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University dilemma / Writing angry emails - Advice?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by ~Kev H~, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. ~Kev H~

    ~Kev H~
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    Hi all,

    I know this is probably quite a weird thing to ask for advice on but people seem to get good advice on here about just about anything.

    I am in an awkward position, I am revising for a subject at University for which I had always thought the lecturing was exceptionally poor, but today it has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. The course lecturer had provided us all with 8 "typical" questions to work through which should ensure we have the skills necessary to pass the exam. I went to the library this morning to work in peace and quite and look at relevant text books, when I noticed a "questions and solutions" book to what seemed like a key textbook. Flicking through this question book I realise that the 8 questions he had set us to work through have simply been lifted from this book, no re-working, nothing. But even worse, the parts of the questions that mentioned things like "you will require equation x.x on Page xxx of textbook" have not been included in the sheet handed to us (deliberately?) to work on. Making some of the problems essentially impossible and a waste of time to the students who haven't realised what I have realised today.

    Not only that but flicking through this "key textbook" I have also realised that a LOT of what has been presented to us during lectures has simply been photo-copied from a text book and then read out to us during a lecture. I am having serious doubts as to the actual ability of the lecturer.

    What makes this even more frustrating is that the said lecturer was actually my project supervisor for my dissertation and is therefore marking my work. I do not feel I can complain for fear that it will get straight back to him and affect the marking of my dissertation :(

    So, What do you think I should do? Surely the essence of the education process I am in is that we are TAUGHT in lectures, learn and understand the information/principles and then are set an exam, by the lecturer, on the material he/she has taught us. Where are the exam questions going to be taken from? Another text book? another page of this textbook? This university has just been voted 5th in the country by the Guardian for Mechanical engineering and to think that this sort of rubbish is going on shocks and angers me beyond beleif !

    Maybe this is just a rant I desperately need to get off my chest, but if anyone feels like offering an opinion or some advice it would be deeply appreciated.

    Kev :(
     
  2. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    At least yours nicks it from a book (which is in the library) one of mine printed out a website and handed that out as notes....................(I had emailed him the link) You should have a course handbook which lists the greivance procedure and the university should have a quality control system in place (thats where you and your course makes can it clear what the standard is and how you feel about it) why not just see if there are more questions in the same book, you may have found your exam!
     
  3. Nobber22

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    Share your findings with all the other students. Pass the textbook around & make sure you all give exactly the same correct answers. If you don't all get exactly the same marks (ie. 100%) the lecturer will look a right ******. That's the time you hand it over to his superiors. :smashin:
     
  4. Peridot

    Peridot
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    Kev H,

    There are a significant number of lecturers who consider that their job is just to recycle facts with no 'added value'.

    When I was at Uni I chaired the 'Staff Student Liaison Group' and fought long and hard to sort out some of the rogue lecturers. We got nowhere.

    With no standards and no 'management' of lecturers, I'm afraid you're stuck with what you get :mad: .

    Nobbers idea is proably the best way to go about it :)
     
  5. Drd

    Drd
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    Kev
    It's now years ago but I remember some appaling lecturers who used to read text books to us!Not suprisingly we stopped going to the lectures,read the text and enjoyed life instead.I realise you feel let down and angry,but isn't life always like that?We just have to try to make sure that it's not how we do it when the time comes for us to stand up and be counted.
     
  6. ~Kev H~

    ~Kev H~
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    Aaaarrgh!! I've just found another of his "helpful handout" packs that just contains 9 pages photocopied from the same book! How can somebody hold a position as a 3rd/Final year university lecturer when there is no evidence that he is capable of doing this work/these calculations himself !!??

    because the book is 23 Chapters long and there is no way of knowing from where he might pick the questions, and besides, going about passing an exam this way would make me just as angry. Where is the skill or gain from learning how to solve exam questions "parrot fashion", you should be able to interpret a question no matter how it is presented and use the theories/principles you have learnt to solve it. This is how all our other exams are laid out. Do you not agree?

    This is the other thing that infuriates me, there are only 5 copies of the Textbook and only 2 copies (one of each of these I now have sitting on my desk) of the questions/solutions book. There are about 20 of us taking the course.

    What I fear the most is that the exam questions will be lifted from a completely different chapter of this book and then we WILL all get roughly the same mark but it will be closer to 0% than 100%

    Cheers for the comments - Kev
     
  7. ~Kev H~

    ~Kev H~
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    Peridot & DrD, it's reassuring in some ways to know that all universities have problem lecturers like these but is it not appaling to think that 5% of somebody's overall degree classification could be dependent on such a joke of a course as this? (as is the case) 5% of a degree grade that I will hold for the rest of my life!
    I dont have anything to do with our Student representatives board but I'm starting to wish I did. We have had one or two poor lecturers each year of my course, and to my knowledge, only one of them has been changed. Why do universities not care about the quality of teaching???

