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Dealing with very boring lectures

  1. Jul 30, 2012 #1
    So my professor's lectures are very boring, and I almost learn nothing from the class. I can't stop myself falling asleep during this class. I could keep my laptop open or read the textbook during the class to keep myself from falling asleep, but I feel that might be disrespectful, even thought there is no prohibition against it.

    Ironically the other students seem to be enjoying the class, but maybe that's what they are telling everyone rather than what they actually feel, since maybe they don't want to admit they're wasting their time.

    What should I do?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2012 #2
    What I ended up doing was to use my imagination to make the professor exciting. I imagined the professor being a rapper doing break dancing, and I described this in my lecture notes. (And professor X explains angular momentum while moon walking and having a single glove.)

    Also there is a lot of "sports commentary" in my lecture notes. (i.e. Professor X is at the at the putting green, he is trying to explain this equation, can he do it. he putts, OHHHH!!!!! He is confused and gets lost!!!!!!) Or else I poke fun at the professor (We are in the world's most boring professor contest. Let's see how Professor X can suck the life out of this subject.... Wow!!!! I didn't *realize* that someone could make this so boring. Let's do a slow motion replay......)

    One reason I write lecture notes, was to keep myself from falling asleep, you can see it in my writing. I'm falling asleep, here. Wake up. Awake. Awake. Falling asleep. Awake!!!!

    It gets really weird when I actually to start to fall asleep and my daydream starts to become an actual dream.
  4. Jul 30, 2012 #3


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    This is possible, but most classes I have seen, the bored students are the ones who do not have a clue what is going on. The number of classes I have observed where there were students who understood so much that the professor really had nothing to offer them is really zero.

    Now i admit that once at Berkeley in 1992, I saw a lecture in my subject by a world famous professor who gave a completely boring (to me) lecture just regurgitating facts in a dry way with no insight at all, that one could read in any book, but that is one lecture in my whole life essentially. I actually walked out. But I was a 50 year old professional in the topic.

    Even there, if I were actually in the class i could have spiced it up by asking questions. Do you know how to ask good questions? If so why are you not asking any?
  5. Jul 30, 2012 #4
    Lets be honest here is the prof boring or the subject. Ive had boring profs before but to get through the class I looked to make the subject interesting so as long as you motivate yourself to learn the material you should be fine.

    As to what to do I did homework sets during class for the section we were in by studying ahead.
  6. Jul 30, 2012 #5
    In practice, once you have more than about 10 people in a class, it becomes impractical to ask questions. If you start asking a lot of questions in a 200 person class, people are going to be extremely annoyed very quickly.

    One other thing, some people do not like to be interrupted when they are talking.
  7. Jul 31, 2012 #6


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    What class is it? The reason I ask is that some classes have a reputation to be more 'boring' than others on average.
  8. Jul 31, 2012 #7
    I disagree with this strongly as I am an example of someone who learns via reading and thinking(or experiencing). Personally, I have an extremely difficult time absorbing auditory information. In almost all my classes I got very little from the lectures with the exception of a few enlightening moments. The only use I ever got out of lectures was knowing how far in the course we progressed.

    The point is: if your bored in class why not just learn from the book?
  9. Jul 31, 2012 #8
    Do homework in class and ask the professor questions about the homework if you don't know how to solve it and it is relevant. For example, they talk about say... spin. You have a problem involving spin. Just ask "so in problem number ___, how do we apply what you just said to solve the problem?"
  10. Jul 31, 2012 #9
    That's how I get by. For one particularly boring professor, I'd imagine ways of killing him within the next 10 seconds. :uhh:

    Sometimes though, I simply fall asleep.
  11. Jul 31, 2012 #10


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    In my introductory Calc classes, I had a classless Professor. He felt insulted at being required to teach basic calc, and he was never more than half-awake, since these were 8am classes. When one of us would catch him in an obvious mistake, he would quickly erase the problem from the board, saying "just a problem in the algebra", so no student could learn from his mistake.

    He looked (and acted like) WC Fields. Think Cuthbert Twillie. With no more anchor to reality than that fictional character. There are some seriously poor profs out there, just like there are poor-performers in almost every field.
  12. Jul 31, 2012 #11
    Yes, I'm the same, I can learn from reading or practicing. But I suck at learning from auditory information, professor say something, I start to think about it, he is already on another topic, I get lost.
    What I did to stay awake was to ask stupid and sometimes sarcastic questions, everybody laughs, professor gets confused and sometimes angry at me, but I didn't really care.
  13. Jul 31, 2012 #12
    The class is computer science which I love very much. I have done all the homework assignments, and I have no questions that couldn't be answered by someone on this site, or on google for that matter.

    I have taken an online CS course before, and found the material much more interesting than the lectures provided to me in my university. Even if I were a newcomer to the class, I would find it boring, simply because of the nature of my professor. So I don't see my purpose of staying awake in class.

    Does anyone know a way I could sleep in class without making it seem that I am sleeping? Is it possible to sleep with eyes open? I've seen people paint their eyelids, but am unsure whether my teacher would fall for it.

    Thanks for all the feedback though!

  14. Jul 31, 2012 #13


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    A lecture is not meant to be a professor's office hours...
  15. Jul 31, 2012 #14


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    Tough situation, BiP. When I was in engineering school, attendance was mandatory, and you could be failed for non-attendance. If I could have skipped those 8am Calc courses, I would have. They were a waste of my time.
  16. Jul 31, 2012 #15
    This is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity, one that the majority in the world would LOVE to have. If you can't find something better to do than sleep, try going to beddie boo earlier.

    If you can score an A when sleeping most of the time, you might feel free to do so. But a better alternative would be to get a more advanced text and study that: if you get 'caught' reading, you can make up an imaginative excuse.
  17. Jul 31, 2012 #16
    So you don't ask questions in class that are practical then? As long as you don't try to monopolize the Professor's time your probably helping the class out.
  18. Jul 31, 2012 #17
    Some people replying here seem to assume that since the OP finds the lectures boring that he finds the material trivial. It could easily be the opposite: very hard material can quickly become boring if the professor is simply horrible at explaining it, since if the professor is bad and the material is hard enough so you can't figure out what your professor is trying to say (in real time), well, then you got yourself one boring lecture. I've experienced this first hand. There was not really a cure. I mainly spent most of my time thinking about matters tangentially related to the matter at hand.
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