Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

rbk mama

Skipping lectures?

Recommended Posts

Apparently its fairly common where DS is, mainly among those who are taking a crazy amount of credits.  DS agrees this is the best way to maximize time.  Nearly all his classes have the notes and assignments available online, and he learns best and quickest by reading, so.... that's his plan.  Has anyone heard of this?  Wondering how instructors feel about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends on the class situation.  When I was in college a million years ago, there were some classes where attending every lecture was important to get info that wasn’t available elsewhere.  There were other classes that showing up for didn’t matter because all the information was in the book or other class materials (not much online back then lol).  

 

When my kid was in school (graduated 6 months ago) she actually found it to be much the same.  Some classes, lectures were irrelevant. All the information was online, in the text, or otherwise available.  Other classes, being there for lectures was necessary.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed with PP. There were a few classes this year my dd won't or didn't skip-  her science gen ed (the exams were based more on in class info and in class pop quizzes were given) and her Roman history class (too much information that would be missed and she doesn't trust others for notes).  But other classes are either recorded and can be accessed from home, or they provide notes, etc. It's a judgement call. My daughter has been putting crazy hours in at her campus job and battling severe winter allergies, so she is working hard to balance everything and sometimes that means skipping class to sleep.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is really going to depend in the class and what the syllabus states. Some classes have in class participation as part of their grade. (My foreign language majoring Dd cannot ever miss class bc in class discussions are such a large part behind taking the course in the first place.) 

I personally think skipping class can become a bad habit that comes back to haunt them if they approach classes with that as their go-to plan. Skipping the odd class bc they really need that time for something else is different from skipping class all the time bc they just don't want to attend class.  There is a fine line between just bc you can and should you.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both of my dc have had roommates who skip successfully. It really depends on major and prof though.  

My current dc finds his high school method works well -- if done with readings and knows the material, he will do other readings or work on problem sets, if not he'll read or re-read.  He does attend because he knows relationships matter and sometimes its helpful to his future TA & tutoring jobs to know how the particular prof approaches things  Like high school, he'll come with questions and observations in case there is time allotted to discussion, if not he hits office hours or finds a grad student. 

Where skipping did not work for the roommates was in a.  developing the relationships with other students (study group) and with the profs and b. if they were photographic memory people - did not think through the mat'l until exam time and missed finer points (which was not necessary for all classes). 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my college major, books were 1000 pages of reference material - if you wanted to know what you were supposed to know, you needed to come to class.  I did take a few classes outside my major that could have been passed using the pre-printed lecture notes and reading the text, but that wouldn't have worked for most of my classes.  Between college and grad school, I probably missed less than 10 class meetings cumulatively because it just wouldn't have worked.  One other thing that students miss when they skip class is the 'helpful hints' material.  When I taught at a CC, I'd often include asides like' the most common mistake that students make is confusing X and Y', or an instructor might say 'I'm going to read an example of a good lab report intro', and students who skip don't get that.  Faculty also to notice who's there and who isn't.  They aren't usually sympathetic when a student says 'I didn't know' and the response is 'I announced in class every day last week'.  And, if you do mess up at some point (missing what time your exam starts, missing a major deadline) faculty members tend to be a lot more sympathetic if they see you as hardworking and diligent.  Or, it may just be that we tend to be nicer to people that we know, and when students come to class every week you feel like you know them at least a little (and much more if they chat before class, or if you see how they interact with other students).  

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would make sure none of the classes have minimum clicker requirements. They generally aren't a big percentage of the grade, but if too many are missed it can affect something that's borderline negatively.

Also, just out of curiosity, how many credits are we talking about here? And why are all these kids taking such heavy loads? I know engineering can be 17 at times and labs are a beast. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, mom1720 said:

 

Also, just out of curiosity, how many credits are we talking about here? And why are all these kids taking such heavy loads? I know engineering can be 17 at times and labs are a beast. 

I am sure that varies by school, but what my sons see are 1. people in majors that aren't intellectual challenging for them who have a lot of AP & DE credits trying to get done in three years and 2. people with AP Calc...that class is a few units short, so they often overload and take the U's version.  Rather than working ten hours a week, they've done a cost/benefit in overloading.  In case 1, our short anecdotal evidence is that it backfires if they don't have internships over the breaks..year four tends to be two semesters of temp jobs until they get some professional xp.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mom1720 said:

I would make sure none of the classes have minimum clicker requirements. They generally aren't a big percentage of the grade, but if too many are missed it can affect something that's borderline negatively.

