Easy And Simple Are Not Synonyms

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Lauradglas, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Lauradglas

    Lauradglas New Member

    In the context of non-traditional education. I appreciate that the "Big 3" are simplified routes toward obtaining my degree. However, I wouldn't call obtaining any degree "easy".
    Here in Southern California I live close to many B&M schools.
    Our 3 local community colleges will accept up to 30 units in CLEP, DANTES, etc.
    The process of getting a degree in many B&M schools is just as important as the knowledge obtained. This is why they do not allow you to "Clep out" of all of your course work. It isn't because they do not acknowledge that the CLEP, DANTES, etc exams are an accurate assesment of knowledge in the subject, otherwise they wouldn't accept any credit by these methods. It is this peculiar "right of passage" mentality of traditional schools that the Big 3 have bypassed. They have simplified the process; conferring degrees based on what you know rather than how you learned it. I suppose there will always be those, who in earning their degree traditionally, and surviving the process, will resent those who were not required to go through it. Most of the tests I've taken have been easy for me. Many here have had similar experiences. That isn't a measure of the exams so much as the intelligence of the average person choosing this route to obtain a degree. Tenacity, intelligence, and individualism are practically requisites of students who choose this path. Personally, I find the term "easy 3" a laughable pomposity. Just because someone says it doesn't make it so.
  2. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Well said.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  4. anthonym

    anthonym New Member

    In my opinion, the easier route is the traditional one in many cases. Being 18-22 years old, living in a dorm, with no kids, jobs, bills etc., is a breeze compared to the juggling act many adults must sustain to graduate. DL or testing-out options are ways to manage competing obligations for many. There's nothing easy about it.
  5. mcdirector

    mcdirector New Member

    Oh, I so agree! I got my undergrad degree through Indiana's external degree program. My kids watched me juggle all that goes along with working, schooling, parenting. They both went straight to school and on to master's programs IMMEDIATELY. No fooling around for them. One of the flat out said that he would not do it the way I did it. *sigh*
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It's possible that some educators do have doubts about the credibility of some of the exams, but they also recognize that there aren't a whole lot of prior-learning-assessment instruments currently available. They think that PLA is important but they don't want it abused either. So they cap it.

    If what's being sloughed over is the learning of the material, there could be problems if the assessment instruments aren't air-tight.

    Then it shouldn't be hard to understand why inferiors harbor doubts.

    When I take a class on Plato, I think that it's valuable to actually read Plato. If I take a calculus class, I have to put long hours into working the problem sets and struggling with the material. When I was a biology major, we had labs in almost every class. I have trouble understanding how all that can be shrugged off.

    Part of the problem is right here at Degreeinfo.

    I've seen post after post boasting of all the exams people passed without any study or prior exposure to their subject. I've seen people claiming that they have racked up huge blocks of credit that way.

    While I'm aware that the phrase 'BA in 4 Weeks' refers more to the scheduling of the exams than to the time necessary for students to prepare to pass them, the name does create a bad impression. That's only compounded then Degreeinfo participants steer newcomers to this 'quickie' route without ever inquiring about people's previous preparation in their subject. That's seriously irresponsible in my opinion.

    So whatever my pomposity, it's probably more relevant that I'm skeptical. I think that prior learning assessment is a wonderful concept, but it still seems to need some work.

    It shouldn't be oversold. And it should be kept in mind that PLA is the validation of prior learning, not a substitute for that learning.
  7. Lauradglas

    Lauradglas New Member

    Ah, and here would be where the argument unravels:
    "When I take a class on Plato, I think that it's valuable to actually read Plato. If I take a calculus class, I have to put long hours into working the problem sets and struggling with the material. When I was a biology major, we had labs in almost every class. I have trouble understanding how all that can be shrugged off."
    Sorry, I spent two years at California State University San Bernardino. I can assure you that it is the rare student who reads the great philosophers. Students read snippets in text books and buy the relevant "Cliff Notes". If it takes you long hours to work problem sets so be it (it would also take me btw... I got an A in College Math & I will take it and move on)... but if it doesn't take someone else long hours why should they sit in class? I too had labs in my biology classes. I didn't take those DE, but I don't see why I couldn't. Give me a few slides, a microscope and a diagram and I could find that nucleus. Many DE programs require a lab with their science, many don't. In my experience this isn't all that different from B&M schools which have differing requirements for their general ed. It is easily shrugged off because the premise is faulty to start. You assume that in reading Plato one understands what one reads. You assume that sitting in a classroom assures that one reads. You further assume that one who tests out HASN'T read Plato.
    Further I'm not sure it IS required. One reason I do so well on Sociology exams (and did well in my B&M classes FWIW) is because I understand that way of thinking. I know the material without having read it. It makes sense to me. If I had to choose the student who has an understanding of Plato without having read one iota vs. the student who has read reams of literature with little understanding yet manages to parrot back to the teacher quite well, I will take the student who has understanding any day of the week.
    Are there those that could perhaps pass an assesment test without comprehension? Probably. The problem with your premise is the assumption that the B&M approach somehow assures mastery more readily than assessment. Having watched many a student walk out of class without mastery via the Bell Curve and/or good student habits without good personal understanding (ie, I did all the work, read all of the teachers notes, passed the test but have no clue what it all MEANS!) I have to disagree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2005

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