go into engineering (or get jobs in engineering) simply because they have to find some way to pay the bills.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:07 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I was going over the requirements because you said that you didn't understand what was needed for such a degree*. I don't really think there is a (viable) way to narrow the focus of such a degree. And it many cases, you do need to go beyond a Bachelor's degree to know everything you need to know anyway.

* Unless I read this wrong? Feel free to tell me if I did.

morriswalters wrote:Perhaps my confusion lies in what I believe you are taught in technical fields, I had always assumed that you were taught the meaning of the vocabulary of you profession and the technical skill sets, math and so on, so that you could learn to do whatever specific job your employer needed you for.


My information is years out of date. Quantify it into to three different curricula. The core, what everybody needs, once removed from the core, things every electrical engineer needs, twice removed, advanced knowledge for specialties. This happens naturally, my question is, how much knowledge can you add to a 4 or even 5 year degree at the present rate of growth. As an example how much has been added to the core curricula as compared to 10 years ago and so on. The school I attended required thee semesters of internships in addition to the academics. You graduated with a Masters Degree after 5 years. Is that still done today? And the requisite skill set is larger today than it was 20 years ago, or perhaps I overestimate the the required skill sets.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:The modern version of that could well be engineering
Maybe it could be, but it's most definitely not in reality. People don't go into engineering (or get jobs in engineering) simply because they have to find some way to pay the bills.
Well some people certainly do, there are certainly people that look at varying degrees, and see engineering as the best way to a stable job. It happens. And besides, I am not really talking about being a farmer because that's what I need to survive. I am talking about society needing certain jobs done. Its completely possible that society needs certain jobs done, yet doesn't need to be a job where people only take it to pay the bills.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Cleverbeans » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:03 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.


They should do both, like they do right now.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Obby » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:48 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I was going over the requirements because you said that you didn't understand what was needed for such a degree*. I don't really think there is a (viable) way to narrow the focus of such a degree. And it many cases, you do need to go beyond a Bachelor's degree to know everything you need to know anyway.

* Unless I read this wrong? Feel free to tell me if I did.

morriswalters wrote:Perhaps my confusion lies in what I believe you are taught in technical fields, I had always assumed that you were taught the meaning of the vocabulary of you profession and the technical skill sets, math and so on, so that you could learn to do whatever specific job your employer needed you for.


My information is years out of date. Quantify it into to three different curricula. The core, what everybody needs, once removed from the core, things every electrical engineer needs, twice removed, advanced knowledge for specialties. This happens naturally, my question is, how much knowledge can you add to a 4 or even 5 year degree at the present rate of growth. As an example how much has been added to the core curricula as compared to 10 years ago and so on. The school I attended required thee semesters of internships in addition to the academics. You graduated with a Masters Degree after 5 years. Is that still done today? And the requisite skill set is larger today than it was 20 years ago, or perhaps I overestimate the the required skill sets.

There's honestly not much "growth" in EE at the undergrad level. The general theory behind why the devices work the way they do is largely the same as it was 20 years ago. A transistor today still works the same way it did 20 years ago, but it's made at a fraction of the size and cost nowadays compared to then. Electromagnetism still follows the same principles, but they're applied in different ways. At an undergrad level, an EE student today (me, for example :) ) is still learning the same principles and theories as an EE student 20 years ago. That's what the first ~3 years of this degree is, mostly theory and principle. It's really not until the last bit of your education do you start learning about applications of these complex theories (with some exceptions; students at my school are required to take 4 lab courses related directly to the electronics side of EE, with transistors and op-amps and address writing and all that, but these labs are designed to apply the theories that were learned in basic circuits classes so that material won't change unless we somehow decide to tell physics to fuck off).

For instance, I'm currently taking a class on distribution networks. We're learning all about symmetrical components, line/load/xfmr/generator models, Gauss-Seidell and other iterative methods for power flow analysis, per unit evaluations, etc. These things are largely the same as they were back when you took your courses, but now they're being applied to more modern things like power electronics that regulate the network and can respond to faults on the microsecond level, rather than the large switchgear type systems that were being manufactured 20 years ago that take upwards of a half second to a full second to respond.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:51 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.