 

 

What are "clicker requirements?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all of DS's classes so far have had some kind of participation grade, up to 10% — which is an entire letter grade. Even the lowest one I think was about 3%, which can still make a difference if someone is on the border between grades. I know one of DS's teammates failed a class last spring because he assumed that excused absences for competition travel didn't "count" as absences and he skipped a lot more classes as well, including a course where the prof was very strict and participation was 10% of the grade. He ended up failing that class, and had to sit out the entire fall semester.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that it is a bad habit. I TA for an American History course, general studies, 100 level course. Attendance and participation in my breakout (separate from lecture) is worth 15% of their grade. During lecture, the professor covers so much that is not in the textbook. The text is for context. We're heading into week 3 and already students are behind because they've missed lecture and/or breakout. Also, this professor takes absences into account. Anything not excusable goes against the student and she will drop their grade when absences are excessive. I'm not sure how I feel about that overall, but it's clearly stated in the syllabus and she discusses that in class, which you have to attend to know. 

The class I tutoring for in my undergraduate had no attendance requirement. People thought they could slide by on exams and the paper with the information on the slides. Nope, didn't work and those students did not do well. 

These are generally the students who end up making MORE work for the professor. I field emails about things they would know if they'd 1. check the syllabus, 2. attend class because we talked about that very thing. It irritates me because I spend more admin work focused on those students than working with students who have potential to do well but need a bit more guidance. 

It can also come into play if a student is really borderline on earning the next level of grade. I know of cases where the professor didn't penalize a student for iffy absences but also didn't round up the 89.3% either. 

My son strategically skips class and it drives me batty. He knows to check for participation and attendance requirements and he doesn't run to the professor for what he missed. Still. (where is that toe tapping emoji?). 

 

Edited by elegantlion
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally depends on the university/college. At USC, skipping lectures for basic 100/200 level classes was common even 20 years ago. If it’s not your major, the material is pretty basic, yeah, just read the book. Breakouts were attended tho. Attendance was never taken at lectures and participation/attendance during lecture didn’t count for anything. Two tests and a paper were the usual grading criteria.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oldest son's school has an attendance policy.  Miss more than 4 classes and you automatically fail.  There are only 20 classes per quarter (2.5 hours twice per week).  So my son rarely misses class.  Typically he will miss one or two of each class per quarter.

Middle son's school has participation requirements.  He goes to most classes as well.  

I guess it depends on the school and the policy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/1/2019 at 6:15 PM, rbk mama said:

Apparently its fairly common where DS is, mainly among those who are taking a crazy amount of credits.  DS agrees this is the best way to maximize time.  Nearly all his classes have the notes and assignments available online, and he learns best and quickest by reading, so.... that's his plan.  Has anyone heard of this?  Wondering how instructors feel about it.

 

Well, I certainly wouldn't plan on asking an instructor for a recommendation if I've been strategically skipping his class, kwim? 

I can see the attraction of this in theory. In practice, my observation has been that students who skip a lot of classes don't do as well as students who don't. 

ClemsonDana gives some good examples of things students might miss if they rely strictly on online notes. I would certainly hope that my kids weren't taking too many classes they could do well in using this strategy. I'd kind of want a refund, lol. 

2 hours ago, elegantlion said:

It can also come into play if a student is really borderline on earning the next level of grade. I know of cases where the professor didn't penalize a student for iffy absences but also didn't round up the 89.3% either. 

 

True dat. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, elegantlion said:

I agree that it is a bad habit. I TA for an American History course, general studies, 100 level course. Attendance and participation in my breakout (separate from lecture) is worth 15% of their grade. During lecture, the professor covers so much that is not in the textbook. The text is for context. We're heading into week 3 and already students are behind because they've missed lecture and/or breakout. Also, this professor takes absences into account. Anything not excusable goes against the student and she will drop their grade when absences are excessive. I'm not sure how I feel about that overall, but it's clearly stated in the syllabus and she discusses that in class, which you have to attend to know. 

The class I tutoring for in my undergraduate had no attendance requirement. People thought they could slide by on exams and the paper with the information on the slides. Nope, didn't work and those students did not do well. 

These are generally the students who end up making MORE work for the professor. I field emails about things they would know if they'd 1. check the syllabus, 2. attend class because we talked about that very thing. It irritates me because I spend more admin work focused on those students than working with students who have potential to do well but need a bit more guidance. 

It can also come into play if a student is really borderline on earning the next level of grade. I know of cases where the professor didn't penalize a student for iffy absences but also didn't round up the 89.3% either. 

My son strategically skips class and it drives me batty. He knows to check for participation and attendance requirements and he doesn't run to the professor for what he missed. Still. (where is that toe tapping emoji?). 

 

Thanks for sharing this!  I can see how this would be very annoying for the professor, which is why I asked about it.  DS knows a few students who are taking 26 and 27 credits (??). He is taking 21, including a 6 hour lab each week, in addition to research and a few other extracurricular commitments.  I think what I'm most concerned with is that loss of time to interact with instructors, which is what he was initially very excited about.  He's all about efficiency right now- learning and doing everything he can possibly fit in (while still getting good sleep).  He did find out that one of his professors puts very little online, so he cannot skip that class.  We'll see how this semester's plan works for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, elegantlion said:

I agree that it is a bad habit. I TA for an American History course, general studies, 100 level course. Attendance and participation in my breakout (separate from lecture) is worth 15% of their grade. During lecture, the professor covers so much that is not in the textbook. The text is for context. We're heading into week 3 and already students are behind because they've missed lecture and/or breakout.

