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My son was telling me what happened in his college class


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My first thought would be, either your son and his friend misheard the teacher's request, or the rest of the class did.

 

Otherwise that is really strange.  Usually by college, most people are not a-holes.  :P

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It doesn’t surprise me at all. Most people are lazy and don’t want to stand out in a group, even if it benefits themselves as well as others.

 

At college, I once observed a very long line for a women’s bathroom with only two stalls, and it was the only women’s bathroom in the building. I went to the front of the line to see what the holdup was. Some kid had locked the other stall and crawled out. Nothing wrong with it, just locked. Sheeple women waiting over nothing ! When the other door opened, I said pardon, walked in over their protests (they thought I was cutting), hoisted over the wall, peed in the locked stall, unlocked it for everyone’s benefit, and walked out smiling....to a chorus of omigod, can’t believe she did that! I said You are all WELCOME ! Enjoy the unlocked bathroom ! Nobody thanked me, but they all benefitted.

 

Most people are lazy and don’t want to stand out in a crowd, even when it benefits them and others. And they resent anyone who isn’t like them.

Edited by laundrycrisis
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I don't see the problem?  He and his friend can solve them and get credit or if not credit, at least the extra practice.  They are under no obligation to share what they copied with anyone else. 

 

As I understand it, the teacher asked the students to copy problems onto the board before class so that class time could be spend doing the problems rather than copying.

 

Seems odd to me, as it puts a burden on students to arrive early to class. Also, why is so much time necessary to copy problems? Professors have been teaching classes for many years using blackboards, so it's not like this is a new problem. Maybe the professor should arrive early and copy the problems if it's that important to him.

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We were on the phone last night and he was telling me what happened in one of his university math classes. The professor had asked that, before the next class period, the students go to the chalkboard and for each student to copy a few problems from a certain problem set. That way, they could spend more time solving them and less time copying them down on the board. There were a lot of problems to copy, according to ds. So, before class the next time, my son and his friend went to the board to copy a few problems. After they had copied a few, my son turned around and asked if anyone else would come to help copy them. No one got out of their seat. So, my son and his friend copied some more. Ds turned around again and said c'mon guys, this we need to get these copied before the instructor gets here. No one got up!!! Can you believe it? I think ds and his friend copied almost all of them between the two of them. Ds told me that next time, he would copy several problems and if no one got up. he probably wouldn't copy all of them again. I'm not sure if the instructor knew that they were the only two that did this. I just can't believe out of that whole class, no one got up to help copy them. Especially when ds was literally turning around and asking them to come help! :scared:

 

Edit: so, they were supposed to write the problems?

 

Shouldn't that be on the PowerPoint and then he solves them on the board or overhead?

 

That said, your son's irritation made sense. If I were him, I'd do it in OneNote or Power Point next time, then offer to project it, but say "I'm not getting here early enough to copy them on the board, sorry." Or better yet, write them and send them to the prof in a Power Point. That way, he gets credit and more practice.

Edited by Tsuga
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I don't see the problem?  He and his friend can solve them and get credit or if not credit, at least the extra practice.  They are under no obligation to share what they copied with anyone else. 

I thought the students were writing things from their notes ONTO the chalkboard, thus benefiting the whole class?  I mean if you put it on the board you're sharing, right? 

 

or maybe I'm misunderstanding this? 

 

 

I think if I were a student in that class, I'd put my name on the top of whatever work I did on the board.

 

I also think the instructor needs to rethink their methods. I don't quite understand the point of this. With the technology available today, this doesn't seem like a good method of going over a bunch of problems. My instructors last semester used overhead projectors to put up images of worked problems & they either handed the paper versions out or put them online after class. Any problems that they actually wrote out live, we were encouraged to take a photo with our phone or they would and again scan & make available online....

 

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As I understand it, the teacher asked the students to copy problems onto the board before class so that class time could be spend doing the problems rather than copying.

 

Seems odd to me, as it puts a burden on students to arrive early to class. Also, why is so much time necessary to copy problems? Professors have been teaching classes for many years using blackboards, so it's not like this is a new problem. Maybe the professor should arrive early and copy the problems if it's that important to him.

 

That seems equally strange to me.  If everyone had the problems in front of them, what was the point of putting them on the chalkboard to begin with?  People could just look at their book and do the problems.  If the professor wanted to them discuss how they got the solution then he could still walk them through it.

 

But the OP's post is a bit unclear to me if the problems are being copied ONTO the chalkboard or FROM the chalkboard. 

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It’s not an unusual or unreasonable request. I had math professors who had a bunch of students each copy one problem onto the boards at the start of class. It was routine.

