The role of a University?

Is it to teach commercial skills (like how to run Adobe InDesign) or is it to push people to explore their fields and themselves?

Steve Sloan is asking for feedback about his innovative podcasting class because the university wants to change it to be just a pure skills class.

Sigh.

You can learn InDesign from a book. You can’t have a small group interaction with speakers like Steve Sergeant, host of Wildebeat, David Weinberger, author of Cluetrain Manifesto, Aaron Uhrmacher, Second Life expert, Phil Wolff, SkypeJournal author, or students talking about their own podcasts. I spoke to the class as well. Notice how all those link to podcasts of the actual class sessions!

It’s a shame, because San Jose State University needs more innovative classes like these, not fewer.

Steve is hosting a meeting Thursday evening to discuss the situation and see if they can do anything.

Comments

  1. here’s the scoop on why uni’s are like this. It’s easier to measure learning if you are teaching skills than if you are teaching concepts; easier to measure understanding of concepts than attainment of insight. If 163 is inside of a tech department, the guys in charge are probably used to only teaching skills. Steve might want to talk to people in the humanities divisions, particularly in Drama, literature, and philosophy for pointers on how to deal with this.

    the obsession with measuring learning is fairly new, and is tied to the accreditation biz, which is a lot like the ISO 9000 type consultancy biz. Which is to say, it’s a good idea, but there’s a lot of bottom feeders (consultants and administrators) taking advantage of the old new thing.

  2. here’s the scoop on why uni’s are like this. It’s easier to measure learning if you are teaching skills than if you are teaching concepts; easier to measure understanding of concepts than attainment of insight. If 163 is inside of a tech department, the guys in charge are probably used to only teaching skills. Steve might want to talk to people in the humanities divisions, particularly in Drama, literature, and philosophy for pointers on how to deal with this.

    the obsession with measuring learning is fairly new, and is tied to the accreditation biz, which is a lot like the ISO 9000 type consultancy biz. Which is to say, it’s a good idea, but there’s a lot of bottom feeders (consultants and administrators) taking advantage of the old new thing.

  3. I can’t believe anybody would seriously give college credits for EITHER of these. This makes a Liberal Arts course look downright educational.

    Seriously Robert, what use does a graduate make of learning about podcasting? Web 2.0? All it really furthers is the teacher’s wallet.

    I see no useful skills in this course. Basket Weaving 101 enables a student more.

  4. I can’t believe anybody would seriously give college credits for EITHER of these. This makes a Liberal Arts course look downright educational.

    Seriously Robert, what use does a graduate make of learning about podcasting? Web 2.0? All it really furthers is the teacher’s wallet.

    I see no useful skills in this course. Basket Weaving 101 enables a student more.

  5. Universities are strange beasts in that they lead innovation in some areas and quash it in others.

    Where I work, they’re keen to make recordings of lectures available as podcasts, but when I suggested going beyond the obvious and using them as a marketing device even the people who thought it was a great idea didn’t want to shift resources around to do it.

    I’ve since blogged about it, hoping that someone picks up the idea, since I think it’s too good to not be done by someone!

  6. Universities are strange beasts in that they lead innovation in some areas and quash it in others.

    Where I work, they’re keen to make recordings of lectures available as podcasts, but when I suggested going beyond the obvious and using them as a marketing device even the people who thought it was a great idea didn’t want to shift resources around to do it.

    I’ve since blogged about it, hoping that someone picks up the idea, since I think it’s too good to not be done by someone!

  7. “Is it to teach commercial skills (like how to run Adobe InDesign) or is it to push people to explore their fields and themselves?”

    I think the answer is BOTH. Any given university should offer a nice balance of exploratory courses and specialized skill courses. As a general rule, students get to choose the courses they take so there is always an opportunity for exploration and growth. Likewise, there are a variety of different personality profiles among students; some will be drawn to focussed, specialized courses, and others will be drawn to more philisophical/exploratory courses. So the question is what is the appropriate balance? Should the university set guidelines around this, or simply empower students to choose? I think that there should be some guidelines in place so that the university is making a concerted effort to keep students somewhat balanced (specialized vs. exploratory); however, there should be plenty of wiggle room for students to choose, thereby contributing to personal development.

