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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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delirium happy
My attitudetowards university is that the lecturers should provide us with the necessary information and tools to be able to learn the subject appropriately, but that it is then up to the students to ensure that they do so. It is not the lecturer's job to coddle the students or to protect them from themselves. Unfortunately, this attitude doesn't seem to be shared by my university (or at least, by the physics department).

For instance, it really peeves me when lecturers spend time out from the lecture to talk about the importance of taking notes during the lecture. No. There's a damn good reason that I don't take notes during lectures, which is because I've found that I learn better that way. If I try to take notes, then I can't actually concentrate on what's being said, and I end up getting very frustrated and not really understanding the subject. On the other hand, if I just concentrate on what's being said, I internalise a lot of it, and it stays in my head from then on; lecture notes put up on the web or a text book are more than enough notes for me given the extra understanding that I get into my head.

Now, I recognise that this isn't how things work for most people. For most people, the process of writing things down helps as an aid to memory, and having the notes available is necessary for subsequent review or revision. Honestly though, anyone who thinks that the same learning methods should work best for everybody really needs to take a reality check. By the time we get to the second term of the second year of a degree, everyone should have figured out what methods work best for them and should do it; if they don't then that's their problem.

I really don't appreciate lecturers who take five minutes out in the middle of a lecture to try to labour this point. Though at least the one of them that we have this term hasn't yet developped the habit of staring at me as he explains this point, as one of last year's lecturers did. That was vaguely amusing though, as if he were saying "Yes, I'm talking to you. Why are you not taking notes?" and I was replying "Bite me."

In a similar vein, it pisses me off no end when lecturers decide not to put lecture notes up on the web because it means that people don't turn up to lectures. We don't seem to have any of those this term, but we do have one who has decided only to put up a week's worth of notes after the week when we cover the material, for the same reason.

And you know, I'm sure that they're right and that readily available lecture notes do keep some people from attending lectures, but so what? If people don't want to attend the lecture then that's their problem, not anyone else's. There's no reason to try to coddle people and protect them from themselves. And on the other hand, having notes available in advance has several legitimate, good uses. If someone is ill and has to miss a lecture then they can be used to catch up. They can be printed out and then annotated during a lecture. And so on. There is little that annoys me more than legitimate use being blocked in a nod towards idiots or the lazy.

Here endeth the rant.

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I know *exactly* what you mean. One day in high school I just stopped taking notes because I realized it was hindering far more than it was helping. I've had many run-ins with teachers and profs since then, but when I show them that I know the material cold whereas the rest of the class frantically flips through their notes trying to find the answers, they usually shut up.

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I tend to think that aiming for 50% of people in some sort of post-18 education probably isn't too bad an idea, but aiming for 50% in a one-size-fits-all academic post-18 education is monumentally dumb for a whole heap of reasons, which I won't rant about here because I'd probably just be preaching to the choir.

maybe someone should point out to Mr.B that we have a shortage of skilled manual workers at the moment - and a whole lot of higher level educated people who can't find work. I think i'm one of the few that think maybe universities aren't being selective enough and anyone can get a degree now. I'm currently a student, studying law. I'm doing this because i want to be a lawyer and have a genuine interest in my course and i work my arse off. If they kicked out all the people that went to university (and i quite) "for the life" i think my student experience would be significantly improved.

It really is getting to the stage where there are too many chefs and not enough cooks. (i'm sorry, i rant. A lot)

Thirded. I've had this rant before, but I'll add "lecturers who don't provide any notes/handouts and expect you to keep up with their scrawled-on-the-fly OHP transparencies" to the list. Especially for subjects with a heavily mathematical content, as it doesn't take much to fall slightly behind in your scribbling/LaTeX and lose track of whether that squiggle's a '1', 'i' 'l' or the unclear-greek-character-of-the-day. Which only leads to you mis-learning the equation in question, with hilarious consequences.

It appears, in my course at least, that the more maths-heavy the course, the less likely the lecturer is to give out printed notes / have notes online / use printed transparancies or projectors, and the more likely they are to scrawl illegibly onto an OHP. It seems to be a mark of pride for mathmaticians.

I've noticed this as well. Badly photocopied handwritten notes are good going for mathematicians. Fneh!

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Oh, i can go one better. KLS CRITICAL LAW SCHOOL - but only if you note and parrot the lecturer's critiques rather than thinking for yourself.

I have a bunch of notebooks from college that have three or four pages of actual useful notes surrounded by drawings of snails and song lyrics. But you've made me feel old. When I was in college, the web didn't even exist.

My notes from today (with evil lecturer who doesn't provide any sort of notes/handouts) contain the following:

"then use orthogonality relationships, jibble with the algebra work it through, blah blah blah, who cares, it works honest, but it is very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very dull. please, somebody shoot me in the head."

