« ForrigeFortsett »
through the offerings of practically every department at any of the normal schools, one is impressed with the fact that practically all the courses in history, mathematics, English, botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, and psychology, as well as languages and vocational subjects, are directed primarily to the preparation of high-school teachers. There is a marked enrichment of the courses in high-school subjects as compared to those in the elementary-school field.
In making this comment the commission does not intend to be understood as favoring the review method of going over elementaryschool subjects so common in county institutes. It may very well be that many teachers are inadequately prepared in the subject matter of their work, and every care should be taken to correct this situation; but the commission has in mind for each prospective teacher wider opportunities to become acquainted with the length, the breadth, and the depth of elementary-school subjects. In every branch of the curriculum significant progress is being made by nationally known specialists, and a rapidly increasing literature is growing up. The commission believes that the normal schools would be doing the teaching profession of the State a tremendous service if instead of responding almost exclusively to the special needs of small numbers of high-school students they employed welltrained specialists in reading, arithmetic, geography, history, and other elementary-school subjects. Such specialists would be able to make these subjects take on new life, and prospective teachers would have a deeper appreciation of the significance of each subject and its proper relation to all other subjects in the curriculum.
Of somewhat similar importance is the manner in which the normal schools, particularly the Hays Normal School, has enlisted in the campaign for the consolidation of rural schools. The commission can not commend too highly the efforts which are being expended in this direction. They should be encouraged and increased in every way. Better far that the State's money should be spent for so significant an educational cause than for any demand for vocational training now present in the State.
CORRESPONDENCE AND EXTENSION WORK.
In order to ascertain the amount of extension and correspondence work carried on at the several higher institutions in Kansas, the commission has asked for certain information, which is contained in the two following tables:
1 Does not include high-school and night-school noncredit extension classes.
The offering of college and university work through correspondence courses and extension classes is now a commonly accepted practice at a large proportion of the institutions of higher learning, particularly the State universities and colleges. Through the operation of divisions established to promote work of this character the State institutions have extended their influence not only to all sections of the State but to all classes of people. The whole State has thus become the campus of the institutions, and the people have been made to feel that, if they can not go to the institutions, the institutions will
go to them with a variety of courses nearly as great as may be secured by students in residence.
Educators who have devoted themselves to a study of this great field of service are uniformly enthusiastic in its praise. They point out that the number of people who can be served has no limits. It is indeed no unusual situation at an institution to find as large if not a larger number of students taking work by correspondence courses than are registered for resident work. To be sure, few if any such students devote all their time to their studies, but the fact that thousands of young people are enabled to reduce the amount of residence work necessary for a bachelor's degree, together with the tremendous though immeasurable influence on the lives and fortunes of still greater numbers, justifies all the enthusiastic praise of those who have promoted and supported the extension movement.
The remarkable success of extension and correspondence courses of general character was doubtless one of the causes for the passage of the Smith-Lever bill by Congress in 1914 for extension in agriculture and home economics. As has already been stated the Kansas State Agricultural College and other land-grant colleges of the country are now receiving from the Federal Government considerable sums of money which are duplicated or exceeded in the States for the conduct of extension work in these fields.
Correspondence courses are, of course, offered under entirely different circumstances than resident instruction. The student does not come in daily contact with his instructor and fellow students, and his study will be at regular or irregular periods according to his habits or circumstances. He usually lacks extensive library facilities and and the inspiration of college and university life.
On the other hand, it is seldom that any but older students with a deep realization of what they wish in the way of an education even register for a course by correspondence. Such students are very likely to pursue their work even more zealously than resident students. Moreover, although they do not actually associate with their instructors and fellow students, their work is in many respects more closely supervised than that of resident students. Correspondence students are required to submit papers and exercises covering every part of a course. These papers and exercises receive the individual attention of instructors who thus have the opportunity to record a large number of grades for each course and to offer frequent and extensive comments on the work of a student.
The commission believes that extension classes should be offered in higher institutions with a view to reproducing so far as possible the exact conditions under which resident instruction is offered. The instructor should meet the class usually in double periods for a total length of time as great or practically as great as if the work were
taken in residence. Regular assignments in textbooks or collateral reading should be made, and the instructor should lecture or hold discussions to meet the requirements of the course. In this way contact with instructors and fellow students is preserved; regular and systematic study of texts and collateral reading is assured; and, since students are ordinarily older and more developed mentally the quality of work accomplished in extension classes is presumably fully equal to that in resident instruction.