 

For a 100 level, 3 credit-hour, non-major-specific, gen-ed American History class the students have to come to lecture 2-3 times per week and attend a breakout session as well? 😶

OP - in my dds case, she has some classes that the prof has specifically told them he/she puts the notes online and will record lectures and say they won't take attendance. I honestly don't think she's ever had a class that kept attendance, specifically... but she does have a portion of her grade in each class for "participation," which can be loosely interpreted as attendance+speak up in class. Plus - the better you know the prof, the better chance they will make allowances for you in a desperate time of need...

In my case, all of my live classes have had attendance rules. One has a "miss 4 classes, I will fail you," while another has "miss 3 and I'll drop you a letter grade." Still others have had ranges in between... so I don't skip classes. 😄

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rbk mama said:

Thanks for sharing this!  I can see how this would be very annoying for the professor, which is why I asked about it.  DS knows a few students who are taking 26 and 27 credits (??). He is taking 21, including a 6 hour lab each week, in addition to research and a few other extracurricular commitments.  I think what I'm most concerned with is that loss of time to interact with instructors, which is what he was initially very excited about.  He's all about efficiency right now- learning and doing everything he can possibly fit in (while still getting good sleep).  He did find out that one of his professors puts very little online, so he cannot skip that class.  We'll see how this semester's plan works for him.

 

😮 I'm not even allowed to enroll in nearly that many credits per semester!! I can't even quite put together how 26-27 credits would work? Yikes! 😮

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, rbk mama said:

Thanks for sharing this!  I can see how this would be very annoying for the professor, which is why I asked about it.  DS knows a few students who are taking 26 and 27 credits (??). He is taking 21, including a 6 hour lab each week, in addition to research and a few other extracurricular commitments.  I think what I'm most concerned with is that loss of time to interact with instructors, which is what he was initially very excited about.  He's all about efficiency right now- learning and doing everything he can possibly fit in (while still getting good sleep).  He did find out that one of his professors puts very little online, so he cannot skip that class.  We'll see how this semester's plan works for him.

The entire scenario he is describing makes me question what the other students are sharing..  

In order to enroll beyond typical full time enrollment, students need to have an advisor sign off on it.Getting permission to take 18 hrs if you are a strong student is not difficult. Taking 21 hrs--they are going to start to question you, possibly advise against it, but grant permission. Over 21 hrs?  Seems very out of the norm and definitely not representative of multiple students. Not attending class on a regular basis does  not represent the very students that would typically receive the advisors' override to take over normal enrollment.

What yr are these students?  2nd semester srs?

If this story is accurate and multiple students are doing this and lots of students don't go to class and this campus culture....this is a school I would want my children to avoid.  Bc, no, it is not representof any campus culture where my kids have attended. Where they have attended, class attendance is valued and 18-21 hrs is a killer load.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In thinking about this a bit more, as a parent I would be unhappy about this situation. Parents pay a lot of $$ for kids to attend college. If classes can be mastered wo ever stepping inside a classroom and everything done via online/textbook, the students may as well be enrolled in an online university and sparred the cost of room and board. Classroom instruction should be what you are paying for.

Sorry, but I would be an unhappy parent

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

In thinking about this a bit more, as a parent I would be unhappy about this situation. Parents pay a lot of $$ for kids to attend college. If classes can be mastered wo ever stepping inside a classroom and everything done via online/textbook, the students may as well be enrolled in an online university and sparred the cost of room and board. Classroom instruction should be what you are paying for.

Sorry, but I would be an unhappy parent

This.

We have a discussion about this before ever applying to schools and it is as serious as the financial discussion. We are paying for you to go to school and that means going to class. Exceptions for illness are different. Class comes first, then your job (although we aren't fans of jobs freshman year), then EC's.

I'll add that my kid has the same credit experience as 8"s. Over 18 credits requires approval by the dean and more than 21 isn't allowed -- it can't even be discussed. My kiddo is taking 18 this semester with no labs and is fine because it's 5 classes -- the way his 4 -year plan looks his other option would have been to take 14 credits which he wasn't keen on.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve had a couple classes where the grade was based solely on the midterm and final.  So I went to class 3 times that semester and ended up with a B which I was happy with since I was changing my major out of that department.

i had another class that had in-class assignments that were posted online which were used for attendance as well.  I liked that class so I didn’t purposely skip but the few times I needed to stay home, I would log in, do the in-class exercises and not be marked absent.

Another reason to read the syllabus very carefully 🙂

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

If classes can be mastered wo ever stepping inside a classroom and everything done via online/textbook 

 

I agree. Even if they don't always skip, a college class that can be mastered while rarely stepping inside the classroom is a pretty poor class imo. A 100-level with hundreds of students, sure, some profs keep those very basic (not all), but who has multiple classes like that? 