  8. “Is it to teach commercial skills (like how to run Adobe InDesign) or is it to push people to explore their fields and themselves?”

    I think the answer is BOTH. Any given university should offer a nice balance of exploratory courses and specialized skill courses. As a general rule, students get to choose the courses they take so there is always an opportunity for exploration and growth. Likewise, there are a variety of different personality profiles among students; some will be drawn to focussed, specialized courses, and others will be drawn to more philisophical/exploratory courses. So the question is what is the appropriate balance? Should the university set guidelines around this, or simply empower students to choose? I think that there should be some guidelines in place so that the university is making a concerted effort to keep students somewhat balanced (specialized vs. exploratory); however, there should be plenty of wiggle room for students to choose, thereby contributing to personal development.

  9. Dave: oh, I guess you’d say blogging and podcasting and videoblogging play no part in journalism. Wow, you sound really educated if you’d say that. This is a journalism department.

  10. Dave: oh, I guess you’d say blogging and podcasting and videoblogging play no part in journalism. Wow, you sound really educated if you’d say that. This is a journalism department.

  11. I’m a student in the department, but not the class. The SJSU J-school desperately needs a class like this, and teachers like this.

    If no one at the university level starts teaching journalism and mass communications students the technology and theory behind New Media, the students *still* go through school expecting reporting jobs in print publications, as if that was the top of the mountain and one could get no higher.

    That starts with the faculty, and the curriculum.

    Incidentally, the department already teaches Photoshop and InDesign in the logical specializations for photographers and page designers, so I don’t know what it is they’re trying to do here.

  12. I’m a student in the department, but not the class. The SJSU J-school desperately needs a class like this, and teachers like this.

    If no one at the university level starts teaching journalism and mass communications students the technology and theory behind New Media, the students *still* go through school expecting reporting jobs in print publications, as if that was the top of the mountain and one could get no higher.

    That starts with the faculty, and the curriculum.

    Incidentally, the department already teaches Photoshop and InDesign in the logical specializations for photographers and page designers, so I don’t know what it is they’re trying to do here.

  13. Hi- There is a class at the Univ. of DE on new mobile technologies, designed by Mark Serva in the business school. I went and lectured on podcasting. Mark had the students using GPS, mobile devices, wikis, and other new technologies hands on, because frankly, they will need to know how to use these tools in the real world, and the implications of the tools.
    UD also hosted a great seminar on redeveloping curriculum like Penn State has done in their Information Sciences and Learning (ISL) department. Dr. Larry Spence came and talked about how students learn best, and then the rest of the day was spent gettign faculty exposed to different ways to engage students in the curriculum and learn as much from each other as from the professor. As Dr. Spence said tot he group: “Most classrooms haven’t changed their knowledge delivery methods since universities first came into existance. A mideval professor would feel quite at home in most of today’s classrooms- a talking head, lecturing to a bunch of seated students, whose job it was to absorb and spit back knowledge” rather than absorb it and then transform it, work with it, to create something new.

    Penn State has made a big impact with their programs, and it has caused UD to look at how to make their programming courses and the like more useful. When I spoke with Mark Serva about his programming class, I asked whether the students would have to do much of this out in the real world, since applications are becoming more and more user friendly, and coding is less vital in many jobs. But we both agreed that understanding the heirarchy of system and information design was important, not only to isolate and debug potential problems, but to understand the logic behind system design. What works, and what does not.
    So perhaps, hands on mixed with skills on problem solving, structural heirarchy, deconstruction, logic, and the like are really the skills students need in college, rather than to be wedded to any one programming language, for example- they will need to be easily adaptable for the marketplace, and willing to change gears and solve problems in innovative ways. These are the value add skills they need for the new economy, in my humble opinion.
    Whitney Hoffman
    The LD Podcast
    http://www.ldpodcast.com

