nandoswitharando Posted July 26, 2017 Share Posted July 26, 2017 Prompt: “Students should only take courses that have a direct bearing on their future careers.” Response: Students should mostly take courses that directly relate to their future careers, as that is the point of a major. However, while some courses may not have any direct bearing on one's future careers, there are certainly opportunities to study things that have indirect effects on one's profession, how one interacts with others, how one thinks critically, and so forth. Thus, students should be required to take a handful of courses with content that can be applied to multiple facets of their lives. For example, as artificial intelligence, electronic tracking and surveillance, online harassment, and targeted advertising are have become more common in the past few years, software developers must think critically about the effects – both positive and negative – that their products have on individuals and on society. However, computer science majors generally do not include ethics requirements. As a result, surreptitious surveillance and anonymous harassment (often on the basis of race, ethnicity, skin color, gender, sexuality, religion, and/or national origin) have run rampant on the Internet. If all computer science majors were required to take at least one ethics course, they would be at least somewhat primed to consider more deeply the connections between humans and technology; this would reduce the risk of causing significant harm to the users of their products. That being said, there is some merit in the opposing argument. As the cost of university attendance rises in the United States and in many other countries, students and their families are much more cost-conscious than they were in previous decades. The fewer seemingly extraneous courses a student takes, the less time it will take for them to graduate, allowing them to enter the labor market at a younger age. This is certainly a valid concern. To balance these two opposing interests, universities should require only a few core courses that will aid all students both at work and in everyday life: for example, an ethics course (which could be divided further into bioethics, ethics for computer scientists, ethics and public policy, et cetera), a survey course of world religions (so that students are more knowledgeable regarding and tolerant of cultural differences), or a course in basic statistics and data analysis (so that students can become more informed consumers, voters, and readers). Undergraduate students ought to be mostly enrolled in courses that are related to their majors and future careers, but there is some significant value in taking courses that teach content that can be applied to a wide range of issues and dilemmas, regardless of profession. By exposing students to ideas and topics that they would have otherwise not considered, universities will produce more mature, thoughtful, and well-informed citizens. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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