Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Geneds are a waste of time (by anon)

I believe general education is stupid for a few reasons. First of all they are forced on us like we are still in high school. I thought college was about being able to take the classes you want and not about dreading learning about social problems in Asia or the psycology of the .  Another reason i think geneds are a waste of time is because since nobody wants to take them nobody is going to pay attention more than enough to get their desired grade. Is it even worth it to force us into these classes which are designed to make us more worldly and intelligent individuals if we arent going to remeber a thing a week after the final?!


  1. Maybe taking gened courses could help your spelling. just saying.

  2. This is a legitimate concern. I think on the student's end, it takes a level of maturity and a somewhat cultivated perspective in order to really grasp the significance of Gen Ed courses. But on the professor's end, if the significance is not explicitly demonstrated or talked about and the information presented is isolated in relation to the actual lives of the students themselves, it's easy for students to miss the point.
    For example, when I entered Historical Perspectives, I believed it had nothing to do with my major or what I was studying, and it was essentially forced upon me, so I really didn't give a crap. Fortunately my professor really made an effort to get the point across and show how the lessons were valuable, and I eventually got it. With Individual and Society, it was the same scenario to begin with, but the professor was terrible and I never got the point that was supposed to be made, so I did not understand the value at the time.
    The point of Gen Ed is not to spew a lot of information at students and judge their ability to meet the course objective by having them take a series of multiple choice tests, choosing answers for questions that they aren't even going to remember down the road.
    The point of Gen Ed is to bring certain perspectives to light for students when it comes to different areas of life as we know it (History, Science, Politics, etc.), and convince students that what is being taught is actually relevant to their lives, regardless of what their major is.
    This requires a synthesis between students and professors - one without the other makes no progress. This means that
    1) students have to have an open mind, belief in the fact that there is some purpose for Gen Ed, and a serious craving to learn based on that belief.
    2) professors have to also have the same belief as students and have a serious craving to teach based on that belief, PLUS they have to present the information they teach in such a way that explicitly demonstrates the true purpose of the class. That's the hard part (some professors don't seem to even know what the true purpose is themselves). If professors cannot do this, then they shouldn't be teaching whatever it is they are teaching.

  3. You and I both know that you could be the best prof in the world and "some" students still would not give a flying fuck about GE classes. In general, they do not read the assigned materials before class, text or sleep in class, read the Royal Purple, or when the weather is nice, they don't even show up. Just take a look around you while you are in class. Notice the goof offs sitting over there in the corner? How about the student behind you with her laptop open. She is on Face Book checking out her booty calls. So do not blame this sorry state of affairs on the profs.

  4. Yeah, 427 is right. In my World of Ideas, none of the students had read the assigned readings. One student was in the back sleeping, another one was texting. It was nice out today so half the class ditched. They did not even show up. Lets face it students don't give a fuck about World of Ideas.

    The prof saw them.

  5. omg, some students, some profs suck. that's the nature of the business. anyone who thinks it is one side or the other causing problems needs to wake up and take a look around. the one difference however is that profs are paid to do a good job. students are the ones paying. you do the math.

  6. Yes Anon 6:13. Like I said, there has to be a synthesis between the students and professors. In other words, no one can blame one or the other.

    My only questions for Anon 4:27 and 5:00 are:
    1)how do students pass these courses when they are always texting, sleeping, ditching, etc. ?

    2)why would a professor pass a student who pays little attention, doesn't do the readings, and rarely participates in class?

    It seems to me that if students are slacking half the time, while still passing, then maybe the professor is not accurately measuring how well the students are meeting the course objectives.

  7. Are professors really paid to do a good job? I mean, is their salary truly performance based? Sometimes I feel like some professors are basically getting paid to take up space because all they seem to do is ramble in front of the class, display meaningless power-points, and give half-ass instructions.

  8. 6:45 - while you may be right about some professors, imagine my surprise when we have students who pay good money to take up space, ramble pointless dribble in their papers, give meaningless exam answers, and give at best a half-assed effort in class. I will never understand why some students come to my classes not caring a lick about the class. They pay all that money to either fail a class or barely pass. That kind of student needs to get out of school and put that money to better use. Or else put themselves to better use.

  9. @ 6:32 - I ask the same questions... Why do professors even pass students who don't do their part?

    @ 7:18 - Maybe a lot of students aren't paying for the classes out of their own pocket, so they don't care as much. OR since they are forced to pay for Gen Ed, they think things like, "OK dept X, I've already wasted my money on you, don't make me waste my time too".

