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Old 01-29-2008, 01:36 PM   #31
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Yeah, it was cool...it did get fixed though.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:12 PM   #32
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Originally posted by achtung_girl
^right, RWTH !
Ok, so I guess I chose the wrong subject. At the beginning of the semester the prof said, ok I know this class is gonna be very voluminous and I know that 70% fails this class, so we decided that you can write term papers every 3 weeks, and it'll step up your grades!And I thought, ok better than nothing! But they didn't pose a term paper till now, cause it's too much work...etc.
-Great!

Hm, if they said so they should do so.
Generally, I won't blame Professors for keeping it with exams as they are normally very committed and got a lot of stuff to do. Professors are required to teach 50% of their time, and do research the other 50%, and from the Professor I work for I know that this often involves working late into the night.
And at least here in Berlin Professors often work for more than one institution, and have to attend conferences as well.
So, they generally don't have the time to evaluate several term papers and, if a term paper or "combined examination" isn't required normally stick with the rather easy to evaluate exams.

Well, and other Professors, being Beamte and making 60,000€ from that alone simply don't care to do anything more that what is required, but I think, like always, those are the few black sheep that make the others look worse, when in fact many of them really are very committed.

In Germany, lectures at universities and universities of applied sciences/polytechnics are generally two times 90 minutes with a ten to thirty minutes break, and especially at universities you often have lectures with 100 or more students where a seminaristic approach is impossible.

I really like the way you are studying, onebloodonelife, and am really looking forward experiencing this kind of studying later this year.


Looks like I should go buy myself some bags of popcorn to be prepared.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:27 PM   #33
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Hm, if they said so they should do so.
Generally, I won't blame Professors for keeping it with exams as they are normally very committed and got a lot of stuff to do. Professors are required to teach 50% of their time, and do research the other 50%, and from the Professor I work for I know that this often involves working late into the night.
And at least here in Berlin Professors often work for more than one institution, and have to attend conferences as well.
So, they generally don't have the time to evaluate several term papers and, if a term paper or "combined examination" isn't required normally stick with the rather easy to evaluate exams.
Do you have TAs (teaching assistants) in Germany? I went to a very small school (liberal arts style, most classes we seminars with 30 students max) and I was a TA for one professor. Basically, I did everything for the Prof except teach the course, but in some larger universities the TAs do teach the survey/intro level courses. I did all the grading, calculated attendance, managed the gradebook, corresponded with students who had questions or problems with their grades, and did the tutoring/helping students that requested help. A lot of the time I was wondering what the hell the Prof was actually doing with his time!
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:45 PM   #34
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Yes, some professors employ students to do tutoring, and sometimes even grading, and my professor does employ one as well.
But as far as I know it's not really common, at least where I study, and often it doesn't sit well with students if they hear that the got graded by another student.

But I would have to ask students from larger universities how common it is with their professors, as so far I really only heard about that pretty rarely.
When I started I had the professor I now work for in macroeconomics, and he employed an exchange student from Philadelphia as his TA. He also got to do the tutoring (the professor taught the classes, and then for the last hour the student came to tutor where most learned more than during normal lecture), and at the end evaluating all the exams, as well as other stuff.

I now can say that my professor isn't just putting up his feet and waiting for the next payment, but nevertheless one reason why his TA had to do the grading was because the professor had gone before the exam was written to his house in Croatia to meet his wife, who teaches in Paris, and spend the summer with her.

One of the problems really is the "Beamten" status, something typical German which stems from the old Prussian Reich, which professors among others gain. Then, they can't be just set off. And some of them are exploiting this status.
Universities also are hesitant to fire those professors because many have quite some impressive resumè and a lot of contacts the university benefits from, and they aren't shy to promote those professors as well.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:52 PM   #35
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega
Well, and other Professors, being Beamte and making 60,000€ from that alone simply don't care to do anything more that what is required, but I think, like always, those are the few black sheep that make the others look worse, when in fact many of them really are very committed
yeah I think that's what I was talking about! He said that we should buy his books and we could better study at home!Once I was at his lecture he was mostly reading out his book And the thing I'm mainly worrying about is, that all from earlier yrs got the chance to do those working sheets...!

