Burst the bubble of shallow professor evaluations

I read this piece in the Emory Wheel and asked permission of the Emory University student newspaper editors and the author to reprint in the AJC as I thought it was well done and interesting. The author is Andrew Brown,  a senior at Emory University. Enjoy. You can read the Emory Wheel online.

By Andrew Brown

As I write this op-ed, I am sitting in the penultimate lecture of one of my classes at Emory University. In a moment, the professor will begin to teach. But I will keep writing this piece rather than pay attention to her because this lecture (like every other one she has given this semester) will be boring and disjointed, and it will tell me nothing that I won’t learn from reading the textbook.

Unfortunately, I think many Emory students have had similar experiences in their courses. In this particular class, only about half of the students show up to each lecture — and those who do pass the time by noodling on their iPhones or doing work for other classes. (At the moment, the student to my left is reading “The Game” by Neil Strauss, and the one on my right is playing games on his calculator.)

But today is unusual in that not a single student is skipping this class. (That doesn’t mean they are paying attention though — they aren’t).  This is because the professor is going to add 1 percent as extra credit to the final grade of the students who come to class today. This incentive was given because today we fill out course evaluations. Useless as her lectures may be, my professor is right to stress the importance of evaluations. (Whether she is right to give bonus points for filling them out is another question, but I’m not complaining.)

What she may not realize is that Emory’s system for evaluating professors is broken. Course evaluations are really important. In theory, they allow professors to improve on weak areas of their teaching while also allowing the dean of faculty to detect incompetent professors and take the appropriate measures in response. I say “in theory” because that isn’t what actually happens. What actually happens is that everyone tears through the college’s bubble sheet evaluation and maybe writes a sentence or two on the department’s course-specific evaluation form.

bubbleNo one really says what they actually think about the class or professor because to distill their thoughts might actually require 15 or 20 minutes of contemplative writing. That would mean having to remain in class longer than absolutely necessary, and who would want to do that?

Certainly not me.

I am as guilty as the rest. I fly through evaluations simply so I can leave earlier, and I must confess that most of my professors have therefore been deprived of the criticism they have earned.

But today I will make an exception. I feel so strongly about this professor that I am actually going to take my time with the evaluations and speak my mind. Tuition is $19,000 a semester at Emory — for that significant of an investment, I demand a certain standard of education.

But it shouldn’t take a semester’s worth of bad lectures to inspire me actually to finish an evaluation. There should be a new system for evaluating professors. The bubble sheet alone is inadequate; any meaningful critique of the professor must come through words.

Even if students are given ample time to complete evaluations, they still probably won’t fill them out thoughtfully.
Therefore, the writing of evaluations must be incentivized in some way. Maybe every student should be required to write a short essay, say 200 to 300 words, about each class. This would force students to do some thinking.

Never mind that no one wants to write that much. The benefits that come from such a system will far outweigh the student discomfort.(And of course, if such a change were implemented, I will have graduated by then, so writing four more essays at the end of the semester won’t be my problem.) Maybe the essay idea isn’t a feasible solution. The department heads may not be able to take the time to read thousands of short essays.  (But do they even take the time to read the thousands of short answers produced by the current system?)

But Emory administrators must at least recognize the problems with the current process for course evaluations and take necessary steps toward improvement. Students come to Emory seeking a solid education — bad professors should not continually be allowed slip through the cracks simply for lack of an effective evaluation system.

– From Maureen Downey at the AJC Get Schooled blog

96 comments Add your comment

Echo

December 30th, 2010
11:16 am

I guess that prof is not differentiating to this student’s learning style. Shame!

DeKalb Educated

December 30th, 2010
11:32 am

Hope Lindsey and the rest of the Georgia Legislative Body consider how effective the evaluation process works in a private university before they begin to grade our public school teachers.

What's best for kids?

December 30th, 2010
11:33 am

Sounds a bit whiny, wouldn’t you say? Why not simply give the professor the bubbles that she deserves? And why would someone give an extra percent as an incentive to complete it?

