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## Really terrible teacher

 I honestly don't see a problem with not doing exercises, and especially not getting homework. You can do that on your own, if you wish. University isn't high school, where you get pampered and hand-held with getting homework, ensuring you're on track. His approach is therefore just as valid as any other, and I wouldn't go to the dean to complain. After all, getting homework in a university setting sounded silly until I crossed the pond. So just because you're used to a different teaching style doesn't mean all other professors have to conform to it. My $0.02 anyway. With respect to "doing my own"-- two big problems with that. A) how do I know if what I'm solving is relevant to our course? Our course is very specific. Only the teacher can confirm what questions and issues are relevant to the class. In which case, instead of me going to him asking him "can I solve this question is it relenting?" -- which is silly, I think he better have some questions he can give us. He already told us in advance that most resources out there aren't relevant and we should just listen to him. B) When a teacher gives homework to the entire class, the entire class is engaged in it. You can talk to other students, relate to their struggles, and study as a community, which is extremely powerful. Not taking advantage of that seems like a waste to me. Besides, there's no reason why NOT to hold your professors and college representative to a higher standard. They're human. They make mistakes. Our feedback can help them. Besides, maybe they would start thinking more about the class and caring more. I wouldn't take an instant negative position of "forget about it" as you appear to.  I honestly don't see a problem with not doing exercises, and especially not getting homework Right, what's the point of even coming to class? Heck, what's the point in staying in college anyway? Let's just fail and drop.  So just because you're used to a different teaching style doesn't mean all other professors have to conform to it. I actually like different teaching styles, just as I like different styles of clothing. There's a difference between "style" and plain ol' terrible (i.e. wearing burlap). And thanks ILS, your posts are always valuable. If there'll be an update to post I will :)  I'd have to agree with Ryker that part of being at University is not being spoon fed. It's probably the single greatest aspect of University, you learn to study motivate and learn yourself. I'm quite a big fan of division of teaching, lectures should be just that, tutorials should be completely seperate. It up to you in your own time to make the cognative leap between the two. If you are dead set on having a complain: First rule of complaining, have a potential solution already thought out. Otherwise it's just bitching. Second rule, use the 'chain of command'. All 'going to the top' will do is just really piss everyone involved off. Recognitions: Gold Member  I'd have to agree with Ryker that part of being at University is not being spoon fed. It's probably the single greatest aspect of University, you learn to study motivate and learn yourself. It's a college, not a university! We're studying for a practical engineering degree, with most students being dads with 1-2 jobs. For most of them it's the first time seeing vectors, many of them even needed basic math refreshment. We started this course from FRACTIONS! We've not signed up to Yale.  I'm quite a big fan of division of teaching, lectures should be just that, tutorials should be completely seperate. It up to you in your own time to make the cognative leap between the two. It's up to me to do a lot of cognitive leaps. I made tons of them with mechanics and electronics. But I had what to exercise. I had students to compare results to. It shouldn't be up to me to provide my own exercise examples and past tests. I get that in all other subjects. I've even gotten that in one of the worst places I've studied-- open university! I got that even at the two professional courses I've taken. This is the only course where I don't get it.  Quote by Femme_physics It's a college, not a university! Ahhhhhhh. Well if it's a college I can see why you are a bit upset with the teaching method. I would be too. Still deal with the guy first, the go further up the chain.  Frankly, everyone can relate with you because of our own experiences with bad instructors. But ultimately, learning is our own responsibility; in fact sometimes I like bad instructors just because they make no sense to anyone, with just a little personal effort I am able to out-perform my peers. Poor family environment, poor instructors, bad influence from friends, relationship troubles, etc. Not everyone is blessed to have the best circumstances for success but we just have to deal with it :)  Quote by Femme_physics A) how do I know if what I'm solving is relevant to our course? Our course is very specific. Only the teacher can confirm what questions and issues are relevant to the class. In which case, instead of me going to him asking him "can I solve this question is it relenting?" -- which is silly, I think he better have some questions he can give us. He already told us in advance that most resources out there aren't relevant and we should just listen to him. So just listen to him! Why should he give you example exam questions? Maybe he's trying to see how well you will do in a 'real world' situation. There are no nice problem sets in industry or research.  