Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Creating Chaos

Julia's post about the disruption in her class troubles and puzzles me. What she describes has been reported, to one degree or another, at other universities -- including the so-called elite institutions. I believe I've seen the seeds scattered about here: Students blowing off classes, negotiating with instructors the number of excused absences or reasons for missing exams, appealing for grade changes because they're in danger of being disqualified for scholarships, coming to class hung over and reeking of alcohol, cheating and plagiarizing. What's going on, bloggers? Are we, faculty, too willing to reward the least amount of effort? Do large classes foster slackness? Does the course material lack challenge? Have standards of performance and rules of accountability become so blurred that they've lost their meaning? And when students act out in class, as Julia describes, do you feel robbed?

Professor Wiggins


Blogger Julia Sellers said...

I don't feel robbed because I don't think any other person's behavior has determined how I perform in a class. It is just frustrating to see how immature and irresponsible students are with college. It is nice however to have an easy class once in a while. If I had 5 classes with a heavy class load, like taking copy editing or law 5 times in a semester, I wouldn't be able to work and I would burn out.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Professor Wiggins said...

Julia, I see your point. How other students perform shouldn't dictate how you behave in class or your level of engagement. I was actually wondering if students felt disruptions -- booing, chatter and noisy late arrivals -- take something away from you? And what are your expectations of the instructor? Should he/she call out chatterers, chastise late comers? I am perhaps more direct in correcting this kind of behavior than others. What would you say students expect of professors in these cases?

Professor Wiggins

9:20 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

as far as large classes i'll say this. i detest them. because of the fact that my professor has absolutely no clue who i am or what i want out of the class and in school. but also because people are just rude. they start making noise and getting up to leave even before the professor is finished talking and it gets on my last nerve. but alas, i can do nothing to prevent it except make sure i get into classes that are smaller.

also, this has come to my attention recently. not only do large classes inhibit a good professor/student relationship but for many students their own advisors don't even know who they are. how is it that the people who are supposed to be helping us decide what classes to take (which will ultimately determine our careers) have no clue who we are, what interests us, or what we really want in life?

i'm not saying it's entirely the advisor's fault. in fact, it's partly them, partly the student, and partly the way the university is set up. but it's frustrating nonetheless.

10:26 AM  

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