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Amazonia posted 5/16/2013 19:11 PM

Background for those who are unfamiliar: I'm taking an evening program at a really good university, but because it's a night program, the quality of, well, everything has been a bit of a headache and more than a bit of a disappointment. It feels a little unreal at times. I have mooching, lazy, helpless classmates; professors who don't seem to know their ass from their elbow; etc.

The latest...

We finished finals 3 weeks ago now, and have gotten back grades from 3 of our 4 classes. The fourth is the professor who "lost" our midterms (told us his car was broken into and the exams and his laptop bag were taken; we re-took the same test as a take home and 4 people still managed to fail). He emailed me today, asked that I call him about my grade.

I called him, very curious and a little worried. He had four things.

One, a congratulations for having the highest grade in the class.

Two, a question: what is the passing grade for this class? I told him it was either a C or a D, depending on if it was a prerequisite, which I don't know, because I wasn't worried about getting that low of a grade. I suggested he ask the program administrator. He said, and I quote, "as I determine the curve, about half your classmates' futures depend on the answer to this."

Three, another question: "was this class somehow different from your other classes?" In other words, why did so many people fail?

The real answer to this is that he is a terrible instructor. He did not actually teach. Instead of teaching, he told stories for two hours a week, and then tested exclusively based on the textbook - and his tests were hard.

The answer I told him, while technically true, did not capture all of that. I just told him (truthfully) that he was the first instructor we have had who expected us to actually do the reading, and that many of my classmates didn't do it, or did it all the weekend before the exam. He seemed genuinely surprised by this knowledge. I guess when he would ask at the beginning of class each week, "did you have any questions from the reading?" and no one said anything, he assumed that meant everyone read and understood everything...

Fourth, he asked me what one of my classmates' name was. See, during the midterm (the one that got stolen), he sat in front of the room and read a magazine, and one of my classmates used her cell phone to google all the answers. After the test, it was the subject of much gossip, and I, upon the encouragement of SI, emailed the professor to tell him what had been observed by my classmates.

During the final, the same student has her phone out again, despite the professor clearly telling us to place everything on the floor off our desks. Professor walked over, reached for her phone; student grabbed the phone before he could, and they briefly scuffled over it (not exaggerating) until the student smacked him on the back of the hand to make him let go. The entire class had, by this point, stopped working on their finals and was staring. Professor, clearly shocked that the student had just hit him, let the phone go and walked away. The student continued to use her phone throughout the duration of the final.

So his last question was, could I tell him who that student was? He wanted to confirm that it was who he thought.

Impressive that he knows all of our names.

The whole conversation lasted about ten minutes. It was truly one of the most bizarre experiences of my life lately. Just thought I'd share since it's gotten so crazy.

ETA: oh, and you'd better believe I gave him a scathing (anonymous) review last week when the administrator sent out the survey monkey course reviews.

[This message edited by Amazonia at 8:55 PM, May 16th (Thursday)]

cmego posted 5/16/2013 19:50 PM

I'm pretty sure you and I had the same professor. I took him last summer, and it was pretty much the same.

Told stories for hours, skimmed the conclusion of each chapter of the text book, then gave us quizzes based out of the book.

I also curved the class on more than one test...and I began to feel guilty about it since he announced at the beginning of the class that "one or two of your classmates blew it for the rest of you!"

Yeah. He didn't get a positive review from me either.

We ALSO had the cheating issues this semester and I brought it to the department heads attention. From that point forward everything had to be put away or on the floor and she then sat in the front of the class watching people. She is tough as nails, I take as many of her classes as I can.

I ignore all the idiots in the class. I find the one or two serious students and we all bond together. I was so concerned the second semester I was in class, that I made an appointment with the department head. She said, "Don't worry about it, most will fail out of the program, or they are paid to be here and will switch majors when they fail."

Unagie posted 5/16/2013 23:03 PM

Guess it goes around except mine is a woman. She was my lab instructor and when asked what would be on the test she said the stuff on your lab. She forgot to give us the research paper assignment which was 20% of our grade so everything else is worth more now. She never did reviews and sent us to her colleague's review classes and she cancelled class about 4-5 times. This class was once a week. It is also a direct complement to the lecture so lecture tests are even more difficult because this...woman... is making it impossible to learn more. Yea I'm doing my reviews this weekend, scathing doesn't come close.

Crescita posted 5/17/2013 12:32 PM

Sorry you didnít enjoy the semester, but congrats on the highest grade!

I know they arenít everyoneís cup of tea, but I adore sink or swim professors. Weed out people who arenít serious and donít bog the serious ones down with monotonous instruction and tedious assignments. I once had a professor that required you to make note cards to study for exams. I do not need note cards to study! Iíd get a B or C on my note cards and an A on the exam, it was ridiculous.

As for your cheater, how brazen! I hope you gave him her name again and he flunks her.

[This message edited by Crescita at 12:32 PM, May 17th (Friday)]

Amazonia posted 5/17/2013 14:35 PM

Honestly, I don't really feel like he was a "sink or swim" professor. I'm not kidding that he didn't teach. He told stories about his law practice, completely unrelated to anything we were studying or reading. I wasted two hours of every week; in fact, most of the time I was either on facebook or working on work email and completely tuned him out. The class was a colossal waste of time.

I love hard classes. My favorite class this semester was my torts class - it was brutal, and I know a lot of my classmates did poorly there too, but the professor was amazing. She was definitely sink or swim, with the exception that she gave (but didn't grade) optional homework for those who wanted more practice with the stuff we were working on, and specifically helped those who were struggling while making an effort. But if you didn't make the effort, she would basically ignore you.

tesla posted 5/17/2013 14:47 PM

I am appalled at this idiot's cluelessness.

Amazonia posted 5/17/2013 14:53 PM

Crescita, yes, I gave him her name. His response was, "well, I can't comment on what will happen there, but thank you." as if I would have been unprofessional enough to ask what would happen.

I think the level of unprofessionalism is what gets me the most. Who calls one of their students with these kinds of questions!? Seriously, WHO???

little turtle posted 5/17/2013 18:03 PM

I think the level of unprofessionalism is what gets me the most. Who calls one of their students with these kinds of questions!? Seriously, WHO???

This is what I was thinking as I read your original post. This guy is definitely something else!!! I can't imagine ever being in that situation! And letting a student use a phone during an exam??

Amazonia posted 5/23/2013 08:41 AM

I have to admit, now that I'm no longer going to be in her classes, my one classmate (the "moocher" who I've talked about in other posts) is actually a pretty amusing train wreck to watch from a distance on facebook.

I'm so, so, so glad she and all the other drama ridden people in our cohort picked the opposite 3d semester track from me.

Amazonia posted 6/18/2013 11:09 AM

Apparently one of the most drama-licious classmates, who really wasn't doing that well, dropped out of the program. I was starting to think that the "weeding out" wouldn't actually happen.

Sadly, the girl who was caught cheating? Still in the cohort. Ridiculous.

itainteasy posted 6/19/2013 08:17 AM

I don't understand why the professor didn't just take her test away, and tell her it was an automatic fail since she couldn't put her phone away per the NOTHING on your desk except your pen rule.

I'm kind of about that.

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