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming.

December 30th, 2010
11:38 am

I understand this students frustration, but what we have here is so typical. There is an evaluation process in place. It can be used to express a “written” detailed account of the professor’s strengths and weaknesses, but because students don’t want to bother sitting in class longer than necessary for 15 to 20 minutes of contemplative writing, the evaluation system is seen as broken. Instead, the author proposes that students be “required” to write essays in each class.

Maybe the students should just put forth the effort to express themselves using the format which is more than adequate if they take a little personal responsibility.

ScienceTeacher671

December 30th, 2010
11:44 am

The student says: Tuition is $19,000 a semester at Emory — for that significant of an investment, I demand a certain standard of education.

And if all students felt that way about every class, the system in place would be more than adequate.

However, what I get from the student’s essay is that Emory is full of lazy students waiting to be spoon-fed, and willing to do the absolute minimum to “succeed”.

Sort of like a lot of high school students, actually.

Really?

December 30th, 2010
11:49 am

Always love the way self important kids know more than their elders. Perhaps if the little snot noses treated the professor in a respectful manner he or she might learn something. If you never pay attention how do you know what is being taught?

Really?

December 30th, 2010
11:54 am

Used to be obtaining an education was a privilege and something to be honored. Now kids like this little whiner see it as a God given right. Where we went wrong in education is simple. When we started this ‘the customer is always right’ crap and began coddling students and parents as customers we totally devalued education in this country.

cricket

December 30th, 2010
12:04 pm

I think this student’s views bring home the point that an in class lecture is an obsolete form of instruction. If the teacher is standing before the students simply spewing forth information without engaging the those in attendance, it would be more cost effective to just present the lecture over streaming video. The same video could be used for several semesters. Fewer instructors would need to be paid.

Anti NCLB Advocate

December 30th, 2010
12:05 pm

It’s rather nice to know that students at Emory aren’t much different from the ones at the MOR university where I do my best to instruct and guide students who are the products of NCLB. This writer whines about a boring and disjointed lecture, yet doesn’t consider that if he and the other students were paying attention, the lecture wouldn’t seem disjointed because they could follow what the professor is saying.

I don’t give a rat’s rear about evaluations. The students who complete them are usually bitter about their grades, especially when they realize my concern for their scholarship or team eligibility is nonexistent–things they should have been concerned about from the first day of class. Students who do well receive the grades they’ve earned and not the ones they expect because they show up for class.

I’ve had to lower my standards considerably, and I’m the only one who seems bothered by that. What motivates me now is knowing that next fall I’ll be enrolled full time in a PhD program.

Connie Jenkins

December 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

Most of today’s students are the product of a school system that allows the students to be in charge. So now, everyone is shocked to learn that American students are way behind other countries in knowledge. A huge number must take remedial courses just to pass the first year of university. We all know that so many children will take the easy way out if allowed to.
I am so glad that my 21 year old grandson quit college in disgust at the poor teaching after one year to join the Air Force. He will attend school for 3 years studying nuclear engineering where the instructors will be in charge. Students will not be allowed to have cell phones in class, nor will they be allowed to skip lectures.
I attended school in the ’40’s and ’50’s when the teachers were in charge and we were not allowed to be in charge. When my children were in school, I taught them that they went to school to learn and school was not intended to be a social club. Goofing off in school was not allowed.

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
12:17 pm

Ha ha ha! Wow, just…wow. There’s already an evaluation system in place – it’s not the problem. At the very least, bubble in the right score if the professor is terrible! That might take an additional 5 minutes of his precious time.
The overall issue doesn’t seem to be the system but the students in the class(es).

EnoughAlready

December 30th, 2010
12:29 pm

These are the same kind of teachers we have in elementary, middle, high school and college/universities across the country. I remember the exact same situation happening while I was in school. I hear the same stories from my daughter, except they are required to attend, because they will be counted as adbsent.