What kind of credit system does this college use? 27 credits sounds impossible to me, but I'm thinking of the standard format with most classes worth 3 or 4 credits, with 4 credits usually meaning a lab or other requirements. Is his credit system different? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

In thinking about this a bit more, as a parent I would be unhappy about this situation. Parents pay a lot of $$ for kids to attend college. If classes can be mastered wo ever stepping inside a classroom and everything done via online/textbook, the students may as well be enrolled in an online university and sparred the cost of room and board. Classroom instruction should be what you are paying for.

Sorry, but I would be an unhappy parent

Doesn't seem to be anyway out of the situation where a student has 2/3 of the course objectives mastered before it begins.  Makes $$ sense for them to overload rather than extend a semester or two. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, easypeasy said:

 

For a 100 level, 3 credit-hour, non-major-specific, gen-ed American History class the students have to come to lecture 2-3 times per week and attend a breakout session as well? 😶

OP - in my dds case, she has some classes that the prof has specifically told them he/she puts the notes online and will record lectures and say they won't take attendance. I honestly don't think she's ever had a class that kept attendance, specifically... but she does have a portion of her grade in each class for "participation," which can be loosely interpreted as attendance+speak up in class. Plus - the better you know the prof, the better chance they will make allowances for you in a desperate time of need...

In my case, all of my live classes have had attendance rules. One has a "miss 4 classes, I will fail you," while another has "miss 3 and I'll drop you a letter grade." Still others have had ranges in between... so I don't skip classes. 😄

Yes, it's a 3 credit hour course, 2 lectures and 1 breakout per week, in total 3 50 minute sessions. No different than other 3 credit classes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

In thinking about this a bit more, as a parent I would be unhappy about this situation. Parents pay a lot of $$ for kids to attend college. If classes can be mastered wo ever stepping inside a classroom and everything done via online/textbook, the students may as well be enrolled in an online university and sparred the cost of room and board. Classroom instruction should be what you are paying for.

Sorry, but I would be an unhappy parent

THIS^^^^  I took a couple of classes online that really were just read the textbook and add a discussion post each week. I could have read an older edition of the text (much cheaper too!) and learned just as much, but I needed the credit so I paid for tuition and lousy instruction. 

I expect the professor to be the expert on his/her subject and teach accordingly. I lead a breakout section over primary sources. You bet I studied long and hard to know those sources and since I also grade everything, I make sure they learn how to write well. But I could not teach the entire content of the class, it's not my field of specialty. This professor makes sure history is covered in a way that students didn't get in high school. She dives into subject matter deeply and doesn't gloss over the bad points in history. The point is to educate students, not simply have them check off a general studies box. ...Give me a medieval class and I could do well. 

18 credits /semester is the cap at the schools I've attended too. I know one person who got an override for 21 and that included a couple of 5 credit math and science courses. 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I’ve never heard of someone having 26 or 27 credits. Even 21 is quite unusual, though sometimes I hear of a music major having that many. I can’t even fathom how that would work out. But I agree that if the material can be mastered without going to class, then I don’t think those students are getting what they’re paying for.  If that works for someone, why not just do school online and avoid all the expense?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, this is definitely not the scenario I had envisioned!  But at the same time, I know my kid.  He is a super intense student who will not fail to keep up with each class and thoroughly master the material.  I know the 26 and 27 credit students are extreme examples - they are definitely not the norm.  But his 21 is not terribly unusual.  Two of those credits are for a project team.   I'm also wondering if he's able to do this now because he is only in his first year, and the material is not terribly difficult for him.  I don't know, though.  What if you are someone who learns best by reading and not by hearing?  So you read the textbook and complete the assignments without hearing the verbal explanation of the written material.  He's an engineering student, so its not like he needs to hear the professor's personal opinions at this point.  We'll see -- he may change his mind further into the semester.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rbk mama said:

Yes, this is definitely not the scenario I had envisioned!  But at the same time, I know my kid.  He is a super intense student who will not fail to keep up with each class and thoroughly master the material.  I know the 26 and 27 credit students are extreme examples - they are definitely not the norm.  But his 21 is not terribly unusual.  Two of those credits are for a project team.   I'm also wondering if he's able to do this now because he is only in his first year, and the material is not terribly difficult for him.  I don't know, though.  What if you are someone who learns best by reading and not by hearing?  So you read the textbook and complete the assignments without hearing the verbal explanation of the written material.  He's an engineering student, so its not like he needs to hear the professor's personal opinions at this point.  We'll see -- he may change his mind further into the semester.

 

Books should not be covering 100% of the content. Professors don't just explain a textbook in oral review.

Fwiw, an engineering major should need to attend class to master course content. Definitely not a reason to argue in favor of not needing lecture.

