Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oh, and...

I have no idea how many of you are reading this blog, but I have a sense that it's a goodly percentage of the class. I'm curious: what's it like to be able to peek behind the curtain?

I hope my often senseless ramblings serve some useful purpose!


Anonymous said...

I personally think this "peeking behind the curtains" thing is great. It gives us a chance to see the effort you put into the class, and it's encouraging to know that we're not the only ones working our butts off. It is greatly disappointing when I have a class in which I work like mad and the professor just does nothing except sit there and talk. They use powerpoint slides or hand-outs they made 10years ago, and just come to class and talk and talk and talk and talk. So what am I learning? And why should I be so hard-at-work when they're doing absolutely nothing, and they get paid for it, and it's me paying for them! I mean not to seem as if I think they work for me, but it's a basic economic concept really: supply and demand. I ask for their service to teach me, and they supply that knowledge. So why not put at least as much effort into this process as I do! In the outside world, people providing services usually work harder than people demanding them. On the other hand, if they want to be lazy, GREAT! Just make it easy on me too, an easy-A course, I'll never say no to that!

Sorry for the rant, but I have a professor in mind who has really taught us nothing and blames us for not understanding and for doing poorly. The good thing is you're the complete opposite, and we can all clearly see that through the effort you make to help us, and through the thoughts you express here on the blog.

Regarding pleasing everyone, you just can't. It will never happen in academia, or out of it. But people weren't forced to take this class! They could have dropped it, and in extreme cases they may still withdraw. This is definitely not your fault. I, for one, like a lot of things about this class. I love the frequent quizzes, and the journals, and the non-graded homework. On the other hand, I'd like a more "formulaic" layout, and I would definitely love to opt out of that end-of-semester presentation. But I chose to stay in the class, so I can't just sit here and complain about every little part of it. It's one package: take it, or leave it.

Also, students should not solely depend on the prof's lectures. College students have to learn to work on their own as well. Read the book, look up resources, work more problems. Some professors don't even teach! They'll tell you to read the book, then they grade your homeworks and tests and expect you to excel in everything. Yeah, what do you know, we're not in high school anymore! But this is not a freshman course, so there should be no excuses to not knowing how to deal with college studies.

Dr. Patrick, I think you're great. You are so much better than so many other professors, you have no idea! I'm also a highly critical and analytical person, so I notice every tiny detail of anything I observe. And with all of the ups and downs of this course, it's really not that bad. You're putting a lot of effort into it, and so are we. The best part is the communication. It is greatly appreciated that you make way for so many means of communication.

I have one request, though. Please stick to the agenda. When you re-schedule things several times, such as this week's quiz, I get really uncomfortable. Sometimes my week is so packed that I have to miss certain lectures to make up work in other classes, and what you did this week completely messed everything up. This is very frustrating. Please try to stay on schedule so we can adjust comfortably.

Final note to all readers: I didn't mean to belittle anyone by my words. Please do not be offended by anything I mentioned above. I may criticize, but I mean to do it constructively. I never intend to be rude in doing so, but I am always very honest.

Phew! That was long! I think you're contagious, Dr. Patrick.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Patrick,

I enjoy checking on the blog and hearing your take on how the class is going. I wish my other professors would use such a method of communication; it's hard when you don't exactly know how a professor expects a class to progress and one is left guessing. You're blog takes the guess work out of the course and provides a whole other perspective on the class, prompting me to work harder.

As for the class schedule and format, the course material is often difficult for me to process but the pace of the class helps me take it all in. You're doing all you can to accomodate the most people in the best way you can. If people were honest, each of us in the class has our likes and dislikes regarding the class, but overall, the class is proceeding successfully. As for the quiz being pushed back, thank you. Any extra time, even if it's five minutes a day, is a bonus; if we're ready to take the quiz, then no sweat to take it another day.

In short, I'm very glad that I lucked out in having you teach Linear Algebra in this odd but interesting and refreshing way.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous in that we can't just depend on the lectures. I feel like I spend so much time doing homework and at those problem sessions and I'm just barely hanging in there. I don't know how anyone can understand all this without the problem sessions, now I just consider it as another hour of class I go to everyweek.

I like being able to "peek behind the curtain" because it lets me know what you are thinking and how the class as a whole is doing. Plus it reminds me that you are a real person and not just a teacher.

Honestly, some of the senseless ramblings are just too long for me to want to read. But overall, the blog was an awesome idea.

DocTurtle said...


Thanks for your comments. As I noted in the previous post, it's clear that sometimes we're all just going to have to agree to disagree.

It sounds like every one of you is doing what you as an individual have to do to make the most of the class, and I hope that that's what you'd do for any class.

Speaking of "what you have to do" to make the most of it all, a while back I promised obliquely that I would post some of y'all's techniques for studying in this class. Having gained permission to do so from the interested parties, I'll soon make up said post.