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Scathing Online Schoolmarm

So sad, when a high-ranking administrator takes to the local paper to try to calm the populace.

In the wake of the University of Central Florida cheating scandal – brought on by the exquisite synergy of a professor who couldn’t be bothered to write his own exam (“Prof. Quinn barely created anything at all. He just pulled questions from a source that the students had access to as well and copied them verbatim. It would seem that, even if you think the students did wrong here, the Professor was equally negligent. Will he have to sit through an ethics class too?”), and students who, sensing he couldn’t be bothered, found the online exam he used and copied it – the school’s provost natters about how much integrity the school has, how this was an isolated incident, and how they’re going to “add to and improve upon our existing safeguards.”

A zillion students attend UCF – lots of them take online courses, where the cheating (and dropout) rates are sky-high; lots of them take massively over-populated classroom courses, complete with PowerPoint, clickers, laptops, dimmed lights, high absenteeism, security cameras, and total pointlessness. When you experience university as a series of variously degrading, intrusive, and stupid experiences, you don’t respect your school, and you don’t feel inclined to act toward it with much integrity, since it doesn’t seem to be acting all that well in regard to you.

UCF must sense how unpleasant its transformation into a Vegas casino, bristling with security cameras, is, since the provost lists all sorts of behavior-improvement initiatives on campus, but doesn’t mention this one. And this is the one that’s gotten the most press.

UCF is a failed enterprise. It has too many students, and professors can’t handle it. Pretty much everything it does reflects badly on the American university. It should shut its physical campus and enter fully into online oblivion.

Margaret Soltan, November 21, 2010 7:01AM
Posted in: Scathing Online Schoolmarm, technolust

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2 Responses to “Scathing Online Schoolmarm”

  1. Polish Peter Says:

    This page is illuminating: http://www.ucf.edu/40Anniversary/
    Is there any mention of students other than as numbers of degrees (or obliquely as participants in athletics)? Or of faculty as teachers rather than as generators of commercializable intellectual property?

  2. University Diaries » “[T]he students must read case studies with titles such as ‘When Good People Do Bad Things at Work,’ and sit through ethics PowerPoint presentations that have nearly doubled in length since last fall.” Says:

    […] University of Central Florida keeps piling on. Its response to manifold cheating scandals (UD will quote herself here: A zillion students attend UCF – lots of them take online courses, where the cheating (and […]

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