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Most Prestigious College Degree

Free and available only online, earned by the top 10% of graduates of Oxford, Harvard, MIT etc. Plus you get roasted swan.
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Online education is the wave of the future but it has a problem. It's going against centuries old institutions that have a vested interest in continuing to keep the money rolling in to their antiquated system of corralling students into vast building complexes with ornate structures, columns and well maintained and landscaped grounds that indicate wealth, status and prestige.

This is all nonsense. An education can be supplied by a computer more effectively than by a human.

So to battle the image problem online degrees have, create the pinnacle of education, the hardest to earn degree one that can be only received online for free. Design it so that only the top 10% of the most brilliant of the brilliant will be able to earn it. 90% of students from the top Universities in the world will fail.

Turn the "joke" of an online degree into something that anybody would be proud to put on their resumé. An indication that the person holding this is the top of the top. Then use this new found respect for a high tech solution to the high cost and lack of availability of higher education into a low cost education for all. Have that same institution offer other degrees with more achievability but great applicability in the real world.

We can still have these glorified day care centers, but not at the expense of modern solutions and tools to get the job done being marginalized.

doctorremulac3, Oct 23 2018

"To Serve Man" https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/To_Serve_Man
" ... he has translated the first paragraph of the book and has determined that it is not a treatise on serving humanity, but a cookbook." [8th of 7, Oct 24 2018]

Failing - A very difficult piece for solo string bass - YouTube https://www.youtube...watch?v=9P8C6-XqaNs
Level of difficulty for its own sake [LoriZ, Nov 02 2018]


       I disagree with the basic premise here. Sorry. Learning is not primarily about absorption of information. You know this.
RayfordSteele, Oct 23 2018

       I'm with [Rayfo]. Oxford and Cambridge do indeed have ornate structures, columns and well maintained grounds, but that's largely because they've been in the teaching business since about 1250. Over the last 800 years, they've gotten pretty good at what they do.   

       If I'm looking for an employee, I'll prefer someone from Oxbridge over someone from another university, all things being equal, for the simple reason that Oxbridge turns out a higher quality product. I would not call either of them "glorified day care centers" (or even "centres"), at least not for the sciences. The arts obviously require no actual work, but in that case being part of a university is the actual learning experience.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 23 2018

       //I disagree with the basic premise here.//   

       That education should be as excellent and cheap and widely available as possible and that technology will someday achieve that?   

       Let me try this.   

       The idea is to have the offering of a degree that you can earn on line. I'm going to assume there's no problem with that.   

       The first premise is that, as witnessed by the two posts, online degrees get no love. OK, fine.   

       The second premise is that there CAN be a course, and test, a verification of the brightest of the brightest using only automated interactive tools. Nobody can say you can't learn to build, say, a nuclear power plant without having some guy in a sweater up there waving his arms around and trying to make the girls in his class giggle. You can learn MOST subjects from an automated system.   

       Agreed so far? Good.   

       So the third premise is that you can make this course and test very very very very hard. Harder than anything offered in any respectable classic institutions. Passing this test could be impossible for 99.99999% of the population, but some would be able to pass.   

       It might be a degree on general knowledge. Maybe you would have to be able to design vaccines, design a nuclear power plant and design a computer from scratch. Who knows? It would just be very very hard, such that those who took the challenge would have something to be proud of.   

       This is not to replace classic education NOW, it's to make a dent in the image of new, high tech education tools being somehow flawed and inferior.   

       As far as a feature on a resume, the person having this under their belt would certainly not have only this, because they're one in a million in terms of intellectual capacity. I'm sure they'd be dripping with PHDs, from the grandest institutions on Earth. This is just something they'd be able to say "And in addition to being number one in my class at Harvard and MIT, I passed the... Megatron.   

       Yea, Megatron. That's as good a name as any.   

       Or not.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       That a computer can supply an education more effectively than a human.   

       We do have MIT Opencourseware and Stanford's equivalent and probably some others, if that's what is meant.   

