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The structure and workings of the university are ever changing. The university of the past is not like the university of the present and the university of the present will not be like the university of the future. This “adaptation” to the times is what can make some universities great or make some universities among the worst in the nation.
In the past the university was very set in their ways. They did things the way they wanted them done. They paid no heed to the rest of the society and the way the ones paying the bills wanted them done. In the past the professors would lecture endlessly to the students. This endless lecturing often left the students bored and with no idea what was really said to them in the lecture. This is no way to try and teach students, students need interaction with the professors that are paid to teach them. As Paulo Freire believed there needs to be communication between the students and the professors and the class should not be totally memorization. Freire also believes that when the professors are active and the students are passive there is no learning there is only memorization. This is the way that things were done in the past. All classes were based on memorizing the material with no interaction. When all you do is memorize you do not put the material to use you just remember it for a short time and then you forget it forever. Freire says that when the teachers are rated on how well the student memorize the material, they are just passing the students on ignorance. The university should also teach the process of critical thinking not just how to learn facts.
In the present many universities have either changed or are changing the way that they run their university. The universities now are taking on many of the beliefs of the major educational philosophers in order to make changes in the teaching methods. Universities are breaking down many of the divides between majors that they offer. By breaking these barriers the universities are becoming less specialized and more diverse. This goes along with the ideas of Berry.
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I believe that the future of the university will be much different than the past and the present. The future will be even more electronic than today’s university. Students may not even have to go to class except to take the exams. The students could stay in their dorm rooms and watch the lectures on their computer with the use of digital video discs or some other new medium. The text books would be either be on discs given to all students or located on a central database accessible to all students. The university would still have to have professors on hand to answer questions and to tutor. Since the professors would not be needed as much they could devote all their other time to do research. I also believe that you will be able to go to any school to get the education that you want. For instance, you could go to Clemson but yet take classes at other schools because it will all be electronic. All the universities in the nation will be in cooperation to better the education of the students of the United States. For things to work this way tuition will have to be put in a central fund that each university can draw from depending on the number of courses the “teach” each semester.
Universities in the past have often been criticized for the way they did things. Even many universities now are often criticized by the people and press of this nation and by other nations of the world. I believe that things were done incorrectly in the past but at least they are trying to change. It is always better to try and change later than needed than to not change at all.