  14. Hi- There is a class at the Univ. of DE on new mobile technologies, designed by Mark Serva in the business school. I went and lectured on podcasting. Mark had the students using GPS, mobile devices, wikis, and other new technologies hands on, because frankly, they will need to know how to use these tools in the real world, and the implications of the tools.
    UD also hosted a great seminar on redeveloping curriculum like Penn State has done in their Information Sciences and Learning (ISL) department. Dr. Larry Spence came and talked about how students learn best, and then the rest of the day was spent gettign faculty exposed to different ways to engage students in the curriculum and learn as much from each other as from the professor. As Dr. Spence said tot he group: “Most classrooms haven’t changed their knowledge delivery methods since universities first came into existance. A mideval professor would feel quite at home in most of today’s classrooms- a talking head, lecturing to a bunch of seated students, whose job it was to absorb and spit back knowledge” rather than absorb it and then transform it, work with it, to create something new.

    Penn State has made a big impact with their programs, and it has caused UD to look at how to make their programming courses and the like more useful. When I spoke with Mark Serva about his programming class, I asked whether the students would have to do much of this out in the real world, since applications are becoming more and more user friendly, and coding is less vital in many jobs. But we both agreed that understanding the heirarchy of system and information design was important, not only to isolate and debug potential problems, but to understand the logic behind system design. What works, and what does not.
    So perhaps, hands on mixed with skills on problem solving, structural heirarchy, deconstruction, logic, and the like are really the skills students need in college, rather than to be wedded to any one programming language, for example- they will need to be easily adaptable for the marketplace, and willing to change gears and solve problems in innovative ways. These are the value add skills they need for the new economy, in my humble opinion.
    Whitney Hoffman
    The LD Podcast
    http://www.ldpodcast.com

  15. IMHO, the role of a university is to prepare people to face the future, whether that means taking a podcasting class or whatever. Back in the day, when I was at university, I took liberal arts because I believed if I could learn problem solving skills and a large frame of reference for decisions, I could pick up the rest of the stuff on my own. BUT even at Cornell, there were plenty of people learning skills: animal husbandry, accounting, calculus, engineering, and business.

    This is, however, a great question to discuss, because universities are always facing this dilemma.

  16. IMHO, the role of a university is to prepare people to face the future, whether that means taking a podcasting class or whatever. Back in the day, when I was at university, I took liberal arts because I believed if I could learn problem solving skills and a large frame of reference for decisions, I could pick up the rest of the stuff on my own. BUT even at Cornell, there were plenty of people learning skills: animal husbandry, accounting, calculus, engineering, and business.

    This is, however, a great question to discuss, because universities are always facing this dilemma.

  17. Interesting one. In a journalism department, I don’t see why not. All journalists should have some knowledge of the tools of the trade, and being theoretically minded myself, a course on the social/business impact of modern communication would be an ideal one to go through.

    Personally, I feel that there is too little emphasis on knowledge, and for knowledge to be appreciated and aggregated, a fundamental understanding of the underlying concepts is essential. That understanding drives curiosity and helps people gain more from that knowledge. As LayZ says, university education should make people think, about scientific problems, social problems, historical questions, take your pick. I would pick science and mathematics 100 times out of 100, but that’s me.

  18. Interesting one. In a journalism department, I don’t see why not. All journalists should have some knowledge of the tools of the trade, and being theoretically minded myself, a course on the social/business impact of modern communication would be an ideal one to go through.

    Personally, I feel that there is too little emphasis on knowledge, and for knowledge to be appreciated and aggregated, a fundamental understanding of the underlying concepts is essential. That understanding drives curiosity and helps people gain more from that knowledge. As LayZ says, university education should make people think, about scientific problems, social problems, historical questions, take your pick. I would pick science and mathematics 100 times out of 100, but that’s me.

  19. A University should teach concepts, not the handling of tools. Tools come and go over time, but the concepts are what’s behind all those tools and one should master the concepts in order to be able to handle any tool that is “in” or does the job well. I don’t believe in Universities as being training facilities for workers.

