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So how did you deeply understand before the internet?

  1. Jan 25, 2013 #1
    Let's say your professor has a thick accent and there is a communication barrier. What did you do to get your questions answered?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2013 #2
    Learn to hear through the accent.
     
  4. Jan 25, 2013 #3

    jedishrfu

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    Read the book. If that didn't work find another book... Finally, switch to another class or drop the course...
     
  5. Jan 25, 2013 #4

    Lisa!

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    I had more time to study and think about the stuff I was learning...
     
  6. Jan 25, 2013 #5
    Exactly. Before the internet, people spent more time studying because they didn't have the internet as a distraction.
    Like I'm trying to get some studying done and I'm doing this instead.
     
  7. Jan 25, 2013 #6

    dlgoff

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    University library.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2013 #7

    Astronuc

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    Yep - university/department library for textbooks and journal articles.
     
  9. Jan 25, 2013 #8
    Okay, so you would basically read more books. But how would you get specific questions answered?

    edit: Actually, never mind. My question is pretty pointless.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2013 #9

    jtbell

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    Students in a class would form "study groups" in empty classrooms in the evening. Sort of a meat-space equivalent of online forums.

    When I was an undergraduate, my small liberal-arts college physics department set aside a room that we called the "physics library." It did have some castoff professors' copies of textbooks, but the main things were the large table, chairs, blackboard, and a desktop electronic calculator. This was long before PCs existed, and handheld electronic calculators had just been invented and were very expensive. On just about any afternoon or evening you could find several physics students there, working on homework or simply socializing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  11. Jan 25, 2013 #10

    Astronuc

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    It depends on the question. I would often browse textbooks and look through table of contents or the index for keywords or particular subject. There was also a database of journal articles, so I would browse that database for keywords.

    One such database was the Energy Technology Database (ETDE)
    http://www.etde.org/edb/energy.html

    and later in industry, the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) of the IAEA.

    Otherwise, I'd ask the professor, or another professor.
     
  12. Jan 25, 2013 #11
    With some effort, those barriers go away after reasonable time. From my personal experience, I got used to professors' different accents in a period of less than 2 weeks or so.

    Sometimes, it can be really hard to ask questions. But, asking slowly and clearly or writing down what you are asking helps.
     
  13. Jan 25, 2013 #12

    Evo

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    My biology teacher could barely speak English, but after a couple of weeks you got used to hearing "ka PEEL ah rees". You figure it out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  14. Jan 25, 2013 #13
    OMG, that's a great question, I just had this problem recently. I was applying, believe it or nor, for a DARPA funded project on autonomous neural network driven machines, like those they want to develop for the Mars rovers. The guy heading the project, who's name I won't mention, I had met several times at conferences and could never understand a word he said. I think he's from Hungary.

    So, the only answer I can give is that you have to be very patient and try to listen closely. Seems obvious, but that's the dope.
     
  15. Jan 26, 2013 #14

    dlgoff

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    How that brings back memories. It was pretty much a given to have study groups to work on problem sets. E&M comes to mind.
     
  16. Jan 26, 2013 #15

    AlephZero

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    Most people don't "deeply understand" anything, period. The internet hasn't changed that situation.
     
  17. Jan 26, 2013 #16

    jedishrfu

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    Yes, I remember a time when the prof said the final would have 5 questions chosen from a list of 60 questions. Our class of 12 worked as a study group, assigning 5 problems to each student and then sharing problem answers a few days before the test. I lucked out and was assigned the 2 relativity problems and surprise surprise both were on the test.
     
  18. Jan 26, 2013 #17

    cepheid

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    Regarding getting specific questions answered: many professors hold office hours, and many of them are better at communicating concepts one-on-one than they are in a lecture format. Furthermore, classes often have tutorial hours or designated homework help sessions where you can talk to TAs. This is arguably better than the internet, because it involves an interactive explanation by another human being who is an expert in his/her field. These resources are available to all students, but many are either too lazy or too disorganized to make use of them, in my experience. These resources are also arguably the only reason why you still pay big money to go to university.
     
  19. Jan 27, 2013 #18
    it may be true to say though that the digital era we are now in has also enabled more people access to the same information. For example. At the uni library, if the book was out... then it was out. Digitally any number of people can read the same thing at any one time.

    however it may also be responsible for a lack of learning due to its instant availability.
     
  20. Jan 29, 2013 #19

    George Jones

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    I very much agree. Make the effort.

    Make the effort because, as cepheid notes, interaction communication is often much better than going to the internet.
     
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