You are wrong, the problem is definitely the professor. The students at Emory are not the students most of you describe in poor schools around Georgia; these students are high performers and score high on SAT’s and other test. How can you say it’s the students?

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

@cricket: Well how about the workplace? I’m bored every time we have a meeting – which is strictly lecture format with PowerPoint slides. Wouldn’t it be great if we could sit with our friends and/or classmates and pretend to work but really be talking about social stuff? Or what if we could all have laptops or iPads out so we could be “participating” using technology? The fact is these are fads, just like any other pedagogy you might respond with – they simply keep those who aren’t really interested in learning and knowledge (those without what some like to call “intellectual curiosity”) placated while those who really want to learn will no matter if it’s lecture based or otherwise.

It’s an unfortunate reality that we are expected to entertain rather than instruct at the K-12 level. The concept of personal responsibility is essentially dead in the water right now – and when does this stop? If not college, when?

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
12:35 pm

EnoughAlready: Maybe the professor is terrible. I had my fair share too. When it came time to bubble in the various choices, I was sometimes honest and sometimes not.
Anyway – my point was the problem isn’t the evaluation system. His point was that his classmates didn’t want to take the time to fill it out appropriately. That’s why I suggest it’s the students; not the evaluation tool. Whether or not the professor is terrible – who knows? 50/50 shot either way based on this article alone.

EnoughAlready

December 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

Millions of people go to work every day and do absolutely nothing.

Prancer

December 30th, 2010
12:50 pm

Ineffectual college professors are nothing new. I had psych professor who stood in front of his class and read, word for word, from the textbook for the entire hour. No one ever complained because the lowest grade he ever gave was a B but the class was a huge waste of time and money. Back then there were no student evaluations so the guy, and others like him, was a permanent fixture at the school.

At least today’s students have the opportunity to give some feedback – provided they take the time to do it right and anyone in authority pays attention.

NWGA Teacher

December 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

Obviously, this professor has not designed engaging lessons in order to keep the students interested and entertained, nor does this student observe evidence of differentiation. Did the professor post and reference standards and objectives before beginning this lesson?

My child loved elementary and middle school, and while she enjoys high school, she remains disappointed by some teachers’ failure to “make the classes fun.” She now understands that she was conditioned to believe that LEARNING IS ALWAYS FUN and A TEACHER’S JOB IS ALWAYS TO HELP STUDENTS GET GOOD GRADES. In other words, she has learned that she has to study, she has to pay attention in class, she has to take notes, she has to turn in her homework, and she will not always get a second or third chance.

Give me a break. No wonder so many students are not ready for college. No wonder so many first-year college students flounder and fail. It’s bait-and-switch.

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

EnoughAlready@12:49 – True, and millions of people are fired from those jobs everyday (even teachers!).

EnoughAlready

December 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

If you are going to lecture and read right out of the book, why should I pay $19,000 to contribute to a professors salary, medical and retirement benefits? I could easily purchase the book and get the same information I am getting out of attending your class.

A professor shouldn’t have to stand on their heads to keep me entertained, but they should ADD something to the course that can’t be found in the textbook.

A professor should have “added value” or a certain level of professional criteria that isn’t found in a book. Why get a Masters degree or higher if it doesn’t add value to your teaching ability?

HS Math Teacher

December 30th, 2010
1:09 pm

I didn’t go to Emory, but I did get two degrees, and a masters, spending a total of eight years in college. I went to 4 different universities and have had numerous professors. None of them were perfect, nor am I as a high school teacher. I did, however, RESPECT the adult in the front of the auditorium, or room.

I’ve had professors from China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and Russia. Some of the professors spoke poor English (I could understand the Scot, but his accent would throw me at times), and my eyebrows would furrow as I tried to put together what they were trying to say. When these professors would start writing on the board, I would give a sigh of relief, as math is a universal language. All of this had no bearing on my giving the professor respect for his or her accomplishments, and for the role they play in education.

