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Professor's knowledge of lasers....

bmw328aw

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I know this may be slightly a bit off topic for this section but I really felt it needed some noticing.

I am a full time student at William Paterson University and due to their general education program I have to take certain "general" courses. One of these courses is Intro To Computer Information and Technology. Basically the class talks about basic computer components, software, web use, etc etc....

Well I've noticed that this Professor's knowledge is somewhat inaccurate and "lagging behind"(despite being the president of the computer science dept). To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here's a great example, the professor requires you to save all your work on floppy disks....

OK on to the laser part!

So today she was talking about all the advances in technology and what not and she mentioned lasers and that they're a big modern technological "advancement". So she goes on to ask "Does anyone know an example of the use of laser in electronics?" Due to the fact that I love LPF so much I felt the need to butt in and present the example of CD and DVD drives from which we love so much because of their "glorious powerful diode giving ability" (I didn't actually say that lol) I said to the professor "DVD and CD drives use a laser diode to read and/or write data onto a CD or DVD." She then replies by saying, "No that is optical, they are not lasers"

I nearly lost it right there on the spot. I must say this is not the only time she has been teaching "false" information and its really starting to bug me. It has gotten to the point where I can hardly pay attention for one, i cannot understand her words due to her strong asian accent (no offense to asians!), and two, so much that she says is false that I have to ignore it. Besides most of the stuff she talks about I already have experience or knowledge of since ive been building computers and working with them since i was barely 9 or 10 years old.

I would really REALLY like to see your input on this. Kenom and I had a little chat and we both agreed that this should be "discussed" lol. Let me know what you guys think! ^_^


Cheers!

Anthony
 

Benm

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My guess is that she is more of a teacher than a person interested in the actual field.

It's not uncommon for people that teach but don't do any research to keep citing very much outdated information, or even false facts they picked up in their own education years or decades ago.

Especially in fields with rapid and radical development such as information technology, a huge mismatch can develop between what's reality today and what was theory 20 years ago. The use of floppy disks as a viable data storage medium sort of proves that point ;)
 

daguin

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It is VERY difficult to approach most professors to point out that they have fallen behind the times.  The very nature of academe is that we MUST believe that we are "right."  Some are more open to new information, but it may be difficult to ascertain if any one professor is open to this or not.  I suggest that if it is not important to the flow of the class (and your understanding of the material) that you simply adjust to what the professor wants to say.  You will get a better grade on the test and you can be done with them in a short 15 weeks.

If it is important information, then I would anonymously  "drop off" some literature showing the information you want them to know.  "Challenging" a professor (especially in front of the class) is rarely fruitful.

Re: the use of floppy discs. It is probably not the case, but it is possible that the equipment she has is still dependent on floppies. We have some pretty ancient machines floating around the university. If she hasn't written a proposal or a request, the university doesn't know she wants/needs more (or they just don't have the cash).

Peace,
dave
 

bmw328aw

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No, the equipment is there, its pretty up to date actually. Most of the machines have adequate memory, cpu speed, etc....We actually use MS Office 2k7, there are many foibles with that in which i haven't even mentioned either lol...


EDIT: Just to let you know I never even challenged the teacher or said anything. I just felt the need to share this with you guys.
 

daguin

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bmw328aw said:
No, the equipment is there, its pretty up to date actually. Most of the machines have adequate memory, cpu speed, etc....We actually use MS Office 2k7, there are many foibles with that in which i haven't even mentioned either lol...

Then she is probably just "old." Love her and tell her what she wants to hear. Then move on.

Peace,
dave
 

jwc

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So far, I haven't had a professor be blatantly wrong on a topic, though sometimes they refer to things very vaguely. Then again, I'm only a freshman in college and have to get through all the introductory classes and stuff first before I can finally begin concentrating on my major.

But I definitely agree with daguin about the necessity to be "correct" all the time. I definitely get that sense from both my professors and recitation instructors.

My spring semester just started, so I haven't had the chance to really hear much from my professors, but all of them definitely sound interesting.
 

Cyparagon

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My astronomy professor was positively convinced that CDs were analog and were read much like an audio cassette was. I don't recall the relevance with astronomy though. :-[
 
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If you want to talk experience with professors...

In my undergrad I had a teacher that wrote on an essay I turned in that if I wanted to receive a C on my next essay, I needed to improve my writing quality. I'm not bad at essays - so that was a terrible slap in my face.

This same teacher made us answer test questions in a blue book using pen. Okay, no big deal there. Except when I got back my test...which I had used a black pen...the teacher had written a nasty note reminding me that I should use pen. Needless to say, I used a blue pen on the next test.

I figured out the same day I took the second test that a different teacher was teaching it the next semester, and that the last day to drop a class was that day. I still do not know what my score was on that test.

The best part? The teacher was/is a state senator.
 

