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Author Topic: To Challenge the Grade or not to Challenge the Grade?
Alcon
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So I need a little advice here. I had an incredibly bad professor for electronics this semester. Epically bad. The stories I could tell about this class... but I'll try not to go into it too much cause I'll just end up ranting. Suffice to say that I did as well as could be expected in this class, which was a mess. I didn't learn nearly as much as I'd have liked, and what I did learn I had to teach myself.

I got a B in the class. Before you jump on me (I know, normally a B wouldn't bother me) listen to the circumstances of the class. This professor is new, it's his first time teaching, his first hiring at a college. He doesn't know electronics, yet he asked to teach our electronics class here. He admitted to not knowing electronics before we started, saying he was going to be learning along side us. Ok, whatever, not optimal but we'll deal. The first couple of weeks were torturous. He bumbled around the lab more than we did. Quite frequently he forgot about simple things that he should have known from just being a professor of physics (such as the power law for resistors, causing us to burn out quite a few before getting it right). In his lectures he dove completely into the equations, not paying any heed to whether or not we were really following him (and there were only 6 of us in the class). On one occasion one of the students admitted to not doing the assigned reading till the morning before the class. His response "It's alright, neither did I." Now, if he knew electronics, that's one thing. I'd still be a little worried by his assigning us to read stuff that he hadn't read, but when he doesn't know it and is about to lecture on it...

As the semester went on things went from bad to worse. More than once he completely bungled a lecture leaving himself and us more confused than when we'd gone in. Several times he gave up on lectures, saying he'd have to read up on it more and we'd come back and try again next week. Labs never worked (granted, there's an old joke: if it's green it's bio, if it smells it's chem, if it doesn't work it's physics), and he could never tell why. "It works in the math..." was something of his mantra. He couldn't seem to understand that parts were not perfect. And he didn't start attempting the labs before making us attempt them until most of the way through the semester.

When we were doing labs he asked us to do absurd things. For example: find the plot for the I-V curve of an Integrator, you want RC small. Keep in mind, he hadn't really succeeded in teaching us much of anything until this point, and every lab up till that point had been the same: try some values, give me the curve. We'd never seen example values we didn't even begin to have any idea of what "RC small" was. He didn't either. So now we have a bajillion values of RC to try and he expected us to have it done in a class period or two with minimal assistance from him.

A couple of times he simply gave up on the labs as hopeless.

He gave us two homework assignments the entire semester. The first one he never went over and never handed back. The second one we harassed him into going over with us. Once he did it became clear that he hadn't even looked at the problems before assigning them. He came to several of them and realized that he didn't know how to do them, let alone explain them to us. Some of the ones he didn't know how to do, I ended up explaining to him. He ended up removing several problems from the assignment that we'd been struggling with for two weeks simply cause he realized we didn't really need to know what they were teaching just then. We never got that assignment back graded either. In fact we never got anything back. Labs, homeworks, anything.

When we asked him questions he was condescending, arrogant and dismissive. "How could we not understand it?" seemed to be his attitude. Ironic when he didn't understand most of it either.

Towards the end of the class he let us go to work on a final project of our choice, originally saying it just had to be done by the end of the semester. With a month left till said end he changed that till it had to be done by two weeks from then, and he wanted a circuit diagram in a week. Most of us had barely starting figuring out what we wanted to do. Now we had to figure out our entire projects by the next class period. What we thought we'd had two to three weeks to do we now had one. We managed, and in my case I managed to build a one bit full adder with carry out of discrete transistors and resistors. No small task considering he'd barely even gotten to transistors and hadn't even touched on boolean logic. When I tried to explain the way my project worked to him it became clear he knew nothing about digital logic. Not a thing.

So you guys have heard me in school debates... when faced with this sort of thing, I get very frustrated. It was made worse by the fact that I was very much looking forward to electronics. I've wanted to learn about them forever. To have a class I was looking forward to screwed up this much, I was on the verge of holes-punched-in-wall frustrated. On more than one occasion I had to simply get up and walk out of the class to prevent myself from chewing him out on the spot. I took solace in ranting to my extraordinarily understanding and patient adviser, who had office hours during that class.