There was no Hope scholarship, nor did I qualify for financial aid back in my school time; I paid dearly for an education (one out-of-state), working part-time jobs through school. This kid is going to have a diploma that will have EMORY UNIVERSITY emblazoned on it. He will get more than his (his parents’) money back.

Yes, we had those same evaluation forms in the 70’s and early 80’s. I did take the time to fill them out thoughtfully. I was kind at times when I could have been more truthful. If I had a really good professor (by my limited evaluation standards at the time), I would elaborate more on the open-ended items.

What's best for kids?

December 30th, 2010
1:10 pm

I wonder if this young scholar is paying his 19k a semester, or if his parents are paying it.
I also wonder why he thinks that it is okay, given his demands of excellent education, that using parenthesis is an acceptable means of expression. Parenthesis are frowned on in writing.
Not impressed with Mr. Brown. Methinks he is in for a large disappointment when he attends meetings at his job, assuming he has one, and the lectures are “disjointed and boring”.

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
1:14 pm

I was in college a total of 6 years including undergrad and grad at 3 different universities and with 3 different majors. I never, ever had a professor read from a textbook. More often than not, tests and the final exam came from class notes and that content was much more detailed and rigorous.

Larry Major

December 30th, 2010
1:15 pm

Mr. Brown is indeed a skilled writer. I particularly like the way he uses humor at just the right spots, allowing him to drive a point home without appearing confrontational. It’s a refreshing and interesting style.

Dr NO

December 30th, 2010
1:19 pm

FINALLY someone speaks out so that the insanity might end. As everyone knows the students always know better than the pupil.

Dr NO

December 30th, 2010
1:20 pm

I didnt go to Emory but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Tony

December 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

I am appalled that younwould print such a whiny piece based on a single student’s complaints about a professor. How sad.

It indicates to me that this student is quite disrespectful and very self-absorbed. With students like these, why would the professors waste any of their precious time improving their lectures.

Consumer of higher education

December 30th, 2010
1:33 pm

northatlantatetacher – your comment regarding the students is right on target! Mr. Brown declares the Emory system to be broken, then explains that the reason it is broken is that students do not participate in it. He completes his op-ed piece by tasking Emory to fix the problem. What does he expect the school to do – hold each student’s hand as they fill out the evaluation? Perhaps make the evaluation into a game that can be played on the student’s iPhone or iPad (with points redeemable at the iTunes store for completing each evaluation).

As a college student, I hold my professors accountable. I pay a lot of money (OK, I pay a bunch of money and my parents pay the rest) for my education. I expect professors to provide me with the informatino I need. I expect to be challenged. I am the customer. The professor is not doing me a favor by teaching – I am paying for the lecture.

However, as a consumer, I cannot expect the service to improve unless I take the effort to let the vendor know what the problems are. If I do not, I cannot complain.

another comment.

December 30th, 2010
1:34 pm

I believe the Emory student has hit the nail on the head, their are some real Frauds’s who teach at some of the Universities in Atlanta. One goes by R.O. and was bounced between the Architecture and Civil Engineering Department at Georgia Tech for years. This woman slept her way up through DOD. Secretary sleeping with Generals, then sent out for a Math degree. She was promoted and given an outstanding rating to another DOD agency. She never stayed more then 2 years in any one position. Along the way, she was sent off for training that led to a PHD. She also, inserted her name on a Patent for an Cost Estimating Software with four males. The males will tell that she did not a damn thing on this project, was just in the office. It is clear by her lack of knowledge that she was not an inventor of this system. However, once this was patented she took the Patent and the PHD and bamboozled GaTech. Then she sent her hyped up resume where she claims she is an expert in everything and did a two year or so term of distruction as an SES in Facilities at a Major Government Lab, in town where she claimed to be a Laboratory expert. This fool actually said in a meeting that a BSL-3 lab could have a window air conditionor, they can not. To make matters worse, all she needed to do was have read the CDC/NIH Guidelines on Biosafety Labs first and studied it and she would have known not a chance. She was asked to leave this position and went back to Tech, she had been on a Sabattical from Georgia Tech during this time. Once back at Georgia Tech she was calling various Architects and Engineers from around town to be guest lectures for her class. The Guest Lecturers receive no pay, she pocketed the pay. At least the students had a real Architect or Engineer on those days. I myself was once snookered into giving a LEED’s presentation to the A & E Community, I refused to give her credit. She knew she could not stand up to this crowd. It was my speech, my work, not hers, she was incompetant.

