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Academically Adrift
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kimleebj Offline
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Academically Adrift
Academically Adrift is a new book about college.

•36 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" over four years of college.

50 percent said they didn't have a single course that required 20 pages of writing in their previous semester


Modern students study only around 12 hours per week. One possible cause is student evaluations, which encourage professors to make class entertaining and grade leniently.

In the 1960's, students studied 25 hours per week, over twice as much. Why? I think college has become more accessible and less selective. At the same time, students are richer, with higher wages. A typical 1960's student was really smart and poor, and consequently worked hard to get an elite college degree. But a typical modern student doesn't learn as easily and has better uses of time outside class (jobs, social life, etc.). As wages have risen, college costs more in terms of money, but less in terms of time. What is your explanation for why students are studying less?

NPR Article

Inside Higher Ed Article
03-31-2012 10:22 AM
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MHaes Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
In my opinion, there's less hardship in a young person's life nowadays then there was in the 1960s.

In the 1960s, WWII and the Korean War were still fresh in people's minds. We still had the draft at that point, so these students were either
a) the children of someone who had served in either/both of those bloody wars
-or-
b) in college thanks to the G.I. bill

We were also in the middle of the Cold War, with action heating up in South East Asia. I've spoken to some of my uncles and aunts, and even in the 1960s they would go through bomb drills during school, w/ gas masks and everything.

No doubt, these students had grown up knowing all about the hardships that life had to offer, and were thus inspired to make something of their life.

In our modern era, war and conflict is something that we have become insulated from. How many of us know personally someone who has died in the Middle East? We hear all about these deaths and tragedies, but instead of making us more sensitive to them, it has the opposite effect. We are numbed from the pain and suffering. Thus, young people nowadays aren't as inspired to work hard in school, since they are not aware of the alternatives.

Now, that is just one part of the complicated problem.

Nowadays, colleges and universities themselves are much more prevalent, so getting your degree is not as crowning an accomplishment as it once was. Once again, not as much motivation to work so hard.

Another key part of the problem is the internet, cell phones, etc. These have had negative impacts on the attention span of a young person. One in seven minutes spent on the internet, is spent on Facebook! It's ridiculous.

And last, but not least, is the entitlement issues so many people have nowadays. It's prevalent in both genders, in all races. People feel like they deserve a college degree. No, not an opportunity to get a college degree, but the degree itself. This manifests itself in so many ways in relation to your question, but one way I will point out is through the useless degrees universities now offer. Communication studies and the like, well how many hours do you think you need to study to earn that degree?
03-31-2012 11:45 AM
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Vice Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Academically Adrift
(03-31-2012 10:22 AM)kimleebj Wrote:  In the 1960's, students studied 25 hours per week, over twice as much. Why? I think college has become more accessible and less selective. At the same time, students are richer, with higher wages. A typical 1960's student was really smart and poor, and consequently worked hard to get an elite college degree. But a typical modern student doesn't learn as easily and has better uses of time outside class (jobs, social life, etc.). As wages have risen, college costs more in terms of money, but less in terms of time. What is your explanation for why students are studying less?[/url]

My problem with the 25 hours per week assertion is that the author doesn't take into account how having access to any information you want, via the internet, could have led to the reduced times.

The 60's didn't even have personal computers, for that matter. So for any research work, however basic and small, you'd always have to thumb through real books, which of course adds to the study time.
03-31-2012 03:17 PM
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Mujeriego Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
I'm curious how much the curriculum has changed from the 60's. Half of my General Ed req's were bullshit that had some PC motive behind them.
04-01-2012 01:45 AM
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whitenoise Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
this can be partly (largely?) explained by the fact that the number of students doing 'hard' subjects has flat lined, with the boom in enrolment coming mostly in business related subjects and other soft subjects. i doubt a degree in business administration was much different in the 60s, or that chemistry courses are significantly less demanding.

FIRST POST!
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2012 08:11 AM by whitenoise.)
04-01-2012 08:10 AM
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Architekt Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
(03-31-2012 11:45 AM)MHaes Wrote:  And last, but not least, is the entitlement issues so many people have nowadays. It's prevalent in both genders, in all races. People feel like they deserve a college degree. No, not an opportunity to get a college degree, but the degree itself. This manifests itself in so many ways [..]

The whole "everyone deserves a go" mentality that is being practised and preached in schools, junior sports, and pretty much any organised social activity for youths, is being totally misinterpreted as "everyone deserves to do exactly what they want, whether they're capable or not." Not only does this seem to be causing entitlement issues, as you mentioned, but I feel that it also hinders the progress of those that are entitled to whatever reward, as their time is being squandered on others who aren't, or even worse, don't care for the reward. This is something that has really been killing me lately, seeing little shiteaters bitch and moan incessantly until they get exactly what they want - especially when they don't deserve it.

OT: Education, in the areas of science and mathematics at least, is different in modern society. A lot of time that may have been spent poring over books, tables, statistics, etc.., attempting to commit as much information to memory as possible, can now be dedicated to the processes of applying this data, which requires a lot less learning time. The use of calculators and instant access to unlimited information, via the internet, allows for work to be completed, and new material to be learned in far less time than in previous years. - This also applies to other learning areas.

While the process is an important limiting factor, an (in my opinion) overlooked factor is the students themselves. Though, this is not entirely their fault. The aforementioned entitlement issues lead many to believe that they shouldn't have to work hard for their degrees. This means many students just won't bother working hard, and will meet the bare minimum requirements. When education institutes see degrading marks, relevant government departments inevitably will also. At this point they worry and intervene, making courses easier, less time consuming, and less work intensive than they previously were, in the hopes that more students will graduate into a high tax paying position. While this may seem like a nice goal, having a large amount of educated graduates, the only real outcome is a generation of lazy, undereducated, and over entitled brats, trying to find positions which are no longer vacant, due to the huge amount of graduates in all areas of the spectrum. In contrast, obtaining a masters degree is, in many fields, a pointless endeavour. It simply increases the amount of student debt, uses up a few more years, and has barely, if any benefits, financial or otherwise. This system seemingly rewards the laziness of the modern student, while offering minimal incentive to become a high achieving student. In an ideal world, students would work hard, take pride in their work, and aim for the stars. Though, this is merely a pipe-dream in a world where a student can put off doing work until the day before it's due, steal their essays from the internet, and survive comfortably with a job they "earned" with their easily obtainable degree.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
04-01-2012 10:34 AM
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sylo Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
I bet that study was done by someone from the first generation. They were better at everything when everything was harder and more valuble. Obviously we have ruined America and the world. Just look at college stats that might or might not be acurate!
04-01-2012 11:05 AM
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Anon-A-Moose Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
Simple explanation: colleges make more money with leniency, and a degree doesn't get you as far as it once did anyway.

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04-01-2012 05:22 PM
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LowerCaseG Offline
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RE: Academically Adrift
(04-01-2012 05:22 PM)Anon-A-Moose Wrote:  Simple explanation: colleges make more money with leniency, and a degree doesn't get you as far as it once did anyway.

Exactly. Making education more demanding limits your customer base if you are a university.
04-01-2012 05:48 PM
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