About half way through the semester I talked to him, several times, trying to get him to turn the class format to something we could learn from. We ended up in a yelling argument more than once over it. He hadn't been giving any examples, he'd been simply deriving equations. I was asking him to come to class prepared with a few examples (with numbers the nerve!), he flat out refused. I finally won a little concession from him, which came in the form of him sarcastically asking if I wanted to see an example with numbers after he was done deriving anything.

So you can see how frustrated I am with him, and the fact that he gave me a B is just salt in an open wound. To be fair, I did miss a few classes (there were days when I was already too frustrated that I knew going into his class was a bad idea). And I didn't turn in one of the 5 or 6 labs he asked us to turn in, I'd thought it was one of the ones he'd asked us to give up on. He claims my missed classes knocked my participation grade from an A to B and the missed lab from a B to C and I had As in the other categories, hence B. Frankly I don't feel like this man has any ground to be grading me on what I learned in electronics. Much less on missing class, seeing as he came to class entirely unprepared about 75% of the time.

Do I have grounds to challenge this? Would I be in the right challenging it seeing as, yes, I did miss class and never turned in that one lab (since I thought it was one he gave up on)?

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
Do I have grounds to challenge this? Would I be in the right challenging it seeing as, yes, I did miss class and never turned in that one lab (since I thought it was one he gave up on)?

Probably not.

I sympathize with your frustration. There is little worse than a teacher who does not know the material. [Frown]

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BlackBlade
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quote:

I sympathize with your frustration. There is little worse than a teacher who does not know the material.

This woman speaks the truth!

One of those things being a teacher who so completely believes they know the material and so completely misunderstand it.

I had an Old Testament class like that, and it was not just a difference in interpretation, she was describing for example what the Mormon view of the OT was and was completely off her rocker and my being a Mormon did not seem to be good enough for her to listen to me.

*face palm*

edit: In response to the OP, I don't think you will get anything out of protesting it but you should certainly lodge a complaint to your dean about that teacher.

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James Tiberius Kirk
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I agree with BB. I'm not sure if you have a case (you might, but I've never tried to appeal a grade) but the experience you describe is defiantly worth a complaint.

Did you request an opportunity to make up the missed lab?

--j_k

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Teshi
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Is this a college or a high school? If it's a college I'd complain and ask for your money back.
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Bokonon
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Flunk him in the professor evaluation.

-Bok

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Alcon
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It's college.

And it's a small department (5 profs, 4 declared majors for next year's senior class, 2 of 3 declared majors for my class), I'm a sophomore/rising junior (feels weird to say...) who plugged myself into this department pretty hard core from my first moments on campus. I'm friends (as much as is possible in a student-professor position for an undergrad) with the 3 of the 5 profs in the department. The new guy has only been here for two semesters and has been getting bad reviews all around. I already spoke with the chair of the department mid semester lodging my complaints with him. My poor adviser has been listening to me rant about him all semester.

I know it's probably a long shot to get the grade changed. But I really just want to see him go away. I don't want to have another class with him under any circumstances, and in a department this small... that's gonna be darn near impossible.

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El JT de Spang
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Grade change -- not likely.

But I would definitely pursue the complaint avenue. I figure if the teacher can reasonably argue the grade they gave you you're pretty much stuck with it.

I was known in some circles for my evaluations. To the point where, even though they're anonymous, I had a few professors ask me to stay and explain what I wrote (cause they read them and knew which one mine was). I was always harsh but fair, because I figured it was in the school's and my best interest to get accurate feedback on how their faculty is doing.

You might check to see whether the eval's go to the dept. or just back to the prof. I know some places only the prof's see the evaluations, which means you'd want to file a separate complaint with the deptartment.

Good luck. I really liked Electronics -- sucks you missed it.

