Home > Uncategorized > Welcoming a new horseman of the Edupocalypse

Welcoming a new horseman of the Edupocalypse

Rich DeMillo suspected — correctly, I must admit — that the main driver that led me to start this blog was reading Roger Schank’s blog. (I’m tickled that Rich used his Loose Cannons tag on his post introducing Edupocalypse Now.)

Forging another link in the network, I’m quite honored to have inspired one of the first posts on Steve Hilber’s new blog, Never Settle For Less: Nonrandom thoughts from a young entrepreneur about living an exceptional life.

A common complaint you’ll hear among academics is that students view themselves as customers who think “the customer is always right.” Although there is some legitimate basis to that complaint, Steve digs deeper, noting that, yes, whoever’s paying is the customer — but colleges need to be much clearer and open about exactly what they are selling. In his post titled Can I Get A Refund For That Fine Arts Course?, Steve writes:

The fundamental idea driving education is that the customer is wrong; there are concepts and facts and algorithms the university knows that you, the individual student, do not know, and it’s the role of the university to teach these assorted data to you. You – the student – are asked to convince your parents and your banks and your scholarships to pay the university to give you merely the opportunity to spend the immense time and energy it takes to learn these ideas that you do not already know. It’s all up to you to make the most of your time in college; you’re just paying the college more and more money for the privilege of using their time and resources.

…there’s no liability or guarantee that you actually go anywhere with your Prestigious University Degree. Again, it’s entirely your responsibility. Which is incredibly strange when the tried-and-true argument for the liberal arts education America is so well known for is that “we teach you how to think, and that’s an education that will last you a lifetime…”

I am not, contrary to what it may seem, arguing that the college experience is inherently valueless. I am arguing that as far as I can tell, there is almost no accountability built into the system or the business model.

Please drop by Steve’s blog and make comments.

P.S. I’d also like to thank Mark Guzdial, who linked to my inaugural “B.S.-bs” post on his Computer Education blog. As usual, a spirited discussion erupted there. Alan Kay comments on Mark’s posts frequently, which is kind of like having God comment on your blog about theology. I was beyond thrilled to see that Alan left the first comment. It all connects in a roundabout way; Alan participated via video link in the C21U kickoff which featured Roger Schank as a panelist.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you very much for the shout-out – I feel honored to be the newest horseman of the Edupocalypse. If Roger Schank was the first and you’re the second, does that mean I get to ride the black horse?

    (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Apocalypse#Black_Horse)

    Also, the apocalypse can only start in earnest once all four horsemen have assembled, so we need to find that guy/girl and bring them onboard the team. 🙂


    • Joyce
      December 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Guess I’d better start blogging, then, instead of just arguing on Aaron’s and Mark’s blogs. If only so I get to be the token horsewoman of the Edupocalypse. But I’ll wrestle you for the black horse.

      • December 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        I welcome all horsemen and horsewomen to the front, and I’m definitely interested in hearing more about what others have to say. But we are definitely going to have to have a contest for the black horse.

        Or we could, you know, just have two. But what’s the fun in that?

      • Joyce
        December 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        That’s ok, you can have the black horse. I decided I want a horse of another color.

      • December 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        *rolls eyes* 😛

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