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  1. #1
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    I don't understand anymore...

    In any case, this got sent to me a while ago. I figured I'd post it anyway out of curiosity to see what other's reactions were.

    Backstory: My Aer E 331 Professor (Controls) told us a couple of weeks ago that our quiz before Spring Break (10% of our final grade) would be calculator-free. I got this e-mail this week....

    One student kindly wrote the following message on his quiz (instead of correcting his wrong answers)


    I am going to take the time here, while the test runs down, to state I do not believe this accurately test knowledge or control theory or application. Give me a calculator or a computer and this takes 15 minutes.
    This is a waste of my time, and I feel strongly enough to waste test time to let you know.


    Please see the attached solution. The first problem does not need a calculator or anything to arrive at the correct answer. How simple is the solution? Yet, it was written even out of the previous homework problem (please see the attached solution). In fact, there are many students who got this problem correct.

    While you can state your opinion based on very wrong answers that would make the problem difficult to solve in time, I am surprised to see how bold this student stated his opinion, revealing his identity. “Waste” is a very strong word to use in a comment to your instructor. We have not learned much about control theory yet. I believe I based the quiz on the proper material we have covered in class.

    (1)Professors are here to help you to succeed. Not to give you a trouble or to waste your time. I can teach very basic material only, but we would like to teach you more. We would like you to learn more. What is the purpose of introducing all these new stuffs like term project and experiments?
    (2)While I like to interact with students, I need the minimal courtesy in the classroom.


    No excessive talking with your classmates
    No standing up in the middle of class and taking off (If you have to leave early, sit in the rear row)
    No putting up newspapers in front of you and reading it
    No showing arrogance like “give me a calculator or a computer, this will take me 15 minutes”


    This is just a reminder. I am very happy with what you are doing in this class.
    In fact, there are quite a few students who scored above 90 in this quiz. Also, many students consulted me regarding the term project problems. I strongly encourage you to do so if your group has not met with me. This is all about overcoming the limitation of a traditional classroom. So please use me as much as you can.

    I’m going to hand back HW#4 and Quiz 1 tomorrow.

    Thanks,

    Professor_name.
    Would someone care to kindly explain to me WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY GENERATON?!?!?! This is depressing, seriously, mostly because the quiz wasn't that hard. The average was a 64%, and I knew NOTHING about controls until about 3 days prior to test day, and wound up with a 95% on the quiz....

    Ladies and Gentlemen, fear the future...



  2. #2
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    What I don't understand is.... why is it 7 a.m. and I still can't fall asleep?


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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by superfan View Post
    In any case, this got sent to me a while ago. I figured I'd post it anyway out of curiosity to see what other's reactions were.

    Backstory: My Aer E 331 Professor (Controls) told us a couple of weeks ago that our quiz before Spring Break (10% of our final grade) would be calculator-free. I got this e-mail this week....

    Would someone care to kindly explain to me WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY GENERATON?!?!?! This is depressing, seriously, mostly because the quiz wasn't that hard. The average was a 64%, and I knew NOTHING about controls until about 3 days prior to test day, and wound up with a 95% on the quiz....

    Ladies and Gentlemen, fear the future...
    This generation is to depended on not using the brain. They depend on electronic devices to help solve there problems. I had to use my brain during my school years. It is now a electronic era where all is solved with a calculator and not using the main calculator the brain. It also shows that this perticular student must not have really listened in class causing him to be wasteful in the knowledge department there for being mad when the Instructor determined it to be a calculator free test. Since he (the student believes) he got the wrong end of the deal for not learning with his brain (like school is suppose to do) He was depended on the brain of electronics. Congrates on you and your 95% on the test. IF I WAS A INSTRUCTOR THOUGH I WOULD HAVE GRADED THE TESTS AND GIVEN HIM THE GRADE THAT HE SO WELL DESEREVED AND NOT PENALIZE THE OTHERS FOR DOING WHAT WAS ASKED FOR THEM TO DO.


    Last edited by Dave19642006; 03-29-2008 at 07:23 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    In my experience in an engineering environment, many decisions are made without the use of computers. Being able to figure out "on the fly" what the right or wrong answer is has a lot of advantages. This is a useful skill to have.



