Week 11: Declining by Degrees

I was able to get through most of the Declining By Degrees film, and I really enjoyed it. It brought up a lot of interesting points, and since it is something that relates to me personally, it is something that I didn’t mind having to watch. There are two points that the film brought up that struck my attention. The first being that many professors today are not teaching in the most effective way. Standards are not as high as they should be because with such big class sizes, the efficient and feasible way to do things is to simply give out multiple choice tests. Many teachers are simply lecturing and not engaging the students in a way that will get them to care more about their education and classes. I think the straight lecturing part is true for many professors and I agree that it isn’t the best way to teach students nowadays. Tom Fleming who was shown in the film has the right idea of the way of teaching to get students thinking and engaged with what they are learning. I can confidently say that I have had experiences with professors like that here at Virginia Tech and it really does make a big difference. Even if it is a really tough class, having a professor that is engaged and enthusiastic about teaching will in turn have an affect on the students’ view on the course. However, I think having multiple choice and T/F questions as the bulk of exams is okay. With so many students, it really is the best way to do things and I think it’s an effective way to test students’ knowledge. Having a few short answer questions on each exam is a good way to get students thinking more critically on the subject, but the multiple choice format is a great way to see if students know the base of the knowledge which is really important and essential for students to go further and be able to think critically about the subject.

The second part that stuck out to me is the financial aspect of attending college. I know many students have to maintain their school work while working to make money just like Salon Hollis from the film. While most students don’t need to work full time like she does, there are students out there who do and it is really straining. Grants and scholarships and loans are available, but even then many students have to pay an extreme amount out of pocket compared to what the cost of education used to be. Not to mention the living costs. A lot of students today choose not to continue on to higher education despite wanting to because of the high costs. This cuts off a lot of capable, talented kids from getting the education that could lead to them making a huge impact on the professional work. Luckily, there are other ways and other jobs that will allow them to do this without attending college. It’s important for students to keep that in mind, so they don’t let the fact that they can’t attend university due to financial reasons keep them from pursuing their ambitions.