  10. 6:13 - Students don't pay shit. We taxpayers pay for their education. They borrow money to pay for their cars and then cry like babies cause they have so much debt when the graduate.

  11. 6:32 They pass the bad pizza eating students cause if they failed all of them they would lose their jobs.

  12. 6:45 Most students are Whitewater (not all) are terrible. They don't come to class, complain, write poorly, and cheat on papers and exams, and you know that this is the truth. Fuck em. They would all flunk out at a better school or suck it up and study more.

  13. 6:32

    Profs get to the point that they just don't give a fuck anymore. Profs have to get tenure and help the few intelligent and hard working students in their classes.

  14. So stop complaining about GE classes. Students don't give a fuck and you all know it, so stop blaming it all on profs. Students sleep in class, do not show up for class, or read their assignments, and cheating is rampant on this campus. A prof last year caught half of his class cheating.

  15. ok, right 6:03. its all the students fault. i see it now all so clearly. thank you for sharing your great wisdom. professors have no responsibility in making their courses the best for everyone. they only need to teach to the brightest because the rest of us dont fucking care two shits. thanks for the mind fuckingly great analysis. i'll sleep better now.

  16. 6:12
    It is only 8:22 so wake your sorry ass up and study some more and you would not be among the losers in class. How may hours did you study today? ONE! Crack those damn books and stop crying like a little baby.

  17. China is number one in science, math, and reading. We are at the very bottom of the list in all of these three categories. Asian students kick the shit out of American students in class because American students think the world owes them something. I got news for you. The world does not owe you shit. American students, especially college students, are poor in math, poor in science, and barely read their classroom textbooks. They believe that profs are the blame for their stupidity. Try going to class more, stop drinking so damn much, study on Thursday instead of going out to get drunk and blowing off Friday.

  18. So what I'm getting from this string of comments is that the majority of American students are essentially idiots - and the ones that aren't idiots are going to much better schools than UW-Whitewater.

    So fuck, I was totally wrong for coming to UWW, seeing as I don't fit in with the majority of students who sit around and fuck themselves when they could be acquiring an education.

    Of course the school that only requires a 2.0 GPA to get in is going to be shitty because so many students who make the cut are nothing but idiots looking for a 4 year party and a piece of paper at the end. And since the majority of students are idiots, professors have to cater to them by requiring very little work to be done.

    Given this, I better just withdraw now, and attempt to finish the rest of my education over at Madison. I'm too smart to surround myself with morons and get less of an education on account of them.

    And you guys who have the power here at UWW, should really just cancel Gen Ed for good, because you know what they say - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

  19. 8:25, I did not say that the majority of American students are idiots, only that a large majority of them blame others, profs for example, for their own personal failures. That you are here at a lowly ranked campus is a good indication that you were not a good high school student, otherwise you would be at Madison, Yale or some other prestigious institution. A top high school student rarely considers going here. They have better options. However, this is not an indictment of you. So you do not have a good high school record, then hit the books and change it. Graduate from here with straight A grades then like our more successful students go on to a prestigious university for advanced study. But by all means - stop crying and blaming others! It is what it is!

  20. I have read these comments and I am mad as hell. Why do the profs who feel like this even stay here. They are nothing but dead weight bringing our school down. I wish that I knew who they were so I could tell students not to take their fucked up classes. However, in a way, they have inspired me with their negative bull crap comments. I am going to work extra hard this semester in all my classes and show them that I am not a lazy idiot and can get good grades if I want to. I will show them. I am really pissed off!

  21. 4:04

    You are right! If more of us students dedicate ourselves to getting good grades or A's in all of our classes these ass hole profs would have nothing to criticize. So I will also follow your lead and buckle down more this semester.

  22. @ 3:54 - FYI you know nothing about me and why I go to UW Whitewater.
    If you are really going to assume my high school status, I should tell you that I was actually a very good high school student. I graduated in the top 15% of my class that consisted of about 400 students, and my GPA was around 3.7.
    I could have easily tried to go to a much better school than UW Whitewater.
    However, I valued family and I was, I'll admit, a bit nervous about going away to a hefty 4 year college. So I went to UW-Waukesha, which was a major mistake; when I left there I had a 1.0 GPA, and I won't go into detail why, because it has to do with personal issues. I kicked into gear a year later and worked my way to a 2.0, just so I could make it into this place, which I'll admit is 100 times better than UW Waukesha as far as professors/general atmosphere goes.
    Anyway... my point is, there are PLENTY of very smart, capable students who go to places like UW Whitewater because they had a low transfer or high school GPA, and it's not always due to the inability, laziness, intelligence, etc. of the students.
    And I don't believe students are stupid enough to sit there and be a COMPLETE slacker while at the same time criticize the professor, if the professor is REALLY doing a good job. Sometimes it could be the case that the professor is just so bad students feel they might as well slack off. So, professors, the students here who are actually commenting about this and indicating that the professor DOES have a role (not to say the student doesn't either), are probably students who DO make an effort to do well and learn as much as possible. You just need to get off the whole defensive kick you're on.

