Please, Tell Me I Misunderstood


May 18, 2020

Wokandapix, Pixabay, License

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

This morning on making breakfast for my dearest, I was preoccupied and likely didn’t hear the discussion correctly on the Today Show (which I refuse to watch, but my better half wanted to see) about tele-learning or tele-classes (or whatever) for fall semester in the University of California System to cope with the Corona Virus.

I thought I heard that regular classes – in classrooms, with professors/teaching assistants, test proctors, etc. – would not be held, but instead students would learn at home — over the Internet.  I also thought I heard that tuition charges would be the same even though no classroom sessions and live instructors would be available.

There were no follow-up questions that I could discern, in my distraction with making coffee, eggs, croissants, and washing-up and putting away.  But, I immediately thought – what happens to tests?  To classroom participation?  To grades and GPA?  I know some “schools” test today allowing open books, but in my learning days, we had real tests that made you study and retain the material – and “notes” or “open books” would get you expelled if used during test-taking.

GPA isn’t everything, but it does count (or did) if you wanted to do post-graduate study or take certain specialize courses.  It also helped (or hurt) on curricula vitae when applying for jobs.  A résumé that did not  mention class standing meant that the applicant wasn’t a Brainiac in college, or perhaps had overdone the “college experience” thing.

But, how can the California University system charge the same tuition for online classes?  And how valid are “grades” established that way?  Oh, I know, “grades aren’t everything,” as if oft repeated by those who didn’t get good ones….

Please, somebody set me straight.  Tell me I misheard.

Old Frank

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