    How very very true, I guess thats part of what makes me angry, that this man does not see that what he is doing is wrong. :(

    Kev
     
  8. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Hate to tell you but 100% depends on what some thinks of your work.........Not how much you know but what they think...........Dont stress it mate
     
  9. stealther

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    I had a lecturer who used to lift all his material straight from a core text book it was so boring.
    Still he wrote the text book so I suppose he had earned the right.

    I share your concerns about being the sole voice against this lecturer have you thought about leaving an enonimous letter in the school office and then let them decide what to do or leak it to the local press?
     
  10. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Personally, if I were a student on your course, in your situation, I'd shop the :censored:, with no regrets, to your Head Of Department or Head Of School. Hell, go all the way, and speak to the university's Chancellor or vice-Chancellor.

    Whichever, this guy needs to be doing more than just lifting chunks from text-books! That's what you are paying them for, in part, after all! Otherwise, the whole lot of you could simply have bought the damn textbook, and not wasted any time at his lectures.


    Pooch
     
  11. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Nothing wrong with that seen it done, but you must follow procedure.....
     
  12. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Agreed, the course handbook will have the grievance procedure. I think you would be better actually putting your complaint in writing rather than sending it electronically.

    Some of my lecturers follow text books quite closely but you also have to remember that both them and the books are trying to teach the same things! In my case one of my lecturers is pretty much the pre-eminent guy in the world when it comes to photonics and PCF! :eek: :)
     
  13. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    So what, who cares, be friendly towards the Lecturer and you will pass.
    Rock the boat and not only him, but all his pals will fail you as well.
    If you complain to the VC, he will surely show your letter to the lecturer.

    I had a lecturer that just read from his book, all the way through the course. Made
    things very simple, all the exam answers were in his book, and you didn't need to
    get up for the lectures, you could read the book at a time suitable for you.

    As long as you get the bit of paper at the end of the course, why worry.

    PS lecturers pay is lower than school teachers pay.
     
  14. ~Kev H~

    ~Kev H~
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    I will definately (try to) make sure something is done about him after I have received my mark for the year but as I wrote on my first post the guy in question is marking my dissertation and so I dont want to cause any upset before the marking has been finalised. A friend on the course who I have spoken to on the phone totally shares my dis-belief about the whole thing and has suggested I write an angry letter and pass it to him and have him hand it in as if he had written it. Quite a good idea me-thinks, but as it has been pointed out that other lecturers have been known to simply reproduce text-book material then I wonder how seriously the department would take a complaint about this sort of behaviour.

    Maybe I have a different view to you on what getting a degree means. I would be seriosly embarassed to leave university with a Masters in engineering and not have a good understanding of the things this course is meant to teach me.

    Kev
     
  15. Peridot

    Peridot
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    I recall that some of the most gifted academics made the worst 'teachers', as teaching requires a disctinct skill set that's distinctly lacking in many lecturers. However, as long as they can pull in some research funding this will not bother the university management in the least.

    Hopefully yours are reasonably switched on to student needs, eviljohn.
     
  16. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I reckon 90% of "lecturers" do this . I suspect you'll cause a lot of aggro for yourself if you complain as the lecturer will not be regarded as doing anything particularly wrong.

    I had lecturers at college that were incredibly arrogant and self-important and you'd gradually discover they had met with limited if any success in the field of their supposed speciality.

    I wouldn't employ any of them and the few times I've been unfortunate to meet with most of them ( I still keep in contact with the only one who had any right to actually be teaching the subject and subsequently the only one who actually taught me anything) they tend to be very cagey and dismissive around me as I now work at a level most of them would hack their right globe off to get close to.

    After first year anyone with half a brain realised the course was intrinsically poorly run and we all concentrated insteadon helping each other ( or rather the ones that warranted it) . The only guy to get a first followed the course to the letter and has had limited success in the real industry ( I think he's now left it). On the other hand a bunch of us that stuck to our guns and said to hell with the course itself left with average to low passes and are all comparatively succesful . More so than any of the lecturers have ever been ( and I mean by a huge amount).

    So recognise the buffoons for what they are and look to your own goals. Don't paint a target on your head for a reason that few others would.
     
  17. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    wish my lectures did that. no offense meant to people but one of mine is from pakistan and talks english at a million mph and isnt understanable and one has the strongest russian accent. im going to fail both modules so bad
     

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