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Aindreas Kugler

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Its time for a new type of university

Universities have become driven by profit, not driven by the will to offer the best education. I'm sure the founders of the universities had a different thought than profit when they founded their university many years ago. For example, in Ireland, 180 people in higher education earn more than €150,000, of which half earn over €200,000. So, what can be done to change this?

In my opinion, Universities have become outdated. While I have been studying engineering at UCD, I found that the lecturers were terrible. Very hard to listen to someone who reading off slides word for word and expects you to write it all down and listen to him simultaneously (its also a lot quicker to read than write). When I went home I found tutorial videos online which explain the whole lecture in less than 10 minutes. I don't believe my tuition fees should pay for lecturers that cant/wont teach.

Since there is a vast amount of information readily available from home, why pay for a campus, or lecturers at all? All the people require to do all the studying at home is a laptop, Internet connection, dates for exams and maybe labs(depending on the subject). So, one could slash the cost of getting a degree by publishing a list of topics one has to cover for a subject, and give them dates for exams and labs. All one needs is a hall for the exams, and a few supervisors. For the labs, one could use university campuses in the holidays, while they are closed, until a university without lecture halls is opened. One could set 4 dates for exams each year, and hold multiple labs every year. So, one could progress at his own rate, and sit the exams when one feels ready. You could even finish in a shorter time than a conventional university, which will appeal more to some.

Since the costs for this university would be down tremendously, free higher education would finally be viable.

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    Dec 8 2011: Thats a very good idea and a very valid point. We have gotten to the stage in society where the entire world is at our fingertips and we invariably want to access it. However unfortunetly the entire system was designed as a means to an end. Using Ireland again as an example, you sit your Junior Cert exams so that you can sit your Leaving Cert. You sit your Leaving Cert so that you can get points to go to college. You spend years in college to get a degree. You use a degree to get work. Nowhere in that system are they teaching you to truly think, to be analytical. Yet all the while they are charging you for it.
    As for your boring lecturers, the fact that someone has all the knowledge you need to be able to lechture in a subject is there reading off a projector word for word just proves how the system is flawed. We all know people who are considered brilliant because they can learn things off and regurgitate them come exam time. However they have next to no social skills, which I think is essential in public speaking/lecturing. They were never taught it and your ears pay the price!
    • Dec 8 2011: I admit the social aspect is a major flaw in this idea, however it isnt a problem that cannot be solved.
      One way would be to have project work that has to be done in groups. People would see who else is online and what they are studying, and they can get in touch with each other and organise a group to work on this project. Doing this could teach more skills in communication and social skills as you do not get put into groups, you have to find and form your own. The labs may also have a social element to it.
      There is still a lot of work to be done on this Idea, but I am not going to let it go.

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