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Topic: Seminars at a Cost  (Read 9410 times)

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Offline lemonoman

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Seminars at a Cost
« on: May 17, 2006, 12:15:19 AM »
I got this idea (from someone else  :P ) to make up packages and hold a seminar...together, for a fee...and hold these seminars before midterms and finals.  I can imagine it'd be lucrative.  I just have a couple questions:

If you were a prof or grad student, would you feel this is undermining your work?

Does it seem like I'm helping the kids who don't care...out of trouble...for a price...?  I guess it's kinda like tutoring, but on a much bigger scale...and that might make it seem sketchy.

Basically I'm looking for guidance, and an idea as to whether this is perceived as an OK-thing-to-do or a Bad-Idea-Waiting-to-Happen

Thanks :)

Offline mike

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 12:25:54 AM »
Can you elaborate on the idea, I don't really understand.

You mean like one big tutorial focussed on passing exams?
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline lemonoman

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 01:23:28 AM »
Basically, it'd be me (and others) summarizing the relevant chapters of the textbook for students, and giving them a concise (but general) idea what they need to know for the exam (basically like a review booklet).  Along with that would be time in a pseudo-classroom setting - with me and the summarizing people teaching the material in the review booklet.

And the catch is, that there's a fee  ;D

I'm afraid of it coming across (esp to the faculty, from whom I'll need letters of recommendation) that I'm out to undermine the system and help stupid kids pass.

Offline mike

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 01:36:13 AM »
Sounds like a good idea to me.

Why not simply ask the faculty if they would employ you to do this though?

*The faculty will want to know what is in it for them, and what is in it for the students.
*Are there issues with charging students for such a service? Does this conflict with policy on access to materials etc (Along the lines of equal access, you know the kind of thing, not just the rich should get all the help etc etc)
*Would you do it as a private business/consultant or as a member of staff at the uni?
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline Baseball_Fan

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2006, 11:00:04 PM »
Basically, it'd be me (and others) summarizing the relevant chapters of the textbook for students, and giving them a concise (but general) idea what they need to know for the exam (basically like a review booklet).  Along with that would be time in a pseudo-classroom setting - with me and the summarizing people teaching the material in the review booklet.

And the catch is, that there's a fee  ;D

I'm afraid of it coming across (esp to the faculty, from whom I'll need letters of recommendation) that I'm out to undermine the system and help stupid kids pass.

There is nothing wrong with that.

Offline Dude

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 12:19:06 PM »
I think that it is a very good idea and I wouldn't care less what the faculty or school thought unless the school threatened you with disciplinary action.

When I was in the US grad school system, I vividly remember school already being an exercise in my definition of cheating.  There was a class that in Viscoelasticity that I took in the second semester of my first year.  The test was open book(s).  After spending about 3 h every night studying, I could derive any equation and answer essentially any book-based question.  The test comes out.  It has very little do to with the book and is very difficult.  I received a "C".  In a class of about 30, there were about 22 A's, a few in between (I was one of them) and about 5 "F"s.  I literally thought I was out of my league academically because there were so many people getting A's.  I found out later that essentially everyone in the class had old test copies AND THAT SOME PEOPLE HAD EVEN BROUGHT THEM TO THE TEST AND COPIED ANSWERS DIRECTLY.  All of the questions were recycled from previous tests (ie a complete lazy ass of a professor).  I was extremely pissed after learning this and I challenged the professor to ask any set of questions in the book and I would derive it out in front of him and do the answer on a chalkboard.  The professor turned his head and couldn't care less.  My grade remained.  He seemed to imply that I was a fool for not cheating or obtaining old tests (although he didn't say it directly).  A sanctioned class would have taken the advantage away from socially networked people (most of the people in the US school systems were foreign - me being one of the lone Americans in the program made me isolated in my own culture.  The other Americans fared the same or worse as I - strengthening the perception that we were all "stupid"), even if it did cost money.  After that, my whole concept of integrity changed.  I have none.   

Offline Baseball_Fan

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2006, 01:28:08 PM »
I think that it is a very good idea and I wouldn't care less what the faculty or school thought unless the school threatened you with disciplinary action.

When I was in the US grad school system, I vividly remember school already being an exercise in my definition of cheating.  There was a class that in Viscoelasticity that I took in the second semester of my first year.  The test was open book(s).  After spending about 3 h every night studying, I could derive any equation and answer essentially any book-based question.  The test comes out.  It has very little do to with the book and is very difficult.  I received a "C".  In a class of about 30, there were about 22 A's, a few in between (I was one of them) and about 5 "F"s.  I literally thought I was out of my league academically because there were so many people getting A's.  I found out later that essentially everyone in the class had old test copies AND THAT SOME PEOPLE HAD EVEN BROUGHT THEM TO THE TEST AND COPIED ANSWERS DIRECTLY.  All of the questions were recycled from previous tests (ie a complete lazy ass of a professor).  I was extremely pissed after learning this and I challenged the professor to ask any set of questions in the book and I would derive it out in front of him and do the answer on a chalkboard.  The professor turned his head and couldn't care less.  My grade remained.  He seemed to imply that I was a fool for not cheating or obtaining old tests (although he didn't say it directly).  A sanctioned class would have taken the advantage away from socially networked people (most of the people in the US school systems were foreign - me being one of the lone Americans in the program made me isolated in my own culture.  The other Americans fared the same or worse as I - strengthening the perception that we were all "stupid"), even if it did cost money.  After that, my whole concept of integrity changed.  I have none.   

You paid money for that class. If the professor was that bad, you should have gotten your money back and had the class taken off your transcript. You're the one with the power, you have the money and are doing the buying.

Offline lemonoman

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2006, 01:46:48 PM »
--- Everything Dude Said ---

We had a similar incident here.  The professor left her door open and her office unattended, and a copy of the midterm got stolen.  A guy was selling copies for something like $80.  On the topic of social networking, the guy who was selling the midterm had a STRONG connection with the Teaching Assistant (same race) and it had been the Teaching Assistant who stole the paper from the professor.

Long story short, the results of the one midterm were annulled, which inconvenienced the many people who had studied hard.  The guy who was selling the midterm still goes here, and the Teaching Assistant will be finishing his graduate degree this term.  No sanctions for either.

Offline hmx9123

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Re: Seminars at a Cost
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2006, 05:13:19 AM »
My P-Chem class was like that.  If you had old copies of the tests, you were OK.  I didn't.  I got a D.  Then the next semester, everyone was scrambling to get copies of the old tests, and most people got 1-2 years worth of old exams.  After I failed the first exam (due to the same circumstances Dude described), a friend of mine who had graduated the year previous visited town again.  She heard me complaining, and when she came back through town next week dropped off SEVENTEEN YEARS worth of old exams of this professor.  She had the connections and just handed me this gigantic binder of old tests.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic--and I salvaged my grade.  I got a B+ since I had failed the first exam, but that was fine with me--I kicked everyone's ass on the last few exams and laughed about it.  The sad thing is that I didn't learn anything.  I learned more studying, but it wasn't rewarded--that is the big problem with larger universities where professors aren't checked to see if they are teaching and the university only cares about research.

Sadly, you can't demand your money back.  The most you can do is complain about the professor, but usually that doesn't do anything unless he doesn't have tenure yet.

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