After having attended college for nearly 5 years at this point and being almost finished with a 4 year degree I would like to provide some insight into some of the problems within higher education today.
In most of my classes when you walk in the door it’s as if we are suppose to forget about the past 100 years of innovation and technology. For starters you aren’t allowed to use industry standard tools in order to learn concepts or to solve the problems that are assigned in class. On tests rather than allowing you to bring whatever tools you may need in order to solve the problem you must instead memorize all possible tools because if you don’t have them memorized they don’t exist. Where did the idea that memorization equals understanding? Isn’t it more important to be able to apply concepts to real world problems rather than having memorized answers for only a handful of possible situations?
The idea that you must know how to build a tool in order to use it is a terrible concept that breaks down nearly immediately in the real world. Americans drive millions of cars and I would wager that the vast majority barely understand the concepts of the modern internal combustion engine, let alone know how to build one from raw materials. Another example is the cellphone that everyone carries around everyday. The professor that is teaching that you have to know how to build a tool in order to use it can’t even begin to explain the concept of how a cell phone works let alone build one. We need to get past this idea of having to build all our tools. A mechanic would never be able to do his primary job of repairing cars if he was forced to build all of the tools that he uses on a daily basis. What is important to his job is the ability to use a wide variety of tools in different situations in order to solve problems. He is more concerned with the application of tools instead of the creation of them. The era when a man was able to build all the tools that he uses died with the rise of mass production of goods.
I just finished my Business Law final and it wasn’t that bad. So of it was sort of new or unfamiliar but nothing I couldn’t take an educated guess at an answer. Accounting this morning was just turn in the take home final and get our presentations grades. My group got an A! Only 1 more final left today. I don’t know how the history of Photography final is going to be.
My group project in my accounting class was today and it went really well. My group wasn’t perfect but was able to put on a well planned presentation on Proctor and Gamble. I am getting much better at making presentations which should hopefully help me in my future career.
I saw a number of faults in other presentations that my group was able to avoid mainly putting too much text on their PowerPoint slides as well as reading directly from their paper and not looking at the audience. Hopefully we get a good grade on the project as I was up until 3:30AM finishing it.
I am unfortunately falling back into the routine of posting about every month on here, instead of every few days like I had started off the year doing. Life has become very busy with school, work, side jobs, and socializing with people from Compass. I have become much better at getting through Google Reader feeds and Facebook items faster as I don’t really have the time anymore to spend great lengths of time on them. I used to spend long hours on both, reading things that I can now say were worth nothing. Now to learn to sleep more efficiently to gain some extra time.
School started last week and my classes seem to be pretty good. I am taking Accounting 1A, Business Law, Microeconomics, History of photography, and Business Communication. Accounting seems to be a class with a lot of work but something that I will use in the future. I have had the professor of my business law class before and found her to be very intelligent and someone with a great wealth of information to share if you are willing to learn. My microeconomics teacher has a very interesting system of grading. Basically her grades are like ordering something off a menu. To get an A in the class you only need 90 points out of a possible 170. As soon as you get the 90 points your done. For some people this means you don’t have to take the final exam at all. You do an assignment and get points for it. We’ll have to see how that works out. The business communications class is taught by a professor that seems to demand a lot out of his students but in return teaches them skills that are very valuable. People grow the most when they are pressured and pushed to what they think their limits are. I hope to learn a lot in that class.
I am also taking a weight training class twice a week to compliment my running that I do at home. I want to be in better shape for houseboats this year.
After a rather interesting day traveling with The Refuge to Brian Head, Utah we finally made it.
We made a surprise stop in Calico Ghost Town in order to waste an extra hour that we had because of a later check in time then we had expected. Calico was an interesting place but it was definitely a ghost town. The sheriff of the town was an interesting fellow and was very good in playing his authentic period character. He was very proud of his authentic Daniel Boone knife. The tour of the mine was interesting to see what the working conditions were like. There were no lumber supports and the ceilings were tall enough that I at 6 foot tall did not have to duck. They had samples of the various ores that were found in the mine and showed that they glowed different colors when exposed to black light.
The temperature when we got here was probably in the mid teens and there were a few feet of snow on the ground. We are staying in 2 rented cabins that are rented private winter homes it appears. One is very modern with full Viking kitchen appliances, granite counter tops, and beautiful hardwood floors. I will post some pictures when I get a chance so you can see how amazing this place is. The girls on the trip are staying in the nicer cabin and we are using it as the place where we are having meals and our meetings. The basement is a full game room with shuffleboard, an arcade machine, and a dart board.
The cabin the guys are staying in is a little more homey feeling with more modest appliances and more basic styling. It is overall very nice and there are plenty of sleeping spaces including a loft with access only by ladder that is very interesting. The basement also is a game room in this house although slightly smaller than the other one as it also includes a small bedroom.
The major event of the day was when Pastor Jon got one of the vans stuck in the driveway of the girls’ cabin. We didn’t have chains for the vans and it was stuck half in a snow bank and slipping on ice. With the aid of a shovel and some boards we found, the men of the group managed to push the van free back to the bottom of the driveway to let it get it running start at the ice covered slope. Pastor Jon gunned it and just barely made it over the top of the hill. All the guys cheered for we had taken the hill.
I finished my last final today. I spent almost all night and another few hours today working on my complaint management system for my Visual Basic class. My finals this year were overall pretty mild. My online class was a basics of computers class that covered some really basic things about the computer. I didn’t think I would learn anything but we covered Office 2007 and I learned some more in and outs of the system that they had updated from Office 2003. Excel is pretty incredible when you start learning how to use it in your daily work flow.
My history class was a good class as the teacher cared more about the lessons to be learned from history and the major points of certain topics and not the small details that many history teachers focus on. The discussions about the material with the class provided some interesting perspectives from other students in the class.
Overall a good semester. Just one more to go and then I transfer to Cal State Fullerton. It will be good to get out of Saddleback and not be someone who never makes it out.