Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

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41 Replies - 4560 Views - Last Post: 21 January 2011 - 05:22 PM

#31 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:12 AM

Well this is not always the case. At the university I went to we had a teacher who used to be a programmer back "in the day" and he had been a teacher for many years now. He was very good. For the most part he was just teaching the basics and our classes were not very interesting (although he did have us program a Finite State Machine which really was "above and beyond" the intro class). In my case though, he modified the assignments to be more challenging. He would give out a simple assignment and then pull me aside and say: "I think you would learn more if you made this multi-threaded" or "You could add a GUI interface" etc. -- its not as though he was REQUIRING me to do extra work, but he always had thoughts on how I could challenge myself and actually learn something from the class rather than just sit there to earn my credit.

There is a difference between "Teachers" and "Instructors" -- an Instructor presents the information and it is up to you to learn it. A Teacher teaches you, that is to say that a teacher actively tries to see that you learn something.

Note that telling the difference between the two can be very hard. Sometimes a teacher will be an instructor in one subject, just bombarding you with information, and yet a teacher in other things. This is often the case with professors in introductory classes -- they don't put a lot of energy into it -- but then when you have them in a later subject they are passionate.

At least two of my Mathematics Professors were this way. In the intro classes they were the WORST. Boring. Throwing out information with no care where or how it landed. Uncooperative with basic questions. -- The subjects were just somehow "below" them -- to them this was the easy stuff that should be obvious to you. Once you got into an advanced class, which you were dreading because "Professor Boring" was teaching it, things changed. Suddenly they are passionate: they stay after class and discuss the materials, they encourage you to explore new areas, and for some reason are always suggesting possible Master's Thesis topics in their subjects...

Point: Don't judge a book by its cover. Intro classes are just supposed to give you the basic sets of skills needed to move forward.
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#32 tenchu77491  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:12 PM

Being a teacher myself I know it's not easy to teach a wide range of skill levels. Sometimes you need to do things a little weird to get to every student, and some students are bound to disapprove.

If you think the class is disappointing, do what I did in graduate school. Instead of complaining to the professor I complained to the head of graduate studies. I expressed my dissatisfaction with the course content, and everything. Then the head of the department had a meeting with the professor and started to restructure the course.
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#33 Guest_RedMartian*


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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 23 December 2010 - 09:14 AM

"I refuse to do it" then you deserve whatever poor grade you get. When you are the instructor (or the boss), THEN you get to decide; until then you are just stubborn fool that cannot follow instructions. Like I tell my 6 year old, your grade should indicate that you are able to be taught, not just WHAT you learned.
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#34 oscode  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 25 December 2010 - 02:29 PM

If you're going to complain, have quotations from the standard ready. You will not do yourself any favours arguing with a guy like this without having absolute evidence. I can't really add anything to the advice already to given to you; just try to learn from it. Focus your energy on gaining marks, not producing good code. It hurts to say that :P.

I had a similar situation, I emailed the head of the department. In his reply he quoted my entire email with my lecturer CC'd on it, I'm sure it didn't do my marks any good.

This post has been edited by oscode: 25 December 2010 - 02:31 PM

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#35 ccubed  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 07 January 2011 - 06:20 PM

I went to college at Tennessee Technological University. Our intro classes were anything but courses where you amassed credentials. In fact, they were far from it. They were hard, They were annoying and we were asked to do things that almost required having previous knowledge of C++ to even begin them. There was little help offered or given, even when teachers were asked and at the end of the semester only seven people remained. Me and the other six passed, the rest would have failed anyways. The introduction class was literally a weeding out class here. This was not a coasting department. If you couldn't learn on your own, they just didn't want you. After you passed it though, help was always available and the teachers were generally nicer because they knew that everyone in their class had managed to pass the intro weeding class on their own merit, which meant there were no coasters in the classroom at all. I think that matters a lot, when teachers know that there are no 'idiots' in the classroom. Then they don't worry about having to 'separate' the ones who 'know' from the ones who just want to coast.

That being said, a professor in my second semester took 3 pts off of my final grade on a project because at the time he didn't know that int i(3) was as valid a method of initialization as int i=3. I told him and after he verified it worked, he gave me back the 3 pts. If you think your professor would listen, it wouldn't hurt to go talk to him. All he can say is no. If you're absolutely positive he won't listen, then adapt like everyone else says and avoid him like the plague for the rest of your college days.

But really, if it's brace style, that's not a large problem. Just adapt to it and move on. I didn't get points off for brace style. I got a bunch of notes about how:

if(){
}



is nicer than

if
{
}



and I listened and eventually started coding the way of having the curly brace on the same line as the if statement (still do, I kind of like it now).

But just get through it your own way. Hopefully your other teachers will be better.