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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Being able to know what the solution should be without having to rely on a computer or calculator is definitely a valuable tool for engineers. The answers that computers spit out are no better than the data that is fed to them (garbage in = garbage out). An engineer needs to be able to recognize when there is a problem with the answer his computer or calculator is giving to him.

    A calculator free test is a good thing IMO.



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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    College teaches you how to think and solve problems in life. It is not just how to solve a certain solution or whatever your test question you have. When you get in the real world, you are not going to have simple questions like you do on test in college. You are going to have to think your way through issues that come up. I think this professor is doing the right thing and that kid who wrote that smart *** comment should be thrown out of the class and start over next semester when he / she grows up. That would teach him rule number 1 of the real world: Nothing is fair and people are going to do things or ask you to do things that you may consider are wasting your time.



  7. #7
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    I need to elaborate a little on this. I had planned to put this in Cyclone42's "Why we are doomed as a country" thread when we started discussing everyone needing calculators, but I figured it deserved its own time. I feel bad for the professor, it's his second semester here, came from Korea (but speaks excellent english) he got both his Masters and Doctorate from MIT (doctorate was last year, so he's literally JUST out), and does lots of really neat work with robotics.

    Let me summarize the quiz, there was nothing we haven't seen before and nothing outrageous. Also, here's the reason it was no-calculator:

    One clarification about why I didn’t allow calculators.
    I thought I’d told you this before. I was tipped off about that some students were putting Laplace transform tables in their calculators (cheating).
    Problem 1 involved performing a Laplace transformation (which everyone should know how to do, as Math 267 (Diff Eq) is a prereq for the class) and solve a linear system of equations (high-school math) We had the exact same sort of problem on an optional (but suggested) homework set, the numbers were simplified. Then you had to apply the quadratic equation (again, high-school math) to find the zeros of the numerator and denominator of your solution.

    I'll concede parts (c) and (d) weren't that straightforward, but (c) was the actual "controls" part, reducing a block diagram (which we've done in homeworks), and (d) was finding the "rise time" (which he told us was going to be on the quiz in lecture). Part (d) was also the only problem that required the actual "numbers" of your solutions. I had a wrong number on (a), it propagated all the way through the problem, and got docked on (d) because the answer was wrong. Point is, this shows that your numbers weren't that important, if you went through the problem and applied the correct steps (i.e. - you knew the material) you got full credit. It is easy to see, however, how people lost so many points. If you didn't get a reasonable answer for an early part, you lose a whole bunch of points real quick because you can't do the later parts.

    Problem 2 was the same as a problem we had on the homework due just before the exam, he also told us both in lecture and during a help session (where he showed us exactly how to do it) that, "there will be a problem just like this on the quiz."

    2b was showing a the equation from (2a) is stable/unstable using a method we had to do 5 times on the homework due before the quiz.




    Now, here's the kicker of the whole thing. Several weeks before the quiz he gave us an in-class practice quiz, both to show us what his quizzes are like and check our knowledge. Over 1/4 of the class received their practice quiz, sat for 3-5 minutes, got up, and left, or just didn't come at all.

    The "newspaper" comment in the original e-mail stems from the following incident:

    *Professor is teaching, student has newspaper fully open*
    Professor: "Excuse me, are you reading the newspaper during class?"
    Student: "Yeah." *Moves paper below chair, but continues to read it*

    Also, on that homework before the exam, he found "two teams of two students" cheating, they deliberately copied their homeworks. Incidentally, this reminds me of an old conversation. Back when I was taking Statics, Flag Guy's roommate was the grader and had to proctor exams. He told us that he saw people cheating all the time during the exams (bubble sheet), but was told he couldn't do anything because the process of getting them for academic misconduct was so long and difficult it wouldn't be worth it. Basically, unless the professor saw it, they couldn't do jack. (Fortunately, the problem fixed itself when the professor didn't tell anybody, but gave out three different exams. A bunch of people got really confused when they got their exams back with a 0 on it.)