I just went and looked to see if I could see which school. Is this the student at Cornell? For that amt of tuition, the book should definitely NOT be the sole source of teaching content. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was an undergrad, I often took 19 or 20 credits, and once had a 21 credit semester. Anything over 18 credits was by special permission only, and usually for engineering/double major students only. What that looks like in reality is going to class 5 days a week from 8:30 in the morning to 6 pm at night 4 days a week, and then 8:30-4 on Friday. It was also my highest GPA term, and there is simply no way I could have done well if I did not go to class unless I wasn't able to physically drag myself out of bed due to illness. I was also a student grader that term, and I had to maintain a high GPA in my major to keep my job.

Reading through textbooks and working problem sets was the base. You had to do this before you came to class. Professors assumed this was done and proceeded with deeper content not found in books. Those who did not fell behind quickly. I can read books on my own without paying expensive tuition. I came to school to learn from experts.

Sure, I could get by with a C or maybe a C- and skip lectures, but then I would miss out on so much. If missed one lecture, I would probably be ok, but any more and the material would be going over my head. You get out of school what you put into it. 

Edited by RosemaryAndThyme
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends on the student and school and class. Really. My 200-geology class on earthquakes was really engaging in the breakouts but I almost never went to lecture and still got a B. It pissed my friend off to no end since we were in the same class. Her grade was only a half step better than mine. Would I do that in a small class in my major? No. Was it fine for a Gen.Ed? Absolutely. Unless you’re planning a career in academia or really need scholarships to attend, Bs really are OK. Prioritization, self-knowledge, and balance (I also worked) is also important. If I were advising a student, it’d be caveat emptor all the way. Know the class, know the requirements, know the instructor (some of my ‘books’ were a collection of readings curated by and/or written by the prof) and know yourself/ your limits.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RosemaryAndThyme said:

When I was an undergrad, I often took 19 or 20 credits, and once had a 21 credit semester. Anything over 18 credits was by special permission only, and usually for engineering/double major students only. What that looks like in reality is going to class 5 days a week from 8:30 in the morning to 6 pm at night 4 days a week, and then 8:30-4 on Friday. It was also my highest GPA term, and there is simply no way I could have done well if I did not go to class unless I wasn't able to physically drag myself out of bed due to illness. I was also a student grader that term, and I had to maintain a high GPA in my major to keep my job.

Reading through textbooks and working problem sets was the base. You had to do this before you came to class. Professors assumed this was done and proceeded with deeper content not found in books. Those who did not fell behind quickly. I can read books on my own without paying expensive tuition. I came to school to learn from experts.

Sure, I could get by with a C or maybe a C- and skip lectures, but then I would miss out on so much. If missed one lecture, I would probably be ok, but any more and the material would be going over my head. You get out of school what you put into it. 

 

2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

 

Books should not be covering 100% of the content. Professors don't just explain a textbook in oral review.

Fwiw, an engineering major should need to attend class to master course content. Definitely not a reason to argue in favor of not needing lecture.

I just went and looked to see if I could see which school. Is this the student at Cornell? For that amt of tuition, the book should definitely NOT be the sole source of teaching content.  

 

I don't think it requires experts to teach lower level courses, at least in engineering physics.  I can see how it would be different in a humanities class.  If the instructor gives good notes, you know what material he or she thinks is important to know, and if you are good at self-teaching, you can make sure you know it (with the textbook that was written by experts).  There are weekly assignments, and it is obvious if he understands the material and can do the work or not.  Yes, this is Cornell.  And he's averaging over a 4. GPA.  He attended every class last semester, but he always covered the material on his own first, and found the lectures didn't add much.  Again, these are lower level courses, so I don't think that's surprising.  (And not that it's relevant, but Cornell gave us a very generous financial aid package, making it cheaper than our best in-state option.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rbk mama said:

 (And not that it's relevant, but Cornell gave us a very generous financial aid package, making it cheaper than our best in-state option.)

 

Nice! Generous financial aid packages are always relevant 😄

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

Nice! Generous financial aid packages are always relevant 😄

Yes, but that wasn't really my pt. This isn't a CC where classes are often expected to be taught at a rudimentary level. One would expect Cornell's classes to be taught at a higher level than straight out of the textbook. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Yes, but that wasn't really my pt. This isn't a CC where classes are often expected to be taught at a rudimentary level. One would expect Cornell's classes to be taught at a higher level than straight out of the textbook. 

 

That was just a general comment, yay! generous FA, it wasn't meant to address your points in any way. I agree with you, lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My father was a physics major at Caltech back in the day, and he told me that he never went to lectures (except in the humanities) because they were a waste of time.  According to him, where you really learn the material is in working the problems (and I agree).  He graduated at the top of his class, went on to get a PhD at Caltech, became a professor at one of the top universities in the country, and is well regarded in his field.

So there you go.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Yes, but that wasn't really my pt. This isn't a CC where classes are often expected to be taught at a rudimentary level. One would expect Cornell's classes to be taught at a higher level than straight out of the textbook. 

