Ohhhh... a Gen. Ed. meme from one of my students. It's a good post: I like her idea about a "gen ed major exploration class" very much.
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- As you say, the financial incentives are a substantial part of the problem.Nov 7, 2015
- Nov 7, 2015
- An intriguing experiment. Feels like biting off too much to chew. A "Great Books" style program does this much more effectively because the focus is narrower in scope, but still broad enough to make the extra effort worthwhile. 34 units of GEs? That's a tragedy; Pepperdine requires twice that.Nov 7, 2015
- Not the way I would go about doing Gen. Ed. ... but just reading about an experiment like this made me feel hopeful. :-)Nov 7, 2015
- Since contemporary higher ed is significantly different from ancient education, I think we forget the history of those Gen. Ed. req's... If we were 'early Romans, or Classical Greeks, we would explore the 'Arts', Literature as History... and be building our relationships with the Gods...
There would have been an expectation of building better citizens- there is still that 'chunk' of our gen Ed classes- State of Nv. requires both a U.S. history requirement, and then State of Nv. History... for educators, you nave to also add Nv. School Law.
The arts covered a lot of territory- Art /music /Theater history, art/ music / Theater appreciation, languages, basic science, and in Nv., again, one needed a 'lab science course, and a second science that wasn't - Astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry... usually the 101/ 102 courses were lab classes... and the 105/100- series would have a 'hands on' component, but not a 'lab'. I did everything but chemistry. My maths were not, I believed, strong enough to do the chemistry classes, but- I adored the Geology and Astronomy courses. Math, too, was part of the Gen Ed req. What I discovered was those 'lab req's were required to be 'current'-- I'd taken biology in 1974-- when I came back in the 1990's, the biology course I'd taken was "out of date". There was new knowledge-- and I thoroughly enjoyed the course.
Maybe I'm trying to tie things together that isn't any longer perceived as a reality. Education has a long, and culturally particular history. As our 'cultural perception' has shifted from education as part of good citizenship, to a key to the door of higher power and income, the perception of these General classes has shifted. For students that are limited in the classes they can afford--- the reality is obvious. If one could explore Gen Ed classes without cost? You might see some more enthusiasm. But, with many universities becoming "drive-in's... rather than a residence for the extent of one's education (4-5 years) the scheduling and cost are more of a priority to the student, than opening the mind to new ways of organizing their experience.
is right-- Gen Ed classes are their bread and butter. If kids didn't need that 'degree- and that may change- the certificates of each class would start to sub for the degree. We still haven't gone that far. It may well be coming- with the MOOC certification...
There may well be some kind of shift in what Human resources will accept... With the range of courses... I don't know how it will be managed. There is a perception- hehehe... of what a B.A or B.S. does to prepare a person for a job, or to prepare a person to adapt to a particular 'employment culture.' Until that is modified, I don't know how we get past it.
My son, anxious to do security consultation... wants that B.S. to be accepted by those HR requirements... he was furious to have to do psychology, or art classes... but he started looking at each course through the eyes of a person doing that security consultation... and made the classes work for him.
He is in his 30's... not late teens. Is that what makes a difference? Wisdom and adaptability? It doesn't usually show up in our 'fresh out of high school' students.Nov 12, 2015
- Your son's experience is exactly the kind of thing I hope for with my classes too,, and I try really hard to find out what clicks with students (sometimes it is connecting with their future career, sometimes connecting with the career they WISH they could have except it doesn't pay), and that's a big part of why I love teaching these classes instead of a traditional for-the-major class. At the same time, I know a lot of Gen. Ed. classes are not taught in a content-centered way, not a student-centered way, and so they send the message to students "the content I teach is important; shame on you if you don't agree."
Given a choice between forcing a student to take a class in which they have no interest and letting them choose a class in which they start off interested, I'm always going to vote for going with what interests the student. Maybe they will find out they are not as interested as they thought they were... but I prefer that risk to the risk of forcing into something they don't want to do in the first place. I like the challenge of trying to make sure all my students get something useful from my classes, but I feel very uncomfortable knowing that most of them have enrolled because of a graduation requirement and no other reason.
Except "your class looks less boring than the other Gen. Ed. courses" (as they sometimes tell me in emails... I appreciate them speaking the truth!)Nov 12, 2015