 

In my engineering classes, the profs used overhead projectors and had the problems on transparencies ready to work.

Edited by laundrycrisis
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It’s not an unusual or unreasonable request. I had math professors who had a bunch of students each copy one problem onto the boards at the start of class. It was routine.

 

In my engineering classes, the profs used overhead projectors and had the problems on transparencies ready to work.

 

I agree. I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to ask. Regardless, I just can't believe no one would copy a problem............

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That seems equally strange to me. If everyone had the problems in front of them, what was the point of putting them on the chalkboard to begin with? People could just look at their book and do the problems. If the professor wanted to them discuss how they got the solution then he could still walk them through it.

 

But the OP's post is a bit unclear to me if the problems are being copied ONTO the chalkboard or FROM the chalkboard.

The prof wants to work the problems on the board during class. If they are copying all the words, that’s nuts, but if they are copying drawings and numbers, that’s necessary to work the problem.

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I agree. I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to ask. Regardless, I just can't believe no one would copy a problem............

 

Too much to ask to know which college this is? I have a list of "colleges to avoid because of crazy weirdness that in six years of education in three institutions I never saw"... your tips welcome by PM.

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 Usually by college, most people are not a-holes.  :p

 

I would have to disagree, unless a large number of suddenly start being a-holes again once they graduate. If you've never had to work with a-holes, then thank your lucky stars! 

 

Maybe the professor should arrive early and copy the problems if it's that important to him.

 

Why? It's for the benefit of the students, not him, and there are always some students who arrive early. It's hardly a major burden. 

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I don't get how this saves time - students will still have to copy these problems from the board into their notes.

If the professor is going to work out the problems, he should arrive in time to draw his own circuits, or use technology and project the problems using a computer projector, or if old fashioned, overhead projector.

 

ETA: But if these are circuit problems where he has to draw in the figures, maybe the classroom is not equipped with a tablet screen that allows the instructor to write IN the drawing? 

Or the instructor could be running across campus because he only has ten minutes between classes in different buildings.

 

Edited by regentrude
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I don't get how this saves time - students will still have to copy these problems from the board into their notes.

If the professor is going to work out the problems, he should arrive in time to draw his own circuits, or use technology and project the problems using a computer projector, or if old fashioned, overhead projector.

 

Exactly. 

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Edit: so, they were supposed to write the problems?

 

Shouldn't that be on the PowerPoint and then he solves them on the board or overhead?

 

That said, your son's irritation made sense. If I were him, I'd do it in OneNote or Power Point next time, then offer to project it, but say "I'm not getting here early enough to copy them on the board, sorry." Or better yet, write them and send them to the prof in a Power Point. That way, he gets credit and more practice.

 

 

They were supposed to copy the circuits without the solutions from their textbook, as far as I know. Your post makes good sense to me. But who am I to say?  I don't know the first thing about any of this stuff. :)

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 I'm now team students sitting in the class & refusing to do this. "WHUT? No. I paid money for this. I'm not doing this guy's work for him." 


This is crappy instructing.  

Unless it's a one time thing - projector broke, sorry, I don't want to leave in a lurch etc etc but as the norm? Nope. 

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They were supposed to copy the circuits without the solutions from their textbook, as far as I know. Your post makes good sense to me. But who am I to say?  I don't know the first thing about any of this stuff. :)

 

When I was in college 20 years ago, and again about 5 years ago, all the professors prepared these ahead of time, projected them, and then solved on a nearby board with step 1. Not circuits, but for example linear algebra problems, or word problems, etc.

 

I would still do it if the prof asked I guess, because I'm like that.

 

I wonder if this is an older professor from another country that simply never thought to write the problems ahead of time?

 

Not to mention, the prof could scan or take a photo of the book and project that. It is just not hard to copy and display information in 2018... the chalkboard work is mystifying.

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I don't get how this saves time - students will still have to copy these problems from the board into their notes.

If the professor is going to work out the problems, he should arrive in time to draw his own circuits, or use technology and project the problems using a computer projector, or if old fashioned, overhead projector.

 As I understand it, it was assigned homework that had already been done. So, I'm guessing they are solving them as a whole class as a way for students to check their work and see the problems solved and explained on the board?? They would already have it written in their homework assignments and would only need to make corrections or add additional notes?? I don't know why he doesn't use any other way of doing this, though, besides the board. But I agree with you. :)

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When I was in college 20 years ago, and again about 5 years ago, all the professors prepared these ahead of time, projected them, and then solved on a nearby board with step 1. Not circuits, but for example linear algebra problems, or word problems, etc.

 

I would still do it if the prof asked I guess, because I'm like that.