Quote by Femme_physics When a teacher gives homework to the entire class, the entire class is engaged in it. You can talk to other students, relate to their struggles, and study as a community, which is extremely powerful. There is no community that is going to give you lots of specific help in problems you encounter in your career. Why should the lecturer encourage you to all work on example problems until you all have the exam beat? Then you'll all get top grades - at least the hard workers. If he springs the exam on you, that could be far more revealing - it will highlight the potential Feynman's - those who can *really* think on their feet in difficult situations.  Quote by Femme_physics Besides, there's no reason why NOT to hold your professors and college representative to a higher standard. They're human. They make mistakes. Our feedback can help them. Besides, maybe they would start thinking more about the class and caring more. I wouldn't take an instant negative position of "forget about it" as you appear to. Perhaps he has a higher standard, certainly he has a valid one - that's why the dean is happy with him. Why should he think more about the class and care more? That doesn't happen in the real world - he's just preparing you for it. With your approach everyone will pass, everyone will be happy, but your lecturer will have no idea who will make a really tough, innovative, fast-thinking materials science researcher - and that's what he wants.  Quote by Femme_physics Right, what's the point of even coming to class? Heck, what's the point in staying in college anyway? Let's just fail and drop. He's told you that to pass you will have to come to class and listen to him! That's the point of coming to class. He actually sounds more involved than many lecturers, some give big hints that it's all in the textbook - then they have less people to bother with at lecturers, and no one pursuing them for problem sets or hand-holding. He wants most people to do badly, then those that are likely to be *really* good will shine out. If you don't really have a first class mind for materials science, can't really pass this guys class, then its best to find out now and go and teach in a community college or something. Ask around, there will be some people (maybe only one or two) who have got an A from this guy. Ask them how they did it. P.S. This grappling with the situation tooth and nail, as you are doing in this thread, is a good sign - keep it up, 18hrs a day, and you might make it... Admin  Quote by Femme_physics In "material science" we have a terrible teacher. We have no books and a disorderly bunch of pdf files (of which 85% is not in our study material). From the beginning of the semester he's been basically just talking. Not letting us exercise. I complained about him for not giving us proper exercise material (a lot of students agree with me about him) and he eventally, yesterday, sent me an email with 2 pages of 13 questions in trivia form. To get the answers to these questions, I picked a book from the library, and all I have to do is just a hide-and-seek game, to see what they're asking and find the right paragraph. It's kinda pathetic, I feel, but okay. The test will apparently also be in trivia form. Well there's teaching to a test and teaching. Is this an introductory course in material science? From the comment about persons need remedial math, I suspect it is. There are several classic texts on the subject - e.g., Callister: One would wish to have some exposure to: Chapter 2: Atomic Structure and Interatomic Bonding Chapter 3: The Structure of Crystalline Solids Chapter 4: Imperfections in Solids Chapter 5: Diffusion Chapter 6: Mechanical Properties of Metals Chapter 7: Dislocations and Strengthening Mechanisms Chapter 8: Failure Chapter 9: Phase Diagrams Chapter 10: Phase Transformations in Metals Chapter 11: Metal Alloys Chapter 12: Structures and Properties of Ceramics Chapter 13: Applications and Processing of Ceramics Chapter 14: Polymer Structures Chapter 15: Characteristics, Applications, and Processing of Polymers Chapter 16: Composites Chapter 17: Corrosion and Degradation of Materials Many intro materials courses focus on common alloy systems, particularly steels (Fe,C), Al alloys, and Copper alloys (Cu-Zn, Cu-Sn, . . ), since they are most common.  