    Sorry for the long rant, but this has been bugging me for a while. I guess it scares me that the lack of a calculator can cause this much trouble. I honestly wonder how many people only know how to solve linear systems and quadratic equations using things like simult() and solve() on their TI-89's. If it's getting bad now, what will it be like in the future?

    I'll leave on a note from a conversation I got from a different professor during a conversation on this topic.

    Students today just want to be told the answer. They don't want to figure it out for themselves, they want someone to give it to them.



  8. #8
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Nice rant.

    Ask these guys:

    You're in Antarctica making 75K for a six month tour. The system goes down, along with the backup, meaning the power fails. If you don't fix it within an hour, everyone will freeze to death (relief is six hours away)-and when you pull out your calculator, the batteries are dead. What do you do?

    Hint: "Pull out spare batteries" is not the answer.



  9. #9
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    I love my TI89. I will say that I'm glad I didn't have such a powerful calculator tell after diffy Q. I know I have a much greater fundamental understanding of mathematics than a lot of my friends who had the 89's and/or HP's from the start. I'm sure you have noticed in tests that some people are hammering away at their calculators while others occasionally punch in a little arithmetic checking.


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  10. #10
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by erikbj View Post
    College teaches you how to think and solve problems in life. It is not just how to solve a certain solution or whatever your test question you have. When you get in the real world, you are not going to have simple questions like you do on test in college. You are going to have to think your way through issues that come up. I think this professor is doing the right thing and that kid who wrote that smart *** comment should be thrown out of the class and start over next semester when he / she grows up. That would teach him rule number 1 of the real world: Nothing is fair and people are going to do things or ask you to do things that you may consider are wasting your time.
    Well said. I teach college mathematics and see this attitude (refering to the original post) too often from my younger students. I once had a student fail every exam in my class. After receiving her final grade of F, she calls me to complain. "You failed every exam," I pointed out. Her reply, "Yeah, but I showed up to class every day." She literally expected a C for showing up to class even though she demonstrated she had little knowledge of the subject. I hate to generalize about a generation, but it does seem like there is a higher percentage of younger students that expect grades handed to them.


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  11. #11
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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    I hope professors don't drop standards. We have enough problems with that. In many if not most of my classes (I was a EE) we couldn't use calculators. Too many programs and etc. can be held on the newer models.



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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Students today just want to be told the answer. They don't want to figure it out for themselves, they want someone to give it to them.
    To be fair, this is what everyone wants. The difference is that it seems like today, more people are expected to be given the answer when it's wrong. The want isn't disturbing, but the expectance is. Granted, I have this opinion after a parent told someone I know that their kid should pass the class because he's in school, not because he does anything.


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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by CloneFan65 View Post
    Well said. I teach college mathematics and see this attitude (refering to the original post) too often from my younger students. I once had a student fail every exam in my class. After receiving her final grade of F, she calls me to complain. "You failed every exam," I pointed out. Her reply, "Yeah, but I showed up to class every day." She literally expected a C for showing up to class even though she demonstrated she had little knowledge of the subject. I hate to generalize about a generation, but it does seem like there is a higher percentage of younger students that expect grades handed to them.
    Welcome to the world of what happens when you penalize schools for not graduating everyone. They graduate everyone, regardless if they should or not.


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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    As a 40 something, I suggest that there is nothing wrong with "kids these days". There is, on the other hand, DEFINITELY something wrong with "parents these days."

    I'm shocked by how many young people we are parenting by default. And what's amazing, is that they are the ones who seek us out because we are tough with our daughters.



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    Re: I don't understand anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    As a 40 something, I suggest that there is nothing wrong with "kids these days". There is, on the other hand, DEFINITELY something wrong with "parents these days."

    I'm shocked by how many young people we are parenting by default. And what's amazing, is that they are the ones who seek us out because we are tough with our daughters.
    But not on your sons?

    There isn't anything wrong with the kids, because they have been raised with the belief that they will pass and/or graduate based on their attendance, not their performance in the classroom. I'm beginning to think that people view an education as a right instead of a privilege that you have to work for, which demonizes the schools while allowing the parents that are uninvolved to complain and/or sue. There's a very fine line between making schools meet standards and forcing them to lower the bar.


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