 

I don't understand how a textbook can be necessarily rudimentary or somehow lower level?  Surely a good university will be using quality textbooks that cover the subject matter in depth.  I don't know what "deeper material" would be necessary to add if it really was a good textbook.  For something like engineering physics, understanding is shown by ability to solve problems, as the PP mentioned.  If one can successfully complete the weekly assigned problems, and the assigned text is understood, I'm not sure where the gaps in understanding would be.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that in the math-like classes, if you know how to do the problems, you might be OK.  But, you mentioned the prof giving 'good notes' and being able to do all of the problems in the book...the prof isn't obligated to limit class to that material.  In an intro class, that may e all that they do.  But, the prof is entirely within their rights to give a syllabus and no class notes, or for the class notes to only be an outline.  When I taught at a CC, I never would have given class notes because every lecture was different.  I might need to cover a specific topic, but examples or the 'interesting anecdotes' added for color depended on questions from the students.  If there were no questions, I'd use standard examples, but if students said 'What about?' I'd riff on that.  

If you're in an intro class that has multiple sections but a common syllabus, you could probably get away with missing more easily because those classes sometimes have a standard test, so profs can't require you to know much outside the book/syllabus.  But, those types of classes go away after "intro to'.  In a class that I took as a jr, I had a prof come in holding data from that week in his lab, and he explained the thinking behind interpreting the result (it used the techniques that we were discussing).  We had enough information to figure it out ourselves, but none of us would have been able to put it all together and arrive at the answer - it took the prof and his grad students a day.  

I knew a couple of students who used the 'don't go to class' model and it seemed like they got a different education.  They did fine on the major concepts, but they seemed to lose the color of the topic - how it applied to a prof's research, the prof talking about a good/bad day in the lab, the stories about common or weird mistakes to avoid, the explanations about how grades were determined (everything was curve), etc.  And, profs can get testy when students come for help during office hours if they weren't there for class (and it wasn't a one-off because they were sick), especially if the student's ask questions about something that they've explained (when they say 'Do you remember the example of X? Y is an extension of that...'  you need to remember X unless you follow up with 'That's the day that I had the flu, and I got notes from my friend but still dont understand').  And, finally, should you miss the test due to illness, the prof is far less likely to believe you, the one who is not in the habit of being there.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it for a few classes as an undergrad. Part of it was that I was working and doing double STEM degrees. Not much free time.

There was a statistics class where I went probably only 1/3 of the time. I had already covered a lot of it in high school and a class at another university. A friend went every time, and we did the homework together. I was the top student, and he was right behind me. I know the professor didn't like it because he told me so when I picked up my final. I was being efficient with my time. LOL.

The community colleges I've worked for as a professor require that you take attendance and make participation at least 5% of the grade, so that's really not an option for those students. In my last semester as a face-to-face professor (now I work entirely online), I had it set up in the gradebook where they had to log in with a code that was only available in the first five minutes of class. So low effort for me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really think it's a situation by situation call.  My daughter does not miss a lot a classes -- she goes to the majority of them.  If she does miss purposely, she will judge which one can be skipped after having gone a few weeks and figured out how substantial the lectures are.  This quarter she's in two international law type classes, an American Politics class, and a Roman history class.  She knows by now that the international law classes cover substantial information that she can't miss, her history lectures are jam-packed as well, but her American politics class is taught by a visiting lecturer and she is completely underwhelmed by him.  The information covers material she learned already in her AP Gov class, the expectations are lower than they should be for an upper div class, and the pace is extremely slow.  She never misses discussion sections -- attendance is usually taken and it's hard to have a discussion without people coming!

I cannot speak for math and science classes but the credit load does seem crazy.  My husband took 21 credit hours most semesters as a Mech E major and it almost killed him.  Of course he had a lot of extra commitments that took up his time, but still.  27 credit hours doesn't sound sustainable. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ClemsonDana said:

I think that in the math-like classes, if you know how to do the problems, you might be OK.  But, you mentioned the prof giving 'good notes' and being able to do all of the problems in the book...the prof isn't obligated to limit class to that material.  In an intro class, that may e all that they do.  But, the prof is entirely within their rights to give a syllabus and no class notes, or for the class notes to only be an outline.  When I taught at a CC, I never would have given class notes because every lecture was different.  I might need to cover a specific topic, but examples or the 'interesting anecdotes' added for color depended on questions from the students.  If there were no questions, I'd use standard examples, but if students said 'What about?' I'd riff on that.  

If you're in an intro class that has multiple sections but a common syllabus, you could probably get away with missing more easily because those classes sometimes have a standard test, so profs can't require you to know much outside the book/syllabus.  But, those types of classes go away after "intro to'.  In a class that I took as a jr, I had a prof come in holding data from that week in his lab, and he explained the thinking behind interpreting the result (it used the techniques that we were discussing).  We had enough information to figure it out ourselves, but none of us would have been able to put it all together and arrive at the answer - it took the prof and his grad students a day.  