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NotMe
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The guy is new, so the department may be more receptive to complaints. I would say don't challenge the grade. That makes it seem like a personal thing. Just go talk to the department's head of undergrad programs and tell him that you had an incompetent teacher. Ask if you will have to take classes from him again. If you are told yes, then try to complain to somebody else, perhaps in the Dean's office.

It may be that this department is very low on resources, and that may have led them to hire somebody who wasn't qualified. Whatever you do, be careful not to accuse anybody other than the one instructor of wrongdoing at first. There are probably some pretty complex internal politics surrounding that department, and you should try to stay out of that mess until you can use it to your advantage.

Since you have a good relationship with the rest of the faculty, I would say just drop it if they say that you won't have the bad prof again. He can't last long in a department like that without learning how to teach.

As bad as it might feel, you need to be selfish in a situation like this. Your education matters more than fixing a dysfunctional school. If this school can't satisfy your eagerness to learn about the subject, leave and don't look back. If you can reach a compromise with the faculty, then you can continue with your education and stop worrying about this guy. Since you know that the other profs are good and you can get along, you shouldn't have to leave to get the education you deserve.

You never have to let a single prof get in the way of your education.

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Belle
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You don't have grounds because of this:

quote:
He claims my missed classes knocked my participation grade from an A to B and the missed lab from a B to C and I had As in the other categories, hence B.
He's explained what he graded you on and why your grade was a B. Seems like he has grounds for giving you a B, hence you have no reason to challenge it. You don't get to have grades raised just because the professor sucked. I'm sorry, and I'm not being flippant I truly do feel your pain, every college student has one of these stories. Tell the truth in your evaluation of him, send a letter to his department chair, but don't expect a change in your grade.

The best way to deal with a terrible professor is show up to class every day, put up with the BS, do what they want, and walk away with your grade.

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Dagonee
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quote:
He's explained what he graded you on and why your grade was a B. Seems like he has grounds for giving you a B, hence you have no reason to challenge it. You don't get to have grades raised just because the professor sucked. I'm sorry, and I'm not being flippant I truly do feel your pain, every college student has one of these stories. Tell the truth in your evaluation of him, send a letter to his department chair, but don't expect a change in your grade.
Also, if you wish to make a point about how terrible the professor is, you'll have more credibility if you're not trying to change your grade.

quote:
He can't last long in a department like that without learning how to teach.
Oh, if only that were true!
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Alcon
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quote:
The best way to deal with a terrible professor is show up to class every day, put up with the BS, do what they want, and walk away with your grade.
I've never been able to do that, I don't think I ever will be able to do it. I care too much about learning the material and my own sanity and not enough about my grades :/ In the long run I don't really care about the grade, if I can change it I will, if not whatever. I just want him gone.
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Kasie H
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I sympathize with you, I really do. I never had this experience in college, but my boyfriend, who is in the military, took Arabic for six semesters. He earned a solid B+/A- average in five of those...and a D in one. We suspect the Palestinian woman who taught it and ranted and raved against U.S. imperialism and military dominance didn't like the fact that he came to class in uniform occasionally. But we can't prove it.

He wrote her a nasty evaluation, and I think to his credit let it go. I have no idea if she is still teaching.

Edit cause I posted too soon:
She also, throughout the semester, took him aside and counseled him to drop the class because she was so afraid he was going to fail. He studied for hours for the final and found out he had passed with the D. He did challenge his grade with her, but she wasn't receptive.

There are all kinds of people out there who do things for any number of unfair reasons. I'm just glad this wasn't a class that would have disqualified him from his major, or something.

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Alcon
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I mean, it's not so much the grade that bothers me, it's that I got that grade after he didn't hold up on his end of the bargain.

The teacher-student relationship is a two way street. I agree to work on what the teacher directs me to, if the teacher agrees to know the material, direct me well and be fair.

This teacher didn't know the material, directed us all over the place, and never gave us back anything we handed in so that we could learn from our mistakes. He rarely came to class prepared and was hugely resistant when we asked for a little more help from him.

