Monday, January 9, 2012

What about Quality, Challenging Courses?

See, Jay Mathews, Washington Post, Put Spotlight on School, not Sports. (For a moment, let's disregard the enormous billions of dollars spent each year on college sports instead of academic facilities and resources.) No, what a college wants is "student success," which means higher graduation rates (or increased student retention so that students take more classes and pay more tuition).  It is rare the college that is actually about quality courses with real reading and writing challenges for students.  This is particularly challenging for a community college.  From my perspective, the oft-quoted figure that students study maybe 12 hours a week is an inflated figure.  I can come up with a class schedule that will require far less hours and still reward a student with solid grades of "A" and "B."  Faculty are afraid to hold students accountable and perhaps even fail them (that's not the student success that schools are looking for).

The Blackboard Strait-Jacket

We continue to be stuck with the old frame set-up of Blackboard.  There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of digital apps out there, but we have Blackboard and it's ten or so features.