       Online remote learning is fine for passing on rote information and some basic job prerequisites. It has little influence in teaching people how to think in my experience. It is a poor substitute for collaborative experience, experimental investigation, or such.
RayfordSteele, Oct 24 2018

       Can one person in a million pass the final test?
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       Personally, my experience of Oxbridge graduates is that they tend to have been taught a certain kind of arrogance which is lacking in those who have learnt their skills elsewhere.   

       They tend to be excellent at the things that they're excellent at, while also being absolutely abysmal at working with anyone who didn't graduate from an institution which they consider to be "worthy" of them.   

       Hiring an Oxbridge graduate may well prove to be a good investment in the long term, but in practice, they'll need a good sound battering with the real world before they start to offer a return on that investment.   

       Many will never reach this point.
Wrongfellow, Oct 24 2018

       You make my point for me. There is a downside to elitism. Not high IQ and high achievement, that's great, but elitism can have its drawbacks.   

       There may be a day where somebody from a small town, perhaps a farmer's son, passes this test. Now I've got my choice of hiring this working class lad who can blow the doors off of anybody on an intellectual level. Ooooor, I can hire somebody with lots of degrees that cost lots of money from lots of snooty institutions.   

       Keep in mind, if you can pass this, you can sail through any intellectual challenge the world has to offer. It would be designed so that would be the case. This person might even be "GASP!" poor!   

       If it's a choice between Cornelius P Doodlebottom The Third or Tom from Kansas who passed the Megatron, guess who I'm hiring.   

       Just have to say, this was inspired by a hero of mine who drove tractors until his school IQ tested him and sent a letter saying he needs to go to college. He threw the letter aside but his dad found it and demanded he go. He earned his PHD in electrical engineering in his teens from Berkley, where he would be a professor in his 20s, got rich inventing a fire sensing system, was a designer on the Apollo guidance computer and then settled into designing hydrogen bombs with Edwin Teller in his later years. He also wrote a best seller on picking up chicks.   

       Ma man.   

       This is kind of inspired by him. Was he the ONLY person from a humble background who was an incredible genius? How cool would it be for this silver ring to be out there? If only to inspire. Maybe only a few people would pass a year. It would make the news, like people winning the lottery, but unlike the lottery, this would be awesome and good.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       You misunderstand how Oxbridge and the like works. If you think they just get snooty well-to-do Yale-mongers, then you're mistaken. The talent identification system we have in this country is far, far, far from adequate, but it does exist.   

       I am a dirt farmer's son, first generation graduate. I went on scholarships, loans, and grants to the hardest school in a 3-state radius. Where do I fit in your scheme?
RayfordSteele, Oct 24 2018

       the value of a prestigious institution (over and above the skills acquired) is clearly in the prestige that is granted onto their graduates, which does not, in most cases, invalidate the effort said graduates made to attend and graduate from them.   

       As [Ray] points out online classes are available from many if not all of these schools.   

       If would be funny if the methods to achieve diversity were instead used against Ivy League schools. Like if VCs or Wall St. Quant Desks had to hire Ivy League graduates at the rates that the general population gains access to these schools. For some reason this idea has never entered the mind of the academics that vie for diversity in all other fields.
theircompetitor, Oct 24 2018


       I like this and I don't like this at the same time but for different reasons.
I like it because as you say it offers a silver ring that doesn't currently exist but discourages uneducated (aka) poor folks from qualifying from attaining it since they were too poor to get the basics in the first place.
It should be based on aptitudes I think.
Unlike IQ tests, aptitude tests are centered around attributes rather than memorized responses and tell far more about an individual than rote recall of previously learned and then taught material. In my opinion this is the whole problem with education today, it's as if it's assumed that there is nothing left to discover or something so rote memorization is the only skill filtered for.

       ( on a side note I scored in the high nineties on two of the aptitude tests they made us take in grade eight or so, spatial relations and mechanical reasoning... go figure... do you think they made any use of those tests? not likely)   

       The other problem is that it creates its own class of elitism thereby corrupting the very same unfortunate people you want to elevate.   

       It's a pretty tight wire...   

       //discourages uneducated (aka) poor folks from qualifying from attaining it since they were too poor to get the basics in the first place.//   

       No, this would be free.   