btw, what are you doing 'later this year' ?
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:04 PM   #36
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Do you have TAs (teaching assistants) in Germany? I went to a very small school (liberal arts style, most classes we seminars with 30 students max) and I was a TA for one professor.
30 students at max! sounds like heaven on earth! When I was at Cologne University those TA groups ( they should be normally small groups, I guess) had ca. 100 students. And I think most of the TA's did the grading because when 1500 students want to write the same microeconomics exam, I'm wondering who else does it?
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:17 PM   #37
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30 students at max! sounds like heaven on earth!
It has its pros and cons. For one, attendance is mandatory. In big lecture classes, you don't actually have to go to class. If you skip seminars, your grade will suffer no matter how well you do on exams and papers. That also means you can't really study at your own pace. If you're busy, you can't put off learning the material until before the exams because you are also graded on your participation during every class period. It's possible to do poorly or even fail a seminar class even with straight As on the exams. You can't zone out or be a fly on the wall. The nice part is that you get to know the other students and the professor. Sometimes I find lecture classes a waste of time and a total bore. We did that stuff for 4 years in high school; IMO at the college level people should be taking their education seriously enough to actively participate. I don't want to pay big bucks just to sit with 200 other students and listen to someone younger than me read from the textbook for two hours. Many of my courses were large lectures, but that was mostly freshman stuff. Once you choose your program, it's mostly seminars. Lots of discussion, group work, large projects, internships, etc. Learning the textbook is done on your own time and generally tested with 3 large exams each semester. The rest of the grade you earn doing in-class participation, formal presentations, peer reviews, etc. Now the REALLY huge classes had objective exams that were graded by computer software or Scantron equipment, so no TA or Prof was needed for grading. For example when I took Accounting, all of the accounting sections took the exam at the same time, but since it was math problems and charts it wasn't difficult to grade a bazillion exams.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:30 PM   #38
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega


I really like the way you are studying, onebloodonelife, and am really looking forward experiencing this kind of studying later this year.


Looks like I should go buy myself some bags of popcorn to be prepared.
It is nice because constantly having classes keeps me involved. Plus, getting to do discussion sections gives students to a chance to get to know a TA on a more personal level. Another nice thing that my university does is has freshman seminars, taught only by full professors, where enrollment is capped at 20 people, only first year students. I had one last semester and had a great time! It was a class about rock music, which definitely helped my enjoyment, but also, I got to know my professor, who is a very nice guy, always interested in how things were going for me. I go in and chat with him every so often about whatever, and I'm taking one of his big lecture courses this semester. Those seminars are amazing if you get a good professor because you develop a personal rapport with them, giving you connections for later in your studies.

Definitely get some popcorn. Are you doing a study abroad or exchange program this year?
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:33 PM   #39
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It has its pros and cons. For one, attendance is mandatory. In big lecture classes, you don't actually have to go to class. If you skip seminars, your grade will suffer no matter how well you do on exams and papers. That also means you can't really study at your own pace. If you're busy, you can't put off learning the material until before the exams because you are also graded on your participation during every class period. It's possible to do poorly or even fail a seminar class even with straight As on the exams. You can't zone out or be a fly on the wall. The nice part is that you get to know the other students and the professor. Sometimes I find lecture classes a waste of time and a total bore. We did that stuff for 4 years in high school; IMO at the college level people should be taking their education seriously enough to actively participate. I don't want to pay big bucks just to sit with 200 other students and listen to someone younger than me read from the textbook for two hours. Many of my courses were large lectures, but that was mostly freshman stuff. Once you choose your program, it's mostly seminars. Lots of discussion, group work, large projects, internships, etc. Learning the textbook is done on your own time and generally tested with 3 large exams each semester. The rest of the grade you earn doing in-class participation, formal presentations, peer reviews, etc. Now the REALLY huge classes had objective exams that were graded by computer software or Scantron equipment, so no TA or Prof was needed for grading. For example when I took Accounting, all of the accounting sections took the exam at the same time, but since it was math problems and charts it wasn't difficult to grade a bazillion exams.
I'm luckily getting done with the majority of my lecture classes this semester, then after that, most of my classes should be around 50 or so students. Lectures and seminars both have pros and cons. Like Liesje said, for some lectures, you don't have to show up and can get a good grade by just reading the textbook. I still like going to most lectures though; I tend to learn better and stay on top of readings if I go to class.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:36 PM   #40
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It has its pros and cons. For one, attendance is mandatory. In big lecture classes, you don't actually have to go to class. If you skip seminars, your grade will suffer no matter how well you do on exams and papers. That also means you can't really study at your own pace. If you're busy, you can't put off learning the material until before the exams because you are also graded on your participation during every class period. It's possible to do poorly or even fail a seminar class even with straight As on the exams. You can't zone out or be a fly on the wall.
Yep, agreed on that! My experience with big classes is that you sometimes really don't need to go there, but when you're there you find yourself sitting next to people sitting there and talking / laughing loud, playing pc games, eating etc... and it seems that most profs just don't care what's going on during their classes In the end you need the time to do all that stuff yourself, and all my classes I've ever had ( now I'm attending my second school) are like that! So, I think german schools should get more of both sides..
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:16 PM   #41
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yeah I think that's what I was talking about! He said that we should buy his books and we could better study at home!Once I was at his lecture he was mostly reading out his book And the thing I'm mainly worrying about is, that all from earlier yrs got the chance to do those working sheets...!