  20. A University should teach concepts, not the handling of tools. Tools come and go over time, but the concepts are what’s behind all those tools and one should master the concepts in order to be able to handle any tool that is “in” or does the job well. I don’t believe in Universities as being training facilities for workers.

  21. Robert-

    What do you use to make your video podcasting sound so good? Just wanted to see what kind of setup you are using.

  22. Robert-

    What do you use to make your video podcasting sound so good? Just wanted to see what kind of setup you are using.

  23. In the UK at least, “employability” is the buzzword for us University types. Blogging and podcasting are fine, and they fascinate me as learning tools, but will they help the average Science student I teach get a job after graduation?

  24. In the UK at least, “employability” is the buzzword for us University types. Blogging and podcasting are fine, and they fascinate me as learning tools, but will they help the average Science student I teach get a job after graduation?

  25. I am a print journalism student enrolled in the now famous JMC163.

    If the University really wants students to learn these programs, then they should consider making New Media a concentration like Print and Broadcast. Removing such vital content will only act as a disservice to students.

    And maybe it’s just my journalism background speaking, but I think journalists SHOULD be more interested in the WHY than the HOW, because the HOW is always conditional upon the WHY.

    As to those who say that Web 2.0 is not a viable option for generating revenue, look no further than Robert Scoble, or the list of new journalists, (bloggers and vloggers) appearing everyday in iTunes’ directory. The market will grow just as it did to meet people’s desire for radio, television and THE INTERNET, and soon enough no one will question its longterm profitability.

    I don’t listen to the naysayers. They were the same people that told Google that AdSense was a horrible idea, and YouTube that no one would watch one minute clips of some guy living out of his car for a month.

    The world is stranger than most believe, and more interesting and resilient than people expect. Money will follow all human endeavors, granted there is a desire for more.

  26. I am a print journalism student enrolled in the now famous JMC163.

    If the University really wants students to learn these programs, then they should consider making New Media a concentration like Print and Broadcast. Removing such vital content will only act as a disservice to students.

    And maybe it’s just my journalism background speaking, but I think journalists SHOULD be more interested in the WHY than the HOW, because the HOW is always conditional upon the WHY.

    As to those who say that Web 2.0 is not a viable option for generating revenue, look no further than Robert Scoble, or the list of new journalists, (bloggers and vloggers) appearing everyday in iTunes’ directory. The market will grow just as it did to meet people’s desire for radio, television and THE INTERNET, and soon enough no one will question its longterm profitability.

    I don’t listen to the naysayers. They were the same people that told Google that AdSense was a horrible idea, and YouTube that no one would watch one minute clips of some guy living out of his car for a month.

    The world is stranger than most believe, and more interesting and resilient than people expect. Money will follow all human endeavors, granted there is a desire for more.

  27. Universities are all about education – teaching people how to use their brains and think. When you’re educated, new problems shouldn’t phase you, as you have the wherewithall to work out how to solve them.

    In the UK however . . . the goverment is very much focused on Training, and funds a host of free training for the under-educated. Training is all about specific skills, and so people who’ve only had training tend to struggle when faced with the unfamiliar.

    So if your university course is all about how to run X piece of software, rather than the concepts of what X does, and why you need it in the first place . . . you should be asking questions about what you’re getting for the fees.

    Or I might just be an elitist snob.

  28. Universities are all about education – teaching people how to use their brains and think. When you’re educated, new problems shouldn’t phase you, as you have the wherewithall to work out how to solve them.

    In the UK however . . . the goverment is very much focused on Training, and funds a host of free training for the under-educated. Training is all about specific skills, and so people who’ve only had training tend to struggle when faced with the unfamiliar.

    So if your university course is all about how to run X piece of software, rather than the concepts of what X does, and why you need it in the first place . . . you should be asking questions about what you’re getting for the fees.

    Or I might just be an elitist snob.

