college students: what do you like about your classes?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by shecky, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #1
    i teach graphic design at a few colleges in new england and I am always trying to figure out what works and what does not. So i am wondering from those of you in or recently graduated from college (not high school) - what did you particularly love and hate about your classes, professors, etc.

    too much work? not enough work? over prepared? under prepared? short lecture? long lectures? tried to be funny? tried to be serious? arrogant? too much of a wimp?

    generally i get along really well with my students but i am always trying to be better.

    thanks!
     
  2. yrsonicdeath macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    #2
    Graduated a few months ago...

    Liked:

    Lectures distributed in ppt or pdf for following along in lectures/studying for tests. (I found it most helpful in classes where these weren't all-encompassing, it kept me motivated to attend class.)

    Option for a substantial (15+ page) written assignment intead of midterm/final.
     
  3. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    I go to a small (2300) college with classes with classes with 10-25 other students, which lends itself to class discussions and leaves the professors free for help or further discussion. My favorite professors have always been clearly in charge of the class but not arrogant bastards....I've never liked weak professors who bend to the lowest common denominator in the class or the ones who try to scare the crap out of everyone with the "if you miss one assignment, you fail, if you miss class you fail, if you're late, you fail" speech. A lighthearted approach always seems to resonate better.
     
  4. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #4
    I havent yet graduated but still:

    Boring professors who are too serious and no jokes in class are definitely off!

    I had some professors who always tried [and failed miserably] to feign moods completely opposite to their character and the experience was horrible! The whole class grew bored of them and lost confidence!

    Reading notes in between a class is PATHETIC and we kind of endup making fun of the prof and never ever take him too seriously!

    Expression and accent is very important! Monotony makes me fall asleep and bad accent drips the profs image!

    Lastly..... Confidence is very very essential! If a pro doesnt have confidence in what s/he's teaching then the class will have no interest in what the pro is trying to teach!

    My $2/100
     
  5. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #5
    Genuine enthusiasm can't be beaten. When the teacher loves the subject and loves teaching it then it's much easier to learn. Being underprepared is the worst thing, not knowing the slides because you haven't seen them since you gave the same presentation last year is no good.
     
  6. yrsonicdeath macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    #6
    Just to add something else. The most important thing to me as a student was knowing that a professor cared about the students.
     
  7. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #7
    I had a professor that always did the assignment with the class. Granted he was like a god among ants, but it was nice to know that he was there doing the work with us.
     
  8. Rhosfelt macrumors 65816

    Rhosfelt

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    I don't want to be raped :(
    #8
    I am a sophomore almost a junior:

    I'd say try to aim for a medium amount of everything you mentioned, only keep a certain enthusiasm about your subject. Don't give TOO much work, because we do have other classes, however give enough to make sure they do it, and grade for completion so they have incentive to do it!

    Have attendance points so people attend class.

    Usually having notes in ppt or pdf is nice just incase a student misses class is always very nice.

    Try to be funny, and have fun projects for the students to do, the best way to learn is to interact with the subject. Always give out an email and encourage to ask question through that incase they are too shy to do so in class.

    Just some suggestions :)
     
  9. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #9
    I like that they last an hour and I only have 4 a day:D, Studying business BTW.

    Edit: Also my classes have well fit girls:D.
     
  10. da2005pizimp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    #10
    i like the fact that i am only taking easy classes for now, and that the teacher is awesome.
     
  11. nakamuramori2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    #11
    i like online classes. you dont have to be present in the class, and also you can see the lecture at any time you want.
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #12
    The best teacher I had in college was a superb public speaker, witty, insightful, articulate, passionate - he could make the subject come alive and his enthusiasm was infectious. Personally, he was approachable and decent and made himself readily available to students.

    Intellectually, he had the knack of making you see old material in a totally new way, of making you think in ways you had never considered; he was so good, he made you feel honoured and privileged to attend his class, and at the end of class he always made a point of graciously thanking the students for attending. In addition to opening my mind to many new channels, he was also a terrific role model as a teacher.

