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Concurrently

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A couple of weeks ago, I got roped into writing up a proposal for a common “concurrent enrollment” course for our freshman writing intro course, and tomorrow I pay the price: I have a meeting at noon.

Utah is weird. They have this notion that high school students should be able to complete their associate’s degree by the end of high school, and so the universities get caught in a catch-22 offering college courses to high school students–taught by high school teachers.

I am opposed to this on a variety of levels, but the problem is that if we don’t put our hat in the ring, someone else will, and we’ll wind up having to accept their credits whether we like the or not. That’s the typical argument, anyway. In reality, we could just say that we won’t accept the credits and be done with it. We could say that we’re not going to put our hat in the ring at all and call it a day.

But for some reason, we are, and so I got tasked with putting this thing together. It’s really nothing fancy. It’s an online class. But here’s the kicker: the powers that be want this to be a standardized course across all high schools in Utah, and they’ve envisioned that the high school teachers will be “facilitators” of content provided by us. The facilitators will not always be as qualified as we require them to be at present (we require an MA in English). I was not happy about this, either, and the powers that be did not like my suggestion that perhaps not every school should be allowed to offer the courses.

The facilitators are fine, I imagine, for psychology or history. But composition? Is there any content to be delivered? The people talking to me about this don’t understand this. They don’t understand that this is like asking me to construct an oil painting class to be facilitated by people who didn’t go to art school.

So, tomorrow, I’ll take the train down to SLC to meet with the various teams involved in all of this. I’m going to do my level best not to be an asshole and point out that it should not be surprising that high school teachers cannot teach college courses. Or that the suggestion that they can is an insult to people who have been trained to teach at the university level.

Wish me luck.

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Written by srogers

July 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

Posted in Around the Office

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