Recognitions: Science Advisor Obviously we don't know the detailed contents of your courses, but part of the problem could be you are expecting the wrong thing from the course. As you said, in mechanics etc you are meant to be learning how to apply some general principles to solving problems, and the way you learn that is mostly by practising solving problems. But an introductory materials course could be much more about "learning facts about commonliy used materials". At a beginning level, there isn't much theory or problem solving involved. Of course there is a lot of theory involved if you want to know how bulk properties of a material liike its thermal or electrical conductivity are related to quantum mechanics, for example, but that is the difference between a first materials course for engineers, and an advanced course for physicists. Maybe you should be approaching it more like a med student learning human anatomy. You can't do much "problem solving" about the human skeleton - you just have to learn what all the bones are called and how they fit together, because in real life situations finding a computer and getting the infomation from Google is not an option.  Quote by Astronuc Well there's teaching to a test and teaching. Is this an introductory course in material science? From the comment about persons need remedial math, I suspect it is. There are several classic texts on the subject - e.g., Callister: Which just so happens to be a bloody good book! Got me through my materials course and has a well deserved place on my shelf.  Quote by Femme_physics With respect to "doing my own"-- two big problems with that. A) how do I know if what I'm solving is relevant to our course? Our course is very specific. Only the teacher can confirm what questions and issues are relevant to the class. In which case, instead of me going to him asking him "can I solve this question is it relenting?" -- which is silly, I think he better have some questions he can give us. He already told us in advance that most resources out there aren't relevant and we should just listen to him. B) When a teacher gives homework to the entire class, the entire class is engaged in it. You can talk to other students, relate to their struggles, and study as a community, which is extremely powerful. Not taking advantage of that seems like a waste to me. Again, this seems like high school thinking to me. Sure, he could do all of that, but that doesn't mean he needs or should do that if his goal is to make you learn the material best.  Quote by Femme_physics Besides, there's no reason why NOT to hold your professors and college representative to a higher standard. They're human. They make mistakes. Our feedback can help them. Besides, maybe they would start thinking more about the class and caring more. I wouldn't take an instant negative position of "forget about it" as you appear to. I agree, but you seem to think he conforms to a lower standard, whereas I think (from your description, at least) he merely conforms to a different one, one that isn't necessarily lower.  Quote by Femme_physics Right, what's the point of even coming to class? Heck, what's the point in staying in college anyway? Let's just fail and drop. You mean what's the point of going to college if teachers don't teach the way you want them to? Look, I don't know the details, so maybe I'm being too harsh here, and maybe he really is a bad lecturer. But from what you've described, it only seems he just doesn't assign homework and do examples, which is fine in my book. I actually prefer some examples, as well, but I don't find them necessary if the course material is explained well. However, it looks like your beef is with not having an exercise manual and homeworks, which I think at university level one shouldn't take as granted.  Quote by ych22 Frankly, everyone can relate with you because of our own experiences with bad instructors. But ultimately, learning is our own responsibility; in fact sometimes I like bad instructors just because they make no sense to anyone, with just a little personal effort I am able to out-perform my peers. Poor family environment, poor instructors, bad influence from friends, relationship troubles, etc. Not everyone is blessed to have the best circumstances for success but we just have to deal with it :) I can relate with her experience, as well, and hope that in the future her professors will be more to her liking. And while learning ultimately is our own responsibility, I don't actually think this relieves professors from being good teachers. It's just that their duty is to actually teach to the best of their abilities, not to the best liking of their students.  Quote by xxChrisxx Which just so happens to be a bloody good book! Got me through my materials course and has a well deserved place on my shelf. It's also very easy to find online.... just sayin'  Quote by General_Sax It's also very easy to find online.... just sayin' But then... what would keep the right hand side of my top shelf in place? Recognitions: Gold Member I'll say it in advance - Thanks Ryker, Mal4mac, I love being challenged ;)  So just listen to him! Why should he give you example exam questions? Maybe he's trying to see how well you will do in a 'real world' situation. There are no nice problem sets in industry or research. We're in our 1st year of college now, not in industry or research.  There is no community that is going to give you lots of specific help in problems you encounter in your career. Why should the lecturer encourage you to all work on example problems until you all have the exam beat? Because that's how I can truly gain the most knowledge, by practicing. Practice leads to perfection.  