Learning to Learn

Terry Carroll describes how his experiences in large classes at NC State taught him how to learn.

Interview on 2011-04-22


00:00:00.000 Between life, NC State, and UNCG I'll say it this way:
00:00:08.063 I realize in retrospect I've gotten a hell of a good education,
00:00:11.696 okay, and I have to give them all equal due, not just State.
00:00:17.147 But I've been very fortunate in that education. Now with that,
00:00:23.518 as someone who's taught at Appalachian I can see some similarities and differences between State
00:00:30.282 and I don't agree with the large classes. That's a bad idea for a lot of reasons
00:00:36.541 but I understand the economics of it.
00:00:38.939 But the one thing that it does teach you to do is survive. To learn on your own.
00:00:45.006 So while that's not necessarily the best way there's value there
00:00:52.681 and then of course we had a lot of great courses. Both schools, I've had some phenomenal professors,
00:01:03.515 and there have been poor ones too.
00:01:06.603 When you got people like Kelly and Petrea and Norm Anderson and any number of professors,
00:01:13.065 and then you have a lot of young professors who were not that different than you and really could still know where you were
00:01:20.178 were but maybe didn't cross the boundary but would get up next to it in terms of relationships; that was nice. You get that.
00:01:26.336 So I think that as I look back, I'm sitting here doing theoretical work on thermodynamics and optics and I say, how do I know that?
00:01:37.680 Where did that come from? And I think it has to go back to the schools and of course, you know, learning to learn.
00:01:44.785 That's a very big deal. You get static and you're stuck there,
00:01:50.575 and of course as you get older you tend to get static more frequently, but we won't go there.
00:01:55.962 But I would say that that exposure.
00:02:01.538 The one that I think that--not the one thing but one of the big things--is problem solving.
00:02:08.013 I realize that my experiences, you know, State had a lot of labs,
00:02:15.068 even though you could do them ahead of time and go in and turn them in, which is kind of bad,
00:02:19.094 but anyway a lot of good labs,
00:02:25.667 and then it just being the '60s and early '70s you had all the social stuff
00:02:30.536 and you saw professors on a different level, and there were a lot of professors that had issues with the war.
00:02:35.238 I think grade inflation came along at the time. If I were a professor realizing if I'm going to give this guy a grade that maybe he earned but that that would be his meal ticket into the army,
00:02:45.691 that's stressful for the professors. Why do you want that responsibility?
00:02:51.561 So I think there was a lot of things very positive about that.
00:02:56.910 I think learning to think, learning to get information, I think networking with people,
00:03:01.947 all those were good, and I still have a deep love for NC State.
00:03:07.941 I mean the alma mater always kind of makes me tingle, so I feel that way. I feel that way about service and the American flag as well, so, you know, they're right there.