Tuesday, May 19, 2009

University Complaints

At University 25 years ago, I can remember sitting through numerous lectures which were nothing more than an hour of incomprehensible mutterings and scribbled equations, delivered by a man dressed in a random set of garments from Oxfam, who clearly felt uncomfortable interacting with the human race and straying too far away from a test tube and Bunsen Burner. I can't remember caring though.

Nowadays the students complain if the lecturer doesn't turn up, is late or just completely rubbish. Rightly so I suppose, now that they are paying. The only reason there aren't more complaints is that many students struggle to read and write. Manchester Metropolitan even has a text messaging service for those who can't string a sentence together but don't want to feel left out.

As the Universitites are funded by student numbers; they never complain, no matter how many halfwits are delivered to them to do Cartooon Studies, Cultural studies or Paint Management and Monitoring. They just give a First to all those who turn up, a Second to those who don't and a Douglas (don't know what the modern word for these is) to the rest who can't even remember which former Poly they are at. (Note to parents; any subject with the word Studies in it, is just trying desperately to get you to take it seriously. Resist this tempation, laugh out loud and blow the money earmarked for your offspring's tuition fees on an extended tour of Australia and New Zealand.)

17 comments:

Mark H Wilkinson said...
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Mark H Wilkinson said...

a Douglas (don't know what the modern word for these is)A Vorderman, last time I checked.

Note to parents; any subject with the word Studies in it, is just trying desperately to get you to take it seriously.I started sifting through all Wikipedia articles with "studies" in the title, in the belief that there had to be something genuinely weighty going by that title. But most seemed to contain descriptors such as "multi-disciplinary" or "disciplinary hybridity", which tends to ring alarm bells.

I lost the will to go on after Buffy studies.

(Posted a second time to fix the formatting.)

MarkUK said...

Re "multi-disciplinary". I remember a rather good article in Chemistry in Britain where a leading research chemist wrote about multi-disciplinary teams and degrees.

He thought the former was great, and the latter lousy.

He reckons, and in my humble way I agree, that to work in a multi-disciplinary team you must know your discipline thoroughly.

Kimpatsu said...
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Kimpatsu said...
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Kimpatsu said...

... any subject with the word Studies in it, is just trying desperately to get you to take it seriously.I object to this, as the exotic language courses at London University SOAS and SEESS are known as Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, Korean Studies, Russian Studies, etc., and I think that learning a language like that has some academic merit, don't you?
(I can't seem to fix the formatting on this; apologies.)

The TEFL Tradesman said...

I agree, Frank. I did a degree that had 'Spanish' written on it, and I ended up damned good at it. But my brother's sprog has just finished a 'Spanish Studies' degree and he can't even add up or tell the time in Spanish! Pitiful, ain't it?

The TEFL Tradesman said...

PS: I forgot to add that my lecturers might well have been pissheads and lechers, but they knew their stuff and could teach it pretty well. These days, not only do the 'teachers' not know their stuff, they can't hold their booze either! It's a national scandal!!

Anonymous said...

yes, anything with "studies" in I would steer my child away from, and fast! Same goes for anything that has "Diploma" in its title (shudder), or (shudder-shudder) "Media-something". These are just means to get at parents' money whilst the kids are under the illusion that they are gaining a meaningful qualification that will give them a good income one day. Not.

Anonymous said...

As a recent re-entrant to university I could not agree more with the TEFL
Tradesman. There is only one lecturer of the old type left, and my God can he teach and drink, the others, wasters the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

The good old days - when a professor really looked the part. Going back to the early seventies one absent-minded lecturer had to be alerted by his students to the fact his pocket was on fire - he'd put his still-lit pipe in it. Fantastic teacher though and no-one complained.

Kaptain_Von said...

"As the Universitites are funded by student numbers; they never complain,"

I think the reason for lack of complaining is that a number of the older style university staff have simply lost the will to live having been faced with the kinds of students they are faced with nowadays for a number of years.

Colleagues of mine have been forced to arrange for remedial maths and English to be taught to students studying subjects that have a high reliance on being able to read and write and understand mathematical concepts. After a few years of this the urge to retreat to the SCR and take up alcoholism is great indeed.

Perhaps mercifully I no longer have to interact with students barring booting them out of my way as I emerge from amongst my dusty files.

Anonymous said...

"As the Universitites are funded by student numbers; they never complain, no matter how many halfwits are delivered to them to do Cartooon Studies, Cultural studies or Paint Management and Monitoring..."

My brother who is teaching a proper science degree in a real subject, (not cartoon studies) does complain quite a lot. He just does so quietly, to me and to friends and family. If he complained loudly he would be very unpopular at work and have to go against the mind numbing leftie c*** of Time Educational Supplement and the majority great and good. He's got a family to support so he does not complain and does his job the best he can. He hates the fact that he has to take students from the most backward countries who failed their basic exams in their own country because they can bribe -oops- pay the uni for their phd. He has to get them through a PHd even though they don't know basic English or even GCSE level science. The Arab students are the worst in this respect. He hates the fact that all English students are of a lower standard then they were when he was a student in the 80's. He complains that his promotion depends on bringing in hefty grants, not writing science papers and making scientific discoveries which is what a uni science lecturer used to do in the 1980's.
The students were also brighter when tuition was free because more bright children from poor backgrounds got in.
I think he is not the only one fed up, there must be others who think this quietly.

Lilyofthefield said...

I think quite a lot of us think it out loud and in print. Unfortunately we are outnumbered by the hordes of wasters whom it profits.

Mr Chalk, just out of interest, why are so many posts deleted by the author? Do they mean you, or can posters delete their posts themselves?

Ranting Teacher said...

Darn, this was my last dream of escape: into academia and away from numpties. Now it's all shattered. I'd been perfecting my drinking and general shabbiness too. Still, if could make this post rhyme I hear there's a professorship of poetry going at Oxford...

Nicholas Hough said...

As a University student just about to graduate, I feel that it is only appropriate that we're allowed to question the quality of our tutors and their teaching. There's a difference between being expected to do research and further reading ourselves, and having atrocious lecturers that contribute nothing to furthering our education.

There's also an amusing anecdote about one of the Chemistry lecturers. In the final year of doing his PhD, he decided to find out what all the fuss was about History of Art degrees, so he did one. He did a 3 year degree course in a year during his spare time, and still got a first class honours.

Regards,
Nick Hough
http://nickhough.blogspot.com

MadOldBat said...

Re students complaining-well yes, they are paying,but they are not necessarily funding the people who are dumped with the job of teaching them.
The vocational courses - medicine, engineering,physio etc -rely heavily on "honorary lecturers" i.e. unpaid.
If you have ever spent 6 hours preparing a tutorial on a subject and not had half of them turn up because the subject wasn't likely to crop up in the exam you are unlikely to volunteer next time around.
Recently the students have started waving chits at me to sign in witness of their attendance which is the University's way of dealing with the problem.A bit late - they could have been taught simple manners ten years earlier.