Who cares about learning anyways?

by P

Reading an article about “Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis”, a book by two Canadian academics, I came across this fascinating story. It does not directly have anything to do with our research on rip-mix-learn practices at UWC, but maybe we need to start asking ourselves, if (how) new ways of teaching and learning could improve things – either by raising interest and engagement of all students, or by reducing the amount of students that have no interest in education at all.

Full article is here: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=aebf03b8-2d32-4fe1-a467-5e7f1f5a27a0&k=93169&p=1

Just over a year ago, a professor at the University of Prince Edward Island made his overcrowded History of Christianity class a stunning offer: He would give a grade of 70% to anyone who stopped showing up for the rest of the semester and didn’t bother to complete any of the course work. About 20 students took him up on the offer and the veteran academic was ultimately forced into premature retirement by an embarrassed administration.

David Weale made national headlines and garnered notoriety for his seemingly cynical act, but he was also lauded by many who shared his frustrations for daring to expose some unpalatable truths about Canada’s postsecondary education system.

Prof. Cote has since employed the UPEI test on his own classes — as a hypothetical exercise. When he offers 68% to anyone who quits, the only takers are those who failed the mid-term. As he edges the freebie higher, more students are willing to take the bargain.

“At 80%, virtually the whole class would walk out,” he said. “A lot of students react to it like ‘I got an 80 — that’s mine.’ They’re very egocentric about it. It’s almost like a possession to them.”