Benm

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Teachers can be frustrating sometimes, and you need to choose to do something about wrong facts, or not.

If you have the luxury of being good at their topic, you could confront them with the errors in their classes. How they react varies from person to person though - some will be happy about the correction you provide, some will be offended.

This is a thing to consider: are you there just to pass a certain class, or do you want to risk confrontation for the sake of academic correctness?
 
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It's true that it's not a good idea to openly challenge your teacher/professor. I did that in high school - got into it (well, not in front of class - it all stemmed from some ignorant and utterly wrong comments she wrote on an essay I did) with my literature teacher over something very stupid ( of course unrelated to lasers, computers or anything like that). I even brought in two books that proved my case but still she didn't budge from her erroneous beliefs. And she still stuck me with a lousy grade on that essay, even after my parents got involved!

So, to get to the point, the rest of the school year with that teacher was no fun at all and I know she deliberately "sunk" my grades from then on.

Not sure what you could do about it, though, since you are college level maybe mention it to someone above her in administration, however, that too is risky - especially if she thinks you are behind that.

Unfortunately there is still a lot of ignorance regarding lasers (and other things technological) out there these days - and it doesn't just affect the "common" people....
 

Kenom

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One of the important things about having the correct information in this field, and I understand how hard it is to keep up to date with some of this information, is that as an instructor, it's kind of implied that you are correct and are imparting truth to those who are in front of you. Now if you know that the truth being spouted is not truth, then there is no damage done. However, if your ignorant to that particular truth, then you walk around spouting untruth with the belief it is truth and if your going into a field where that information is vital, could end up being hazardous.

Although it's also true that if your following along in the text from the specific course, untruths like this are always revealed as the text has to have correct information.
 

Geneticz

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Once, when I was in a primary french school ( They have horrible reputations for employing just about anybody) my teacher insisted that China was bigger than Canada ( My homeland, I think I would know that Canada is second biggest worldwide. I refused to believe it, whereas the french kids were just sucking it up without even questioning.

I went home at lunch time and brought back an atlas, and asked her to copy down the square kilometers on the board of each country. She was so sure she was right she complied. Well, she kind of lost that argument.

Once I got to high school though, teachers will never admit defeat it seems. Arguing with them unless they are clearly wrong ( Maths, Physics) is more often fruitless than not.
 

Benm

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Luckily not all teachers are that stubborn though. Verifying that cd or dvd drives actually do use lasers, for example, is a simple thing to do and add to the course for the next semester.

You'll probably get better teachers in the later years of university though, the more specialized classes often have teachers that also do research and stay up to date in their field.
 

daguin

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--Hallucynogenyc-- said:
Teachers rarelly admit their fails. Can't understand why at all.

I tried to allude to this above. The nature of the academy is that the members MUST operate in all of their papers and discussions as if they had direct communication with God. The only way to follow a line of research (and be willing to expend the effort needed) is to absolutely believe that you know "THE TRUTH." While they are still doing research they know that they are vulnerable to being proven wrong and accept that notion. However, if they stop doing research (as most teachers do) they are no longer "challenged" by their peers. Without that peer "check" on their belief that the "know" THE TRUTH, they often times become entrenched in the belief that they are actually getting "THE TRUTH" straight from God. ;)

I am not defending this professor. IMNHO she SHOULD be keeping up to date with theory AND be willing to listen to students. However, as is often the case, something that allowed us to be successful in one situation, leads to trouble in another situation. After all is said and done, she is only human.

Peace,
dave
 
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As I have dealt with these types of issues myself in the past, the bottom line for me is the amount of $$$ that it costs to attend any college. For the cost, each student is entitled to the BEST that each teacher has to offer. If a teacher is wasting the students time and money by spewing false information, then the administration of the school should be contacted and informed of the situation. Telling the teacher about it won't solve anything since most teachers either don't care about how much money it costs to attend their classes and thus feel that they have no obligation to the students at all, or have such egos that they can never be pointed out as being incorrect by a mere student..

Go to the dean/administration and tell them about the problem. Make sure and stress to them that you feel you are not getting what you are paying for, and that you feel that it is incompetence on the part of the professor in not staying up to date in the field they teach.

You, as the student, are entitled to a quality education for your money. Most (if not all) schools like to believe they exist in some sort of "twilight zone" where business transactions result in no obligation to the customer. In reality, paying tuition is a standard business transaction which results in the institutions obligation to provide you with an up-to-date education in whatever field you choose.

Don't just sit around and hope for change.. it'll never happen in the academic world. You've got to go and make yourself heard in order to help yourself and the rest of the students in your class that are unfortunate enough to have to listen to an incompetent moron waste their money and time.


Back when I was in college, I had an American History professor who had just moved here from China (go figure) who got up in front of the class and insisted that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed when a bomb fell on his house..
 




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