Secondo una ricerca condotta da Babcock e Marks, è possibile vedere come dal 1961 le ore dedicate allo studio siano in diminuzione costante da qualunque lato lo si voglia guardare: studente bianco, nero, mulatto, eterosessuale, omossessuale, maschio, femmina e così via.
In particolare nel 1961 uno studente medio studiava 24 ore alla settimana. Adesso, lo studente medio ne fa 14 di ore. E fin qui nessuno può discutere, i dati parlano chiaro. Se dobbiamo spiegare il perchè di questi risultati, beh allora la questione comincia a farsi più complicata:
But when it comes to “why,” the answers are less clear. The easy culprits — the allure of the Internet (Facebook!), the advent of new technologies (dude, what’s a card catalog?), and the changing demographics of college campuses — don’t appear to be driving the change, Babcock and Marks found. What might be causing it, they suggest, is the growing power of students and professors’ unwillingness to challenge them
Sembrerebbe infatti che
“Are students just that much more efficient that more than 60 percent of students study less than 15 hours a week and still earn As and Bs?” Kinzie asked. “Or are we really preparing students for the world of work if they’re able to get by spending that many hours studying and preparing for class?”
Chiaramente i tempi sono cambiati. Ed in effetti, grazie alle nuove tecnologie, scrivere una pagina piena di formule è molto più semplice oggi rispetto al 1961 (mi domando ancora come cavolo facevano all’epoca, cioè c’era Latex per macchine da scrivere per caso?)
According to the skeptics of the findings, there is one other notable change: Today’s students are working with more efficient tools when they do finally sit down to study. They don’t have to bang out a term paper on a typewriter; nor do they need to wander the stacks at the library for hours, tracking down some dusty tome.
“A student doesn’t need to retype a paper three times before handing it in,” said Heather Rowan-Kenyon, an assistant professor of higher education at Boston College. “And a student today can sit on their bed and go to the library, instead of going to the library and going to the card catalog.”
E qui arriva la domanda chiave: come incentivare gli studenti a fare di più? Rendere il tutto più difficile? Scelta poco saggia, infatti
“No one really has an incentive to make a demanding class,” Marks said. “To make a tough assignment, you have to write it, grade it. Kids come into office hours and want help on it. If you make it too hard, they complain. Other than the sheer love for knowledge and the desire to pass it on to the next generation, there is no incentive in the system to encourage effort.”
Insomma il sistema attuale, che include le valutazioni degli studenti sul corso, sembrerebbero fallire. Una eventuale soluzione sembra essere
In response to these concerns over course evaluations — and the state of collegiate studying in general — some universities are making changes. Some administrators in recent years have been putting less weight on course evaluations when making tenure decisions. Professors are being told to give explicit tasks to students. Just telling them to read these days is often considered “too generic, too general of a request,” said Kinzie. And many professors today are using Internet-based systems, like Blackboard, where students are required to log on and write about the assigned reading for all of their classmates to see