  23. Well said. Keep on keeping on! You made a mistake and was strong enough to admit it. But being capable and and smart don't mean shit in this world. You have to deliver and you have to deliver each and every day. There are no excuses. The bottom line is results, anything else is just rhetoric. Yes, some students are stupid enough to just sit in the class and do nothing. I hope you are over your fear. How in the heck are you going to do well in the world if you are scarred to leave home. I am impressed with your ability to come back. That is the sign of a warrior not a loser. You get knocked down and you will then get your ass back up. Losers do not get back up. So good for you! Lets get all A's this semester. No bullshitting.

  24. Anon 11:44
    How patronizing can one person be? I'm not a child. You're saying I talk the talk but just need to remember that it's all about walking the walk, as though I didn't know that, and have not already BEEN walking the walk for the past 2 years. Your mentality sure says, "fuck the students" to me. For the ones who are lazy and don't do shit, you are quick to ridicule endlessly, and for the ones like me, you just patronize.

    And I know some students are stupid enough to sit in class and do nothing - what I said was that I didn't believe there are students stupid enough to literally do nothing for a class WHILE criticizing the professor when the professor is REALLY doing a good job.

    AND I want a better answer as to why professors are still passing the students who sit back and do nothing most of the time.

    And is there something wrong with not feeling comfortable as an 18 year old leaving his/her family to go to a school that he/she doesn't even know is right, in order to pursue a career that he/she also doesn't know is right, because it was all just for money in the first place?

    So I started to think that family was more important than more money, and didn't see the value in going to college as much. Now I see it much differently, while I still don't care about money, I still see the value in my education. Most students here just want to get in and out so they can make a lot of money with their degree, which is why they piss on many of their classes, particularly Gen Eds.

    And as a final note, I can do well in the world right where I am. It is unfortunate these days that people think they have to leave their families if they want to "do well in the world". I say FUCK THAT. You missed the point entirely, and you sound like a pretentious jerk.

  25. Grasshopper, calm down and make your argument rationally. You have lost the argument when you resort to cheap shots. You are the one who fucked up at UW Waukesha. You are the one who is afraid to leave home. So be mad at yourself. Students of today, as reflected in your posts, are snotty, spoiled, petty, undisciplined, and weak academically. Many of them believe that the world owes them something. So take a philosophy class and learn how to present your argument and avoid arguments against the man.

  26. omg what is your problem anon 6:33??????? I have not been commenting on this post but i cant help but tell you that you are being an ass. I really hope you are not a professor here. do you really think that you being a role model? Take a philosophy class?? One should ask the same of you.

  27. Ok, this is what you want to hear:

    8:15 - you are so wonderful. I can see the halo over your head and hear the hymns playing as you strut to class. There is a divinity about your very presence. I am so happy to be in your presence.

    Feel better now?

    Do you consider me a good role model now?

  28. Holy shit! I cant believe that theres a teacher on here being an asshole. I cant believe I am calling a teacher on here an asshole! ASSHOLE! Why are you being so mean and condesending?

  29. Its you again. If you were my kid, I would wash your "foul" mouth out with soap metaphorically speaking, but my kids would never resort to using such "foul" language to express themselves. They were taught better. I do not use foul language to express myself and I never call anyone a foul name even if I disagree with them. You are in college now so start acting like it by learning how to express yourself intelligently. You come across in your posts as an uneducated and uncouth neanderthal.