       And you could start it at a level of only knowing how to read. It would walk you through all the stuff you'd have to know to pass a final exam that one in a million could pass.   

       The fact that the finals were un-passible by the vast, vast majority of the folks from Oxford, Harvard, Stanford would be the prestige part.   

       This doesn't necessarily shut out academics, they would take part in its creation.   

       You could die saying "I was a professor at Yale." or "I was one of the professors who created Megatron. The ultimate education machine. Educated millions, but conquored by only a few hundred."
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       The problem is, I disagree with the notion that an online, automated course can give you as good an education as a face-to-face course.   

       OK, I did Natural Sciences, specialising in biochemistry. That's a largely "non-physical" subject that should be ideal for online learning. But most of what I learned (in terms of utility) was not biochemistry per se but rather how to be a biochemist (actually a molecular biologist). I learned facts, but more importantly I learned how to find things out, I learned what motivated good scientists, I learned how they thought. I learned the shortcuts and idiosyncrasies of various scientists. I wouldn't have got that from an online course.   

       Of course, there were also lots of practical classes, and what I got from them was not the simple, literal steps (add A to B, mix, place on ice...) but the actual way you do things. Not learnable online, really.   

       And, while I was doing all this, I was also having the experience of mixing with people I wouldn't normally have mixed with, and dealing with things I wouldn't normally have dealt with.   

       So, how much of what I _actually_ learned would have been covered by a good online course? Maybe 30%, maybe even 50%, but not more than that.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 24 2018

       The barriers here that would still prevent the poor from an equal footing are the acquisition of the hardware, a reliable internet connection, and time to sink. The technology is overcome able with a good library effort. Getting them in the door to the library is the hard part as the time is sunk into less abstract and more immediate needs and bad choices.
RayfordSteele, Oct 24 2018

       I'd second [Rayfo]'s comments about time - when you're actually _at_ university, you are there to study (at least in the sciences). You have, or should have, no other calls on your time. Students here generally don't take side-jobs (though this may be on the increase - I don't know), and until fairly recently it was unusual even to take a job in the long summer vacation, which is meant to be a time for reflection and consolidation. Being out in the real world makes it very, very much harder to actually focus intently on the subject.   

       I also forgot to mention the role of other students in learning. At Cambridge, it was other students who set the height of the bar from week to week. Everyone wanted to be best, and the driving factor was how hard everyone else was working. There was also collaboration between students, particularly at tutorials (which involve a handful of students discussing things with the lecturer and between themselves): ideas would get bounced around and argued over, which was to everyone's benefit. Again, you don't get that outside of a physical university.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 24 2018

       The emphasis on the comments is countering the contention that online education will replace the sleepover camp model which I didn't make. I'm sure those will survive just for the architecture and kids wanting to be around other kids. When I originally said "wave of the future" I mean an underused tool will be more utilized as it becomes more sophisticated, not that buildings that look like palaces won't be a popular place to go to for young people to get a degree.   

       But I should clarify my terms, I'm talking about AI based education, so if we're talking AI vs human, yes, the humans may have some advantages NOW, but so does the AI.I also contend that at some point there will be no discernible difference between your assigned AI teacher and a human. They'll know you better than anybody else, they'll care about you more than anybody else, or be programmed to appear to. They'll be able to be called at 3:00 and study with you for 6 hours straight should you require it.   

       As for the human interaction and architectural part? I could see a grand, glorious palatial AI based series of palaces, castles and gardens to get your education and interact with other students. They just carry their individual AI tutors with them.   

       Teaching is a data based vocation. The way data is accessed is changing. It used to be dispensed by a guy on a rock wearing a robe or handing out scrolls. That model has been expended into the college system. Fine, but we're entering time when, for the purposes of education, saying an educator has to have a pulse for some reason is going to be a bit hard to justify.   

       Max, I know this could be taken as a hit on your profession but it's not. A best friend of mine is a professor and it's a noble profession. You guys will work WITH the coming future mega artificial intelligence, not against it. Will some jobs be lost? I guess, technology does that, but we always land on our feet such that we're all better off.   