  29. [...] Robert did this piece today on Steve Sloan’s announcement that the University may dismantle what is now JMC163. He wrote: Sigh. You can learn InDesign from a book. You can’t have a small group interaction with speakers like Steve Sergeant, host of Wildebeat, David Weinberger, author of Cluetrain Manifesto, Aaron Uhrmacher, Second Life expert, Phil Wolff, SkypeJournal author, or students talking about their own podcasts. I spoke to the class as well. Notice how all those link to podcasts of the actual class sessions! [...]

  30. I think its too early to have a blogging class. We haven’t reached a proper definition for blogs yet :)
    Research and studies on blogging would be a good start. And once all the stuff are set in place – a class would work.
    Maybe a colloquium would be a better idea at this stage.

  31. I think its too early to have a blogging class. We haven’t reached a proper definition for blogs yet :)
    Research and studies on blogging would be a good start. And once all the stuff are set in place – a class would work.
    Maybe a colloquium would be a better idea at this stage.

  32. This is a great question. I learn best by experimenting. (thats how I learned InDesign) To some extent you do have to teach the skills and train people how to do the work, because thats what they are going to need in the real world. But, exploring their fields, finding themselves, and learning to think creatively is very important. While recently researching colleges (Im a 16yr old high school junior) I found that one school had workshop classes that students were required to take in order to learn the skills and then there were the classes in which they had more freedom to explore their field.

    I recently created a class of my own to make a website for videos and podcasts for the school. Some people know how to use the technology and some I am teaching how to use the programs.

  33. This is a great question. I learn best by experimenting. (thats how I learned InDesign) To some extent you do have to teach the skills and train people how to do the work, because thats what they are going to need in the real world. But, exploring their fields, finding themselves, and learning to think creatively is very important. While recently researching colleges (Im a 16yr old high school junior) I found that one school had workshop classes that students were required to take in order to learn the skills and then there were the classes in which they had more freedom to explore their field.

    I recently created a class of my own to make a website for videos and podcasts for the school. Some people know how to use the technology and some I am teaching how to use the programs.

  34. I am also a student in the JMC 163 class being discussed here. I totally agree with Steve Sloan, Robert Scoble and Andrew Venegas. I often feel short changed by my education. Way too often we just sit in a class and listen to a professor talk about what journalism has been in the past. That is nice, I love history and I think it is important to learn, but we need to learn the skills that employers are going to want us to have in the future. Journalism is part of the College of Applied Sciences at San Jose State. You would think that we could apply some of the things we are learning. There are already places for us to use our writing and editing and print design skills, but until now there has been no opportunity for us to do anything online. Instead of one class covering blogging, podcasting, web deisgn and every other computer related topic, we need three or four. This stuff is the future of journalism. From the job and internship ads I have seen, these are the skills employers are looking for, and if I leave college without them I am going to be out of luck. What good is a journalism degree if all we learn are skills that are no longer wanted?

  35. I am also a student in the JMC 163 class being discussed here. I totally agree with Steve Sloan, Robert Scoble and Andrew Venegas. I often feel short changed by my education. Way too often we just sit in a class and listen to a professor talk about what journalism has been in the past. That is nice, I love history and I think it is important to learn, but we need to learn the skills that employers are going to want us to have in the future. Journalism is part of the College of Applied Sciences at San Jose State. You would think that we could apply some of the things we are learning. There are already places for us to use our writing and editing and print design skills, but until now there has been no opportunity for us to do anything online. Instead of one class covering blogging, podcasting, web deisgn and every other computer related topic, we need three or four. This stuff is the future of journalism. From the job and internship ads I have seen, these are the skills employers are looking for, and if I leave college without them I am going to be out of luck. What good is a journalism degree if all we learn are skills that are no longer wanted?

  36. [...] My favorite comment so far comes from what Whitney Hoffman wrote on Scoble’s blog: As Dr. Spence said to the group (at the Univ. of DE): “Most classrooms haven’t changed their knowledge delivery methods since universities first came into existance. A mideval professor would feel quite at home in most of today’s classrooms- a talking head, lecturing to a bunch of seated students, whose job it was to absorb and spit back knowledge” rather than absorb it and then transform it, work with it, to create something new. [...]