Yet he expected us to be in class every day prepared, to turn stuff into him promptly, and to follow his directions.

That is not ok. I don't feel he is in any position to grade any of us. Students need some sort of avenue for this sort of thing, cause we want to be here, we're paying to be here to learn this stuff. When the teacher whom we are ultimately paying does not fulfill their part of the deal we need better avenues to protest. It shouldn't hurt us like this! It hurts us enough to not have learned this stuff, when we're paying to, to add a bad grade into the mix... it's too much to pay to not learn the stuff and get a bad grade! I could have learned this stuff better with a lot of free time, free reign of the lab and the fracking student manual that supplements the book (which he was resistant to our getting)!

Edit: Let me edit to add that getting a B or even a C is not unusual to me. And normally I don't complain about it. If the teacher does their part and I earn my grade, that's the end of it for me. This is not "A student got a B" or "student looking for a way out of a B". And it's not just that he was bad at teaching.

It's that... how do I put this, he didn't do his job. He was not prepared for class, he admitted to not knowing the material he was supposed to be teacher and then to not really putting in the work necessary to learn it so he could teach us, he never returned any sort of graded work so we could track our progress and learn from our mistakes, and he was highly resistant to our attempts to work with him so we could learn from him.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record by this point. This has been frustrating me all semester and this was just sorta the icing on the cake for me.

I'll probably end up ignoring my grade and just lodging a complaint about him.

[ May 16, 2007, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: Alcon ]

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katharina
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Unfortunately, he is not the only person you make the agreement to completely the class requirements with. Both of you are beholden to the university - him to teach well, you to do your part.

I'm sorry about the grade - that really sucks. I think you have to choose here between lodging a complaint about the teacher and trying to get your grade changed, though, because I suspect that if you do both, neither effort will be effective.

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HollowEarth
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Frankly you should have filed a complaint weeks ago. Waiting to speak to someone until after the grades are in cuts any point you may have off at the knees. You have to do this before the final.
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Alcon
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If you read what I said (I know, there's a lot) I did. With the chair of the department. Not to mention talking to my adviser about it all semester. Also, small college, small department, so 3/5ths of the department has been hearing about him on and off all semester.
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gsim1337
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I sympathize with your frustration. There is little worse than a teacher who does not know the material.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This woman speaks the truth!

One of those things being a teacher who so completely believes they know the material and so completely misunderstand it.

Another thing is a teacher who teaches wrong information, and doesn't know basic facts. Like one of my old social studies teachers who believed Iraq invaded Isreal, and wouldn't listen to us when we tried to explain that it was Kuwait. She also belived that latitude lines measured east to west and needed an atlas to find out what country Berlin was in. When we were talking to her about Austria she said, "Wait, you mean Austalia?" which we repiled with, "No, Austria." She said, "Oh, I pronounce it Australia." How's that for a History teacher of gifted kids? And she would-not-stop-eating-PRETZELS!!
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HollowEarth
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So? If you still had problems why not take them to the dean and/or provost? There are lots of reasons why the department might not do anything, but the dean or provost might.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
The best way to deal with a terrible professor is show up to class every day, put up with the BS, do what they want, and walk away with your grade.
I've never been able to do that, I don't think I ever will be able to do it.
I strongly recommend learning how. It will not only help you in school, but out in the real world. Unless you plan to quit your job every time you have a boss/supervisor/coworker who you feel is not fulfilling their part of the bargain.
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HollowEarth
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
The best way to deal with a terrible professor is show up to class every day, put up with the BS, do what they want, and walk away with your grade.
I've never been able to do that, I don't think I ever will be able to do it.
I strongly recommend learning how. It will not only help you in school, but out in the real world. Unless you plan to quit your job every time you have a boss/supervisor/coworker who you feel is not fulfilling their part of the bargain.
School and class are not the real world. The bargain between you and your boss is radically different than that between the school and you.

And there are varying levels of terrible. Some levels where taking it above their heads is appropriated, and some where quiting is appropriate. An instructor who is incapable of teaching the class, is more than adequate reason to complain and then complain to higher ups if nothing is done.

