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Looks like school's going to be online again this semester.

Which is for good, but I feel remorse about the social side of things that I lost access to: new city, new people, conferences, that beautiful university life...

@cadadr
I remember you decided to skip last semester. How is it going to look different next semester? Do you think they have learned how to do online-only, or will it still be chaos?

@Jakobiner IDK. We're going to be two guys who'd skipped, and even last sem it was pretty informal for grads. I expect homeworks and a couple video lessons per week. Plus reading papers and books.

TBH looking back the majority of chaos was inside me, I'd been a bit of a freaky bitch about it sadly.

But for the general population it remains a mess. I'd not trust a single exam grade from 2020/2021 anywhere in the world. I'm still bitter we all didn't go the "school resumes 2021 Spring" route....

@Jakobiner
> TBH looking back the majority of chaos was inside me, I'd been a bit of a freaky bitch about it sadly.

More specifically the general student population was right to freak out but grad students had it a bit more lighter given often it's a bit more informal and schools don't fiddle a lot with our ways like they impose surveillance and shitty exams on undergrads and K12.

@cadadr @Jakobiner

Seriously, as my sister the University librarian says, the smart thing would just have been to give everybody a "bye" for the year. Come back 2021, we'll pick up where we left off at the end of 2019, & everybody will be on a level playing field with one year gone from their CVs.

@publius @Jakobiner It all started with MIT. They were the first to announce online classes, and for some reason unis and govts followed suit...

@cadadr @Jakobiner

See, there are good reasons NOT to follow the lead of MIT. Let them experiment with things. They're great at that! Don't assume the fact that they're experimenting with something means it will be a success.

@cadadr @publius
> TBH looking back the majority of chaos was inside me, I'd been a bit of a freaky bitch about it sadly.

Ehh. No one knew the severity and extent that this virus would bring. I know someone who still refuses to attend university, because the online courses here have a very bad reputation (tbh, I think there's frustration because the students are required to read and turn in assignments on that reading to ensure they are actually learning, which can build up to a lot of work (i.e. it's easier to doze off in in-person classes and not learn anything)).

> "I'm still bitter we all didn't go the "school resumes 2021 Spring" route...."
> "Seriously, as my sister the University librarian says, the smart thing would just have been to give everybody a "bye" for the year. Come back 2021..."

I think the biggest worry about simply stopping schools is that the students forget what they learned, and they end up having to reteach concepts. So the "come back in 2021" route would have ended up being, "come back 2021, relearn 2020, and then learn something new in 2022".

In universities (at least in the US, where I studied), many students are caught in a social pressure to attend higher education (which is why universities in the US are not just academic universities, they are also almost what apprenticeships here in Germany are). It was common that when a student said that they needed a "semester break" from university, they would end up not coming back - simply because university wasn't their calling (which is ok, but bad for for-profit universities).

Now imagine every university in the world (almost) dismissing students for a year... I think massive swaths of students would not go back.

Just food for thought, I guess.

@Jakobiner @publius
> I think there's frustration because the students are required to read and turn in assignments on that reading to ensure they are actually learning

Indeed, they do build up and take up a lot of time. You'd think this'd be just an elaborate ACK that you read the stuff, but I have one prof who even cares about citation styles in these stuff which adds insult to the sisyphean robota of repeating what you read or researching what'll appear in the next weeks handouts....

@Jakobiner @publius
> Now imagine every university in the world (almost) dismissing students for a year... I think massive swaths of students would not go back.

Yeah, that's understandable.

Tho for education itself a net positive TBH. IDK elsewhere but here in Turkey during my undergrad I've suffered a lot from being surrounded with disinteresed colleagues who were there because "that's what you do". It dumbed it down by a large factor because a 4/5 of the class cares only about the exams.

@Jakobiner @publius
> I think the biggest worry about simply stopping schools is that the students forget what they learned, and they end up having to reteach concepts

Fair, tho smarter alternatives could've been considered, if anybody cared to talk before they act, like e.g. a period of workshops but no grading or advancing semesters, or prepping a little paper. Keep the attention, avoid the chaos. IDK...

@Jakobiner @cadadr

Maybe we should be considering the way that we are basing the future course of our society on decisions made by 18- & 20-year-olds, who are not considered responsible enough to rent a car.

I read a piece by a former operator at Greifswald who said that, even were the German government to reverse its "nuclear exit" policy, there would be no way forward for atomic power there. Why? Because when he was in school, a Nuc E major meant you got laid. Not so now!

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