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 Post subject: Rant: Idiot instructors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:43 PM 
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(I am sure that this will eventually get moved to Current Events, but to start the thread it is a rant)

I am taking on-line classes through the Univ. of Phoenix to complete my Business Management degree. One of the required classes is SCI/362 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND ETHICS. I swear that the instructor is stuck 10 to 15 years ago. Most of the other people in the class are such lemmings and it is sad. The instructor is a strong environmentalist, thinks that technology is to blame for everything and that we should stop everything and return to living in caves because that would be the best thing for the environment.

Each week we have two major Discussion Questions that the instructor posts that we have to answer then discuss with our classmates. This week the first question was about peak oil and what will we do when gas reaches $10/gallon.

My response was that we are not at or near peak oil and that when we do get close we will use technology to create a different method for transportation. Because of our technology and because the cost of gas and oil is directly related to the cost of living we will not see $10/gallon with gas being the primary method of fueling vehicles. The instructor replied to me in a manner that threw me for a loop, almost set that we will see $10/gallon gas and failed to understand the connection of fuel prices and prices for most all other goods and services with gas and oil.

The second question is where the instructor really shows how lost in the past they are. It is about nuclear power. The instructor has not heard of The Integral Fast Reactor nor any of its benefits, the main one being that there is virtually no nuclear waste and it can utilize the waste from older nuclear power plants to produce power without the need to mine any additional uranium or plutonium for the next several centuries. I made a strong case for converting to the IFR and the response was "what about the waste? Where should we build them?"

<facepalm>


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:44 AM 
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I am taking on-line classes through the Univ. of Phoenix


I stopped reading there and agreed.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:03 AM 
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I have had a few really good, engaging, and challenging instructors at UofPhoenix. It is sad that there are a few that are about as bright as a box of rocks


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:16 PM 
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Nuclear energy is a great topic, I can't help but wonder where our society would be had it not have been for the Chernobyl disaster. Was something of that nature inevitable or would all our homes be presently powered by some N'th generation reactor that is far better than what we're currently capable of.

In any case, I thought I remember seeing something in the news about a disposal site somewheres in Europe that was nearing completion that was pretty cool. I may however be crazy and that was something I had just read in Popular Science..

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:02 PM 
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Krby: The cool thing about academic discourse is that if you and your teacher disagree, you can back up your position with facts. If you present evidence to support your case, evidence that she can't argue with, and she continues to disagree? Then she truly is an idiot and has no place in academia.

I think you should cite some studies to support your claims:
Quote:
we are not at or near peak oil

Quote:
there is virtually no nuclear waste [from IFR] and it can utilize the waste from older nuclear power plants to produce power without the need to mine any additional uranium or plutonium for the next several centuries.


I'd be interested to hear how your teacher reacts when you support your position with hard facts.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:56 PM 
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I supported my position with about the IFR with several other sites (including some GE stuff) and she has just ignored it.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:59 PM 
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krby71 wrote:
and she has just ignored it.

There you go... Found the problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:28 AM 
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How many sources did you cite? Did you cite the portions that properly elaborate on the methods used in reprocessing nuclear waste and how the development of technology for extracting oil from traditionally tougher sources like oil sands is prorgressing(specifics, preferrably)? Did you go into detail about the physics of breeding plutonium? Did you refute, point for point, the claims of OPEC and other organizations that specific sites are waning? Further, did you make a sound argument against the concept that even if we were to make significant improvements and technological leaps, it would not make up for the loss of easy oil enough to reach a higher peak?

Remember that you can't just throw up a link to Wikipedia or chalk up this stuff to common knowledge, as no teacher in their right mind would accept that. Doesn't matter if you're saying it's a bad idea to jaywalk during rush hour, your reasoning can't be a simplistic "Because it's dangerous!".

I'll admit it's possible she's just ignoring your points, but I've always found it much more common that people simply don't know how to drive a point home.

I also hope you're not aiming to get a great grade, because I've known many professors who expect you to go strictly by what they teach you, even if it's not necessarily accurate or just unorthodox. Making some obscure/random points to be a rebel isn't going to accomplish much, especially if the professor in question has clearly outlined what they expect you to "learn" from of the curriculum.

I wouldn't object to bringing it up in private with them, but they're teaching the course and that's what they have defined as the curriculum, even if it's completely false. You don't have to agree with something in order to write it down on a test. Bad teacher? Yea, probably. Their course? Better believe it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:21 AM 
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I'll approach this from a different angle.

It's an ethics class.

You're avoiding the ethical argument.

