April 28, 2009

Is College Overrated?

Since getting laid off earlier this year, I've started to do freelance marketing work and recently decided to try and create a business out of it. To aid in this pursuit, I downloaded a trial version of Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and checked out Dreamweaver CS4 for Dummies and Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Digital Classroom from my local library.

Within a day and a half of reading through the first book, I had my site up and running. The second book is a bit more detailed, so it's taking me a few days to get through, and I'm really learning a lot. I'll likely update the site once I'm done. Both books have been tremendously helpful, and I highly recommend them both to anyone who's looking to learn Dreamweaver. The one other book I checked out, Dreamweaver CS4: Visual Quickstart Guide, was confusing and poorly laid out.

Here's my point. I'm doing in one week what it's probably taking kids a semester or more to do at a university. I'm working at my own pace. Using tremendously helpful textbooks, some of which contain video tutorials. Stopping where I'm having trouble. Speeding past things I understand.

And most importantly, I'm really learning this stuff. If one was truly self-motivated, how many collegiate degrees would be better served by simply giving the student a computer and a library card?


Beth said...

I think you would be surprised to know that I never took a single web design class at Bradley. I tested out of the level 1 class based on what I had taught myself throughout high school. And I replaced the level 2 class with independent study by creating a site for Susan G. Komen of Peoria. I did learn a lot of things in college but web design wasn't one of them.

Matt J said...

I believe it is more important that college teaches you how to learn than teaching you specific knowledge. These days, I use a very small amount of what I learned in college, but there is no way my high school mind would be able to grasp the new things I am learning now.

Eric Olsen said...

matt, so i want to know how much we can attribute your increased ability to learn to the 4 years of college as opposed to simply the 4 extra years of existence.

The Great I'm Not said...

ITS A SCAM! I apply absolutely zero of what I learned in college to my current job. Every media, sales, and marketing skill I've acquired has been self taught. You just can't put that on a resume.

Eric Olsen said...

alright, so we're going to discuss alternatives tomorrow.

Marc said...

[obligatory Good Will Hunting reference]

how do you like them apples?

Marc said...

additionally, may I suggest that you change your e-mail address on your business site to something off of one of your two domains. Like "me@ericolsencreative.com" or "themanhimself@allopinionsarenotequal.com"

It's just that hotmail doesn't scream 'net savvy. Hope it helps!

Arcane Rest said...

So is college overrated? YES!

A majority of college is the experience. No one in my family has had or will have the memories that I did in college. It is the last time that you are around so many people within your age group.

However, the funny thing is either associate degrees or graduate degrees seem to be the used degrees, e.g. physical therapist.

This fact demonstrates that there is way too much General Education in undergraduate curriculum. Colleges should over accelerated programs to students with drive, accelerated by negating all the general chaff that consumes and misdirects your focus. So a 7 year program can be 3 or 4 for professional degrees and 2-3 or less for others.

Question: Does pre-med curriculum prepare start you on a path to becoming a doctor? NOPE, med school does, so undergrad is waste of time for these people for the most part, it should be changed

Eric Olsen said...

good noting the Good Will Hunting reference Marc. It's very true.

I don't exactly know how to set up an e-mail address from my new site, and I'm not really sure I want to if I'd have to check another site. There's probably a way to redirect it to my hotmail account. I'll look into it.

Until then, at least it's not like norsehorse82@hotmail.com

Sean, totally with you on the direct path stuff.

Bobby Teenager said...

I took a web design class in collge and it was a total waste of time. I learned everything I needed to know from the tutorials in the book. I think some kinds of learning need to be more self-directed and the typical classroomm setting provides no extra benefit. I do agree with Matt though that college teaches you how to think, and provides a launching pad for your own self directed learning or graduate schooling. While PT school has taught me an incredible amount over the past 2 years, I know I do not know nearly as much as Sean does, even though we've now had probably the same amount of "classroom education". At some point you've gotta just start learning the rest on your own. By the way I have unlocked copies of the software you mentioned if you're interested. That is one nice thing I got out of college ;-)

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