So you get your A or B, what do you do then when you need that for the next class? Learn it on your own, I guess? There isn't a good answer, since you spent the time you should have been learning that, dealing with unnecessary stupidity.

I'm not advocating complaining about every little thing, but when its warranted, it is the answer--suck it up and deal isn't.

I know of two instances at my undergraduate institution where gross incompetence resulted in new people being let go after one quarter. Do I know if Alcon's class was really one of these kind of situations? No, I don't, but I also don't know that it wasn't.


(In both cases I mentioned above, greater than half of the class had filed complaints with the department before things were taken further. Its rather dicey and you don't want to make needless accusations.)

(The worst problems in the case that I was personally involved with were: never grading anything at all; canceling 12 class periods with no notice and no make-ups (usually two days at a time). There were other issues but these are the once that pushed it over the top for me.)

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rivka
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I don't see Belle's advice as being at all incompatible with complaining to higher-ups as necessary. And sometimes dropping the class is not an option, especially in a small school. (When it IS an option, I'm all for it.)

She was suggesting it as an alternative to not showing up for class and/or not doing the work, with the excuse that the teacher's not doing their job anyway.

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Qaz
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What Belle said, completely. I work in the university system and we had a prof who was a disaster. But what could the department do related to the grades he gave? Could we invalidate every grade he assigned, even if it seemed fair, because he did a bad job teaching? We had one who came out of a programming class not knowing how to write a working "Hello world" program and he got a B, but we could hardly change it to a D. So I think you are stuck with your B.

I think you should be sure that the chairman or whoever knows as you suggested, though.

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Alcon
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quote:
She was suggesting it as an alternative to not showing up for class and/or not doing the work, with the excuse that the teacher's not doing their job anyway.
It's not an excuse. Why should I show up to a class where I will learn nothing because the teacher is not prepared for it? I could learn more by going home and reading the book. It's a waste of my time to sit through a bungled lecture!

And as for not doing the work, that was a failure of communication, I was under the impression it was one of the labs he'd decided he didn't want us doing.

I agree that I'm probably stuck with my grade, but that doesn't mean I'm not extraordinarily frustrated by it. And it doesn't mean that I don't think it shouldn't be this way. Honestly, is it fair to the students to let a prof who doesn't know the material himself and failed utterly to teach it grade them on what they learned? Is there anything right about that? Yet that is exactly what happens in scenarios like this. There has got to be something that can be done to prevent it or undo it.

quote:
never grading anything at all
Got the first one... The second one, he canceled a few periods, but gave notice. Which is something I suppose.
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HollowEarth
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
I don't see Belle's advice as being at all incompatible with complaining to higher-ups as necessary. And sometimes dropping the class is not an option, especially in a small school. (When it IS an option, I'm all for it.)

She was suggesting it as an alternative to not showing up for class and/or not doing the work, with the excuse that the teacher's not doing their job anyway.

Okay, then I also agree.
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Belle
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quote:
It's not an excuse. Why should I show up to a class where I will learn nothing because the teacher is not prepared for it? I could learn more by going home and reading the book. It's a waste of my time to sit through a bungled lecture!

You absolutely can choose to stay home and learn the material on your own. Every college student has that choice. No truant officer is going to show up and tell you that you have to go to class. What you cannot do, is stay at home, not show up to class, and expect the prof to give you an A for a participation grade.

If you know you're going to be graded on participation, and you don't come to class, you have no grounds to complain when you don't get a high participation grade. In my department at my school, six absences in a semester that are not due to jury duty or military duty constitutes an automatic failure of the class. Note that even a doctor's excused sick day is counted against that total of six. So, if I get a bad prof, and decide not to go to class, then should I have grounds to complain when they fail me?

Yes, rivka, you hit the nail on the head with what I meant to say. And I do recommend dropping if you can, but sometimes it isn't an option. there are classes at my university which are required, and yet only one prof teaches them. If you have an issue with that prof, you're sort of out of luck. You just have to suck it up, do what's necessary, show up to class and collect your grade and then move on. By all means complain, but I agree that it would be more effective if done before the final, or at least before grades were posted.

