Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Coleg Degrees 4 Sale

Originally posted on February 12, 2011

So what are diplomas worth nowadays, really? Here’s an addition to a previous blog, with some further thoughts about a recently received ‘nother bit of spam:
Subject: “The education it’s prestigious !   (Really their words!)
To: (recipient) Date… whatever..  Actual text:
You have a choice today!  We are an experienced company, who will give you a big chance! How many days and hours should you spend at the university? Yes…it is too long! We offer you the way much better! 100% verified Degree: Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate (PHD). Our professionals will answer to any your questions and suggest you the best choice! Make it now! Make your life easier! You should wait only 2-4 weeks. We will help you! (and it ends the way the other did… )

My comments: (first, sarcastically:) No kiddink!? I love the use of the word, “prestigious.” (Second, seriously:) Does this example of diploma-mill spam unwittingly challenge the basis of the “prestige” of degrees? Might it be a symptom of an illusion-based system that suggests that high degrees based on the information or the kinds of skills taught in the 20th century would still be relevant in the early-mid 21st century? What if it isn’t? What if it’s more like teaching people how to make horse-carriages and leather reins in spite of the emergence of the gasoline-powered automobile?   A wonderfully thought-provoking article titled “Seven essential skills you didn’t learn in College” was featured in the October 2010 issues of Wired Magazine.    What if much of what we call higher education is almost foolishly blind or in denial of the many types of disruptive technologies emerging at this point in history. (Look up the concept of disruptive technology!)

So, then, what if the spate of diploma mills as a form of spam is actually having a subliminal effect in raising some questions in the general population, calling into question the actual need for rigorous education? I’m imagining that there is a 2% of the population who find this line of reasoning entirely reasonable, spelling and grammar be damned. Why should one go through all that stress indeed? What if it were not really  necessary? Why not just get a “verified” university diploma degree? Who’s going to notice? Who’s going to check? Okay, lots of employers; but there are some who won’t, so perhaps it’s worth the risk. As higher education continues to price itself upwards, it begins to lose the loyalty of the market. What  was once a social prize becomes increasingly an  expensive—very expensive—doorway to a good income, or so it is believed; but increasing numbers of people are wondering if short cuts aren’t not just possible, but probable? Some even are saying that colleges stifle creativity rather than catalyze it.  More food for thought.

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