 

I wonder if this is an older professor from another country that simply never thought to write the problems ahead of time?

 

Not to mention, the prof could scan or take a photo of the book and project that. It is just not hard to copy and display information in 2018... the chalkboard work is mystifying.

I'm going to have to ask ds a few more questions about this, lol. It's very possible that you are spot on. I think, in general, ds is learning to live with wacky instructors. He has another instructor with a very short fuse. Sometimes, he has a really great instructor. You just never know.

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When I was in college 20 years ago, and again about 5 years ago, all the professors prepared these ahead of time, projected them, and then solved on a nearby board with step 1. Not circuits, but for example linear algebra problems, or word problems, etc.

 

I would still do it if the prof asked I guess, because I'm like that.

 

I wonder if this is an older professor from another country that simply never thought to write the problems ahead of time?

 

Not to mention, the prof could scan or take a photo of the book and project that. It is just not hard to copy and display information in 2018... the chalkboard work is mystifying.

 

 

Agreed - our printed problems onto transparencies and worked them with markers on an overhead projector. 

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 I'm now team students sitting in the class & refusing to do this. "WHUT? No. I paid money for this. I'm not doing this guy's work for him." 

 

 

This is crappy instructing.  

 

Unless it's a one time thing - projector broke, sorry, I don't want to leave in a lurch etc etc but as the norm? Nope. 

Yep. I need to ask ds some more questions. Nothing will change most likely, anyway.

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Not to mention if the problems are all in the textbooks, why should anyone bother copying anything until they start their homework?  There's no need to copy something from the board unless the prof wrote it himself.  And even then he could post it on his website for free, or colate the homework problems into his own book and sell them in the bookstore for $7 (the price of the copies + binding).  I don't understand at all how this isn't a giant waste of time for everyone involved.

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 There's no need to copy something from the board unless the prof wrote it himself.  

 

If you are analyzing a circuit, you want to draw and write into your figure. Sometimes to consolidate circuit elements into combinations, sometimes to label currents and voltages etc.

You absolutely want that figure on your notes to mess with it as you are doing the calculation. Just having the picture in the book is not the same.

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As I understand it, the teacher asked the students to copy problems onto the board before class so that class time could be spend doing the problems rather than copying.

 

Seems odd to me, as it puts a burden on students to arrive early to class. Also, why is so much time necessary to copy problems? Professors have been teaching classes for many years using blackboards, so it's not like this is a new problem. Maybe the professor should arrive early and copy the problems if it's that important to him.

Agreed - this, as part of the professor’s instruction, is the professir’s reaponsibility.
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It's funny because growing up the general "feeling" seemed to be we worked to prove something to the instructors.  Now it's...we pay them so they should be working for us.  I can kind of see this second scenario when education costs as much as it does!!

 

 

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My .03 worth -

 

One, I make my kids write out the problems in their books and show their work. It’s a development and practice issue that’s been time honored and tested to be worth the effort.

 

Two, I have no issue with having students do their problems on a chalkboard. But it should be in class with fellow student and prof involvement.

 

Three, I see no value to having 2 students do copious amounts of copy before class. I’d stay in my seat for that nonsense too. But I don’t feel bad for them about it. They did a few and chose to do the rest. No one made them do it all.

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I would have been irritated too. We could debate whether it was a worthwhile way to spend time but the bottom line is, the instructor requested this and I would assume common courtesy dictates that if a classmate is doing what he is told you might join in to help. That floors me actually.

 

I went to a college that is hard to get in and many professors have tenure so their attitude was basically you get as much out of a class as you put in. I am not going to beg and plead. Show up or don't show up. Do the work or don't...it is only your time and your money you are wasting. Without fail I would have students in my classes that just didn't get it. They would skip, put in minimal effort, have all the information on the syllabus and still ask stupid housekeeping type syllabus questions. These same students would be panicking and annoying the rest of us right before every test asking for notes they weren't there for or saying how unfair the prof was. Gggrrrr...I have no patience for pass the buck slackers.

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My thought was why write them down...use your phone and take a photo of each problem and then copy out and work later?

 

If the instructor is going to work through the problems on the board, it is much more effective for students to work along with the instructor, going step by step as he narrates what he is doing, than copying a picture of a finished solution at home. 

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Maybe the professor should arrive early and copy the problems if it's that important to him.

 

Before judging the request, we need to know how exactly the prof phrased it.

I consider

"It would be great if some of you could start putting the problems on the board if you're early, so that we have more time to work through them" 

a very reasonable request. The instructor may not be able to be there early because he might be coming from his previous class.

Edited by regentrude
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Before judging the request, we need to know how exactly the prof phrased it.