btw, what are you doing 'later this year' ?
Love those who just try to get students buying their books. With those professors you learn more just doing the stuff on your own, especially if they have a script that is very detailed.
Those professors usually don't check whether you are present, will never learn your name, let alone bother asking, and don't care whether on student is listening.

It's depressing going to classes, sitting there and start thinking, "I could've made better use of my time." So far no professor actually made attendance mandatory which is very good because some classes were so boring it just ruined your day being there. Additionally, they put up the Power Point presentations on the internet afterwards, and there you will find everything that has been discussed in class.

Besides having professors we also have teachers doing the courses. The aim is to keep classes relatively small, hence you always have several teachers/professors offering those courses. And the students union is conducting surveys at the end of each semester where students evaluate their teachers and professors, so you can try to get into a course of one of the good ones.
However, as I'm trying to do as much in English as possible, my choices are, if existing, rather limited, and those courses often are quite full with about 50 to 80 students.

I really prefer the rather small seminars, where you get into better contact with the professor/teacher and can discuss the topics, like we did in political economy this semester. It's encouraging you to participate and time flies by very quickly. I also loved my corporate law courses because the teacher, himself a corporate lawyer, had a really great way of explaining law, and even better when he discussed actual cases. He speaks his mind and isn't shy to show that sometimes he is just puzzled by the stupidity that goes on.

I will go to the University of Montana for one semester, and either try to do an internship right after that or extending it for one more semester.
What's the actual difference between study abroad and exchange program? Basically, I'm just spending one (or maybe even two) semesters at the other University visiting the courses offered there. I guess it's rather an exchange program, since a student from Montana is offered to go here for one semester.

It's really cool as the University in Montana is offering such courses as economic development, environmental economics, world trade theory etc. And there is a ski area just thirty minutes by car.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:28 PM   #42
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I really prefer the rather small seminars, where you get into better contact with the professor/teacher and can discuss the topics, like we did in political economy this semester. It's encouraging you to participate and time flies by very quickly. I also loved my corporate law courses because the teacher, himself a corporate lawyer, had a really great way of explaining law, and even better when he discussed actual cases. He speaks his mind and isn't shy to show that sometimes he is just puzzled by the stupidity that goes on.

At the moment I really doubt once having sth like that.

Anyway, good luck for montana! ...sounds great!
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:49 PM   #43
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Hm, Cologne, RWTH Aachen, not exactly the typical candidates for small classes.

Thank you! Even though I got the place there I still have to do the normal application process and stuff which is just bureaucratic overkill, and had to do the Toefl test last Sunday. But it should definitely be worth it.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:05 PM   #44
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Koln....mmm, happy memories of horribly fattening potato pancakes and applesauce.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:33 PM   #45
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Koln....mmm, happy memories of horribly fattening potato pancakes and applesauce.


yes. and discotheques. what i remember about Koln was drinking and clubbing. and the most beautiful people in Germany all seem to live there.
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