Friday, September 6, 2013

If you haven't read it

the Daily Cal has an editorial on some CS course screw ups: Scare tactics and webcasts
CAMPUS ISSUES: A university with a top-tier computer science department should not scare or underserve interested students.

And it is also curious that as the syllabus mess unfolded with CS 161, another computer science course faced distinct yet related problems.

CS 61A, the lower division course aimed at teaching students the basics of coding and programming, was overenrolled, with nearly 1,100 students in total at one point this semester. Wheeler Auditorium holds fewer than 750 students, but the professor stressed that lectures were webcasted and not mandatory to attend in person.

While this also is a symptom of the problem of underfunded public universities, the self-taught CS 61AS version of the course and the availability of webcasted lectures for the most part compensate for the ridiculousness of the class size. Hardly an ideal fix, but the computer science department and campus administration must make sure these resources are made public and readily available to any student interested in taking the course.

The CS 161 scare tactics and 61A substitutes don’t excuse these initial enrollment failings in the computer science department, perhaps the most scrutinized and visible of all the academic divisions at UC Berkeley.

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if you haven't read it- you really should, good stuff:
Academy Fight Song by Thomas Frank
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The coming of “academic capitalism” has been anticipated and praised for years; today it is here.
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The disaster that the university has proceeded to inflict on the youth of America...Grant to an industry control over access to the good things in life; insist that it transform itself into a throat-cutting, market-minded mercenary; get thought leaders to declare it to be the answer to every problem; mute any reservations the nation might have about it—and, lastly, send it your unsuspecting kids, armed with a blank check drawn on their own futures.
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textbook prices have increased 812 percent over the past thirty-five years, outstripping not only inflation (by a mile) but every other commodity—home prices, health care—
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The test-prep people, meanwhile, match them step for step, charging students far, far heftier fees to help them beat the standardized tests and endlessly scheming to persuade new demographics—grade schoolers, notably—that they need cram school too.

and also on:

"the test fraud industry"
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"enrollment management" industry
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developments at Cooper Union, GWU, U. Va
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on Ginsberg: It is not until you read Ginsberg’s description of the day-to-day activities of administrators that the light bulb goes on, however. The particular pedagogy that motivates this class of university creatures is . . . management theory. They talk endlessly about “process management” and “excellence.” They set up “culture teams.” They attend retreats where they play team-building games. And whole divisions of them are dedicated to writing “strategic plans” for their universities, which take years to finish and are forgotten immediately upon completion.
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he even includes "Who Moved My Cheese" and:

Bill Readings published his depressing prediction, The University in Ruins, back in 1996. The Wall Street Journal ran a shocking page-one story on enrollment management that same year. The proletarianization of the PhD has been a subject of countless exposés since the days of a teaching-assistant strike at Yale in the mid-nineties; I own two books of essays on the subject; no doubt there are a dozen more. Chris Newfield’s account of managerialism and higher ed appeared in 2003, and Jennifer Washburn’s University Inc. in 2005. Stanley Aronowitz predicted the slow demise of the professoriate in 1997, and Frank Donoghue told us exactly how the end was coming in The Last Professors, published in 2008.
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and,that 'Newfield 2003 account' does not have an embedded link in Frank's piece- but, if you're wonderin': it is this book
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Sac Bee has this story on UC Davis

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