|A note about Professors
||[Nov. 8th, 2004|01:40 pm]
|||||Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid||]|
If you have ever read Clifford Stoll's book High Tech Heretic, you will garner an even deeper meaning to the following anecdote:
I have four classes this semester; a CS course, an ethnic studies course, a philosophy course, and a math course. Both the CS and math courses are taught by "lecturers" as opposed to professors. In CS, the lecturer is a former professor who is about to retire. In math, the lecturer is a grad student trying to become a mathematics teacher. My math class is his first and only (so far) sojourn into the classroom. These two lecturers have the best teaching styles I have ever seen.
Not that their teaching styles are identical; or even that close to each other. The style just works; you can tell by the intelligent questions the students ask, the decent scores on the tests, and how much further in the material the class is compared to other sections taught by others. Sure, the grad student regularly makes mistakes, pointed out with glee to his chargin. Sure, the former professor has his material so down pat he knows exactly what specific concepts the students have difficulty with. (Inheritance and Lifetime, apparently are real show-stoppers for some of them; since he spend the better part of two lecture periods discussing them). The point is that it is a joy to go to those classes, because the teachers make it interesting.
Contrast that with my other two classes, which are based entirely on lectures read off from powerpoint slides. Sure, the professors aren't totally monotone, and they interject additional explanitory comments over and above what the screen says, but am I paying attention? Nope, because I'm busy writing down the borken shorthand that is powerpoint, since in every class I have ever taken, the powerpoint presentation is all you need to study for the test.
Is powerpoint evil? Well, yes, but would presentation software in general be evil? I say usually.