The Great Man theory of social progress or art or anything is inherently colonialist and supports kyrarchy. It's a persistent idea in western culture and apparently nothing in a typical CS education ever challenges this. Computers are either invented by a series of great men or they exist in some sort of end-of-history eternal present. RMS is a great man. Therefore any toxicity in his actions is overlookable and toxicity in his defenders is at worst just over exuberance or at best necessary and therefore good.

I'm picking on CS here, but its hardly unique. I've been teaching a course this year that specifically invokes this model of history in the official design documents.

@celesteh
I sometimes feel that education specialises too soon. Being Scottish we could have up to 7 different subjects per year that got us our highers, 1 year courses. If we wanted to progress further (in theory to catch up to A levels) we had a 6th year studies cert. It meant we could study a breadth of subjects. You could study history, a science, language, and mix and match others. Whereas I gather in England and Wales at the time due to the 2 year lengths you could only study a couple.

@onepict Given how everything becomes more technical and complex, phenomenon of early specialisation is quite natural. One must understand the existing to dig deeper into the unknown.

@joyager

I dunno if I agree with this, all problems are not solvable by increasing specialization. I meam, many are, its obviously effective but if everyone is trained to see the world through the lens of breaking the unknown down into tinier and tinier pieces it is going to create major blindspots.

This kind of approach rarely understands "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" phenomena since people only think about the parts.

@onepict

@Alonealastalovedalongthe There is no one solution to anything. It just happens right now the society need specialists and so the "education" do its best to produce them. It surely comes with a cost of increased ignorance and missing out the big picture for many people; but it's not obvious to me how it could be otherwise. @onepict

@joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict

there is so much I nominally 'learned' in my formal education that really only sunk in after I had more experience of, and out in, the world beyond the classroom

and that's acknowledging the experiences I did have that others may not have

access to formal education as a universal, lifelong opportunity, rather than as a Veblen good marketed chiefly to the young and perforce usually naive: we could do *much* better with that

@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict I'm a mature student. I find the networking opportunities valuable, but the course itself? I have learned very little so far. I hope I can learn something at some point, but a lot of it is stuff I didn't know at 18 but do know at 35, and I feel like I'm wasting my time.

Even some lecturers have said "you would probably be wasting your time turning up to this session on How To Work In A Group" or whatever to me

@ak

a great example of an opportunity to do better

for instance, you'd be a great contributor to discussion on that topic, I expect.

Ideally, then, you wouldn't be shunted aside from a "material delivery" episode, but invited to review and re-evaluate the material in light of those experiences.

or, at least, be given credit for your experiences and allowed to skip lower-level intro courses?

@joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict

@ak

(and by "do better" I mean, not to fault your efforts, but structurally, including doing better for you and others in your position with regard to the academy)

@joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict

@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict I'm largely invisible - there are an awful lot of generalisations used by lecturers that don't apply to me ("none of you will remember this thing that happened in 2002 but...")

As a mature, working-class, transgender student, statistically I don't exist and I feel like I spend more time saying "hey! I'm here!" than I do learning about urban planning, and I find myself getting more out of non-uni planning events than the course

Follow

@ak

how large are the lectures?

as much as I love to blather on, lecture-style, at my own students, I have to concede that the centuries-old general lecture format meant to be passively consumed in real time has a rapidly shrinking niche of applicability.

like any live performance, done well, they can be satisfying. But a reliable staple, with our needs and aspirations and opportunities? Not so much.

@joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict

@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict I got a bollocking the other day for watching someone's pre-recorded lectures on a Sunday afternoon when there's not much going on, rather than in the "timetabled slot" on a Friday

When I queried this, I got the "you're a full time student and should be available full time" schtick that tutors have been using since the days of the student grant

It's classist BS that takes no consideration of personal circumstances

@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict My Russell Group university breaks down into middle-class white English students, mostly from the south, and Chinese international students, everyone else is statistically insignificant and has to yell 10 times louder to be heard

@ak @deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe @onepict

Wow, I just realised i don't even know if I have any mature students this term. Everyone who shows up synchronously leaves their camera off. Normally, I would just look out over the class.

My uni's policy is to mark people absent if they only watch later. My policy is that they can sign in. This legally doesn't impact British or Irish students, but everyone else has their student visa imperiled.

@celesteh These are entirely pre-recorded lectures, they are published one week and then there's a live Q&A/discussion the following week - I just watch them on Sundays instead of Friday afternoons when I'm "supposed to"

I haven't missed any content, and I haven't missed any live sessions, I think the lecturer just wanted to take their bad day out on someone

@ak
Sadly there are alot of educators out there like that and they do contribute to the drop out rate in STEM, which is how we get to our pretty crappy culture in tech and elsewhere.
@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe

@onepict @deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe Even in this pandemic year, the university's first thought is that any problem with engagement must be caused by lazy bum students rather than anything else

@ak
To some extent I suspect familiarity breeds contempt. Every year they have students and there isn't much of a continuous relationship with them. So it's easier for them to believe that. Doesn't make it right though.
@deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe

@onepict @ak @deejoe @joyager @Alonealastalovedalongthe

This attitude also fits in directly with mindsets of Desi/East Asian parents in Britain (who already have a reputation for being "pushy" though to an extent its a genuine attempt to help offspring fight institutionalised racism), the psychological effect of this is exactly how we end up with politicians like Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel (TBH had it not been for the 90s party scene I could have gone down same Tory supporting route myself)

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