for more on this topic; this article will focus on a different aspect. Jews are familiar with a different approach to learning than lectures - learning with a
or study partner. It is hard to study complex subjects on one’s own, so it often helps to work with
a study-partner. A pair studying alone may also find it difficult to stay focused, which can be solved by joining a group that provides the right environment, structure and support. For example, in Morasha Kollel, bright and motivated students are able to learn a tremendous amount over the summer, primarily with chavrusa-learning in a structured environment. Colleges think that students learn due to their lectures, but really the environment and structure are the key to learning; the lecture is often just a distraction.
Recently, some have successfully adopted a “Morasha
-style approach to teaching programming. 'Programming Bootcamps', such as DevBootcamp or AppAcademy, have been popping up all over to teach web development in 2-3 months. Students in these programs often learn more practical programming skills there than they would in 3 years in many colleges. Lectures play a very small role in these programs. Instead, they gather bright students together to code for most of the day, and provide them with structure and help. Students go through online tutorials, and then spend most of the time practicing coding. When they need help or feedback, they have other students or mentors to turn to. This approach has been very successful, and many students have been able to land full-time jobs after graduating from their program.
Academics, when they hear such comparisons, often snort “a college is not a trade school”, we’re not here to teach practical skills! That’s nice, but when you ask most students why they’re
attending college, they cite employment as the number one reason.
Students aren’t taking out loans just to be “well
rounded” or to “learn to think critically”, and colleges may not help with
those things either.
If colleges want to remain relevant they will need to adjust their offerings to match what their customers want.
In theory, YU could learn from the bootcamps and offer its own “programming bootcamp” for
students. This could turn YU from its current CS ranking to one of the best and coolest colleges to learn programming. The bootcamp could start as an experiment, and eventually become a real academic choice, with the option to earn credits and satisfy requirements. The bootcamps could be a block set aside during the day where students code for a few hours straight. Mentors will be there to provide structure and feedback for the students. Motivated students could learn
The Commentator, Dec. 2011. Ariel Krakowski.
The two top reasons students gave for attending college were to “get a better job” and “make more money”.
Educational Attainment and Private Economic Welfare