Then you'll all get top grades - at least the hard workers. If he springs the exam on you, that could be far more revealing - it will highlight the potential Feynman's - those who can *really* think on their feet in difficult situations. We're not playing games here. We're in a college for a practical engineers degree where people are trying to get by with jobs and kids, this is not a high-level university to start playing some sort of academic "who's the genius" competition-- in fact, if any of us were genius, we wouldn't be in this college studying for practical engineer. We would be at a university starting for a 1st degree. We're practical, we wanna know what we can and study our best, we don't have time for such silliness. Trust me, no one cares enough to "test us" like that to see what we're made of... more likely, they just don't wanna spend the extra energy to give us more material.  Perhaps he has a higher standard, certainly he has a valid one - that's why the dean is happy with him. Why should he think more about the class and care more? That doesn't happen in the real world - he's just preparing you for it. A) Who said the dean is happy with him? Maybe he realizes there is a problem. I haven't spoken to the dean yet, though I've considered speaking with him today as I'm gonna be at the college. B) And to answer why should he care-- that's his job to teach us. You can't force someone to care, and if you don't, maybe you should pick another career. Fact are, there are bad teachers and good teachers, why can't you accept the fact he might be a bad teacher? Have you seen him? Talked to him? All those I spoek to in my class have graded our other teachers best marks, he has the only teacher that's practically been unanimously down-graded.  With your approach everyone will pass, everyone will be happy, but your lecturer will have no idea who will make a really tough, innovative, fast-thinking materials science researcher - and that's what he wants. He's not our lecturer, he's our "one-time" spring trimester introductory material science teacher who we will never see again. Our lecturer himself is amazingly brilliant, and I have no complaints about him. He's been helping us out in the same way which you said he shouldn't. Actually giving us examples and caring. Do you wanna complain that he's been overhelping and overcaring about us, maybe? I'll send them a letter in the mail "he's an incredibly overcaring, amazingly helful teacher and the best in the world. I think you should fire him as he's 'not gonna prepare me for the industry'"... *rolls eyes*  He's told you that to pass you will have to come to class and listen to him! That's the point of coming to class. I am able to study tons better from the book, and seems to be way ahead of class when I do.  He actually sounds more involved than many lecturers, some give big hints that it's all in the textbook - then they have less people to bother with at lecturers, and no one pursuing them for problem sets or hand-holding. That's fine, I'm not after tricks and tips, I actually wanna "learn" not just pass a test- but I do want my test to represent my knowledge. How can I truly have confidence in my knowledge without a mock test/trying past tests?  He wants most people to do badly, then those that are likely to be *really* good will shine out. If you don't really have a first class mind for materials science, can't really pass this guys class, then its best to find out now and go and teach in a community college or something. Haha! Yes, I'm sure he has this ulterior motive. He also has a secret lab at home and he's secretly been a really terrible teacher so he sees who can triumph despite his terrible teaching so he would be worthy to join his lab experiments as partner. But seriously, seeing how teachers get the heat if students do badly, I seriously doubt he wants us (even secretly) to do badly!  Ask around, there will be some people (maybe only one or two) who have got an A from this guy. Ask them how they did it. (Warning: Bravado and ego ahead) I don't think anyone would get a higher grade than me. I said that in our first semester and that was true. I can tell just by questioning students that I'm much more advanced than everyone and ahead of the material (except the few who are actually working in the field-- most of our class haven't heard of an atom though, or really now what 'hardness' means. I did have some background in chemistry before getting in to the class and the teacher was even impressed with me [even remarked that it's nice to have a girl in class for a change lol]). The question is how much I'll get in the test, not how much someone else will. I may have given you the impression that I'm a poor girl sobbing for the teacher to babystep me through anything. NOT the case. I've been a teacher myself in the pass and I'm currently on scholarship teaching other people in my class mechanics. In fact, in our last mechanics class, because our teacher has been so splendid to show us our goals, our aim, and past tests (he gave us a file with all the past tests), I've set at the back of the class with my laptop solving problems that we're only gonna touch in a few weeks. The only reason I was in class was to help other students (they know I'm good for help). I already solved over 150 mechanics questions from these past tests.  