       So to wrap up, this isn't about replacing teachers NOW, just about lending some credibility to the idea of an online education by making this particular one almost impossible to achieve. Currently, no Rhodes scholar would ever waste their time getting an online degree. With this, they might not attempt it simply because it's too hard. That's a respectable degree. And it's free. This helps enhance the brand of online, or AI based education.   

       Replacing teachers with robots isn't the main point here and as far as college campuses, the idea of a community with lots of nice buildings for young people to first leave the home, that's probably a good thing.   

       Hey, my daughter is going to college, I'm already putting the money aside, and it ain't cheap, so clearly I'm a believer. I had to tell her that joining the military like her brother is off the table. Not going through that nightmare again. It turned out well for our family, he's a well employed police officer now, but it didn't turn out well for thousands of other families and we've done our time.   

       The military needs to be replaced by robots too but that's a discussion for a different time.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       By the way, just Googled "Human being" and in the description that popped up, the first feature listed was "Speed: 28 miles per hour (maximum)".   

       Just thought that was sort of an odd feature to list first. Perhaps this was created by AI and this is how it sees us. "Hello Doctorremulac3, I see you have a top speed of 19 miles per hour. How are you doing today and what can I do for you?" "Umm, I was wanting to look up an old friend from the old neighborhood, Tom Smith." "Tom Smith has a top speed of zero miles per hour. He died of cancer in 2012. Is there anything else I can do for you? Would you like some tips on increasing your top speed?" "Uhh, no. I'm good, thanks."
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       // sort of an odd feature to list first //   

       Not if the target audience is a carnivorous predator who likes their prey to be plump, slow moving, lacking claws, and having only small and fairly blunt teeth.   

       // little influence in teaching people how to think //   

       "Teaching people how to think" is more an exercise in encouraging innate ability than anything else. Further, that ability manifests itself in many diverse ways, leading to the phrase "Stupid, in the way that only very, very clever people can be stupid".
8th of 7, Oct 24 2018

       // sort of an odd feature to list first //   

       //Not if the target audience is a carnivorous predator who likes their prey to be plump, slow moving, lacking claws, and having only small and fairly blunt teeth.//   

       Kind of my point. What's next?   

       Human Being:   

       Speed: 28 mph (Maximum).   

       Lifespan: 79 years.   

       Scientific name: Homo sapiens.   

       Class: Mammalia.   

       Flavor on the "Tastes like chicken scale": 3.4.   

       Preferred preparation: Basted in a light Andromeda sauce.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       Baked ...   


       // Flavor on the "Tastes like chicken scale": 3.4. //   

       The correct reply to "What does Panda taste like ?" is of course "Very similar to swan" ...
8th of 7, Oct 24 2018

       No, because swan can be legally eaten by certain Oxbridge colleges. See, that's something you wouldn't get from an online degree.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 24 2018

       Do the benefits ever end ?
8th of 7, Oct 24 2018

       OK, see addendum to the idea.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       I have a science degree (computer science!) and an arts degree (law!), both undergraduate. I also have direct experience working with graduates from across the higher education spectrum from technical college to Oxbridge and this makes me by far the best qualified to flap my gums on the subject of education, the benefits thereof, and whether an electronically delivered education is likely now - or ever - to be seen as having equivalent value to the classically meatspace variant. So, without further preamble or indeed ado:
1. Science degrees are much easier than arts degrees (based on a sample size of me);
2. Oxbridge is a badge that says you were really rather clever and / or hard working when you were in secondary school but means fuck all in terms of how good a lawyer you make (based on direct personal experience of lawyers both as colleagues and foes, though I will grant that one of the best lawyers I have known did engineering at Ox and then law at Bridge (or other way around));
3. Oxbridge means you are almost definitely called Ollie, Jonny, or Sophie;
4. //Teaching is a data based vocation.// is wrong. Teaching involves the transmission of data but the vocation is the transmission, not the data itself; and
5. The proposed idea - make an online course really hard so it is very prestigious and therefore ultimately seen as better than Ivy League / Oxbridge / Imperial Universities / whatever - presupposes that just because something is hard to achieve it is seen as having value. Plenty of things - even academic things - are hard and have no value (e.g. spelling bees, law degrees, eating trees).
calum, Oct 24 2018

       Swan, as in swanning about like toffee nosed twits?
xenzag, Oct 24 2018

       Cal, let me put it this way. I'll get more specific:   

       To earn this degree, you must past a test that includes a review by experts in the fields associated with the subjects, including a hearing like review with questions from experts.   