I consider

"It would be great if some of you could start putting the problems on the board if you're early, so that we have more time to work through them" 

a very reasonable request. The instructor may not be able to be there early because he might be coming from his previous class.

 

But if it takes only minutes for the professor to make a projection of the problems from the books (on the computer or on a piece of acetate) then it is a waste of student time even if it is before class.  I do a lot of visuals for classes and it doesn't take me long at all.  Students have other things to do too. 

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I would have been irritated too. We could debate whether it was a worthwhile way to spend time but the bottom line is, the instructor requested this and I would assume common courtesy dictates that if a classmate is doing what he is told you might join in to help. That floors me actually.

 

I went to a college that is hard to get in and many professors have tenure so their attitude was basically you get as much out of a class as you put in. I am not going to beg and plead. Show up or don't show up. Do the work or don't...it is only your time and your money you are wasting. Without fail I would have students in my classes that just didn't get it. They would skip, put in minimal effort, have all the information on the syllabus and still ask stupid housekeeping type syllabus questions. These same students would be panicking and annoying the rest of us right before every test asking for notes they weren't there for or saying how unfair the prof was. Gggrrrr...I have no patience for pass the buck slackers.

It doesn't have anything to do with common courtesy though. Only 2 students out of the whole class found it a valuable way to spend their nonclass time. They are free to choose that for them it is worthwhile to spend their energy writing on the board. But it is not rude for the rest of the class to decide that isn't a valuable use of their time.

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But if it takes only minutes for the professor to make a projection of the problems from the books (on the computer or on a piece of acetate) then it is a waste of student time even if it is before class.  I do a lot of visuals for classes and it doesn't take me long at all.  Students have other things to do too. 

 

I added to my previous post: if these are complex circuits and the instructor is actually drawing and writing INTO the diagrams, he may not be able to do this on a projection if the classroom is not equipped with smart pen technology that allows the instructor to write ON the projected figures. 

As for making lots if visuals not taking a long time": if I wanted to replace the blackboard work by having power point slides for every step in the breakdown and reconstruction of a complex circuit diagram, I need dozens of figures for a single problem, which is extremely time consuming to prepare.

Edited by regentrude
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It's funny because growing up the general "feeling" seemed to be we worked to prove something to the instructors. Now it's...we pay them so they should be working for us. I can kind of see this second scenario when education costs as much as it does!!

Copying things down on the board is tedium, and it seems the professor just didn’t want to do it so he authoritatively handed it off. If in the other hand he said “I need some help prior to next class, is anyone available or interested†I think you’d get a different reaction.
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I added to my previous post: if these are complex circuits and the instructor is actually drawing and writing INTO the diagrams, he may not be able to do this on a projection if the classroom is not equipped with smart pen technology that allows the instructor to write ON the projected figures. 

 

 

One could just have a series of slides, step by step. 

 

I don't think asking nicely if students who happen to be there early could draw some circuits on the board is some terrible request though. Those few minutes early are usually wasted time anyway (want to be early so you're not late, but don't want to try to study during those minutes because trying to be fresh to absorb new info during class).

Edited by luuknam
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One could just have a series of slides, step by step.

 

Yes. But as I wrote in my previous post, that takes a very long time to draw. And from a pedagogical aspect, I find doing the rearrangements and combinations in chalk better than showing pre-prepped slides.

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Oh don’t get me started on power points.

 

God save us from death by power point.

 

I wish it had never been invented. Time suck hell having an instructor read the damn power points aloud and call it teaching.

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Yes. But as I wrote in my previous post, that takes a very long time to draw. And from a pedagogical aspect, I find doing the rearrangements and combinations in chalk better than showing pre-prepped slides.

I would agree with that. There is value to a student physically doing it themselves. Engagement matters to learning and fully absorbing materials.

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Yes. But as I wrote in my previous post, 

 

 

As you edited into your previous post, after I'd already quoted it. Either way, I thought I'd already agreed with you for the most part. 

 

In the meantime, I'm wrecking my brain trying to remember if I've ever encountered a blackboard in college. Whiteboards, yes. Black? Not sure. I think some instructors have even projected stuff onto the whiteboard and then drawn on it on the white board. 

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I would agree with that. There is value to a student physically doing it themselves. Engagement matters to learning and fully absorbing materials.

 

 

Um... but the students aren't doing it themselves. They're being asked to copy circuits before class (no learning there), and then presumably copy what the instructor does to those circuits during class - which would be the same copying from blackboard, whiteboard, PPT, slides, etc. I mean, maybe some students connect to it better if they see the instructor writing vs just hear the prof saying the stuff on the slide, but, it's a pretty minor difference. 

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