I knew a couple of students who used the 'don't go to class' model and it seemed like they got a different education.  They did fine on the major concepts, but they seemed to lose the color of the topic - how it applied to a prof's research, the prof talking about a good/bad day in the lab, the stories about common or weird mistakes to avoid, the explanations about how grades were determined (everything was curve), etc.  And, profs can get testy when students come for help during office hours if they weren't there for class (and it wasn't a one-off because they were sick), especially if the student's ask questions about something that they've explained (when they say 'Do you remember the example of X? Y is an extension of that...'  you need to remember X unless you follow up with 'That's the day that I had the flu, and I got notes from my friend but still dont understand').  And, finally, should you miss the test due to illness, the prof is far less likely to believe you, the one who is not in the habit of being there.  

 

Yes, skipping like this can't be done if there are not clear notes given; DS can't do it for one of his classes for this reason.  But the bolded is definitely a concern of mine!  He actually started out the semester with the flu.  He was very sick and missed 8 days (we live far away and I was going crazy - stays in a crowded triple, on a loft-- climbing his weak feverish self up and down, getting friends to bring him food... aaargh).  He is nearly caught up about a week later, which has in his mind confirmed his choice to skip.  But I have been concerned about the future, his handle on the content for the rest of the semester, and his relationship with his instructors.  When I've mentioned this latter bit his response is that attending every lecture would be a fun, easy way to learn, but is still not the best use of time, since he can learn it much faster on his own and fit more into his schedule.  When I mention getting time to interact directly with the professors, he says lectures are not the place he'd do that anyway - it would maybe happen right after lectures, or at office hours.  But as you said, how would a professor feel about him showing up at office hours when he's skipped lectures?  I'm sure less than thrilled.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's true that you won't usually interact with profs during lecture, but that doesn't mean that they don't know who is there.  My CC classes had 50 students, and I definitely knew who routinely did and didn't come.  It definitely affected how much effort I put into accommodating requests.  I had several tests and gave 5 quizzes.  My policy was that I would drop one quiz and give no make-ups.  But, when a guy who was always there said that he had a problem because he had 2 business trips scheduled during quiz classes, I let him make one up.  I trusted him, since it seemed unlikely that he'd always be there and then choose to skip 2 quiz days.  Also, students don't realize how much more efficient it is for faculty to help with problems when there is a group.  If a question is asked during class, you clarify it for all 50 students.  If they come during office hours, you can still explain it fairly quickly.  If a student sends an email (your son may not do this, but it's common among class skippers)....it's really hard and time consuming to explain concepts by email, and sending 10 individualized emails about specific details when a 5 min group discussion would have explained it all, is frustrating.  And, if you go visit a prof, you don't want for them to not recognize you.  I was astonished that, when my college roommate changed majors and took a 200 person biology class the year after I did, she mentioned to the prof that her roommate took it last year.  She gave my name, and the prof remembered me.  

I was just talking about this with my husband - I was a science student, and he was in engineering, and the classes had a different vibe.  He said that in his program it was common for faculty to sometimes solve particularly difficult problems during class - similar to my example with the data, where you knew everything necessary to solve it, but only a truly amazing student would ever put it all together on their own, especially during the time constraints of a test.  Then a problem of similar style would show up on the test, and only students who came to class could do them.  I guess it's the engineering equivalent of 'digging deeper' in humanities, or 'extending and applying the concept' in science. 

I remember one prof who taught metabolism. We were all frantically taking notes and he said 'Stop!  Put your pencil down.  We're going to think about this.  If you had this pathway and needed to shut it down, what's the most logical place to shut it down?  What's the most logical molecule to stop it with?'.  He went on like that for a while, and suddenly, instead of memorizing a pathway and its regulators, we were thinking about the logic and efficiency of how it worked.  And, 25 years later, I've forgotten much of the metabolism material except the basics that I teach...and the way that it's regulated.  That's what I would have missed by not going to class.  

ETA:  The start of the semester in an intro class may not be the best gauge of the difficulty in the class.  I remember some semester beginnings where I was on top of everything fairly quickly...only to find that Unit 3 was a killer.  By the time he realizes that something is hard, he may have already missed the relevant stuff in class.

Edited by ClemsonDana
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a bad idea.    If you are taking so many classes that you Plan on skipping classes then you are taking too much.  If there are less than 100 kids in the class, then they know who is there and who isn't.   

There are other ways to get classes done without skipping lectures.   For a required class that is unimportant, you can talk to the transfer department and find out where an online a class could be taken and then transferred in.   

I remember one class when I did have to miss regularly.   I had to miss an hour of lecture a week because it conflicted with my work schedule.   It was an upper-level math class that only had one offering.  I talked to the professor and explained ahead of time.   I said I'd be extra-diligent with the assignments to make sure I understood.  He seemed to appreciate the heads-up.  