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Alcon
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quote:
So, if I get a bad prof, and decide not to go to class, then should I have grounds to complain when they fail me?
Yes. Because the prof is not doing his/her job then he/her is wasting your time and money by making you go to class. If you drop you have to spend more time and money redoing it. If you don't go to class and study the material on your own time you may learn it well enough to be able to earn an A, minus participation. If you get an A on all the tests, complete the projects and so forth, then do you not deserve an A for learning the material and for the effort you put in? Regardless of whether or not you attended classes that were, in this case, worthless?
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rivka
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Nope. Because regardless of your opinion of the teacher's qualifications and ability, the fact remains that they get to establish the guidelines for the class. And if they made participation a key element of the grade, then not showing up is still a choice you can make. (As Belle said, no truant officers. [Wink] ) But if you make that choice, then you have to live with the consequences.
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Alcon
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quote:
Nope. Because regardless of your opinion of the teacher's qualifications and ability, the fact remains that they get to establish the guidelines for the class. And if they made participation a key element of the grade, then not showing up is still a choice you can make. (As Belle said, no truant officers. [Wink] ) But if you make that choice, then you have to live with the consequences.
The grade is supposed to be a measurement of how well you learned the material at hand. If the teacher is bad, then who's to say they set good guide lines? And it's not just my opinion in this case. It was unanimous among the students in this class, the last upper level class he taught and the lower level classes he taught. He was bad. Only thing is, most students do as you advise, suck it up and do what they have to to get the grade. Then complain amongst themselves later. No one's challenged him, no one's spoken up. Everyone hates him and every one knows he can't teach.

The attitude of "the teacher knows best, just suck it up" perpetuates this sorta bull crap. It's that attitude that allows crappy teachers like him to get away with this %^&#. To get away with literally not doing their jobs.

And you're going to tell me you don't have a problem with that? I should just live with the consequences? Even if I had attended class the consequences would have been ones I'd have rather not lived with! Not learning the material, being stuck with having to dodge this teacher in a five teacher department, and having wasted a whole bunch of my time desperately biting my tongue on top of it!

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
The grade is supposed to be a measurement of how well you learned the material at hand.

In theory. And yet, in classes that are graded on a curve, it's a purely comparative measure. In any case, it will depend on the teacher -- there are tough graders and easy graders.

I agree that having a bad teacher is a problem. But that doesn't mean you can choose to not go to class, knowing that class participation is part of the grade, and not live with the consequences of that action. I didn't say that the teacher was right. I didn't even say suck it up. I agreed that a complaint about the teacher seemed to be warranted.

But just because the teacher is less than ideal does not give you a pass to not go to class without that affecting your grade.

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ClaudiaTherese
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There are several good reasons to make class participation a part of the grade, over and above the part of the grade due to direct evaluation. I am not inclined to detail them here if I think I am likely to be engaged in a non-productive discussion.
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Alcon
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You know what, I'm going to just stop talking about it, cause it's making me angry about it all over again.

{Example of said misdirected unnecessary anger editted out. My apologies to all who received before I caught myself.}

Heh, I'm sorry, I really need to stop talking about this. You guys have seen how passionate I get about some things. Particularly those that relate to my education, or people with power over me of any kind... Suffice it to say that I've been so very frustrated by this, so angry, so pissed off all semester that I've frightened my friends in my ranting about him.

When I left his class? It was all I could do to keep myself from verbally and possibly even physically assaulting him! You have no idea how badly I've wanted to just hit him on more occasions than I can count!

So I'm just gonna stop talking about it. There's no way I can calm down enough about this class to make any sense.

[Several other examples of me being ranty editted out. Again, sorry for all who caught any of it [Frown] ]

[ May 18, 2007, 02:10 AM: Message edited by: Alcon ]

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Alcon
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quote:
There are several good reasons to make class participation a part of the grade, over and above the part of the grade due to direct evaluation.
For some types of classes yes. But for others no. For straight physics lecture? Yeah, no.

