31 December 2010

“Education” is Worthless

From a current grad student:
Despite my enthusiasm, just in the last year I’ve witnessed the following (keep in mind that this school is consistently scored in the top 50 US universities by US News & World Report):
• Professors who can’t work their own examples. I’m not talking about once or twice – I’ll forgive anybody a bad day. I mean any of them. This despite having taught the same class for 10 years.
• Professors who give lectures with details that are just plain wrong (demonstrably so). Again, not in isolated cases, but frequently.
• Professors who simply don’t give enough information for the students to do the assigned projects. This hasn’t hampered me; I’ve got a lot of experience in the field, and I’ve only had one project in my entire educational career that I’ve considered “non-trivial.” But I’ve watched it cause real problems for my fellow students, and even felt really bad that I haven’t had time to help them.
• Professors who don’t speak English well enough to write coherent test questions. I’m sorry, but that should be a basic minimum for the job.
• Professors passing off biased made-for-TV movies as if they’re historically accurate. Nevermind that this is a technical class and there’s really no good reason to be watching anything like this in the first place.
Yeah, my enthusiasm died pretty fast. If I dredge my memory of my undergrad days, the story gets even worse.
• Professors who more or less can’t speak English at all.
• Professors who can’t show up to class because they have job interviews.
• Professors who aren’t proficient enough in the programming language they’re supposed to be teaching to actually, you know, program – much less teach it.
• Professors who can’t even tell you what the title of the class means.
When I took Econ 101 back in spring, I quickly realized that I was better qualified to teach the class than my professor. In fact, it led to a rather lucrative job of tutoring students who couldn’t make sense of what the professor was trying to teach. She was often unable to explain the examples, and the math behind them. Even though I had already rejected neo-Keynesian economic theory at that point in my life, I was generally better able to explain the book better than the professor, and was often called on in class to do so.

Most of my business classes, particularly the 100- and 200-level classes, were completely worthless. One professor, who I had for eight classes, had no clue how to do any of the math in any of the classes. In fact, there were several times when I corrected her in class. Her tests were horribly worded, to the point where she would give students back points after her errors were pointed out to her.

In addition, many of the lower level classes make use of books that are either worthless or misleading. The book in my history of business class was filled with a multitude of factual errors. Most of the other textbooks used were vehicles for business jargon, and had no other redeeming value other than enabling one to use trendy jargon that would be obsolete by graduation.

Still, it’s not all bad. I will have some credentials, should I wish to trade freelancing for a desk job. Also, some of the professors are very dedicated, and have taught me something. And not all classes are a waste of time. Ethics, marketing, abnormal psychology, and PoliSci were all interesting and informative. In fact, my PoliSci professor was the one who told me about Vox Day, and is thus the main reason for why I am the way I am.

That aside, college is mostly rubbish.

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