I’ve been thinking about why the idea of “training for a job” is problematic to me, and I think the reason is not that I think training is bad, but rather I’m worried about the “hidden curriculum.”
People learn customs, and ideas from their environment, and I’m wondering what is the “hidden curriculum” at “UoP.” What are the customs, ideas, and taboos that get taught and are the ones that should be taught? Let me name a few of the ideas
1) if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter
2) if it isn’t on the test, it doesn’t matter
3) if it doesn’t increase your salary, it doesn’t matter
4) the teacher should determine what books to read
5) collaboration between students is good
6) collaboration between teachers is bad
We don’t want to go on a “witch hunt” here. Just because it is part of the hidden curriculum doesn’t mean it is bad which is why I included 5) I don’t think that UoP encourages students to work together is bad. I think it is good.
Let me talk about 5) some more, since this is one area where UoP gets it right.
One of the things that I think is funny if it weren’t so tragicly absurd is that in the undergraduate curriculum, copying someone else’s work is called “cheating.” In the modern workplace it is called “teamwork.” If you can get the job done by copying someone else’s work (and giving them credit) you are insane for not doing so.
The reason that teachers are so intent on catching cheaters is that the assignments that they give are so simplistic in order to make it easy to grade. If you really want to give a good homework problem in programming, you can make it so that every student produces a different answer and the students can talk about how to solve the problem, and if they are lucky enough to be able to solve it by copying something directly, GREAT!!! That’s how things work at work.
Yeah I can solve the problem in ten seconds by copying smith’s code, but I think I’ll write it from scratch which will take me five days.
The problem is that then the problem sets become hell to grade, but what in effect happens when there is a “cheating witchhunt” is that the teacher is imposing a dysfunctional educational structure on students, and then blaming them when the outcome is bad.
The UoP system really encourages collaboration which is a good thing.