For a class on, say, international relations in the middle east? Definitely.

Edit: And I think I can do productive discussion if it isn't directly related to this instance. Sorry 'bout the frothing at the mouth, I really need to just forget about this semester... it's been sooo bad.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Alcon, I mean this in the nicest way possible: I get the sense that you need or want to rant, not discuss.

That's fair. There are many times I do it, too. But though it may look like a discussion, that isn't how it works, and treating it like a discussion makes things worse.

I wanted to make a simple statement about it, in large part because I support teachers like rivka. I was a university lecturer (grad student, not faculty) for a while, and I learned a lot about teaching by doing. Some lecture-style hard science lectures as well as the more touchy-feeley humanities (I was in an MD/PhD program), and yes, in both kinds, there were good reasons for including participation in the grade.

Anyway, I am sorry you had such a miserable experience. It really does sound quite frustrating and wretched.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
You know what, I'm going to just stop talking about it, cause it's making me angry about it all over again. You're right the people in the department are probably going to see it your way, though actually seeing as they know me and know him and have been hearing about this and have seen the piles of bad reviews... maybe... I could continue trying argue it and convince you. But you just think I'm your standard student trying get out of a bad grade and over reacting. You don't know S----, you don't know me, you haven't had me in class and seen how I normally don't give a rats *&^ about grades, only what I'm learning. How with most classes, I miss class and then cheerfully accept the consequences and am quite blatant and honest about it.

I understand where you are going with this....but as long as he was clear about participation being part of the grade you really are in breach of the contract as well.


You are the student. You don't get to make the rules. [Smile]


I don't think you are stupid, or whining, or a bad student, either, BTW. I can tell you are upset. But the fact remains....you didn't meet the class requirements for an A.


I would just avoid taking any more of his classes from this point on, particularly of you do file a complaint.

[ May 31, 2007, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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Alcon
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To be honest, I support teachers like rivka too. From what rivka's said in other threads, she sounds like a very good teacher. I very much love most of my teachers, and get along with them very well. Which is why I think I might have a shot at getting the grade changed, because they know me well. I'm an odd student, I don't follow the rules, but I care about learning, and I'm honest with my teachers (and I normally cheerfully and unabashedly accept the consequences of not following the rules and learning in my own style).

I too have taught before. Not in a university setting, it was a summer camp setting, but I was teaching computer science. So I've been at the other end of the class room. I've been through the learning how to teach bit, I screwed up too when I first started. Which is why I was willing to cut him a little slack at the very beginning of the year.

Let me put it this way: the most hardcore-grade oriented student I know was in the class with me. This kid's practically a genius. He worked as a programmer for Red Hat after his freshman year. Already had outside programming jobs coming in to school, is very in to and good with computers and electronics and knows very well what he's doing. He also rarely gets anything but As and will run himself into the ground to make sure this is the case. The electronics prof loved him, and part of the original problem was that he was tailoring the class to this one student and not the other 5. Anyway, while this student came out of the class with an A, he still came out hating the prof and gave him a scathing eval. He too says the prof knows nothing about electronics and made no effort to learn it. He too thinks he shouldn't be teaching it, and he thought the prof ought to give us all As just on general principle since he failed to do his job so miserably. Long story short this prof's beyond a wreck, and I'm not the only one who feels that way. Just by far the most vocally, outwardly frustrated by it.

And yes, I'm going to have a hard time talking about this specific instance with out ranting. But I think I can do a more generalized discussion about learning and the way universities work with out slipping into a rant again. I didn't mean to rant here, but guess I'm still far far too frustrated about this not to. Possibly starting a new thread for an actual discussion and letting this one die would be the way to go, if you wish.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
I wanted to make a simple statement about it, in large part because I support teachers like rivka.

I don't teach any more. [Smile] I'm college admin now. But I did teach for 10 years, and in some ways I always will be a teacher.