All of the above is true and was vetted by multiple sources, we checked this woman out. We background checked every place she worked at DOD, and could not beleive that Ga Tech would have someone like that as a professor. But then she could B.S. and add the B.S. on her C.V. and no one wanted her more than two years so everyone passed her along with glowing references.

I am a female who worked hard for my degrees so women like this make me sick. The guys did most of the background checking, with the guys in DOD, but everyway we checked came back the same. I was there when she made the moronic comment that you could use a building with a window air conditioner as a BSL-3 Lab. You absolutely can not, it is all about the air containment when you get to BSL-3 and 4 Labs. If you don’t know it you should keep your mouth shut.

So seeing the poor quality of Professors that Ga Tech hires, that other employers then think since they were or are a Ga/Tech Professor that they have been vetted and are the top of their field is not the case at all. The Emory students should be commended for exposing it exists their too.

A big problem with Universities in large cities are those Professors more interested in the Consulting income being on the University payroll then actually teaching. The one I spoke of above used to openly brag is I can bring in $200-400K a year consulting just by being a GaTech professor. Yeah never teaching.

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 30th, 2010
1:36 pm

This student is a prime example of “White Skin Privilege” that some of you here may mock.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_privilege

JM

December 30th, 2010
1:48 pm

@Dr. Pround Black Man

Where in the article does he disclose his race?

An American Patriot

December 30th, 2010
2:18 pm

DPBM, I, as well as you know that we have differences that may never be reconciled…..but sir, you are a racist, pure and simply. The author of the piece above was expressing an opinion, which is still admissable, I think…..and he should be afforded the opportunity to do so without the world calling him names……that is exactly what I’m doing, but my opinion is also a fact :)

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 30th, 2010
2:19 pm

@ JM

He doesn’t have to. His missive yells out loud, “I am White, cater to me!”

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 30th, 2010
2:23 pm

@ An American Liar

“The author of the piece above was expressing an opinion, which is still admissable, I think…..and he should be afforded the opportunity to do so without the world calling him names…”

Listen Jethro, I don’t need your validation. Can you dig it? As far as calling names… you might want to check yourself, sounds like you too have a touch of W.S.P.

Lori

December 30th, 2010
2:30 pm

PMB just assumes everyone who is educated must be white!

At least this guy can understand his prof, I went to GT where most of them barely spoke English.

Really?

December 30th, 2010
3:02 pm

Consumer of Education. Just be thankful you live in a country that allows anyone the chance to be educated. Now try not to take the privilege for granted. You are not paying for a service, you are investing in your future. There should be a large difference in your mind. With the right attitude one can learn something from the worst of teachers. If a student’s educational experience is lacking it is his or her own fault , not the professor’s or the system.

random thoughts

December 30th, 2010
3:17 pm

If the point of course evaluation is to provide professors useful information on improving their teaching, then universities should abolish questions that are to be answered on a scale (1-5, agree-disagree, whatever). Those numbers mean nothing when the professors try to do something to improve their teaching. What does it mean that they get a point of 3.8 out of 5 on an item like, “Professor answered students’ questions completely.” On the other hand, if they read that most of the students who come to the class are playing games or doing work for other classes, then they can start thinking about how to eliminate such behavior. If they think they are not learning what they can’t get out of the book, then that should tell them something. But, the administration wants simple data, a number, that can be compared with what other professors get. So, they just focus on those bubble-in questions.

How do students who, by definition, do not yet understand the discipline fully make a judgment on a professor’s lecture – other than whether or not it was “fun.” How does he know that he can actually learn from the book? Asking students to evaluate teachers (professors) is fundamentally problematic.

