An interesting article in The Sunday Times examining the state of the UK universities and whether it is worth going to them to get a degree. Nothing too new in the writing, it’s a story that pops up every few months in various papers. On the one hand you need a degree to get a ‘decent’ job and the earning potential of graduates is higher over their lifetime than non-graduates. On the other hand, a lot of degree courses are useless and does not really teach you anything about life.
Buried in the middle of it is a link to Will I See My Tutor a site that has been whirled round in the Web2.0 tumbledrier but actually gives you some interesting statistics about tutor to student ratio. Still in alpha, it looks like it pulls out the official stats about a university and presents it in an easy to read way, graphing them out so you can see if you would have a chance of being in small groups or always just stuck in a pack. There does not appear to be any way of adding your own comments to the ratings (except through the blog) but the Times is reporting that the institutes are threatening legal action and I can;t see this happening without more than official statistics being on the site, so maybe they have been removed.
My university courses were pretty useless when it came to my career – there’s not that much call for biology when doing project management or web stuff. But I didn;t go to university for direct career reasons, I went because I love learning and I could go. And I had no idea what I wanted to do – it was a way of putting entry into real life off for a few years. (and to my parents who contributed money, it was fun and useful and thank you very much!)
The did get me past the first job hurdles, ie I needed a degree just to apply. But the independent study required was far more useful. The lectures just gave you the basics, you had to get the rest of the stuff from finding it out yourself. That’s the best and most long lasting skill I picked up.