  30. Ok anon 6:33 - After letting your comments soak in for a day or two...

    I'm having a hard time believing you are a real professor who is really being serious. Also, I'm having a hard time convincing myself that this is even worth replying to. But, I'll reply anyway.
    1) Please re-read the original post, and the string of comments, including your own. Take some time to reflect. Once you've done that, reflect on your reflection. You might learn something about yourself and others.
    2) Where are your manners? You've said several things that were uncalled for, and supported by no rational argument whatsoever.
    3) Why are you so defensive? Professors are not being attacked here. Recall I said there needed to be a synthesis between the professor and the student. However, professors do have more weight to carry, and they have more responsibilities than students do. Thus, professors have to work harder to do their part well, but they are paid and educated enough to do it, where as students work less but are paying, or acquiring debt, to do their part.
    4) How and why do students actually pass their classes when they perform poorly and most likely do not meet the course objectives? Is it really because professors are afraid to lose their jobs so they let students skate by? If so, is that really a good way of handling the problem of bad students?
    5) If you are concerned about student evaluations, maybe students could be required to deliver a short argument as to why the professor was excellent, good, fair, or poor, instead of just having to fill in a circle.
    6) Your borderline personal attacks have been off-putting, immature, unsupported, and highly irrational. Think about your own statements before you criticize mine. Also, I was not arguing against the man. You completely misunderstood what I wrote if you really think I was trying to do that for some reason.
    7) Why should I be mad about anything but the fact that you, supposedly an actual professor, have nothing to say but negative things?
    8) Overall, just lighten up. Stop being hung up on the blame game. Grow up, lose the attitude, and just be the best professor you can, even if you are sour on the inside.

  31. This post like your other one contains a number of character assassinations. I should have defined what exactly an augment against the man really is:

    Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

    An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:

    Person A makes claim X.
    Person B makes an attack on person A.
    Therefore A's claim is false.

    The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

    You say that I am a borderline personality, immature, unsupported (whatever this means), a pretentious jerk, another poster called me a asshole. These are all attacks on my character but they absolutely nothing about my arguments regarding students.

    So when you are in a debate or a discussion with someone focus on the actual arguments not on the character of the person making it as you did with me.

    Rre-read my posts. I never said one negative thing about your character or anyone else's for that matter. I used your own words to comment on your posts.

    I always try to deal with the arguments, not the person making them. That Hitler was a terrible person does not make his arguments invalid. My arguments could be valid even if I am, as you say a borderline, a pretentious jerk, or an asshole.

  32. 12:04
    Ok. We're hardly even communicating effectively anymore, and we are misunderstanding each other's words.
    Bottom line -
    Students who are as you've described are known to exist. Professors who could and should do a better job with Gen Ed in particular, are also known to exist.

    My question [again]: If the majority of students are poor students, why do professors pass them when they have not fulfilled the course objectives?

    Maybe we need to develop new, positive ideas that will improve Gen Ed for students and professors, since there obviously is a problem going on with it.
    Since we cannot target students and send them to some kind of training on how to be a good student, another option is to work with professors on improving their game, and adjusting their teaching methods according to the current mindsets of students.
    Are professors accurately measuring how well the student fulfilled the course objectives?
    Are professors presenting information in a meaningful way and making it palatable for students?

    Think about what I'm proposing without thinking that I'm attacking professors or placing blame on them, and just give a substantial response, if you can. Address what I've said in this post specifically in your response, and put the rest of our discussion aside now. Your character is of no concern of mine at this point. I just want to get back to the issue at hand.

  33. Anon 7:15, I'm not the professor you are directly responding to, but I am a UWW professor. IMHO, the majority of UWW students are not bad students at all. They are generally not the cream of the crop, but 95% of them are working fairly hard to get good grades and learn. Some work harder than others, some are smarter than others, some are pissing in the corner. From my experience, that's the case at most schools unless you are talking about ivy leagues and very small liberal arts schools.

    Forgive me, then, by expressing my confusion as to why the focus is on professors passing poor students who have not fulfilled the course objectives. Those students are not the norm here. But in my classes, if a student does poorly on exams, that student gets a poor grade. Many times that poor grade is still "passing," but "passing" means greater than or equal to a D. In my book, a D is pretty bad and badly reflects on the students transcript. But if that's what the student wants to do, then so be it.

    I do like your point about where responsibility lies. Without having to point fingers and assign blame, it is always incumbent upon professors to offer the best teaching the professor can provide. And that will mean constant reflection and possibly constant training regarding one's teaching. No teacher is perfect. We all stand to have a lot of improvement. Once a teacher thinks that his or her teaching is as good as it can be and that no more improvement is needed, there's a problem.

    Now the reason students are in school is because they need training. If a student already knows it all (including how to learn), then what's the point of the student being in school? I agree, then, with your point that the brunt of the matter lies at the teacher's feet rather than the student. But to be real, it takes two to tango.

