Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

UG Teaching today – forget the interest, get the grades

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I’m going through the comments on the UG course I gave last year for the ‘you said, we did’ feedback system we have here (quite a good idea I think), and I came across the following comment:

‘in an ideal world we would still listen and learn all the cool stuff, as it is we are focused on exams ‘

I find this really depressing. If students these days are so focussed on the exams that they feel they have to ignore things which are not examinable, or which are difficult to examine, then they are ignoring much of educational value. This is a dreadful side effect of the ‘box ticking’ culture that dominates many fields today, including much of education, where you are judged on things that can be quantified, and so those things that cannot be quantified are deemed worthless.

I can understand, though be depressed by, this effect in university bureaucracies, but it is quite disturbing to see this effect working its way into students who have only just reached their twenties.

When I was a UG I was doing the subject because it interested me. Exams were a necessary evil, but not the reason I was doing physics. I wanted to learn how the world worked not how to eke the last mark out of an exam.

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Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

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