They should do both, like they do right now.

Did you miss the whole thing with people feeling cheated because their college education didn't net them what they thought it would? The liberal arts education that has netted society a bunch of degree holders who are unemployable and indebted is the issue, not whether or not learning a wide range of topics is cool.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:13 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.


They should do both, like they do right now.

Did you miss the whole thing with people feeling cheated because their college education didn't net them what they thought it would? The liberal arts education that has netted society a bunch of degree holders who are unemployable and indebted is the issue, not whether or not learning a wide range of topics is cool.


Most people's job history does NOT follow a terribly cohesive narrative having to do with their major. I don't see the hordes of people on this thread who feel cheated because their liberal arts education gave them a degree that made them unemployable and indebted. Rather the opposite, in fact. So, you're going to have to point to further evidence for this huge huge problem besides "everyone knows all these kids are getting degrees in [x] which is stupid because they can't get jobs!" Sure, it happens - people pick fields which don't square well with their priorities or expected/intended result. But that doesn't mean those fields are lesser, stupid, or inherently confer degrees which are "unemployable."
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby addams » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:17 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.


They should do both, like they do right now.

Did you miss the whole thing with people feeling cheated because their college education didn't net them what they thought it would? The liberal arts education that has netted society a bunch of degree holders who are unemployable and indebted is the issue, not whether or not learning a wide range of topics is cool.


O.K. We have looped all the way around to where this started. We need educated people. The people of the United States are camping out inside cities. These people have been pushed to desperate measures.

Do the people 'on the ground' have the education to move their nation forward?
Has the idea that education will make the student more money trumped the idea that the education is valuable to not only the individual, but also, to the society?

It is the 1984 questions all over again.
Yes. Men and women do need to be able to contribute.
Liberal Arts Majors are kind of a pain. I have met some that could use a once through with the Scientific Method.

The United States had a document that put forward the idea that the government was for and by the people. That document is no longer used as the guiding principles of the United States.

I read the Patriot Act. Did any one else read that ugly thing?

I know that it seems weird. The ideals that were washed away by the Patriot Act are important to the well being of the nation. The people see the symptoms and do not understand the cause. Law enforcement no longer serves the people.

The government has turned over large portions of its responsibilities to private companies that then bill the government and skim off profits.

These are frightening things. The parks. Many parks are now run not by public employees but by private companies. They are making a profit. The companies bill the government.

The prisons are an other real life example. The companies make a profit from helpless humans. The people in prisons are in cages. They eat what they are given and they are wise to not complain. The companies bill the government.

The people want to work and live good happy lives. The people that are staying out of trouble are working so hard. The fear of scarcity is palpable.

Why does one person work 12 hour days when there are people that are qualified to do the work and are unemployed? Why?

4-6 hour days would be enough. There is enough money to pay good people a reasonable salary. The top 2% are really doing nothing. The bottom 2% are working hard and going under.

Education and stargazing are luxuries. Such sweet luxuries. We can afford education, stargazing, good humane prisons, Mental Health systems, Public Health systems. It is true! We can have all of those things.

It was the educated that looked back into human history and thoughtfully brought forward the ideas that were our guiding principles. Now; What are the guiding principles? Make a profit; Bill the government?

Jobs? Yes. And a better understanding of who works for who.

The United States constitution was not perfect. But; It was pretty good. Canada's constitution may be better. It is younger.

Can the people read and understand these two documents? I am making a guess that most can not. That is where we have a problem, Huston.

People know that something is wrong. The people see the symptoms. The people have no idea what has gone so terribly wrong.

Education helps. It does not make me powerful enough to change a darned thing. But; It allowed me to read these two powerful documents and understand them.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:23 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Arguments being thrown around are either 'college enriches students which society benefits by, so let them study whatever they want' or 'college should train you for a profession'. Propose a middle ground.


