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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.

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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 22 2012: This idea of patch should be considered carefully since a lot of degrees are not about being up to date but rather having a certain disposition of the mind that allows to deal with whatever new knowledge is needed in your field. A great example is computer sciences : what matter the most is your ability to adapt and to think, not what technology or programmation language you ended to learn.

    In another words : is the goal of a degree solely to get you skills that the job markets is looking for or is also a time to mature and improve oneself thinking and critical judgement abilities ?

    If people want to know which technologies you are an expert, what are your fields of expertise, they can look at your previous missions on your resume and even give a call.
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      Aug 22 2012: "is the goal of a degree solely to get you skills that the job markets is looking for or is also a time to mature and improve oneself thinking and critical judgement abilities ?"

      I see this question over and over again. The reason you pay a government entity thousands of dollars, is to certify that you have a job skill... I learned how to critically think, enjoy reading, and care about self improvement by the time I was 12.

      If degrees are just meant to help people "mature", they shouldn't be a tool for the rich to stay rich, and I'm very happy I didn't waste my time or money getting one past AS.

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