Even if you're right, that's not the point.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:04 PM 
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Fair point. His argument is somewhat analogous to avoiding arguments of morality by defaulting. Someone asks you about the moral implications when an SS officer asks you to kill your own father, or else 10 other people will die... and you snap back that you'd use the hidden machine gun behind the door, or that the Nazis don't exist anymore. That's a response you'd expect out of a tunnel-visioned science major with little analytical thought process.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:51 PM 
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when I made my posts I did use reputable sources and I cited them according to standards. I should make an A in this class, we are starting week 4 of a 5 week class and I have a 92.5%. I have met the guidelines as to what is required to make an A and I have posted enough thought provoking material that shows I am not just a "to hell with the environment" person. I am what people would call a Teddy Roosevelt conservationalist.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:08 PM 
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Well being an ethics class the first thing you should have learned was the difference between morals and ethics. Two different things, that people inter change all the time without thought. Though there can be grey between the two many people don't stop and think about it much.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:32 PM 
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The difference is fairly arbitrary, though, especially if you believe that being ethical is the moral thing to do and code to live by. Morality doesn't need to be limited by blanket statements that can't always be conveniently applied to everyday societal life. It received a strong connotation with religion during the 20th century movement towards atheism, and it was arbitrarily decided that another word was needed to try and separate the two. Morality doesn't have a connection with religion(historical connotation does not imply a tangible connection with the concept itself), nor does ethics, and they both advocate the same basic fundamentals.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:25 PM 
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Situations can be unethical but not immoral and vice versa.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:26 PM 
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Garborg wrote:
Well being an ethics class the first thing you should have learned was the difference between morals and ethics. Two different things, that people inter change all the time without thought. Though there can be grey between the two many people don't stop and think about it much.


Sadly there has been very little discussion of morals or ethics.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:27 PM 
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I should post the weekly discussion questions here for us to talk about. Hell, I'd probably get more out of it than the lemmings that are in the class.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:28 AM 
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That could be fun.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:15 PM 
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here is the discussion question #2 from last week:

Post a 200-300-word response to the following discussion question by clicking on Reply.

Given that society benefits from nuclear power, how should we distribute the burdens that go along with these benefits, such as nuclear waste? Should nuclear waste storage facilities be located where the energy is generated, or should they be located where the energy is used, even if that means within a large urban center? Should they be located in an area where the risks are lowest, even if the people in that area do not benefit from nuclear energy? Explain. In your explanation, state which of the three types of locations you reside in, and explain how that might influence your opinion.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:01 PM 
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OK, that's a perfectly reasonable question that should prompt an ethical argument. Who should receive a negative impact and why? There's no right or wrong answer and it forces you to confront your own bias. That's a classic ethics question.

Considering the nature of nuclear waste, I'd say that waste should be stored in the least risky location and acknowledge that would be somewhere I'm not (we have a nuclear plant about 20 miles south and Florida gets about 1/3 of its power from nuclear energy). It's not NIMBYism; the way I see it, we're all part of the same nation and we all help each other out in different ways. It may not be 100% even across all sides, but it shouldn't be particularly lopsided. Storing nuclear waste in a remote area is much more sound than constantly risking lives in urban centers.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:38 PM 
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Choosing the place that would have minimal human impact would be the most logical answer regardless of bias but I'm sure someone could twist it otherwise with a opinion that humans do not deserve respect greater than anything else on the planet.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:44 PM 
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Ethical bias**


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:54 PM 
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When talking about nuclear waste it's also important to note that about 99% of the most hazardous long term waste is related to nuclear weapons and not to nuclear power. What we'd have to store that is power related amounts to about a 2ft cube per power plant per year. Course, you can't actually store it as a 2ft cube.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:10 PM 
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I generally agree with Leo but I am concerned about its implications... We can decide to put people into harm's way based on where they live even if they get no benefit? I agree but am uncomfortable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:11 PM 
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I always hear so many bad things about University of Phoenix, Everest, Stevens Henager, etc. How do you like your experience there? Have you ever gone to a traditional college?

When I was working in the legal / business world, most hiring managers I knew said they'd just throwaway resumes from folks w/ degrees from those places because they're not as legitimate / respected as actual universities. I've heard a couple of people say the same now that I'm a teacher as well.

