Opinion: Common core needs to be rethought
Zahida Ashroff / The Daily Gamecock
In college, time and money are practically the same thing. You have to pay for college, so you might as well take advantage of the four years you are here.
While it is likely a couple of common core classes are relevant to your major, they end up being a waste of that time and money.
The relevance and utility of common core classes are often argued by students. You want to take classes that make the best use of your time. If the class you are taking holds no value to your planned post-college job, then why should you have to take the class?
The time spent taking this common core class could be spent literally making money, not to mention that these classes are mandatory.
Core classes increase the amount of time you spend in college. Looking at DegreeWorks, if you didn’t have to take any core classes then most students could graduate in three years depending on if they are attending college full-time or not. It would also increase the incentive to double major or maybe even give students some room to explore their options.
The core classes required aren’t typically taught in a way that is conducive to long-term memory and practical skills. From personal experience, the information taught in these classes is fairly interesting and seems relevant to my future career path, but because of how students and myself are tested on the material, it is likely that the information taught will be forgotten.
Because many classes rely on short-term memorization, also known as using working memory, in grading for the class, it isn’t likely that the information actually sticks with students when they start working. Not to mention most careers don’t involve memorization as the main skill set to succeed in the field.
That being said for undeclared students and incoming freshman, I could see some importance in taking core classes to ease you into college life. However, I think University 101 does a great job at doing this along with familiarizing students with USC. College also isn’t meant to be easy; it is designed around being time-consuming.
Taking a common core class online could help balance out students schedules better instead of taking common core classes in person. After all, as work gets more digitized there is more relevance to learning on the computer than in class. A lot of core classes could be taught much easier online to large groups of students than in person.
Another option is to limit core classes and to adapt the USC class schedule to a 4-1-4 formation. That means that there would be four classes each semester and a “J-Term” or a January term. This could give students more options to study abroad, not to mention that it would lighten course loads for students, giving them more time to study for classes and give teachers more ability to teach students relevant information.
While it isn’t likely that the common core will change at USC, the future of automation along with the rise of online college will definitely bring change to how college is structured. It is up to universities to see if they want to match the changing student demographic and the first step would be to get rid of the common core.