Chancellor Yang, you have a crisis on your hands. A crisis of confidence.
As a senior majoring in English at UC Santa Barbara, I had looked upon my upcoming last quarter with melancholy. Here, I have had the support of instructors who invested in me and other students, owing to the remarkable reputation that UCSB had earned.
I am a transfer student; I studied at both Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College. Last summer, I was able to take two online courses within the UC system: one at Berkeley and the other at Irvine. I am a nontraditional student and with this comes a great deal of experience. I have had a long history of brick-and-mortar college instruction followed by three solid years of exclusively online education. The current online class structure that UC Santa Barbara has hastily crafted falls decidedly short compared to that of other schools with less financial resources.
There is a public petition circulating, with close to 7,000 signatures at the time I am writing this, in which students and their families are demanding a reduction in their spring quarter tuition fees. “I feel I am paying to teach myself,” and “Our tuition is the same, but the learning experience is sub-par” are some of the comments left on the petition. I cannot agree more. The infrastructure of UCSB’s online learning experience compared to that of the local community colleges, or even local high schools, has been inferior. This rush to implement inadequate software coupled with poor instructor communication under a strict quarter system threatens to tarnish the reputation of UCSB. However, more importantly, your student population is severely underserved by these glitchy and problematic systems.
GauchoSpace already had the options for forums and video uploads. The rush to adopt Zoom meetings has forced faculty to implement software they are poorly equipped to manage. Additionally, there is significantly better educational software than Zoom available. When we attend the best public university system in California, with UCSB posturing itself as a cutting-edge, research-based university, the planning, adoption and addition of online education should have been anticipated years ago. UC Los Angeles has made a much smoother emergency transition as they have been answering the need for online classes since 2014.
Within the bounds of a research university, connection should be the emphasis. Students that are now practicing social distancing are also feeling isolated from their academic community. The general feeling of faculty disarray is communicated through chaotic Zoom lectures and the numerous conflicting emails subsequently raising student anxiety levels. It is clear that the faculty were not supported enough prior to the start of spring quarter to prepare and alter their lesson plans.
The UCSB experience is one that aspires to deliver a “dynamic environment that prizes academic inquiry and interpersonal connection to inspire scholarly ambition, creativity, and discoveries with wide-ranging impact.” When students are met with broken links, overloaded systems and deliverables that are disjointed and confusing, you should expect us to ask why and demand better of you. We deserve an explanation. Seven thousand (and counting) people are demanding compensation.
As the system stands now, already possessing our spring tuition fees and with grades nine weeks away, how do you — UC Santa Barbara — rise to the occasion and provide us with the educational experience we have earned?
Terra Paige is a senior English major with two sons, 15 and 19. She is a California native that was raised on baby oil at the beach and buttered bread with every meal.
The problem is staggering and this petition is simplistic. If the UC were to agree to reduce tuition (due to the inadequacy of the instruction received) this would be an admission that your students’ performance in these courses reflected less-than-normal/adequate instruction. Accordingly, graduate schools would be forced to consider course grades received during that quarter as less meaningful and devalue them.
There are real problems here. Throwing money at them (the American way) is not a serious solution.
I think your reply is reductionist. Neither the petition or this article are saying the tuition should be reduced simply because the systems are inadequate but because of the loss of many services that support the previous systems. Obviously, there does need to be more accountability for the tuitions that have been received – justification for them while students are incurring significant debts AND suffering frustration with ill-equipped instructors. Most of my classes were a string of apologies and emails with added work beyond the average, far outweighing the units for the classes. With no TA’s this quarter (from what… Read more »
Good God — your argument against my text simply makes my point. And I would advise (actually I do not give a shyte) you look up the word “reductionist” (either conceptual or methodological). Your application of the term is, at best, a neologism.
A neologism – perhaps if I was writing in 1925. You oversimplified what both the petition and the article are attempting to address. “The real problems” you cite are apparently the loss of implied legitimacy because the classes are paid for in full, and with a refund of services, potential graduate candidates would lose credibility because of said refunds? I fail to see how you are equating quality of coursework with the actual tuition paid? By your line of logic, the more a student pays the better the education an employer or graduate school can presume the student has been… Read more »
Are you intentionally contrary? All things being equal, your observation might hold water. But given current context, reducing the value of the instructional offerings based (as YOU note) on various inadequacies of classroom support and quality [e.g., TAs, unpreparedness of profs to deliver via remote facilities….), dropping the dollar value as a consequence of this particular situation is an explicit admission of inferiority of the product relative to its pre-covid value. Accordingly, your argument is a logical non-sequitur. Three further points. 1. You misuse reductionism as a descriptor. 2. Neologism is not a term associated solely with Freudian analysis and… Read more »
Wow great job on the jargon! Smart ass. aRe YoU iNtEnTiOnAlLy CoNtRaRy? Bro, you seriously tryna be some debate god or what?
One LAST thing (I guess I lied when I said “that’s all — I apologize). When the scope of one’s argument rests exclusively on calling out the correct use of English language, you publicly admit your “arguments” have no substance. Instead you take a childish “na, na, na” stance (and move from caps too small letter within words — WTF?). (BTW: You started the so-called jargon with “reductionism” used improperly. I still await you clarification of your intended [if any] meaning). You call yourself a Gaucho for Life. I have taught at UCSB for 30+ years and am saddened to… Read more »
You are correct, it wasn’t me that wrote that. I am not surprised to find out you teach at UCSB, and am glad you have time for Netflix. I however, am overly taxed with teaching myself and my child, absent of the support services I generally receive from DSP (thanks for the aphasia remark/a little close to home), and worried about my grad school applications. While you wish to point out that my argument is contrary, and perhaps it is, what of that of those seeking reimbursement of those monies that go to services they are not receiving this quarter.… Read more »
DSP is offering services- What departments that help you aren’t open?
LOL, what you read online doesn’t resemble ANYTHING to the “educational creations” of a student nor does it pertain to the overall “admissions standards” being “too lax.” How about you take a chill pill, instead of replying to pure mockery in which you didn’t understand. But go ahead and spill your jargon again. Just because you said you teach at UCSB for “30+ years” doesn’t mean ANYTHING ONLINE because anyone can falsely claim that. So, go back to watching your NetFlix since you had more “fun” doing so, Mr. Wise Guy.
Note to nitwit. I am on medical leave this quarter in consequence of my wife’s acute organ failure. One of the few things we can do (when she is not passed out due to the build up of blood-toxins) is watch Netflix together. Thanks for your sagacious understanding. (BTW the first sentence of your post is not constructed in any known variant of the English language). Of course I would attempt to impress an anonymous poster by claiming employment at a university (such mention could serve no other purpose — e.g., grounding my argument in context-relevant experience). Your inferential powers… Read more »
I do not care, congratulations LOL
Really Mr. Trump, don’t you have more important things to do than publicly dis some UCSB professor’s life hardships? Of course, given your empathetic reply “I do not care”, maybe this is Melania?
I am glad to see a fruitful dialogue between you and Gaucho4Life. I empathize with your situation and I apologize that you have been attacked by randoms whom I hope aren’t associated with UCSB. With that being said, I wish you the best ahead of this uncertainty and that you stay safe and loving with your wife. Take care and don’t let anonymous trolls get to you!