TED Conversations

David Hamilton


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Should degrees have "patches"?

Simple enough starting point. In the modern world our knowledge base is expanding so quickly that 5 years after you get a degree, quite a bit of what you learned is obselete, and quite a few important discoveries have been made. If you go into business, or government research, you may actually surpass the knowledge on any degree program, in your specific discipline... But, you'll still miss out on advances in your field of study, that do not apply to your business, or research.

Should modern universities offer degree patches, the way software companies offer patches. Every 5 years or so, each school is meant to design a one or two week online course, specifically designed to keep people who have already been granted degrees, in touch with the most up to date information in the field.

Having these patches on your degree, would then be quite valuable in the eyes of an employer I imagine. Some companies may even offer to pay for you to go get your patch...

Kinda seems like a no brainer to me.


Closing Statement from David Hamilton

Very fun and engaging discussion. Personally, I think MIT should get busy on this. Unlike many people here, however, I believe that proving knowledge and skills is the purpose of education. I believe every child is naturally curious, we don't teach them to be creative, we do the opposite. Teaching facts we know about the universe, or even ones we believe to be true because of a preponderance of evidence, has a place, and it's an incredibly important institution, one in desperate need of modern reform. As a bonus, first institution to do it well, gets an incredible revenue stream. Peace and love.

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    Aug 17 2012: 'Patches' already exist. They are called 'certificates' and 'advanced learning' programs. Basically, its a high priced shake-down from universities and institutions so that they can trap people in more debt after their university years are complete.

    I just finished paying for my Master degree - 8 years after completing the program. I am none to eager to take on more debt. If a company I am working for wants to pay for my continuing education - I'm for it. If I have to foot the bill, no thanks.

    IWe also have to realize that we can't educate ourselves out of ever scenario. If the sun doesn't shine, the answer is "more education".

    Damn, how much education do you think a human being needs before what they're learning needs to be backed by experience? Pretty soon you'll need a PhD to sweep floors. Sad. We're moving to a seriously over-educated society where that education means less and less in the job market.

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