    Which brings me to: why is everyone so eager to blame and so eager to make this a black and white issue? Isn't it obvious that both the students and teachers have responsibilities and stakes in this whole education thing? To focus on why poor student can get by at Whitewater is myopic. How about we all aim to better our teaching and to better our learning? My guess is that we orientate our attitudes (and I mean really orientate them), many of these issues will become less and less of an issue. In my opinion, the fundamental problem is attitude. And a change in attitude on both ends (and I am speaking quite generally here) will reap good dividends. Our attitudes are not bad, but they can certainly get better.

    Ok, I'll shut up now. sorry.

  34. Grasshopper,

    You are not asking the same question in all of your posts.

    Here are your three different questions. Because I am a good role model and a recovering asshole, I will answer all three of them.

    Question 1:
    How and why do students actually pass their classes when they perform poorly and most likely do not meet the course objectives? Is it really because professors are afraid to lose their jobs so they let students skate by? If so, is that really a good way of handling the problem of bad students?

    (There is a subtle pressure to pass students at all levels of the educational process, not just at Whitewater. Have you ever heard of grade inflation, it even exist in the Ivy League.) The way to handle bad students is to offer them assistance and if that does not work - fail them. College is not for everyone.

    Question 2.
    AND I want a better answer as to why professors are still passing the students who sit back and do nothing most of the time.

    (Sit back and do nothing, you fail the course, even here. I do not know of any prof who passes students that do not do anything in the class.)

    Question 3.
    My question [again]: If the majority of students are poor students, why do professors pass them when they have not fulfilled the course objectives?

    Now who said anything about the majority of the students? The majority of the students here do fairly well here. We may as well shut our doors if the majority of the students are messed up. There are some excellent students here but this is not Yale.

    Young Skywalker, you have to focus more! I know you want to win some points but stay on point!

  35. 7:57, I actually agree with much of what you say, but your statement about training is interesting.

    My big Husky dog who jumps up on people and knocks them down needs some serious training. Students, on the other hand, need some serious education, with all its various dimensions. The mission of a tech school or at most community colleges is to train students for jobs. We are not a job training institution, although jobs are important, as you very well know.

    However, I grant you this, the tension between education and job training in the academy is real and conflictual. To a degree, COB and its business programs functions as a job training college. Letters and Sciences, on the other hand, functions as an education college. Thus, we have students spending their first two years or so in Letters and Sciences working and interacting with the wonderful humanists before they march off to be trained as good accountants, etc.

    We silently say to ourselves - at least they got a modicum of culture before they are trained.
    Damn, my Husky just jumped up on me again. I have got to get him some serious training. I wonder if I can drop him off in COB for some training while I am in class.

  36. Some comments gave me the impression that most students here were bad and always blamed professors for their own stupidity/failures. So this made me question, if students were so bad, how do they actually pass their Gen Ed classes then, and also, are professors accurately measuring how well students were meeting the real course objectives (which should consist of actually understanding the principles behind the information taught)?
    Nothing here has been said to imply that if all professors just did their job better, there would be no problem, however, someone kept insisting that us students were always wrongfully blaming the professors for our own failures/stupidity. Students do that, but not always, and not all students. And sometimes students who blame professors, have good reason to do so.
    I believe that there are some professors in Gen Ed courses who assign grades unfairly, do not give clear instructions (even when students talk to them outside of class), have extremely dry lectures in which they show power-points consisting of what the text book already says (I actually had a prof that scorned us for taking notes from the power-point because of this), show little enthusiasm for what they are teaching, give no "take home messages", base 90% of the course grade on some multiple choice tests that do not allow students to demonstrate any subjective understanding of course material, and require significantly more/less work to get an A than the professor who is teaching the same course next door.

    I never understood why Gen Ed professors loved multiple choice tests so much. Over 80% of my grade was based on multiple choice tests in half of my Gen Ed courses, and to me that was unfair. Some students are good at memorizing facts from a text book or power-point, but they are't good at taking home the message or understanding the concepts, and some vice versa, and some do both quite easily.
    I think it would be better if the professor more frequently asked things in Gen Ed like, what is the meaning of X? Why is X relevant today? What can we learn from X?
    Those are the kinds of questions that should always be answered by students in Gen Ed, and students' grades should always be based on how well they answer those questions, instead of the who, where, and when questions. The ideas, perspectives, and overall messages taught in EVERY Gen Ed course should be the focus.