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Old 03-18-2017, 01:15 AM   #41
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I always told my kids to find out what they like doing, do it to the best of their ability, and create or find a market for their own skills. I think that if your child is gifted enough to get a degree in something they are good at, then it is still one of the best investments a parent can make.

One of the problems with undergraduate studies these days is that there are too many half courses. I believe you need a semester to grasp the basic concepts, and another to put them into practise...so whole year courses would be much better. Post graduate studies usually get away from that problem.

I believe that not all universities are the same...some are recognized as being better than others. And if a child is particularly gifted and focused in a certain discipline at a young age, then it is probably worthwhile to find the best school possible for him or her. Sending them away from home, can often be the best thing that happens to them.

Another thing I believe in is that the years between age 20 and 30 are the most important. In general, I think people peak at a much younger age than one normally thinks.

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Old 03-18-2017, 10:04 AM   #42
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I can only comment on my own experience but I wouldn't recommend that students study physics anywhere but in a classroom environment, especially the beginner's courses because the opportunity to ask professors questions during lectures is invaluable. I also spent countless hours in my respective professors' offices asking questions or doing extra work in preparation for exams which wouldn't be as easy in an online world.

At higher levels, learning physics without an actual live professor would be nearly impossible, and during my Master's, we didn't have a single in-class exam and each of the takehome exams took a minimum of 40 hours to complete. We had to attend four classes a semester, teach four sections of a lab per semester (physics or astronomy), as well as work on our thesis and take a six hour comprehensive exam (two parts--one during each summer) on basically everything in order to get our degrees. I wouldn't expect any Master's in physics to be less rigorous than this.

My second Master's in atmospheric science was a cakewalk comparatively, but still would have been rather difficult outside of the traditional classroom/professor dynamic.

In my opinion, one thing that can lead to terrible professors is the amount of pressure put on them to "publish or perish". If you're a new prof (i.e., without tenure), your students basically mean nothing to you because research and publishing is number one--why would you put any effort toward teaching?

I was lucky enough to do my undergrad at a small/private/no-research school and my professors dedicated their entire jobs to their students which made a HUGE difference, but holy hell did I pay (and am still paying) for it--even with scholarships. I got paid to do both of my Masters (it was a pittance but enough to get by, and tuition was paid) which I am very grateful for, but it really depends on the subject and the schools to which you apply.
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:06 PM   #43
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That's why an MBA means absolutely nothing. Pay your money and you get your degree. It's impossible to fail your MBA, no matter how dumb and lazy you are.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:25 AM   #44
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Universities will become less expensive when they become less necessary to having your resume make it by the first round of culls.

Companies that don't train their employees anymore are directly contributing to the cost of education. Whole Human Resource departments have been designed to revolve around segregating applications based on the text of the resume/cv document.

Universities are diploma mills because they represent the gate keeper towards employment in our society these days.

To those saying they can't imagine doing a technical degree and graduating with 50-100k in debt, that is vastly more preferable than being largely unable to find life-sustaining employment because of a lack of letters after your name.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:11 AM   #45
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One of my most valuable experiences in University was the discussions I had in class with profs and other students. Granted this was a Philosophy degree and that wasn't the case is the first year classes. All three of my kids are in University now and it seems like it's hardly changed from my day despite a massive societal leap forward in communications and information technologies. I think there is something to be said about updating the current model of education to make it more flexible and personalized and creating a more efficient delivery method.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:24 AM   #46
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A university degree or trade will always be necessary from a cost benefit analysis. However, in many fields, one degree is not good enough anymore. This trend wont disappear.

Students will be coming out with bigger debt loads, later on in life from school and will be attempting to secure jobs that don't have the same perks that their parents could look forward to (ie work pensions, certain health benefits).
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:06 PM   #47
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In my opinion, one thing that can lead to terrible professors is the amount of pressure put on them to "publish or perish". If you're a new prof (i.e., without tenure), your students basically mean nothing to you because research and publishing is number one--why would you put any effort toward teaching?