They should do both, like they do right now.

Did you miss the whole thing with people feeling cheated because their college education didn't net them what they thought it would? The liberal arts education that has netted society a bunch of degree holders who are unemployable and indebted is the issue, not whether or not learning a wide range of topics is cool.


Most people's job history does NOT follow a terribly cohesive narrative having to do with their major. I don't see the hordes of people on this thread who feel cheated because their liberal arts education gave them a degree that made them unemployable and indebted. Rather the opposite, in fact. So, you're going to have to point to further evidence for this huge huge problem besides "everyone knows all these kids are getting degrees in [x] which is stupid because they can't get jobs!" Sure, it happens - people pick fields which don't square well with their priorities or expected/intended result. But that doesn't mean those fields are lesser, stupid, or inherently confer degrees which are "unemployable."

The Occupy movement itself brags about being mostly college educated; indeed, the stat is something like 76% of them (I think?) are white, college educated, earning less than 25k a year. That's what I was referring to with people feeling cheated because their college education blahblahblah. A couple of people on this thread saying that they managed to stay/be gainfully employed with a liberal arts degree is rather besides the point, just like me pointing out that all my friends who are at the movement have liberal arts degrees and are unemployed does not mean the movement is composed solely of people with non-professional degrees.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jessica » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:55 pm UTC

http://oag.org/the-demographics-of-occupy-wall-street/ thought I'd repost.

Izawwlgood wrote:That's what I was referring to with people feeling cheated because their college education blahblahblah.

Blah blah blah... that's kind of the important part of the education argument of OWS.

They're feeling like having to go 25K in debt just to have minimum requirements for employment is a problem. A problem that wasn't such a problem 20 years ago. The problem isn't that people are choosing silly degrees now, it's that people who go into debt to get ANY degree are worse off now then they ever were. Especially in a climate where getting a job is harder than ever. Having a supposedly desirable degree might help you get a job regularly, but you're

Remember when you asked for information as to how I can say those without debt are better off than those with debt? Here's a link to the information I was looking for then.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:19 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:Blah blah blah... that's kind of the important part of the education argument of OWS.

Oh for fucks sake: I blah blah blah'd it to indicate I was simply retyping the sentence.
The problem is both the rising cost of education compared to the income actually netted from it, and the fact that people with degrees are still unemployable. In fact, everything in your previous statement is in agreement with my position.
Jessica wrote:Remember when you asked for information as to how I can say those without debt are better off than those with debt? Here's a link to the information I was looking for then.

You're confusing your arguments here: I agree that going to college to earn a non-profitable degree is a bad idea, precisely because of how detrimental all that debt is. As supported by your article.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Lucrece » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:45 am UTC

I just don't see the justification for such absurd tuition costs, particularly at the Bachelor's level. The courses taken are still stupidly basic and students are forced to shell out thousands of dollars for forced irrelevant classes to their field. People currently don't go to college for enrichment -- the primary reason has always been upper financial mobility.

It just kills me that having a EU citizenship I'm able to take classes and equivalent programs all over the EU basically free for what in the US sets you back at least $50k in debt for a Bachelor's and $100k+ for law/med school. US students going abroad to places like the Dominican Republic because med school abroad is significantly cheaper and worth revalidating when coming back to the US.
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Re: Occupy Wall Street - Spreading. Check your town.

Postby Zcorp » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:18 am UTC

Belial wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:If there are certain things that we feel are sufficiently important that everybody should be required to know them to be a functional member of society, then these topics should be covered in high school or earlier.


And if our highschools worked so well that we could be teaching people more in them, that would be ideal. Let me know when we have that worked out.


I know this is a from page 1 on a 3 page thread but I felt this was important to go back to.

We have largely worked out how to teach more than we currently teach in high school. Those paying attention to the field of education even know how to take the next step after what we know now to gain further knowledge on how to further improve student learning.