In this view of the manner in which extension classes should be conducted the commission finds itself in entire agreement with what Mr. A. J. Klein, in this study of class extension work, found to be good practice among the higher institutions of the country. The following quotation is taken from Mr. Klein's bulletin:
University, college, or normal-school credit is in many cases granted for work which is similar to or reproduces resident courses. In general the basis of the amount of credit granted is the amount given for similar courses in residence. Satisfaction of the same entrance requirements is specified, with a few exceptions in the cases of persons who are over 21 years of age and for certain professions . * * *. The same number of recitations is required as in residence work, the courses cover the same ground, and examinations similar to those given in residence are held. Somewhat curiously, however, residence faculties and administrations have seemed suspicious of extension classes even though resident professors conduct them. There seems to be some fear that the standards may in some way be lower. Because of this suspicion special precautions have been taken when credit is given to insure the maintenance of standards of the institution. Some institutions require a slightly greater number of hours of recitation for the same amount of credits, or will give only a fraction, usually one-half, of the credit granted for the same work when done in residence. In some cases more reading and a greater number of written reports are required. Many limit the proportion of the number of credits required for a degree which may be gained by class extension. The usual proportion when there is such a limitation is one-half, although there are institutions in which only one-third of the work required for a degree may be done in extension classes.
In another place in the bulletin Mr. Klein states: There seems to be a tendency in extension classes to lengthen the period of recitation from one hour to two hours. This is intended to reduce the number of times an instructor will need to meet a class in order to accomplish the work. Accompanying this tendency to lengthen the recitation period is a tendency to reduce the total number of recitation periods in a unit course. That is, courses which in residence work require a period of 32 weeks to cover are broken into two courses of 16 weeks with two hours of recitation each week.
Also the commission wishes to quote as follows from a series of resolutions adopted by the National University Extension Association at its annual meeting in 1921:
In the case of direct class instruction, extension credit courses shall involve practically the same number of hours of class instruction as are devoted to similar classes in residence, and in the case of correspondence instruction the extension course shall be the equivalent in scope to that of the corresponding course offered on the campus. The commission has nothing but praise to offer for the fine spirit exhibited by the higher institutions in Kansas in their efforts to reach the thousands of aspiring young people in the State who do not feel that they can attend the institutions themselves. Such a desire is fully typical of the spirit of service which more thoroughly pervades the State institutions of higher learning to-day than ever before.
1 Klein, Arthur J. Class extension work in the universities and colleges of the United States. U. S. Bu. of Ed. Bul., 1919, No. 62, p. 62.
From all indications it is evident that the extension movement is only at the beginning of its possibilities. In Kansas, notwithstanding the fact that all five of the higher institutions have been engaged in developing extension work, only the surface has so far been touched, and the next 10 to 20 years will see a tremendous expansion of the movement, provided of course it is conducted on a wise and sound basis.
By referring to Table 21 in the appendix, it becomes apparent there are at the several institutions certain divergencies of practice in connection with the conduct of correspondence courses and extension classes, some of which are important. For example, the agricultural college has fixed no limit to the number of hours which may be offered by correspondence and extension credit for the bachelor's degree other than that a minimum of one year must be taken in residence, while the other institutions specify 60 hours or 50 per cent of the course as the maximum. At the agricultural college, on the other hand, a considerable portion of the correspondence courses are conducted by full-time extension workers, while the other institutions depend nearly altogether on the regular faculty. There is also some divergence of practice in the amount of the fees to be charged as outlined by the board of administration a few years ago.
All of the higher institutions follow the commonly accepted standard of outlining eight correspondence lessons for each semester hour of credit. There are therefore 16 assignments for two-hour courses; 24 for three hours; 32 for four hours, and 40 for five hours credit.
Extension classes are, however, combined with correspondence work at the Pittsburg and Hays Normal as against the practice at Manhattan, Emporia, and Lawrence of keeping the two kinds of work entirely separated. As conducted at Hays and Pittsburg, extension classes are supplementary to correspondence course work. When the classes are organized, students are assigned a regular number of the correspondence lessons for each meeting of the class. The correspondence lessons thus take the place of other types of class assignments at the other institutions. For example, at the university an instructor meets a class 15 double periods with certain class assignments for each period for a 2-hour credit course; at the agricultural college and at the Emporia Normal School there are 12