Problem with a Course Description

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by TESOLer12, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. TESOLer12

    TESOLer12 New Member

    I am in a grad program with one full time professor. When taking one of the courses I have found that the course is completely irrelevant to the course description. Rather than teaching what the course describes it has been changed into a research methods course. What should I do about this?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Have you spoken to the instructor?
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    When I was at UofS I had one professor who was supposed to be teaching a class in Church History (Jesuit University, mandatory course for all students). Instead, he spent the course pontificating about the evils of birth control. He also had us read The Hobbit because he felt that reading good literature would prepare us for our college experience. He taught us nothing that even resembled a review of Church History.

    But, it was a mandatory class. So, I read The Hobbit. I listened to his pontifications. I sat through his guest speakers (which included a very pregnant natural family planning teacher).

    Sometimes you have to just suck it up and finish the class.

    If this professor is going to be instrumental in your graduate program pissing him off might not be a good strategy and you might just have to deal with the fact that this guy is probably going rogue. Plus side is that if you can develop a rapport with this prof you may have an incredibly personalized experience that you wouldn't have in a larger program. That can either be good or bad depending upon your relationship with the professor and how well it jives with your research.

    If the professor is easy enough to avoid (i.e. just take other sections through other profs) then you can drop the class and take it with someone else as long as you are within your drop period. You say that it's the program's only full time professor, so I'm guessing this isn't someone you can avoid.

    You could also sit back and learn what s/he teaches. Even though it appears to deviate from the course description, perhaps it all comes back in the end. Worst case scenario is that you will totally kill it when you take the actual research methods course.

    I would specifically recommend against doing something along the lines of complaining to the dean, the provost or anyone about it. There are certainly cases where a complaint against a professor is completely justified. This sort of thing is unlikely to get the professor disciplined but will almost certainly result in the professor harboring resentment against you after it.

    Lastly, let me also just say that graduate coursework doesn't follow course descriptions the same way as undergrad coursework. While I won't consider my experience at UMT, I've taken a few scattered grad courses at a few different schools and have noticed that the descriptions are often a bit more vague. My guess is that is by design as the professor is not just offering you a canned curriculum.

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