When all students show up just for one point on the final grade, you just start wondering about the intelligence of these students. I think the professor gives this extra credit because she knows that it only affects a few students, if any, in the end.

EdDawg

December 30th, 2010
3:21 pm

Thank you PMB for the link. Some can’t handle criticism of one’s own race. Having read some literature on race matters in education for my degrees, I can totally agree with your assumption of the writer’s race. He does sound like a privileged, whiney, White kid. Maybe he isn’t; maybe we’re wrong. Either way he needs to get over it and realize that most college educated people have had to self-teach themselves for a class or two. That’s the issue many students have with on-line learning is that it requires so much self-teaching of the material & responsibility. He needs to grow-up and realize that in life people don’t cater to your learning style; you were successful enough to get into Emory now it’s time to expand your learning style with some meta-cognation.

The Real Point

December 30th, 2010
3:25 pm

Oh its so easy to dismiss this student and his peers as being lazy for not wanting to take the time to fill out the form. But if you do that, you completely miss the obvious issue.

The evaluation system relies on the students to fill out the evaluation honestly and to provide useful feedback. The students don’t feel a need or a desire to provide this feedback or in the case of bubble form evaluations, do more then just blindly fill in random bubbles. This isn’t unique to Emory and was even a problem at my own university 20 years ago. Any system that has a well known and critical flaw like this is a broken system. That is not the fault of the students, for they usually have little to no incentive to participate. Rather the fault lies with the school and instructors who continue to utilize the same broken system without attempting to find another method that is more reliable.

For shame on the educators who comment here that the student is at fault. An analogy here would be if a school was using a textbook known to be factually incorrect and the school and instructors continued to use it year after year. That can not be the fault of the students.

This student questioned the status quo. He identifies the problem, and even provides an idea of an alternate methodology. While I personally doubt his idea would work any better then the existing system, he at least considered it and made a suggestion rather then just knocking the system.

God Bless the Teacher!

December 30th, 2010
3:28 pm

Perhaps the Emory professor has burnt out from facing a class full of students who’d rather play on their iPhones and play games on their calculators. There is nothing more disheartening and frustrating that to stand in front of a class of students who openly choose to NON-participate in the learning process. It’s reflective of the work ethic the USA society has accepted as the norm…get by with as little effort as possible.

God Bless the Teacher!

December 30th, 2010
3:32 pm

“frustrating THAN”, not “frustrating THAT.”

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 30th, 2010
3:49 pm

@EdDawg

Thanks. Apparently the plank in some bloggers eyes is too much for them to handle.

@ Lori

“PMB just assumes everyone who is educated must be white!”

ASSumptions are a symptom of White Skin Privilege. Thanks for proving my point.

@ Everyone

Heriza Kwanzaa!

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
3:59 pm

@The Real Point: For a student to openly admit rarely coming to class, and when he does, not paying attention and then go on degrade this professor with a snappy, witty style that attempted to use humor but only further makes him seem like an entitled twentysomething – I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to respond to this any other way.
She may be terrible, but his own admissions completely undermine his credibility.
THEN he complains about the metric Emory uses to grade the professors – when he also admits to not taking any time on it?? It’s a laughable argument at best.

What's best for kids?

December 30th, 2010
4:33 pm

@The Real Point,
Straw man falacy, comparing the bad book to the ineffectual grading of professors. Andrew even said that he would be glad that his new system would be graduated and not have to deal with the essay. Apparently writing a 200-300 word reflection on learning is just too much for these young people, yet they want, nay demand, good teaching. Input and output should be equal, don’t you think?
If the kids are too lazy to really answer the questions, then what makes anyone think that they will take the time to write a well thought essay on their experience?
Andrew, and I use your first name because you sound like a whiny, entitled teenager, you would have been better to leave out the part that you wouldn’t want to write the essay.

What's best for kids?

