Bad Teaching

My new library class got off to a bad start last week. It’s an online class in digital libraries. The professor has had three and a half months to travel the world for research and what not. (There aren’t too many conferences in the summer.)

He didn’t show up for the first class. If he had an emergency, I could cut him some slack but he didn’t plan on teaching the class. He just told the Teaching Assistant to take it and to just read us the syllabus. For undergraduate classes that’s common, but in grad school, the class hits the ground running.

The reason for the professor missing the class was that he was in China and he figured it would be too hard to get online. Since I’ll be taking all but two classes from China, I wasn’t convinced. At least try to give the class from China and have the assistant prepared to take over. Tape a class and post it on YouTube. Get a VPN or use the University of Illinois VPN.

My teacher from San Jose State, a lower ranked school, where they seem to take the teaching part of their job more seriously, gave classes when he was in New Zealand and I think Europe. Also, the course featured guest teachers from the Library of Congress, Denmark and top libraries in the US. These were in addition to, not in lieu of, the teacher giving the lecture.

I wouldn’t mind guest lecturers in lieu of the assigned teacher, but that wouldn’t work for the first class.

In addition to missing class, the teacher disappointed me by assigning 2 group projects. One’s horrid enough online. Two just makes me think he doesn’t want to spend much time grading. (Perhaps he needs to find a job where he doesn’t have to do all this annoying teaching-related work.)

I wish he’d learn from my rare books teacher, who was so down-to-earth and appeared to like teaching.

So far of the full time teachers I’ve had at UICU, one has seemed as though she didn’t mind teaching. They’re in stark contrast to my visiting professor from University of Indiana, and the profs from San Jose State or University of British Columbia. I think I’ve learned that students are best attended to by professors not working at a school ranked #1. Ironic and sad.


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