 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, rbk mama said:

 

I don't understand how a textbook can be necessarily rudimentary or somehow lower level?  Surely a good university will be using quality textbooks that cover the subject matter in depth.  I don't know what "deeper material" would be necessary to add if it really was a good textbook.  For something like engineering physics, understanding is shown by ability to solve problems, as the PP mentioned.  If one can successfully complete the weekly assigned problems, and the assigned text is understood, I'm not sure where the gaps in understanding would be.  

At least in history, most textbooks do not fit the design of specific courses. Sure you can grab a western civ text, but most textbook writers are not experts on the swath of history. They may also have to kowtow to a publisher's demands. Most professors that use a text do so as context filler or because admin wants them to assign a text. Also there are many way to approach history, political, cultural, identity - and different ways to break up specific periods of history. Primary source readers and monographs are more helpful, but none of my classes has worked straight through a monograph or reader - the professor chooses based upon their approach to history. If you just read the material and don't attend class, there is a good chance you'll miss the significance of the reading. 

Some examples: 

An early American history course taught by professor with a JD and PhD in History. We never made it passed the American Revolution because his field of study is early colonial history. Loved that class. 

Another early American history course taught by a professor with a specialty in race and gender. We focused a lot on immigration, slavery, and indigenous peoples. 

A modern European history course taught by a professor with a specialty in Russian and military history. Learned a lot about Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, and weaponry. 

An ancient and medieval survey course from a professor who knows a number of languages including reading Middle Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Latin, Old Norse, and Cuneiform. He reads Hammurabi's Code off the stele, discusses Islam from reading the Qur'an in Arabic. I was studying for art history one day and we were talking, he started reading the Sumerian writing on the statue. 

These classes aren't even at Cornell, but lower level universities. 

 

My son is a math major and discusses how one of his professors assigns a text but rarely uses it or goes into way more depth than the textbook can. So it's not just humanities.

 

Personally, I find most textbooks bland and too general. It takes a person with a passion for the subject to engage students, that requires moving beyond the text. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not be thrilled as a parent to be paying $$$ for college and to have my kids not sitting in on lectures.  At least in this day and age, there are ways at many schools to lop off general eds you don't really care about online, etc.  When you physically go to a college campus it's also about getting out of your room and being in the classroom and building relationships.  If you can't be in the class 3-4 hours a week, don't sign up for it.  

I would consider any professor you do this for regularly off my list to ask for any favors later if skipping regularly - references, permission to take classes or get off waitlist, emergency extension on an assignment, etc.  I cannot imagine it looked upon favorably.  I know several people teaching college classes.  Even in very large classrooms they know who is there every time and engaged.   They really don't care when they show up with a crises later in the semester even if it's legit.

I have a BS math and BS comp sci from a rigorous engineering program.  I literally never skipped lectures.   Seems incredibly short sighted.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, rbk mama said:

I don't think it requires experts to teach lower level courses, at least in engineering physics. 

For almost all students, it does. The student who masters the material solely by studying the textbook is the rare exception. I have encountered those, by they make up less than one percent. 

And it is actually much faster to have the professor extract the most important points from the 1000 pg text rather than trying to work through the book. 🙂

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, elegantlion said:

My son is a math major and discusses how one of his professors assigns a text but rarely uses it or goes into way more depth than the textbook can. So it's not just humanities.

 

Personally, I find most textbooks bland and too general. It takes a person with a passion for the subject to engage students, that requires moving beyond the text.  

 

This is why its not possible to skip unless you have a professor who gives very clear notes about what he or she thinks is important to know.  I'm not defending it, just explaining.

And my son likes well-written textbooks - he's strange that way.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, regentrude said:

For almost all students, it does. The student who masters the material solely by studying the textbook is the rare exception. I have encountered those, by they make up less than one percent. 

And it is actually much faster to have the professor extract the most important points from the 1000 pg text rather than trying to work through the book. 🙂

 

Again, skipping won't work unless the professor gives very clear notes about what he or she feels is most important to learn.  And I think this is a very odd student who digests textbooks.  Not defending it - just explaining. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, rbk mama said:

 

Again, skipping won't work unless the professor gives very clear notes about what he or she feels is most important to learn.  And I think this is a very odd student who digests textbooks.  Not defending it - just explaining. 

 

And in the age of full inclusion, those clear notes are being given.  My son at state U had professors who told the class that they would not be deviating from the powerpoint that was available for consumption prior to class --  for the benefit of those with learning disabilities. Attendance meant an opportunity to review notes in slo-mo.  He was much better off doing the readings and coming to office hours/study group ready for discussion.

   The class that ticked me off was stats -- the U did that one all onlne, with students from a partner U overseas and didn't provide sufficient recitation time. Total waste of moola as they experimented on the students.  It was one of the reasons that younger son took state U off his list.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I went to college in the 80s--long before notes were available online, and I knew a number of students who skipped class often, saying it was more efficient to read the book.  I did not agree with them, and found that it took 2 hours of my own work to make up for 1 hour of missing class.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...