When the brain shuts off and technology takes over.

I recently read an article about software that was developed to key in on students classes and suggest to them the classes to take for the next semester. While I have to question the accuracy of the program based on various things that happen in the mind of the average college student (switching majors, different electives, different tracks in the same major, etc), but I have to applaud the effort. I know I gave my adviser a hard time as an undergraduate because I tended to take classes that I was more interested in rather than those they recommended. Titled the “Netflix Effect” the theory is that regular human advisers don’t normally receive high marks from students in the area of helpfulness, thus the technology will take over where the human has yet again “failed.” The program will look at the classes in the intended major, calculate the past academic performance and how students actually did in the class and then recommend a schedule accordingly.

The hope is that this new software will lead to few dropouts and higher grades. I think that this software is tentative at best. While the software will maybe provide an easier schedule for the student ultimately the work is up to the student. Their are difference in professors that the software also fails to take account of. While some students are better at oral learning, some professors are better teaching visually – this provides a problem in which the student might not do well in the class, not because the class isn’t right for him but because there are gaps in the teaching and learning spectrum. I also think that this software will limit the students ability to fine tailor their class load to fit them personally. If a student is more interested in the international relations classes of a general political science degree will program recognize this or will it always suggest other classes because the student has taken more of the international relations classes? I think there are many kinks that would need to be addressed with this program before I would count it as a legitimate tool, but all in all I think it interesting.

Check it out for your self at http://chronicle.com/article/The-Netflix-Effect-When/127059/

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About Richard Winter

Graduated Spring 2010 from LHU with a B.A. in Political Science. Currently in the process of achieving a M.L.A. concentrating in Student Affairs.