Some Valid Points by Seth Godin

I feel that Seth Godin made some valid points with his TED talk. However, I do not completely agree with everything that he said. Jay Anderson did a wonderful job summarizing some of the main points of Seth’s presentation in the comment section of the video. For this week, I am going to respond to the summarizing bullets.

  1. Homework by day, lectures by night.
    1. I think this is actually a great idea! The challenge with it is that everyone has a different learning style. Therefore, I think the students should have multiple access to different lectures. It does save on resources by allowing people who are very strong lecturers take care of the initial transfer of knowledge. The challenge with this is that students have to be held accountable for viewing the materials. I know for me personally I procrastinate on online courses or lectures.
  2. No memorization.
    1. I agree with this to a certain extent. I remember in the video he mentioned that everything should be open book and open notes. I have to say that the open resource method has really helped my grades. However, I do not retain information from the course that have open resource examination. In those courses, I would just label where things are in the notes and not really try to understand what is going on. I would just copy a bunch of examples into my notes, so that I could use it on the exam. I did not retain or remember much of anything in those courses.
  3. No predetermined course order.
    1. I do not agree with this because some course are needed in order for you to build the necessary foundation to be successful in the sequential course. This is particularly true in engineering. You cannot really do multivariable calculus if you have not master single variable calculus.
  4. Precise, focused education.
    1. I have mixed feelings about this. I feel like a part of the learning process is to explore new area where you have very little experience in. I am a believer that understanding multiple perspective will allow students to become a more successful citizen.
  5. Experience based.
    1. I have to agree with this. I tend to learn best when I have to apply a particular topic. In a sense, I have to have experiences with the topics that are covered in class. I find that professor that share their experiences in their lectures are the ones that I can relate to the best.
  6. Lifelong learning.
    1. I strongly agree with Seth on this one. I agree that a student has to continually want to learn in order to succeed. This all starts by coaching the students to be passionate about a particular area and encourage them to ask effective questions.
  7. No brand name colleges
    1. I have mixed feelings about this one also. I know in engineering, the top ranked schools have plenty of sponsors from the government and industry. These sponsorship allow the university to invest in meaningful labs, equipment, and projects for the students. By having sufficient funds the university can provide the students with hands on experiences in correlation to their course work. These hands on experiences will make a student much more competitive in the work force.

2 thoughts on “Some Valid Points by Seth Godin

  1. I agree with most of your dissection of Godin & Anderson. I do disagree with you on your section point about open-book assessments. While there are courses where memorization of the information is necessary, such as Calc 1 and knowing how to take a derivative, those can be argued as fundamental principles. When we get into open-book territory that’s more along the lines of things like standards or statistical analyses.
    Things like pavement design, soil mechanics, and steel design were all courses I had during undergrad (junior/senior) year that were open book. I can’t remember if they were open notes or not.
    I didn’t spend 8 hours trying to memorize the moment of inertia for a beam or whatever, I flagged the page with those calcs in my manual and it allowed me to study the concepts.
    I have been told by people doing this a lot longer than me that you will seldom be without a reference, but you have to know how to use it.


  2. “No predetermined course order”
    I can see how this might work, to some extent, if some of the courses were redesigned. Wright State University offers a special math course for freshman engineering students so they can access their engineering courses independently of the calculus sequence, which is found to be a bottleneck. Read about it here:

    “No brand name colleges”
    Two words: “community college.” Teaching institutions tend to have skilled, passionate faculty who love teaching and are quite good at it. My community college has very strong assets in the arts and humanities; I am pushing ever closer to formal collaborations, team teaching, and other ways of bringing arts and humanities into the education of engineers. As a member of a lower profile institution, compared to “brand name” colleges, I can experiment with these methods”under the radar,” which frees me to be more daring and creative.


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