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    #247921 - 01/18/21 08:45 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Wren]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2412
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    Originally Posted By: aquinas


    less of a “what can I get” mentality than a “what can I contribute” one.)



    I am confused by your post. I was not talking about sporting extracurriculars. I was talking about academic extracurriculars. The opportunity to do research with profs. Like aeh mentioned her son contributed on some paper. I do not think that if you are focused on becoming a world class athlete you should consider a top academic school. It would be hard. there are 2 brothers I know that are trying to manage engineeering while training for the Olympics. It is very hard.

    And of your quote, I disagree. It is totally annoying when some kid right out of school is focused on what they can contribute. Their big ideas. I think they should learn about the workplace, how the team works, and then be a part of it. Being the low peg, usually they are told how to contribute, not the other way around. That can change if they start their own business, but then the marketplace will dictate how they can contribute. I think that is why people many people complain about a lack of funding for the arts. They want to contribute their art but the marketplace isn't buying.


    Contribute here = behaviour oriented to the good of the other, rather than the self.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #247922 - 01/18/21 08:50 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: mithawk]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2412
    Originally Posted By: mithawk
    Originally Posted By: aquinas
    Kudos to your son, Mithawk! Those are some terrific accomplishments. Sorry he's having to do all this in the middle of a pandemic. I feel for these students.

    Thank you. It feels like a wasted freshman year in terms of him getting to know his classmates.

    But I actually feel worse for the high school seniors graduating this year. The entire college admission process must be a nightmare this year.


    No kidding. I think it’s been a rough time for anyone at a transition point in their studies. What is your son’s program doing to build out relationships?

    (And yes, Harvard undergrad Econ is quite soft, for the reasons you alluded to. Every school has its strengths; I think Harvard designed its undergrad to feed into the Kennedy School along political economy lines. Most quant econ programs cover through to the first year Harvard graduate sequence in core micro/macro/econometrics by 3rd year undergrad. Maybe reassure your son, from this economist, that not all economists are so disappointing in quant! They probably have impressive strengths in other areas. smile )
    _________________________
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    #247925 - 01/18/21 09:42 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1645
    I just have a problem with economic theory. I think we have tipped the point where we have overpopulation, depleting resources and climate change. I saw a doc on some statistician saying the world could support 11 billion because as people rose to middle class, etc etc, some stupid arguments. The oceans are depleted. (Yet people believe that there will always be fish to eat) There is huge oversupply of working class people wanting jobs where they are rapidly being replaced by machines and other efficiencies. (Yet politicians promise union manufacturing jobs, with benefits are returning) And an aging populaton requiring social supports. No one seems to be adapting an economic theory for these modern constraints. No one wants to face the constraints. Just a trade based on hope. Hope things will change. Hope that you win the lottery. Yet, every day, we continue along the same path. Year after year.

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    #247926 - 01/18/21 11:52 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2412
    It’s certainly a complex issue. The more people studying the subject (online?) the better.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #247928 - 01/19/21 05:28 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1645
    I would like to make analogy between our education discussion and the digressed economic theory. We talk about quality of education and competition to get into elite schools, programs. I discussed economic theory where we have overpopulation and resources. There is a big push now for meal worm proteins. Good protein source, easy to cultivate, less harmful to the environment. Someone is going to have to decide who gets to eat beef and who gets to eat mealworms. It may not be someone, it may be price and demand. And with income disparity, the ones with low household income may be stuck eating mealworms, not that they cannot enjoy and eat the beef. Just not available for them. It sounds cruel. But there is always stuff people want, desire. Quality education is available in many institutions, but there will always be some that people want more. And I am glad I am vegetarian.


    Edited by Wren (01/19/21 05:39 AM)

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    #247929 - 01/19/21 12:12 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2412
    So in your analogy, Wren, beef consumption is to preferred education what mealworm consumption is to less preferred education. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset, to paraphrase my DS’ former kindergarten teacher. But being a self-avowed vegetarian you would, by extension, eschew both. For what? As it stands, your analogy encapsulates the universe of options in your two-protein world.

    I will speak plainly, Wren. Price is a real barrier to access for a substantial portion of the western world, not to mention emerging economies. It’s not a question of “beef vs mealworms”, but “anything or nothing.” You and I are privileged to live in Canada, a country whose provinces have recognized post secondary education as a public good. (You may recall from intro economics that public goods are those for which significant externalities exist. That is, the value does not accrue solely to the direct consumer.) As it stands, most post secondary programming is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer to promote equity of access for all qualified students. Moreover, our federal and provincial governments offer generous financial support to defray costs of PSE further, and preferential loans. And I have not even delved into non-monetary costs of educational access, which often eclipse pecuniary concerns.

    Here’s the meat, so to speak. Education is not a mere commodity. It is the foundation upon which opportunity is built and potential is realized. It is directly, causally related to a host of personal and societal developmental factors, health indicators, and quality of life. Expanding some contingent of post-secondary classes to an online channel is one lever available.

    Perhaps you are, like me, proudly Canadian, and you are focusing only on our domestic context (which, albeit quite imperfect, is still very good).

    But if you are suggesting that a market priced equilibrium in which a significant portion of the qualified population cannot access post-secondary education is inevitable, or even desirable (or only under financial duress), I would urge you to revisit your conclusions. This is not a question of want vs need. It is akin to “choosing” starvation or malnourishment for those with less money than we have.

