It’s just at the end of Week 3 of the term and I’m already predicting that I’m going to hate Advanced Ecology.
Which really disappoints me because I loved the Introduction to Ecology course that I took last term (the two professors were fantastic, I even enjoyed my field labs, now that I think about it). The issues with my professors for this term stem from the fact that they have some sort of ‘aide’ in the class. Now she’s not a Teaching Assistant (my TA for the term is fantastic and super friendly and he was super helpful and quick in answering my questions and emails so far and he has office hours that work well for me), she actually has a doctorate, so she should be (in her own right) a professor. But she’s not. She helps the profs with operating the clicker system (one prof is technology inept, the other is new to the school – but not to teaching – so she’s unfamiliar with the systems) and she puts up the practice problem sets and learning activities.
Last term, we had 3 field labs (in total), 4 learning activities (in total) and about 3-4 practice problem sets (for completion marks, not accuracy) per week.
This term, it’s the same woman who put together the practice problem sets (but last term, the learning activities were put together by the professors), we have: 3 field labs (in total, put together by one of the professors from the previous term, thank goodness), 1 learning activity per week and 5-6 practice problem sets (for completion, not accuracy) per week.
Last term, we only had to complete half of the practice problem sets to get full credit.
This term, we only have to complete half of them, but half of 5-6 would be the same as doing all of the practice problems we had assigned last term (and last term, I did all of them, because it wasn’t as time consuming).
For example, I opened up a practice problem set last night. On the page prior to beginning the problem set, it said it was out of 6. Now this usually means that there are only 6 problems, at most it would be 12 (0.5/question). I opened it up and it there were 30 questions and there was no prior indicator of the extensive amount of questions. All of them include a lot of reading, reading graphs or tables and doing a lot of math.
Also, learning activities that are put together by the hack of a teaching aide are not helpful. At. All. We end up taking a full lecture to go over the learning activity and I only get that class twice a week, so we only really get one real lecture per week.
Maybe if this were my only class, I would think that it’s okay. It’s not a required course for me (as in that I would have to take this specific class) but it’s too late to drop it without having it show up on my transcript and I need upper-level biology credits anyways, so I might as well take it. I’m just fully disappointed that the aide is getting so much more say in the assignments that we have assigned and that we’re getting so much more work to do for a course that has the same amount of credits. Also, I can’t transfer into a different section because both of them are taught by the same professors with the same damn woman handling the work load.
I am, however, considering emailing the professors (the two that teach the course and the one that handles the lab component, he was one of my ecology profs last term). I’m not complaining for the sake of complaining, I’m complaining because I feel that it’s really just not in the students’ best interest to be given so much work and for the assignments to take away from actual lecture time (because it’s pretty damn ridiculous). Also, the amount of time we’re getting for the assignments has been lowered from a month to a week, and the amount of questions have gone up… and I just don’t like her attitude when she’s “lecturing” while we go over the learning activities in class.
And… </rant> thanks for reading!