    Cheers
     
  13. nakamuramori2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    #13
    what subject did he teach ?
     
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #14
    my favorite professor was cool for a variety of reasons

    1) insisted we call him John, not Dr. so and so like other guys who want to hear that title

    2) made it a point to know EVERYONE's name. this was a first for me

    3) took an interest in our lives

    4) very accessible in terms of office hrs and help in general, gave his cell number and such

    5) made the class very challenging

    the course was a grad course in mechanical engineering and was one of the hardest classes i have ever taken

    i dont have a lot of respect for teachers who have easy classes as im paying to be challenged and learn new material

    just my thoughts



    on the flip side, the class i hated the most was because of the teacher. the class was material science my junior year and we had a visiting professor

    the guy was completely incompetent. he told us the equations in the book were wrong and told us if we used them, we would be docked. also said a variety of concepts presented in the book were wrong.

    it got so bad because he was such an arrogant ass that we had to talk to the department head as well as the regular prof who taught materials. what ened up happeneing is the regular prof sat in on class and listened to lecture and subsequently challenged the lecture. needless to say the visitiing prof was removed and we were than mainly taught by a VERY capable GTA who had llike 30 years of industry experience
     
  15. ph0rk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Location:
    OK
    #15
    Not sure exactly what you mean by this, but your professors have to look over notes sometime. They don't keep a semester worth of material for 1-4 classes in their heads. A good teacher changes up their material from year to year to remain current, anyway.

    I make a point of getting to class early and I flip through the discussion questions I've written down from earlier that day and possibly jot down more - I'm there primarily to field any questions students have before class, but I'll be damned if I just stand there staring at the wall for ten minutes.

    However, reading from notes mechanically in class is dumb - just distribute the notes and let them read them on their own time.
     
  16. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #16
    I transferred from a very highly ranked engineering program at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign to a fairly crappy program at University of Connecticut, and the biggest difference I noticed is that UConn professors tend to "baby" students. They are more likely to make exceptions and bend over backwards to accomodate students, instead of let us figure it out ourselves. That noticeably slows down the pace of the classroom. Sometimes we'll waste an whole period just doing example problems because some kids aren't getting it--ridiculous, if you ask me. I had a UConn professor move an exam in a class of ~80 students just because a few kids had a physics exam on the same day. Never would have happened at UIUC. Being fair is important, but I think it's important to also be strict and encourage self-reliance.
     
  17. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #17
    I tend to enjoy classes that feature discussion. A medium amount of work is nice (I want to be challenged but I do have 4-6 other classes and reading 300 pages per class isn't likely to happen. Generally we do 1-2 Chapters per week in most of the classes I've taken, which equates to 40-80 pages of a textbook per week. English classes, especially literature, however, can require a lot more reading, I think Kate Choppin tends to be easier reading than Managerial Accounting Vol. 1). I prefer finals that are either a project, essay, or are take-home (with or without an in class part), non-cumulative finals are also the best (if you've already given us 2 midterms why do you feel the need to test us on the same material again, in addition to any new material?). A good standard 90%-92%=A- and 93%-100%=A is definetly appreciated. I hate it when a professor thinks their class is "better" than 99% of the other courses and makes the grading scale harder: 88%-92%=B+, wtf? Just use the scale the other professors in your department use. Also, if your class/discipline doesn't lenditself to essay writing, please don't have us write an essay for the hell of it, it only wastes our time and your time. I also enjoy when my professor is excited about the material! If you're interested in it, I'm much more likely to follow your excitement. I also like it when a professor encourages diverse viewpoints (just because you lean one way politically/socially/whatever doesn't mean that I do and if I don't that doesn't mean I am "wrong"). Also, actually grade homework for completion! I hate handing in work that I've complete and getting the same grade as the slacker over there who just put scribbles on the paper. Now this doesn't mean grade homework for accuracy, most students will get things wrong and that's fine, grade on effort when it comes to homework. Also, review homework problems in class and provide examples, it helps a ton! It's also great to save examples of past projects, sometimes when we are assigned a project we have no clue where to start, and examples help. Avoid group projects, there is nothing more hard working students hate than having their grade tied to some slacker that gets put in their group. Those are a few things I've found I like about my classes
     
  18. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #18
    No what I mean is that a pro is explaining in a rhythm and then suddenly breaks off.... to look into his notes while strolling in the class and leaving the students to decide their evenings and then after 5-10 minutes... suddenly comes back from the grave and resumes teaching!