Alcon, the fact that you think -- even in jest, or venting, or whatever -- that being a bad teacher in any way comes even CLOSE to warranting physical assault tells me that you cannot be remotely rational about this.

I believe CT is correct, and you just want to rant. So I'm done.

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Alcon
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quote:
that being a bad teacher in any way comes even CLOSE to warranting physical assault tells me that you cannot be remotely rational about this.
You're probably right. It's been a long semester. I hope you'll wander back in here long enough to accept my apologies for the explosion(s).

And thank you all for trying to engage me as long as you did, I really didn't mean to rant like that. I hope I haven't offended anyone in the long term.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
Which is why I think I might have a shot at getting the grade changed, because they know me well.

I do hope you reach a conclusion with this that is satisfactory to you.
quote:
I too have taught before. Not in a university setting, it was a summer camp setting, but I was teaching computer science. So I've been at the other end of the class room. I've been through the learning how to teach bit, I screwed up too when I first started. Which is why I was willing to cut him a little slack at the very beginning of the year.

*nods

I wasn't saying that he did not sound like a bad teacher -- just that including participation as part of the grade isn't indefensible.
quote:
And yes, I'm going to have a hard time talking about this specific instance with out ranting. But I think I can do a more generalized discussion about learning and the way universities work with out slipping into a rant again. I didn't mean to rant here, but guess I'm still far far too frustrated about this not to. Possibly starting a new thread for an actual discussion and letting this one die would be the way to go, if you wish.

Again, needing to rant is fine, from my point of view. I also agree that the other discussion would be better served in another thread. I'll try to find my way there, eventually.

Thanks, and good luck.

---

rivka, I'm done here, too. G'night, O Administrator. (I had forgotten! *facepalm)

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
that being a bad teacher in any way comes even CLOSE to warranting physical assault tells me that you cannot be remotely rational about this.
You're probably right. It's been a long semester. I hope you'll wander back in here long enough to accept my apologies for the explosion(s).
(That was well done. Kudos to you.)
quote:
And thank you all for trying to engage me as long as you did, I really didn't mean to rant like that. I hope I haven't offended anyone in the long term.

No worries from me. [Smile]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
G'night, O Administrator. (I had forgotten! *facepalm)

Don't be silly. I can barely keep track of my life. I certainly don't expect anyone else to! [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
quote:
that being a bad teacher in any way comes even CLOSE to warranting physical assault tells me that you cannot be remotely rational about this.
You're probably right. It's been a long semester. I hope you'll wander back in here long enough to accept my apologies for the explosion(s).

And thank you all for trying to engage me as long as you did, I really didn't mean to rant like that. I hope I haven't offended anyone in the long term.

CT is right. That was well done. [Smile]

I wasn't so much offended as aghast. I've had some pretty awful teachers too. Including one that I believe I helped get fired. (Every SINGLE student in that 20-person class complained to the department about that particular teacher.) But I've always had a blessing-for-the-czar feeling about bad teachers. (May God bless and keep the czar. Far away from us!)

But I can understand having a bad semester. It certainly does sound like it.

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Morbo
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After reading 80% of this thread, I have two questions: Alcon, why didn't you drop this class when it became apparent that the teacher couldn't teach the subject?

Second, you say he asked to teach electronics. Are you sure about that? Maybe he was forced into it.

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Kwea
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Who would think that the students think they should all get an A because their teacher is an idiot.


Never head that one before. [Wink]


Mind you, I didn't say he wasn't one.....

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Alcon
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quote:
Alcon, why didn't you drop this class when it became apparent that the teacher couldn't teach the subject?

Second, you say he asked to teach electronics. Are you sure about that? Maybe he was forced into it.

According to the chair of the department and according to the prof himself he requested the class.

And I didn't drop the class cause I desperately wanted to learn electronics. Being in the class brought with it access to the electronics lab, so I used that to teach myself a fair amount. Also I was still holding out hope that he would learn when the chance to add/drop passed.

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