23 May 2008

+ I Am Not Still Learning

I recently contacted one of my University's newspapers to see if they would be interested in running a story on the increase and potential of student blogging. They basically turned me down stating that the views of our blogs did not necessarily reflect those of Monash University. And it's probably posts like this one they don't appreciate.

What is the fundamental purpose of University? I mean if you ignore the partying and drinking its core role is to educate, right?

Well not really. You attend to be graded and ranked. Much like the rest of the flawed education system, it is based on providing the highest achievers with the best results and differentiating these students from everyone else. Likewise on the opposite where the lowest achieves recieve the poorest grades. Sounds fair enough doesn't it? Hmm.

Many of my lecturers will not put up lecture slides on the Interweb. Some refuse to record these lecture with audio or video for later access. Why? Because they want people to attend lectures. And the point of that? To differentiate those who receive HD's, D's, C's, P's and of course F's.

In one case a lecturer refused to answer a question of mine because it would give me an advantage over others. As she said this I asked myself, what purpose does that serve? You are hindering my education not encouraging it like you should. It's not her fault that she is forced to make the students compete but the system's.

I'm not saying I have any solutions and I'm not saying the current system doesn't work. But it is flawed and just imagine how effective it could be if it's sole purpose was to educate.

4 comments:

  1. Actually, the purpose of most universities is to research. Education comes secondary.

    What university 'newspaper' was this? Doesn't sound like something Esperanto would say :S

    I don't think that sort of attitude from teaching staff is all that common really but it's certainly a problem when it comes up! There's certainly a few bad ones around...

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  2. @ Rick

    I mean the purpose from a student's point of view. And the newspaper I refer to is the weekly memo they email out.

    I think that even teachers who aren't as bad as the ones I've mentioned are still restricted by the system and their ability to teach is limited.

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  3. Don't forget that there are other stakeholders out there who demand/expect us to grade our students, e.g. employers. Still, that's no excuse for an academic to deny you every reasonable opportunity to learn!

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  4. Rick's right. Unis are all about research. Kids don't matter. It all comes down to attracting funding.

    A bit like the media. It exists not for you to read or be entertained but as a place to run ads.

    For me personally, I think it's time we shifted the focus from education to learning.

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The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
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