    Yeah... some do that while some distribute their notes beforehand and only explain.... some distribute their notes after the class!
     
  19. BoingoBongo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    #19
    Discussions are definitely much better than strict lectures. They force everyone to participate, and the information seems to really "stick."

    I really don't like PowerPoint lectures. I know that sometimes they have to be used, but please, for the love of God, make it unique and interesting. I can't take one more slide show of information copy/pasted into a basic template filled with typos. Amateur hour.
     
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #20
    Modern history; I have always loved history, but he made it absolutely riveting. You always wanted to hear what he would say on the topic of that day's class.

    Cheers
     
  21. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #21
    I had a professor once who taught History! She was about 50 and very er.... brisk but I've never seen anyone teach History like that and i just simply fell in love with the subject! She was just superb and explained every intricacy with such magnanimity that the whole class just listened! It was an amazing experience!
     
  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #22
    Confidence, knowledge, wit and empathy are all important, agreed, but academics are usually hired on the basis of their research, their publications, (in recent times) the sort of funding they are able to attract; in truth, and sad to relate, teaching ability comes bottom of the list when hiring, and that is a huge pity because it is what students remember. However, remember that the imperfect person in front of you is usually a specialist in their field; unfortunately, quite often, this does not include an ability to teach - or "perform" - in front of a class. If you get this in a teacher, it's a huge bonus.

    I once had a professor who was the most delightful, decent and humane individual in the faculty. He was a renowned scholar, endlessly generous with his time, his encouragement, his support; later, when I taught under him, I learned to treasure his intellectual and human qualities. He spoke six languages fluently, but, unfortunately, was unable to teach in any of them. He suffered in front of large groups (but did well in small group situations where the students treasured his knowledge and engaged with him.)

    BTW, I disagree re your comment on reading notes between classes. Speaking from experience, you don't carry around every detail in your head from year to year; you need to refresh your memory, and reading notes between classes is exactly the way to do that.

    Yes, agree completely.

    Re attendance, college students are college students, and I tell them that I am a paid teacher, not a police officer. They are big boys and girls; it's up to them to attend, having choices is a part of being an adult. I rarely have attendance points unless it is the policy of the place I work for.

    Re notes, other posters despise teachers who read from notes; as a student, I did too. I'd never give out notes - for one, my lectures tend to be bullet points, and added comments that I talk around and add to - most of it is completely unscripted (but not unplanned). Anyway, they are meant to read original sources, and they have tutorials, and office hours to ask questions. Agree entirely re encouraging questions and discussions and laughter; a good atmosphere works wonders.

    Agree broadly with this. To AppleInk on superb history teachers, the chap I revered as a teacher had us silent, listening, as well; sometimes, I would stop writing, put my pen down, and simply listen. It was a journey well worth taking. And yes, he had notes, which he consulted sometimes, as he talked and walked during the class.
    Cheers
     
  23. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #23
    Yeah, I had a professor just like this.

    And guess what, he's a history professor, too! Heh.

    Right now, all of my classes suck.*

    *I'm in law school.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #24
    Law school shouldn't suck; the material alone in some of the cases is hilarious and a good teacher should be able to run with it and make it gripping. (I studied law for a few years and I agree that most of the teachers were absolutely dire. I could never understand why this should be so given that some of the material - case law - was compelling, and some of the principles, fascinating . Quite apart from morose and disinterested teachers, it also tended to attract driven, fiercely ambitious, and rather humourless students, at least in my experience. History - at least in college - tends to attract pretty good teachers, and students who want to learn "stuff", which makes them interesting, too. Maybe, I am biased because I abandoned law and became a history teacher.)
    Cheers
     

Share This Page