  37. @20 Spot on! Vocational schools are where someone goes to learn HOW to do something, to learn a specific skill . Universities should be teaching people how to think and solve problems. If a blogging course helps you analyze news and data more effectively, then by all means make it part of the ciriculum. But if all it’s going to do is teach you HOW to podcast or blog, well, sort of a waste of university resources. IMHO

  38. @20 Spot on! Vocational schools are where someone goes to learn HOW to do something, to learn a specific skill . Universities should be teaching people how to think and solve problems. If a blogging course helps you analyze news and data more effectively, then by all means make it part of the ciriculum. But if all it’s going to do is teach you HOW to podcast or blog, well, sort of a waste of university resources. IMHO

  39. In response to: Is it to teach commercial skills (like how to run Adobe InDesign) or is it to push people to explore their fields and themselves?

    Steve may want to explore what the Harvard law school is doing with Second Life and one of their course offerings called CyberOne. True potential for how people might explore their fields. http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/

    regards,

    Joe

  40. In response to: Is it to teach commercial skills (like how to run Adobe InDesign) or is it to push people to explore their fields and themselves?

    Steve may want to explore what the Harvard law school is doing with Second Life and one of their course offerings called CyberOne. True potential for how people might explore their fields. http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/

    regards,

    Joe

  41. In response to: “If a blogging course helps you analyze news and data more effectively, then by all means make it part of the ciriculum [sic]. But if all it’s going to do is teach you HOW to podcast or blog, well, sort of a waste of university resources.”

    I’m also involved in Jour163 (co-lecturer/”understudy”), and be assured this class has done both.

    For example, to get a better understanding of web/web 2.0 concepts, we read The Cluetrain Manifesto, discussed it class (with co-author David Weinberger via Skype, no less), and continued our discussion on the class blog. We also read Friedman’s The World is Flat to get a better grip of some of the global trends shaping our economy and the media industry. We didn’t just hear about Second Life, we saw it and experienced it as an SJSU staffer who’s involved in Second Life interacted on screen (again using Skype) with another Second Life denizen.

    In Jour 163, we’ve tried to combine an understanding of media trends, web 2.0 and new media technologies with some hands-on experience at blogging, podcasting, creating RSS feeds, simple web page design, and multimedia.

    I think we’ve all learned a lot…and I’m talking instructors as well as students. I know I have. We plan to do some things a little differently next semester (and we’ll probably consider some other modifications after we hear our students’ evaluations as we wrap up the class). But I hope we can continue to use this class to offer students an opportunity to explore how and why the media industry is changing, and think about how they can fit into that new world, as well as to help them learn some new media skills.

  42. In response to: “If a blogging course helps you analyze news and data more effectively, then by all means make it part of the ciriculum [sic]. But if all it’s going to do is teach you HOW to podcast or blog, well, sort of a waste of university resources.”

    I’m also involved in Jour163 (co-lecturer/”understudy”), and be assured this class has done both.

    For example, to get a better understanding of web/web 2.0 concepts, we read The Cluetrain Manifesto, discussed it class (with co-author David Weinberger via Skype, no less), and continued our discussion on the class blog. We also read Friedman’s The World is Flat to get a better grip of some of the global trends shaping our economy and the media industry. We didn’t just hear about Second Life, we saw it and experienced it as an SJSU staffer who’s involved in Second Life interacted on screen (again using Skype) with another Second Life denizen.

    In Jour 163, we’ve tried to combine an understanding of media trends, web 2.0 and new media technologies with some hands-on experience at blogging, podcasting, creating RSS feeds, simple web page design, and multimedia.

    I think we’ve all learned a lot…and I’m talking instructors as well as students. I know I have. We plan to do some things a little differently next semester (and we’ll probably consider some other modifications after we hear our students’ evaluations as we wrap up the class). But I hope we can continue to use this class to offer students an opportunity to explore how and why the media industry is changing, and think about how they can fit into that new world, as well as to help them learn some new media skills.

