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#1 andy_pleasants  Icon User is offline

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University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:03 AM

Hi guys

I was wondering if any of you know about a governing body (or anything independent like that) where somebody can go to about raising a complaint about University courses and a University in general?

Basically - and put very bluntly - the course I have just done was ridiculous; and basically we (i.e. the members our course) got fobbed off and treat really really badly by course leader, head of dept and above. If you need any more information as to what went wrong exactly I'm happy to provide that, and I think it would certainly be useful for anybody considering going to The University of Huddersfield.

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Replies To: University Complaints

#2 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:14 AM

By course, do you mean the whole degree (3-4 years) or just one module?
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#3 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:16 AM

Elaborate. Ridiculous courses are part of any degree, but there are varying degrees of ridiculousness.
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#4 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:28 AM

Welcome to university life, get used to it.
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#5 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:55 AM

Tell us exactly why you feel you were badly treated. Remember that university is about how much effort you put in. Noone is gonna study for you. I encountered many crap lecturers and therfore did not turn up when they were teaching. Instead, i picked up a good book and got on with it.
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#6 W3bDev  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:15 PM

Yes, there are bad and good teachers, as well as experiences. I haven't talked to any grads from anywhere that had a perfect experience anywhere. If your university has a feedback system, use it, you never know who's listening. Also, sometimes you just have to shrug it off, and keep going. If it continues excessively, you may want to rethink where the issue is coming from, or, transferring to a different school.
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#7 andy_pleasants  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:12 PM

First of all just a few replies to some comments:

Quote

By course, do you mean the whole degree (3-4 years) or just one module?


Sorry there is some slight differences between how universities use the terminology, but it isn't one module, it's more a year of the course (which I'll get onto later).

Quote

Welcome to university life, get used to it.


and

Quote

Remember that university is about how much effort you put in. Noone is gonna study for you


I've finished, and got a first class masters, so effort is not the problem, certainly not from me.

The complaint is this (and I will try to avoid ranting). My course was an integrated masters course, designed to "make the more gifted students stand out" (remember this point), basically the idea was if you got over 60% and did certain core modules (which turned out to be the tougher modules based on formal specification and proofs) you could apply to do a "top-up year" to earn a masters degree, as if you were still studying as an undergraduate (having a huge impact on how you get funded here in the UK).

The first four years (our undergraduate stuff and placement year) were as expected, tough work, difficult assignments and the rest, and I spent a lot of time in University slogging to meet this 60% threshold (including a mammoth 70 hour stint)!

So I got onto the masters year, and this is where it all went bad, out of the 150+ students who started, 4 went onto the masters year (some people didn't do teh core modules, or didn't want to do the masters), as a result of this the estates department felt it wasn't "cost effective" for us to study on our own modules and decided to merge our course with another MSc course - and this is where it all went wrong.

The vast majority of students we were merged with were educated outside of the UK, often in countries with poor education systems, and absolutely zero academic standards (and that is not being harsh), a lot of the countries feel it is acceptable for you to "buy" your dissertation/thesis and have no concept of referencing and plagiarism.

The standard of work we were expected to do was therefore low, extremely low, some examples:

  • Methods & Modelling - A short UML case study (sequence, class and activity diagrams)
  • Internet Applications Development - A shop in which we were supplied with code and were expected to "edit" a few classes and supply, one working form, and one page that read from a database
  • Advanced Software Development - A small application using Java sockets where you controlled a "robot" on another computer
  • Advanced Software Development (second assignment) - We were expected to take a poorly written program and refactor it (e.g. make inner classes external, extract methods to their own classes etc etc)


Which considering what we'd done the previous years was an insult.

We had to go ask another tutor if, in his and our own time he would be willing to teach us some more advanced stuff, which he kindly did (and the material was very very interesting) however we had to miss two sessions because we couldn't have funding for some software (MaTLAB). I also took the option of doing the CISCO module 1 - and couldn't sit the end exam because "it costs to use the equipment".

Our university has a policy of a 3 week turn around on feedback from assignments/tests - we once waited 4 month for one module because the tutor allowed certain students to resubmit the assignment because "it's the first one they've submitted and they did it wrong" - yet I thought all of these people had degrees???

When we were asked to work in groups the students who did their undergraduate study in the UK were separated across groups, for this reason - If we were all together there would be 1 group with an A and the rest with Ds - split us up, and you may get all Bs, reflects better on the University, nevermind the fact our averages were pulled down by this.

Another student was also sent an email saying "Make this look not plagiarized" with an attachment, the student forwarded this email to a tutor, no action was taken because the sender "didn't know any better" - despite studying 5 modules at our university.

I also heard a rumour that a friend of mine had this said to him by another student "I can't understand you, so I'm not listening to you" - nothing was done about this either.

If you're reading this and are confused as to why all this happened, money. The university made 1.6m from our course alone last year; and they fear that if they increase the difficulty of work to what I (and a few other students as well as tutors) feel is masters level, they will lose paying students. This also seems to be something happening across all courses too, a few tutors have told me that their modules are being canceled because they are "too hard" (this I believe relates to the point about effort made further up).

In summary the reason I feel so aggrieved is because of all the effort I put in and then to be taken onto a course where the work could be done by a first year. Other than this there is various other instances of bureaucratic nonsense we've had to put up with including our course missing out on getting extra graduation tickets for our families because they "forgot to send the email to us".

I know computing does not exactly have a governing body (you don't HAVE to be a member of the BCS or ACM) but education surely must have, and I guarantee you they will fall short of any standards they should have met this year - especially when certain tutors refuse to teach on the course due to the standard of student.

I hope that didn't sound too rantish, but I hope you can understand how angry it makes me feel due to wasting time, money and most of all effort - and doing the extra stuff with that tutor showed us what we could and should have been learning, but it was only a small snippet; and the reason we got cheated out of a decent education (by an academic center of all people) was money
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#8 McSick  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 23 July 2011 - 07:19 PM

It sounds pretty crappy. The best you can really do though is complain to the University a little and hope for the best. Since it is already done and happened, it looks a little late for you. At least you went and found ways to learn more advanced stuff. My college has course evaluations every semester (not mandatory but they drill us to do them) and try to take our feedback and fix the course for the next year. I got to witness a change since I became a TA for one of the course. Sadly the complaints were that it was too hard and so they dumbed it down. No one ever said college was supposed to be easy -.-
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#9 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 23 July 2011 - 10:23 PM

I would assume that your university has some sort of student union. That would be the place to take your complaint -- dealing with complaints is part of what they do. Another option is to check out the computer science society. They generally deal with undergraduate courses, but maybe they can tell you what you should do.
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#10 andy_pleasants  Icon User is offline

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Re: University Complaints

Posted 02 August 2011 - 12:30 AM

Thanks for the replies guys, it's a shame the course has been made like it is, they have some really good tutors there, who I learned a lot from, who are now wanting to leave because the modules they feel passionate about and feel university graduates really should have knowledge in are being cancelled, or merged because (like McSick said) people think it's "too hard".
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