This aptly demonstrates the other reason why I never take notes unless they are absolutely necessary.

Here here *claps*
I don't take notes because it's hard enough to concentrate on what these foreign lecturers are saying anyway. I learn mostly by practice anyway, and I know this, I don't need to be told what to do.

Odd...I only had one professor who even remotely cared if we took notes, and she didn't lecture on it, just glared if you didn't write something down occasionally. Doodling was sufficient to prevent her glare.

History classes are the only ones where I take notes, but that's usually "year - this happened." If the instructor can keep me interested and teaches out of the books assigned, then I learn the material as well as anyone could expect. I had one professor that assigned us several history books for the class, and then taught out of a different book entirely, and wouldn't even tell us what book she used.

One of my first year physics lecturers provided handouts of all the OHP slides he showed in the lectures. People stopped turning up quickly. Or rather, they'd turn up for the start, pick up a handout and then leave quickly. Other lecturers provided handouts, but still had everyone turning up. The trick is not to be mind numbingly dull. We all turned up for Vibrations and Waves because the lectures always had interesting practical demonstrations. The first guy's lectures are the only time I've seen people fall asleep in lectures.

I skipped one lecture course entirely in my second year - Maths for Natural Scientists, part of the physics course. It was a bit laughable to begin with, as damn near everyone doing physics within natsci was also doing maths, but when five minutes into the first lecture realising I was now dumber than when I walked in, I knew this was one to skip. After attendance plummeted to near zero they decided to make the course compulsory the following year. I feel sorry for them.

I don't think anyone's ever actually told me to take notes though. I just did it because that's the best way for me to learn.

Grr. Stupid Livejournal, spellchecking my comments in American. (I think there's a reason why but I don't have to like it.)

Our lectures are all theoretically compulsory (which I think is another really daft thing as well). That didn't stop attendance at one of last years courses dropping to practically zero (the lecturer was a chinese guy with a heavy accent who mumbled into the board, and on the odd occasion when you could actually hear him was excrutiatingly dull).

I can really understand where you're coming from. I hate it when lecturers slow down so people can take notes, I hate it when seminar leaders, rather than leading a discussion to develop your knowledge and iron out the creases, repeat the lectures. Down here at UKC law school they have a policy of recording lectures and putting them on the web as MP3s which you can download. Like you, i tend to internalise what i hear a lot better when i'm listening (or only writing basic notes)...and then when i get home i can listen to the lecture again and get much better and more accurate notes with the aid of a decent typing speed and a pause button.

I must say i think this embrace of the 21st century (although uncharacteristic for unoversities) is a definate step forward, and also means you don't have to rely on other people's notes when you miss a lecture or 3. My notes from the MP3s are a lot better than the notes i can take in a lecture and listening to the lecture twice helps me remember what i'm supposed to be absorbing so much better.

and your other point, reading. I think people would find it a lot easier to understand complex issues IF THEY DID THE READING.

Guh, agreed. I'm still waiting for one lecture from week 6 to go up on Blackboard, because the lecturer's a wanker who doesn't do things in good time. Exams are coming up, damnit. Like, this is exam week. Would be nice to have them. I don't take notes generally either, because I know that what's on the powerpoint presentations will also be up on the web, so there's no point in writing it all down and wasting my energy when I could be listening. I also have a terribly dull lecturer that I couldn't bring myself to go and listen to, but unfortunately I'm screwed for the exam, because he also doesn't use a book, just a series of journal articles. Ugh. Though at least this is the last time i'll ever have to have any involvement with that module/lecturer, unless I have to retake the exam, which isn't at all unlikely.


I had an evil lecturer for that in that he wouldn't upload his notes to the web despite promising to do so, and one better he refused to give me the notes in advance for notetakers to be given time to learn the vocab.

When I complained about the lack of advance notes he said he would comply and then always had an excuse or just blanked me cos he'd 'forgotten'. My personal tutor wouldn't kick up a stink cos she said his notes were his intellectual property and she couldn't force him to release them early. Annoying but by that time it was too late anyway cos I could never have passed his exam due to the requirements foro the ability to draw and handwrite neatly. I taught myself from books in the last course we had from him, got 73% on course work and failed the exam with 38% despite having a scribe. Still they passed me overall which is nice of them cos they didn't have to.

I wouldn't want to be an undergrad or a taught postgrad again.... I learn better when self taught in a guided/directed/supported manner. I can't take notes in lectures and listen, but I also can't follow speech for more than 40 mins in a row... Not good when said bastard lecturers refuse to have a break in a 2 hour slot, preferring to skip a break for finishing after 90 mins of drone.



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