This post has been edited by ccubed: 07 January 2011 - 06:25 PM

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#36 Guest_Guest*


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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 10 January 2011 - 02:57 AM

Quote

"I refuse to do it" then you deserve whatever poor grade you get. When you are the instructor (or the boss), THEN you get to decide; until then you are just stubborn fool that cannot follow instructions. Like I tell my 6 year old, your grade should indicate that you are able to be taught, not just WHAT you learned.


By that logic it is OK to teach your 6 year old that the sky is brown and grass is purple, after all its about his capacity to soak up information not what is right and wrong, isn't it? Or perhaps it is you that would change your tune if your 6 year old came home claiming he was taught that pigs could fly...
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#37 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:07 PM

View PostRedMartian, on 23 December 2010 - 03:14 PM, said:

"I refuse to do it" then you deserve whatever poor grade you get. When you are the instructor (or the boss), THEN you get to decide; until then you are just stubborn fool that cannot follow instructions. Like I tell my 6 year old, your grade should indicate that you are able to be taught, not just WHAT you learned.


i would have to say that grades in high school only represent your ability to follow instructions. there is no more logic or reasoning taught in school. my day goes "first you do this then you do this" for every period i have. sometimes it's "this happened then this happened" and others it's "this happens when this happens". i have had 1 teacher (Col. Smith) who didn't just do this. he actually took the time to show us multiple ways of thinking about it and took the time to show us how to draw other connections. he actually 'taught' us, not just this "here is a list, memorize it" bull

This post has been edited by ishkabible: 13 January 2011 - 03:08 PM

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#38 4D1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 16 January 2011 - 03:11 PM

@ishkabible, this is not high school this is University, but that is not relevant, the point I am making is that I have spent alot of my personal time learning C++ with no assistance from anyone and with no encouragement from anyone, I am not asking for a medal but for someone to essentially say everything I have learned is wrong, and not becuase it is wrong but because it is not their style or because they want some credit for teaching me something, to me is despicable. And besides that it is more important in the IT industry than any other to encourage free thinking and figuring things out your own way, the industry changes so quickly, what are these other students going to do when they no longer have itemised instructions and have to learn something new?
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#39 janotte  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:32 AM

View Post4D1, on 17 January 2011 - 08:11 AM, said:

And besides that it is more important in the IT industry than any other to encourage free thinking


While there is some truth in that it is mostly wrong.

If you end up working in a commercial code shop or division you will almost certainly find that you abide by the almighty style guide provided to you or the pay cheques will stop coming.

You may be surprised by just how mundane the majority of coding jobs are and how tightly constrained they are by rules and keeping the code in a consistent style and since the code started in the 1970s (or whatever) that's the conventions and style you will follow or you won't be working there long.

I don't want to exaggerate the point here but a lot of the stories of what it is like to write code for a living are based around either small places where freedom is a given or go-getting places (like Google, say). That's not where most of us end up.

For most of us we will end up in a cubicle trying to step through some ancient COBOL to see why the server read has failed and patching it. It's still satisfying and all that good stuff but it isn't quite what the brochures in the university publicity may lead you to believe. Most of the systems out there are fairly mature and need maintenance or evolution, not revolution. Only some of us (and/or some of the time) get to exercise the sort of free thinking creativity your statement suggests is a common part of working in IT. Creative problem solving, yes. Free thinking, not so much.

EDIT
Thought this C++ style guide from Google might be of interest here
http://google-styleg...nk/cppguide.xml

This post has been edited by janotte: 21 January 2011 - 01:33 AM

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#40 4D1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:17 PM

@ janotte

while I agree with what your saying to a degree, I still think people need to know how to program as well as how to follow instructions, otherwise when no instructions are given no one would be able to program. And like I said in a previous post there is a difference at least in my mind between being asked to program in a questionable style, and being told you are wrong for not programming in that style, before being asked to do so.

Creative problem solving, yes. Free thinking, not so much

Are they not 1 and the same? Obviously there will be restrictions in terms of the language and or any imposed by the employer but in the end it is you the programmer that has to come up with a solution? Not just follow a list of instructions
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#41 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:39 PM

The coding standards don't suppress your creative thinking; they provide guidance on how you can express that creative thinking in your code. I certainly wouldn't want to work anywhere where the code base on a particular project is a mish-mash of different styles - which is more than likely to introduce bugs.

I've come across coding standards that I've disagreed with, but I've usually found that there is good reason for them being in place, especially when it was down to me to fix the bugs. :)
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#42 janotte  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confronting University Lecturer, About Grade

Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:22 PM

View Post4D1, on 22 January 2011 - 09:17 AM, said:

Creative problem solving, yes. Free thinking, not so much

Are they not 1 and the same?


Not to me. To me they are quite different ideas.

But if they are the same idea to you (and I am not saying you are wrong to believe that) then a lot of what I am saying does not apply.

Always a problem that natural languages are not being able to exactly express the ideas in our respective heads. There is always a loss of precision in the communication channel.
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