Reading the Times: Poor Quality College Education; Internet Censored in Turkey

Your So-Called Education

Sociologists Richard Arum (NYU) and Josipa Roksa (UVa) report on the discouraging findings from their study of undergraduate education. Parents, brace yourselves:

We would be happy to join in the celebrations if it weren’t for our recent research, which raises doubts about the quality of undergraduate learning in the United States. Over four years, we followed the progress of several thousand students in more than two dozen diverse four-year colleges and universities. We found that large numbers of the students were making their way through college with minimal exposure to rigorous coursework, only a modest investment of effort and little or no meaningful improvement in skills like writing and reasoning.

In a typical semester, for instance, 32 percent of the students did not take a single course with more than 40 pages of reading per week, and 50 percent did not take any course requiring more than 20 pages of writing over the semester. The average student spent only about 12 to 13 hours per week studying — about half the time a full-time college student in 1960 spent studying, according to the labor economists Philip S. Babcock and Mindy S. Marks.

Ouch!

So what is to be done? Arum and Roksa have suggestions for universities and for the federal government. I wonder if individual students can choose to make their education more effective. I wonder if they want to.

Internet Filters Set Off Protests Around Turkey

Free use of the Internet is soon to be denied in Turkey. Here’s what the New York Times reports:

Thousands of people in more than 30 cities around Turkey took to the streets on Sunday to protest a new system of filtering the Internet that opponents consider censorship.

The Information and Communications Technologies Authority, known by its Turkish initials as B.T.K., is going to require Internet service providers to offer consumers four choices for filtering the Internet that would limit access to many sites, beginning in August. . . .

The B.T.K., however, has said that Internet users will still be able to access all content if they choose the “standard” option for filtering. The other filtering options are labeled as “children,” “family” and “domestic.” . . .

For many people in Turkey, having to select a filtering option is just another form of censorship. Already thousands of Web sites are blocked by the state, mostly without any publicized reason.

I wonder if my website is blocked in Turkey. I wonder if it will be soon.