  43. #17: Actually knowing how to do a podcast is far more likely to get you a job in Silicon Valley lately than knowing how to write a newspaper article. The San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers are laying off journalists. Companies like PodShow, Revision 3, TWiT, and PodTech are hiring podcasters, though.

  44. #17: Actually knowing how to do a podcast is far more likely to get you a job in Silicon Valley lately than knowing how to write a newspaper article. The San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers are laying off journalists. Companies like PodShow, Revision 3, TWiT, and PodTech are hiring podcasters, though.

  45. Hi all,

    Uni is to learn how to learn. Then you can do the other stuff.

    Not “I see no useful skills in this course. Basket Weaving 101 enables a student more.”

    but underwater basketweaving 201.

    cheers Plu

  46. Hi all,

    Uni is to learn how to learn. Then you can do the other stuff.

    Not “I see no useful skills in this course. Basket Weaving 101 enables a student more.”

    but underwater basketweaving 201.

    cheers Plu

  47. Sourpuss Dave here….

    Robert – the blog is titled “Steve Sloan, SJSU Tech on a Mission”. Nowhere in the post does it refer to it being a journalism class, rather, it speaks of catchphrases like Web 2.0. Can you see where an undereducated sourpuss like me might make a mistake and think it to be an IT class?

    Katie – I’m not judging what class a student may take. Merely giving my opinion of what the worth may be. I’m in IT and in fact will be interviewing 3 candidates for an entry-level position today. My role is to assess their technical expertise. Appearantly somebody values my opinion.

    All, granted, my Basket Weaving 101 comment was a bit over the top. But no more than Robert or LayZ can be sometimes too. My real point is that a university should prepare a student for their career. A degree should show achievement to a commitment.

    As a journalism course there is some value to this course. As does teaching software. As for their technical merits? Not much.

  48. Sourpuss Dave here….

    Robert – the blog is titled “Steve Sloan, SJSU Tech on a Mission”. Nowhere in the post does it refer to it being a journalism class, rather, it speaks of catchphrases like Web 2.0. Can you see where an undereducated sourpuss like me might make a mistake and think it to be an IT class?

    Katie – I’m not judging what class a student may take. Merely giving my opinion of what the worth may be. I’m in IT and in fact will be interviewing 3 candidates for an entry-level position today. My role is to assess their technical expertise. Appearantly somebody values my opinion.

    All, granted, my Basket Weaving 101 comment was a bit over the top. But no more than Robert or LayZ can be sometimes too. My real point is that a university should prepare a student for their career. A degree should show achievement to a commitment.

    As a journalism course there is some value to this course. As does teaching software. As for their technical merits? Not much.

  49. @32 “My real point is that a university should prepare a student for their career.”

    Well, yes and no. That probably applies to accounting and perhaps computer programming. But I’m sure we all have plenty of examples of people working in careers that are not even remotely related to what they majored in in college. Even here Robert is a close example, but one can make the case his journalism training has helped him build his blogging reputation and PodCast business. Nevertheless, he didn’t have a “geeky” major but managed to prove his mettle in the industry. Despite my many and varied criticisms of Robert, he has proven that he can be successful in a career not directly related to his major. That’s because at the end of the day, his college education taught him how to think (yes, that was painful to write )

    Except for perhaps doctors, lawyers and accountants, employers usually, for the most part, look for people that know how to think and solve problems. If you can show you are smart, committed (you actually graduated, or made the effort), they figure they can train you to do the job. I’ve worked with many a developer that didn’t have a CS degree, and I’ve worked with many marketing types that didn’t have an marketing major or MBA.

  50. @32 “My real point is that a university should prepare a student for their career.”