December 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

“That WITH his new system,he would be graduated and not have to deal with the essay.”
Maureen, what happened to the promised wordpress blog with the edit button? I sure could use it. ugh…

The Real Point

December 30th, 2010
4:38 pm

@NorthAtlantaTeacher
Respectfully, I totally disagree with your interpretation. First, nowhere in the article does the author openly admit or otherwise indicate that he himself rarely comes to class. On the contrary, his implication is that he does attend for he indicates that only about half the students attend the class which is an observation that can only be made from someone actually in the hall. (Yes, he could know this from someone else, but we would be making an assumption without evidence to claim that.)

The student most likely is a twenty something. He is attending the university after all. So dismissing him for sounding like one is a spurious argument. As to him being entitled? I argue that any student is entitled to the education they pay for. He did not write this article for the AJC, his audience was the students who attend the same school he does and pay the same tuition. His complaint about the tuition he spends versus the quality of education is valid and appropriate for that audience. Lastly, I also don’t see any attempt at humor in this piece. He isn’t joking, he is making observations.

As to his complaining about the metric when he admits to not taking any time on it as well. He along with the others have no incentive or reason to take time on it. Why should he? But what is the line between a complaint and a critique? In my opinion when a complaint includes a suggestion on how to correct the complaint *AND* acknowledges that the suggestion itself may have flaws, then it is obvious the complainant put some actual thought into the process instead of having a knee-jerk reaction. That to me raises this to a critique.

ScienceTeacher671

December 30th, 2010
4:43 pm

When I was in college, lo these many years ago, we had professors who took attendance and those who didn’t. We had professors who taught from the book, and those for whom the book was supplemental material you could (and had better!) read on your own time. If you had one of the latter professors, you didn’t dare miss class, because you would miss important information you couldn’t get otherwise.

For the professors who taught directly from the book, it was okay, because there was a great deal of material in the textbook that I needed to learn. The only one who really annoyed me was the social studies professor who lectured and tested directly from the book, and counted class attendance as part of the grade. I could have read it on my own faster than he talked, and used the time I spent in class to do something else, like study chemistry.

I survived and passed, however, and I still remember some social studies. ;-)

schlmarm

December 30th, 2010
4:56 pm

A common thread runs through each of these blogs/topics posted by Maureen–there is no longer respect for the teaching profession, and hasn’t been in quite awhile.

Critque inward first and then outward

December 30th, 2010
4:57 pm

Education is not the only aspect of a college education. Attending the lecture
should prepare the individual for basic business courtesy. If a student does not
like the presentation style of the professor,there are still lessons to be learned
that transfer into the business world. One may not always agree with a boss,
co-worker ,or a management team,but a certain level of professional etiquette,
courtesy, and personal integrity should be expected in the business setting
as well as academia. The professor also has a responsibility to meet the
educational and professional requirements to help prepare the college students,
but the primary responsiblity to learn and achieve professional goals rest with
the college student. The college student must invest more time in pursuing
his,or her goals than anyone else,and missing class misses a big part of
education -developing networks with students and professors that enhance
future professional opportunities and seeking different perspectives on material
learned.

The Real Point

December 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

@What’s best for kids?
I did not compare the bad book to the ineffectual grading of the teachers. I compared the *system* of using a known incorrect book with the *system* of using a known flawed evaluation method. Blaming the student for the deficiencies of the system is non-productive. They didn’t create it, can’t change it, and rarely have input to which system to use.

Andrew acknowledges that the essay solution may not be any more successful then the current methodology. It is obvious that his intent is to critique the situation and by presenting an alternative (complete with its drawbacks) to hopefully start a dialogue by which a more permanent and constructive methodology could be created.

northatlantateacher

December 30th, 2010
5:08 pm

The Real Point: I said an *entitled* twentysomething. That is a very different animal.

He outright admits to some blantantly disrespectful behavior, even admitting writing this article during her class, and then complains about how boring and ineffectual she is…all in the same op ed piece. You will have to forgive me, as I can’t take any of this from Mr. Brown too seriously. Perhaps she’s terrible, but we’ll never know from this article.