P.S. This grappling with the situation tooth and nail, as you are doing in this thread, is a good sign - keep it up, 18hrs a day, and you might make it... I'm not sure if you're mocking me or not, in this case I'd point you to my history in this forum which speaks for itself. If you say that I'm spending too much time in this thread, compare it to the time I spend solving problems in this forum, you'll find this thread is no match.  There are several classic texts on the subject - e.g., Callister: Problem with referrences such as Callister (which I've had downlloaded before the course started) is the fact that there is tons of material that's unrelated to our minor introductory course that's VERY specific.  Obviously we don't know the detailed contents of your courses, but part of the problem could be you are expecting the wrong thing from the course. As you said, in mechanics etc you are meant to be learning how to apply some general principles to solving problems, and the way you learn that is mostly by practising solving problems. But an introductory materials course could be much more about "learning facts about commonliy used materials". At a beginning level, there isn't much theory or problem solving involved. Of course there is a lot of theory involved if you want to know how bulk properties of a material liike its thermal or electrical conductivity are related to quantum mechanics, for example, but that is the difference between a first materials course for engineers, and an advanced course for physicists. Maybe you should be approaching it more like a med student learning human anatomy. You can't do much "problem solving" about the human skeleton - you just have to learn what all the bones are called and how they fit together, because in real life situations finding a computer and getting the infomation from Google is not an option. Best reply in this thread :) Esp. since I've studied anatomy. Thanks.  Again, this seems like high school thinking to me. Sure, he could do all of that, but that doesn't mean he needs or should do that if his goal is to make you learn the material best. I'd say he's countering his goals, then. Besides, we're studying stuff less pro than high-school as of now. This is an amazing college that's been baby-stepping this class in everything.  I agree, but you seem to think he conforms to a lower standard, whereas I think (from your description, at least) he merely conforms to a different one, one that isn't necessarily lower. To me it appears you're giving him an excuse for every teacher in the world who doesn't care about teaching. "He's just giving you a hard time so you'll do it on your own" Heck, if he really wanna give me a hard time, he shouldn't even bother come to class!  but I don't find them necessary if the course material is explained well. Most students in my class say it isn't. (few has background in materials science and I know one of them is working at that field. Not fair to count them!)  which I think at university level one shouldn't take as granted. College! We're college!  I can relate with her experience, as well, and hope that in the future her professors will be more to her liking. And while learning ultimately is our own responsibility, I don't actually think this relieves professors from being good teachers. It's just that their duty is to actually teach to the best of their abilities, not to the best liking of their students. Fair enough and thank you. Though I will refer you to some text above relating to my ability to self-study if that's in question. But I think I will drop the issue for now, take a breather, and just see how it goes next class and next time I talk to him. I appreciate everyone for your replies. It definitely helped sooth me. :)  I think certain people here are missing an important point, it's absurd to pay 1k-2k$ for a class which an instructor half-asses and does not at least attempt to have students comprehend the material. The argument that instructors don't owe students anything is bizarre considering students pay university's to teach them the material. It would be one thing if universities were purely funded by research grants, but they are not and a significant portion of their funding comes from students attending their university to be taught a subject. In a private enterprise, such an instructor would be fired.....

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 In a private enterprise, such an instructor would be fired.....
Excellent point!

For the record I'm not trying to get him fired. That's too far for me or any student to go. Besides, he knows the material, he just needs to make a small leap to make it more accessible to students.

 Quote by xxChrisxx But then... what would keep the right hand side of my top shelf in place?
1) place magnet ontop of shelf
2) glue steel bar to roof
3) ?????
4) book companies go broke!