Our problems in schools have little to do with the knowledge of what to do and a lot to do with the logistics of doing it. We are fighting against an entrenched system which perpetuates many false beliefs. A system that employs a lot of people, and if done correctly would have to fire many people and hire a group of individuals that have very different training. It requires massively changing teaching programs to create a different kind of teacher, a different kind of teacher that has little place to find employment in the current system. We are fighting against an entrenched system that has if challenged threatens the well-being of many companies peripheral to it. Not to mean that HR departments across every industry would freak the fuck out because their bull-shit means of hiring people now for just about any job would break down.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby addams » Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

Somewhere back in this thread, maybe, it was before the thread was moved; Someone wrote that the responsibility of learning lays with the student.

Good teachers are important, too. I was inspired by my teachers. I held these men and women with respect.

I was a good student. I have spoken to University students, recently. A sense of respect seems to be unfashionable.

A group of lovely bold young men told me that I HAD to respect them.
I told them, "Respect is earned."
I believe it. Respect is earned.

By force the strong can make us act as if we respect them.
But, real respect is earned.

Yes. People that can do hard math easily get respect easily.
Yes. The attractive people get respect easily, also.
Yes. Respect for a person that has learned an old dead language is not easy for me. I am not impressed. I want to know, "Why?"

If, a person knows an old dead language and math and can read a map and cook, then, that person has my attention. See?
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Re: Occupy Wall Street - Spreading. Check your town.

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:We are fighting against an entrenched system which perpetuates many false beliefs. A system that employs a lot of people, and if done correctly would have to fire many people and hire a group of individuals that have very different training.
What is it you think makes American teachers and high schools so fundamentally different from those in countries that produce far more educated college-bound students, that the current batch of people who work in those schools couldn't possibly change enough to make them better?
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

It's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, given the difference of college cost, but American highschools are pretty crappy by international standards, yes? And American colleges, on average, are pretty good by international standards, yes?
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Lucrece » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

In places like Denmark, a high school diploma is not sufficient for entry into university. For examples, universities there require AP scores on 3 languages, a social science, a natural science, mathematics, and language arts. Those are pre-requisite for consideration.

American colleges do well but ironically are far less accessible to the citizens than EU university education is to citizens over there. I also won't mention the large representation of foreign talent on American universities, particularly in the math/science/computer science departments. Renting foreign talent because the US population is falling behind at the high school/Bachelor's levels is not ideal.
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Re: Occupy Wall Street - Spreading. Check your town.

Postby Zcorp » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Zcorp wrote:We are fighting against an entrenched system which perpetuates many false beliefs. A system that employs a lot of people, and if done correctly would have to fire many people and hire a group of individuals that have very different training.
What is it you think makes American teachers and high schools so fundamentally different from those in countries that produce far more educated college-bound students, that the current batch of people who work in those schools couldn't possibly change enough to make them better?


It isn't so much that we can't achieve that standard as that we should be able to achieve a higher standard than that. We need far more fundamental changes in our system than the differences between our system, teachers and culture than and say Finlands. We need a generation of teachers trained in understanding individual differences in personality and intelligence, how to recognize those and how to teach to them. To start with we need a generation of teachers that are technically savvy and are proficient in teaching a larger variety of subjects. As well as a system that assists with teacher-student bonding, removes course failure and focuses on skill proficiency/competency, with fewer breaks in using learned skills due to long vacations or course schedules, that plays to inherent human motivators and allows individuals to pursue areas of their interest at accelerated rates. This would be a great start and even if know of more things that will improve educational systems but no one is even doing these on a large scale and as far as I'm aware no one is doing all of these together.

But the largest difference between the countries performing better than the US and the US is the larger variety of ethnicities, less cultural care about education and more disagreement on what should be taught.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby lutzj » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:36 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Renting foreign talent because the US population is falling behind at the high school/Bachelor's levels is not ideal.


It's definitely good for the country (more talented and educated people) and the universities (ditto). We should be encouraging foreign grad students and professors to stay and making it easier for them to gain citizenship.
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