Monday, November 24, 2014

Evil Emperor emeritus on education

Bill Gates, hereinafter The EEe, himself a college dropout, visits Arizona's Rio Salado College;
Tucked away in an industrial park in Tempe, Rio Salado doesn’t look much like a traditional institute of higher education. There were no students running to class. No ivy-covered walls. Just a couple of glass-faced office buildings.
....The college has just 22 full-time faculty serving 60,000 students, with more than half of them attending their classes online. (The full-time faculty depend on 1,400 part-time teachers who manage individual class sections, review/grade assignments, and consult with students.) Students can start any of the school’s 1,000 courses almost any Monday of the year. Classes cost $84 per credit hour, far less than what other colleges charge.
I also visited the University of Phoenix, a for-profit institution with more than 300,000 students, where teachers and staff are working to make online learning even more flexible. ....
If your idea of college is a professor lecturing in front of a classroom full of students, some of these innovations may be surprising, even a little unsettling. But this kind of out-of-the-box thinking is needed to address the challenge facing higher education. College tuition is rising faster than any other cost in the U.S.—pricing many students out of a degree. More than 40 percent of college students drop out, depriving them of the chance to earn more money and leaving the U.S. without the highly-trained workers we need for economic growth. The fact is, we face a real dilemma. We need to educate people in a better way without increasing cost.
[Bold in the above by HSIB]

So, we have The EEe, one of the most spectacularly unequal people on the planet, thinking about ways to improve the educational outcomes for those without his advantages. Better to light one candle than to curse the Pikettyness.

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