    I’m not okay with that from an ethical standpoint, and you shouldn’t be, either.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #247930 - 01/20/21 08:02 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    mithawk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 262
    I wanted to step back a bit and discuss the reasons that people attend college and relate that back to Bostonian's original point and other comments in this thread.

    1. Learning: Students attend college to learn. Sometimes it is general learning through a liberal arts education, and other times it is more career focused like with engineering.
    2. Credentialing: Students attend college to earn a degree, as this is very often a requirement for employment.
    3. Prestige effects: Many students choose colleges based upon the prestige effects which make them more employable. Note that this is slightly different from selecting a college for the prestige aura it gives the students, although many consider that as well.
    4. Networking opportunities: This relates to the effectiveness of the alumni network. This can be separate from prestige effects in that some places like Texas A&M have extremely helpful alumni despite not being among the most selective colleges.

    On the flip side, as has already been pointed out, colleges look for students that will make an impact at college while attending, make an impact in the world after they graduate, and and ideally donate generously to the college.

    So getting back to Bostonian's original point, some places like MIT have decided that the Learning part is not something that they need to protect, and they started OpenCourseWare almost 20 years ago and if Wikipedia is correct, over 2400 courses are online. I think this works for most classes except special cases like Math 55.

    But I also contend that's really not what people clamoring for free college want. At a minimum they also want Credentialing. But not all credentialing is the same. For example it is easy to get admitted to Harvard, take classes taught by Harvard professors and eventually earn a degree. The caveat is that this is Harvard Extension School, not Harvard College.

    And of course Harvard Extension School doesn't have the prestige effects or networking opportunities of Harvard College or its peers.

    To further crucify Wren's analogy, I contend that MIT Courseware is like the free veggies: high quality and good for you, and fortunately free. Harvard Extension and its equivalents are the mealworms, and Harvard College and its peers are Japanese Waygu.

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    #247931 - 01/20/21 05:26 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1645
    First, I took engineering. Since I ended up on Wall St. without a business degree, I had to make economics up as I wrote about it. I did go to university in Canada, but left Canada at 23 to live the next 30 years of my life in NYC.

    I really like the MIT courseware being the free veggies.

    I like that Canada offers a quality education at the university level without a huge cost. Like they offer decent healthcare as right. But basic doesn't get you much. We were friendly with the head of lung transplant at a major medical institution in the states. Not sure where they got the lungs, but the patients tended to be very rich people from all over the world. I am not sure I would get a lung transplant in my basic health care in Ontario. When I worked on Wall st, my health insurance covered acupuncture and all kinds of stuff my crazy natural MD decided I needed. Not in Ontario.

    So I would say, how do you get into the next level? How competitive is it getting if you want medical school or law school or a PhD in biometrics? It has to be getting more and more competitive. Just like the crazy admission process for undergrad programs now. I am on the free email list for some college consulting firms. They send out articles. There is more about graduate programs. People are hiring these expensive consultants for graduate programs. It must be getting very competitive now at that level. Will our kids have to have a whole CV of undergrad research done with profs along with their grades as they apply for a PhD?
    If that is the trend, how does our view of prospective institutions look then?


    Edited by Wren (01/20/21 05:27 PM)

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    #247932 - 01/21/21 06:58 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Wren]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 683
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    So I would say, how do you get into the next level? How competitive is it getting if you want medical school or law school or a PhD in biometrics? It has to be getting more and more competitive. Just like the crazy admission process for undergrad programs now. I am on the free email list for some college consulting firms. They send out articles. There is more about graduate programs. People are hiring these expensive consultants for graduate programs. It must be getting very competitive now at that level. Will our kids have to have a whole CV of undergrad research done with profs along with their grades as they apply for a PhD?
    If that is the trend, how does our view of prospective institutions look then?


    Obviously it depends on the goal, but I would say that in some fields and situations, yes, this is where things are heading. For my older kid, having the personal connections in classes was key to connecting with profs doing research that dovetailed with her interests, though clearly there are many different paths to that end. She is lucky to be involved in a couple different lab groups now, and aside from the research, the benefits extend to personal connections in the field, as well as regular lab group meetings where they as a group work on learning specific skills ,such as a particular computer program or statistical analyses. Sort of like your free veggies analogy; these things could be learned in a specific class, but DD has found that there will never be enough time or space for all the classes and skills she’s interested in and would like to learn, so filling those needs informally this way has been great...as well as a taste of how the grown-up out of school world might work. And these types of skills are all things she believes will be helpful in grad school, obviously in her work, but also in the application process itself.

    Her friends that are applying to med school are similarly focused on gaining research experience and lab work, though her sense is that the specifics of what they are doing, and with whom, are less important to them. They are more interested in checking off the experience as a qualification, not on where it might lead. Which doesn’t mean it’s less competitive for them, it’s just in a very different way (at least that’s DDs sense as a non- pre-med). Both groups are more focused on grades than I remember anyone being, but that is much more an issue for premeds, at least in her circle of experience. (And I have to admit to being rather uninterested in grades, so perhaps i was just out of step even in my day).

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    #248001 - 02/08/21 03:56 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Quantum2003 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1432
    Perhaps good enough under the circumstances but not actually good enough. DS took a couple of courses at a top-20 school last year and one of these courses had to convert to online mid-semester due to covid... let's just say that the quality and vigor substantially declined.

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