For the most part, imo, a degree is a degree. There are exceptions of course... but who cares about what school someone went to?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:33 AM 
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Yes, I have three years of regular University. The good classes at UoP are more real world than anything that I had at my real University. It is the bad classes that make UoP have a bad name. I am finishing my Business Management degree so there are some positives in there. My old boss (the CIO of the division I worked for) was also taking some classes at UoP and said the same thing. He said that he would respect a person with a UoP degree more because of the dedication that it takes to get one from there and the time management ability that it takes for an adult with a job and family to complete their degree

I am taking a Philosophy class now that has promise. The instructor is a PhD and seems to want us to learn something.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:26 AM 
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There's a stigma attached to "for profit" schools because a lot of them will simply funnel students through with a degree that they don't deserve, and charge inordinate amounts of money for a degree you can get just as fast and a lot cheaper at a community college.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:36 AM 
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That, and a general lack of accreditation.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:54 AM 
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UoP is fully accredited


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:54 AM 
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:46 PM 
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Depends on the employer. If it was not accredited then my employer would not be paying for my tuition. This was from Citi, GE and FedEx.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:58 PM 
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Meant as a comment about for-profit schools in general, not UoP, which I really don't know much about other than they advertise everywhere.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:20 PM 
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I think the thing that scares people the most about schools like UoP is that because it is all online, who's to say that it is actually YOU that is doing the work and not someone else doing it in your name so that you can get a degree.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:38 PM 
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There are different types of accreditation, and some of them are not as attractive to employers.

Also the types of classes. Information Security at UoP for example is kinda weak, while Criminal Justice is pretty decent.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:18 PM 
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UoP does have several locations across the country, they are like student centers with labs and such. Their Business Degree is not bad


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:39 PM 
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New discussion question:

How do machine metaphors relate to our understanding of reality, concepts of knowledge, and values?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:05 PM 
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Quote:
There's a stigma attached to "for profit" schools because a lot of them will simply funnel students through with a degree that they don't deserve, and charge inordinate amounts of money for a degree you can get just as fast and a lot cheaper at a community college.


Practically all colleges/universities are businesses in some form. Even without that, there are always going to be ulterior motivations.. even if it's as simple as a professor who wants to increase his/her standing or keep the job by handing out good grades. "Upstanding" colleges and universities funnel all kinds of people through as it is, even when most of those students don't understand the material.

Privatization is an interesting spin on things and identifies a blatant motive, but I don't see how the stigma is warranted over most universities.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:02 PM 
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Most schools use the same text books anyway so an intelligent person will learn just as much at UoP as anywhere else. Other than that you are paying for the name of the school on the degree.

As to the original topic. The kind of person that signs up to teach environmental sciences is the kind of person I would expect to have biases in that area. Every teacher has a bias in the area they teach or they wouldn't have been interested enough in the area to pursue a degree in it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:30 PM 
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Snarky00 wrote:
Most schools use the same text books anyway so an intelligent person will learn just as much at UoP as anywhere else. Other than that you are paying for the name of the school on the degree.


Nobody was disputing that fact. In fact, I think it's common sense that the education you receive at a typical university is actually what the student makes of it. The name however, is what you're paying for. That's why a Yale degree is always going to be worth more than, say, my Arizona State degree. Name recognition, baby.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:53 PM 
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Having attended and worked at a pretty broad spectrum of universities, I do think there's a difference between the big research universities with large endowments and every other school (for engineering and the sciences, anyway). The instructors may not be better - in fact, they may be worse since they're hired primarily for their research skills, not their teaching abilities - but the Research 1 universities provide students with many more opportunities to get involved in cutting edge research and internships at exciting employers. They also provide a broader network of professional contacts (invaluable when it comes to job or school opportunities after graduation) and tend to invest more in career advising and resources for students. The name on your diploma is occasionally useful, but having a professor who can get you an interview at a good firm or grad school is really key.

For MBA programs that professional network is even more important. Maybe all-important.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:55 PM 
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Quote:
That's why a Yale degree is always going to be worth more than, say, my Arizona State degree. Name recognition, baby.


Who knew that college had so much in common with clothing! Oh, wait, everyone did. Oh well.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:56 PM 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:06 AM 
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Quote:
Most schools use the same text books anyway so an intelligent person will learn just as much at UoP as anywhere else. Other than that you are paying for the name of the school on the degree.


I value the interaction, projects, and debate of the classroom much more than you. If I only read the textbook of a given class, most of the time I would have learned much less than I did within the class.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:39 PM 
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Yep. Quality of professor can make a pretty big difference, and not just in understanding the material. A good teacher will teach things in ways that offer different perspectives/methods of thinking, and bring in ideas that go above and beyond what the course covers(ideas that are worthy for their own benefit).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:42 PM 
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Admittedly it also depends on the subject. A straightforward subject that requires little analysis or critical thinking can occasionally be replaced by a textbook. Even then, experience and perspectives count to some extent.


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