I was lucky enough to do my undergrad at a small/private/no-research school and my professors dedicated their entire jobs to their students which made a HUGE difference, but holy hell did I pay (and am still paying) for it--even with scholarships. I got paid to do both of my Masters (it was a pittance but enough to get by, and tuition was paid) which I am very grateful for, but it really depends on the subject and the schools to which you apply.
Yes, the notion that the people doing the instructing need to be the same people who do the research is another anachronism of the system. There's no reason why the people doing the lectures - especially in 200 and 300 level courses - can't be selected exclusively on their expertise and enthusiasm for lecturing.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:15 PM   #48
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Universities will become less expensive when they become less necessary to having your resume make it by the first round of culls.
Accreditation inflation explains why most young adults today feel they need to get a post-secondary education. It doesn't explain why the cost per student to deliver that education has been rising relentlessly for decades, with no discernable improvement in the quality of education being delivered.

Look at Mount Royal University. Who's interests were served by making it a university? By taking a bunch of 2-year diploma programs that met the needs of the job market and turning them into 4 year programs?

Not employers. As someone who has hired people who have the 2 year and 4 year versions of the accreditation, I can say the 4 year versions are no better trained. In fact, we've had more trouble hiring the 4 year graduates because their degrees are more generalized and you can't be sure they have the skills or are even interested in the job we were hiring for.

Not students. They now spend four years to get a degree that gives them no better chances of a job than the 2-year diploma did.

Not whoever is paying for the education. It now costs twice as much.

No, the only people who were well served by that change are the university, it's instructors, and administrators.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:23 PM   #49
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I think there's just too much attitude of entitlement now a days about university education. I read a globe and mail article about the precarious situation of Gen Y employment titled "I have three degrees, why am I delivering your lunch." The premise of that sentence is that somehow it's the degrees themselves that give one or are reflective of the ability to add value to an employer.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:29 PM   #50
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:49 PM   #51
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Besides your formal education, there is great value in leaving home as a young person for university - learning to cook, do laundry, budgeting, friendships, romances, experimentation. Growing up. I suppose you can get those experiences outside of a college experience, but these intangible things were very important in my growth.
Only if you have rich parents, though. A young person should be minimizing their debt coming out of school, so I think you have to be mindful that this is not universal advice that applies to everyone, but only the financially privileged (or the financially irresponsible hah).

I agree that moving away and gaining independence is something very valuable for all young people, though. You can always take a gap year and work somewhere so you get all of the experience but none of the debt. I did a season in Lake Louise right after high school and loved it. Even came home with a couple thousand bucks.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:38 PM   #52
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I think that the model of undergraduate education is ripe for a major disruption from MOOC's and other educational platforms. As soon as industry treats them as equivalent to a degree from a traditional university or college they are done.

Graduate degrees, especially those that are focused upon doing research with a particular professor will be harder to disrupt.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:54 PM   #53
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I think there's just too much attitude of entitlement now a days about university education. I read a globe and mail article about the precarious situation of Gen Y employment titled "I have three degrees, why am I delivering your lunch." The premise of that sentence is that somehow it's the degrees themselves that give one or are reflective of the ability to add value to an employer.
I actually feel bad for Gen Y in this case. Their Boomer parents were totally out of touch and still thought a degree - any degree - got you a boost into the upper middle class. They thought it was still 1978. If they had paid any attention to the experience of Gen X, they'd have known that the value of many degrees, especially those in the humanities and social sciences, had plummeted, as employers for the last 30 years have been looking for specific, practical skills. People who graduated with a History degree in 1991 couldn't find work either.

There's also a class bias at work - the notion that a master's degree in English or Political Science should assure you a higher socio-economic status than a 2-year diploma in Hospitality Management.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:28 PM   #54
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MOOC's are doing a much, much better job of teaching tech skills today than any of the colleges in Alberta. However they still don't give you the broad base a 4 year software engineering degree does; I draw on the broadness of my experience in this program all the time in my job even while I am less skilled specific areas than people who when through shorter, more specialized programs.

I use MOOCs all the time to expand my skill set, but I think there's real value to be had with classroom based learning (even if it's just getting together to learn from a MOOC). However, a lot more value to could be added if mentoring and coaching became the primary services provided by undergraduate institutions and colleges.
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