    Well, yes and no. That probably applies to accounting and perhaps computer programming. But I’m sure we all have plenty of examples of people working in careers that are not even remotely related to what they majored in in college. Even here Robert is a close example, but one can make the case his journalism training has helped him build his blogging reputation and PodCast business. Nevertheless, he didn’t have a “geeky” major but managed to prove his mettle in the industry. Despite my many and varied criticisms of Robert, he has proven that he can be successful in a career not directly related to his major. That’s because at the end of the day, his college education taught him how to think (yes, that was painful to write )

    Except for perhaps doctors, lawyers and accountants, employers usually, for the most part, look for people that know how to think and solve problems. If you can show you are smart, committed (you actually graduated, or made the effort), they figure they can train you to do the job. I’ve worked with many a developer that didn’t have a CS degree, and I’ve worked with many marketing types that didn’t have an marketing major or MBA.

  51. LayZ: you’re going soft on me. Oh, geez. Seriously, thanks!

    I did learn computers in journalism, though. I wrote a column called “Spartan Nerd” which was where I practiced a lot of the things I do today. I also setup hundreds of Macs and beta tested lots of software thanks to San Jose State University. All of these led directly into working for a computer magazine, which led to planning conferences, which led to blogging, which led to Microsoft and blogging, which led to PodTech.

  52. LayZ: you’re going soft on me. Oh, geez. Seriously, thanks!

    I did learn computers in journalism, though. I wrote a column called “Spartan Nerd” which was where I practiced a lot of the things I do today. I also setup hundreds of Macs and beta tested lots of software thanks to San Jose State University. All of these led directly into working for a computer magazine, which led to planning conferences, which led to blogging, which led to Microsoft and blogging, which led to PodTech.

  53. Steve, what Robert linked to was your personal blog. Had he – or your post – indicated anything about this being a journalism class, my initial reaction would have been different. I hope I communicated that in my second post.

    I understand why I misinterpreted things. I’m just hoping others understand how it happened.

    LayZ, out of the 10 IT people in my department we have one history, one chemistry, and one elementary education graduate. I can certainly agree on how a degree doesn’t directly correlate to one’s career path.

    I agree with you about Robert too. He’s an example of what it takes to be effective in his career.

    That’s just it though – a university should help a person be effective. If this were – as I mistakenly thought – an IT class teaching about podcasting, I can’t see how it helps someone in that career be more effective in any way. Taken as an elective maybe. As a journalism class? Sure, there’s much to gain.

  54. Steve, what Robert linked to was your personal blog. Had he – or your post – indicated anything about this being a journalism class, my initial reaction would have been different. I hope I communicated that in my second post.

    I understand why I misinterpreted things. I’m just hoping others understand how it happened.

    LayZ, out of the 10 IT people in my department we have one history, one chemistry, and one elementary education graduate. I can certainly agree on how a degree doesn’t directly correlate to one’s career path.

    I agree with you about Robert too. He’s an example of what it takes to be effective in his career.

    That’s just it though – a university should help a person be effective. If this were – as I mistakenly thought – an IT class teaching about podcasting, I can’t see how it helps someone in that career be more effective in any way. Taken as an elective maybe. As a journalism class? Sure, there’s much to gain.

  55. I attended a panel discussion “Innovation & Growth in a Flat World” just yesterday, where Thomas Friedman commented that American education must win in four areas in order to remain competitive: teaching lifelong learning, encouraging curiosity and passion over I.Q., teaching navigational skills & internet judgment, and celebrating right-brain performance.

    Working as an educator in an academic environment, I’ve come to realize how important it is to have an administration who are supportive and ‘get it’.

    Incidentally, blog publisher Nick Denton posted his Gawker Media readership numbers today.

    http://www.nickdenton.org/002200.html

  56. I attended a panel discussion “Innovation & Growth in a Flat World” just yesterday, where Thomas Friedman commented that American education must win in four areas in order to remain competitive: teaching lifelong learning, encouraging curiosity and passion over I.Q., teaching navigational skills & internet judgment, and celebrating right-brain performance.

    Working as an educator in an academic environment, I’ve come to realize how important it is to have an administration who are supportive and ‘get it’.

    Incidentally, blog publisher Nick Denton posted his Gawker Media readership numbers today.

    http://www.nickdenton.org/002200.html