       You must:   

       1- Be able to design a nuclear power plant from the ground up. Everything down to the coke machines in the lobby. Every piece, every wire, every bit.   

       2- Be able to build a space vehicle that can land on the moon and return to Earth.   

       3- Be able to build a computer starting with basic raw materials mined from the Earth.   

       4- Perform 3 passible brain operations. (On a cadaver of course.)   

       5- Create a vaccine.   

       Once you can do these five things, you get the degree. Now if somebody doesn't look at this degree in awe, who cares? Yes, somebody can say "Yes, but the professors at MIT gave me this!" (Holding up a nice looking diploma) but it'll be like, "Ooooh kay. Great frame. But it's nothing near the Megatron."   

       The general mood is that this is attacking current education methods, which I guess it does, but it's not a replacement, simply an adjunct.   

       For now.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       Yes but the issue is twofold (1) the credibility of the degree awarding institution and (2) the fact that the outcomes are all examination based, which goes to point 1 and the real benefits of oxbridge and the like.
calum, Oct 24 2018

       Yes, it would have to be real people with real expertise doing the exam. It couldn't be a series of stuffed animals or tropical fish. Then the credibility would be an issue.   

       Good point.
doctorremulac3, Oct 24 2018

       Actually, if it were an arts or humanities degree, I suspect a stuffed fish would at least get a 2:2
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 24 2018

       // Perform 3 passible brain operations. (On a cadaver of course.) //   

       A cadaver before or after the brain operations ?
8th of 7, Oct 25 2018

       Yeah, if your AI can pay for the upkeep of my family while I wade into all of that stuff from scratch you got a deal.   

       Otherwise it's just another rich-mans' kids game.   

       ...or would this one-in-a-million testing thing happen all through life? See because otherwise you got kids just hitting the starting line in their thirties and forties... and then ain't nobody got time for that shit.   

       I like the idea of a 99 percentile university of universities to advance the humanity out from our marble's problems. Sadly, the people wanted are 'uniquely' intelligent and probably scattered throughout global culture which would make it impossible to collect them into a boxed consensus.
wjt, Oct 25 2018

       //suspect a stuffed fish would at least get a 2:2// One of the smartest aquatic creatures that ever lived created a giant software industry and named it after themselves, but they died young and in no time at all the name was modified from the original Mackerel Media to that of Macromedia. This happened because the ever resentful and always humourless, po-faced scientific community couldn't admit they were outsmarted by a saltwater fish.
xenzag, Oct 25 2018

       Am reminded of the line in the movie "Thirteen Days":   

       "How do you get to be head of the KGB [Soviet Intelligence] in the U.S.? You know someone."   

       The greatest drawback of nerddom is that we often can't see that politics plays a major role in every decision. Having known someone who got into Harvard Medical School using contacts, I still can't quite conceive how widespread it is.   

       BTW, almost no one fails out of Harvard, and the average time to graduate the undergrad program used to be something like 5 years.
4and20, Oct 25 2018

       Maybe this should be changed to "Almost Impossible To Achieve Online Degree To Increase Prestige Of An Online Education For Disadvantaged Students"   

       That was the original goal. My distain for Harvard in particular might have taken me off my message.
doctorremulac3, Oct 25 2018

       // almost no one fails out of Harvard //   

       Harvard ... bequeathed ... £780 ... perhaps more importantly he also gave his scholar's library ... In gratitude, it was ... ordered "that the Colledge ... shalbee called Harvard Colledge." [sic]   

       "Harvard College remains the most spectacularly successful investment in posterity ever made by a minor cleric".
8th of 7, Oct 25 2018


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