Lack of consistency causes student discontent

By Abby Bien

Back in August, I quickly realized after my first day of classes that math would be more difficult than I had expected.
The material covered throughout the year is not what I was anticipating based on the course synopsis. The course is an option for students like me, who aren’t math or science majors, but need a math credit to graduate.
I can tell I am not the only one that is lost in this class. Many students look around the room each session noticeably confused. At first, I assumed I was just in a difficult class, one in which many students struggled.
This opinion changed once I talked to my peers in other sections of the class.
I discovered that students in classes taught by my professor viewed the course as not too hard, but it isn’t easy either.
However, those in the classes taught by another professor considered the class to be very easy. These statements are reaffirmed each time I go to the open tutoring sessions. The only students ever present are those taking the course with my professor.
Of course, professors are going to teach their courses a little differently. They have academic freedom when it concerns how they teach their pupils, as Bill Templeton, the associate dean at the College of Business, said.
“Professors are given a lot of leeway when introducing their content,” Templeton said.
However, if the material being explained is only slightly comparable to the other professors’ material, as is the case for this specific course, that is an issue.
“Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject of the course,” said Kathryn Morris, provost and vice president of academic affairs, “but (they) should be careful not to introduce into the classroom matter that has no relation to the subject of the course.”
My professor chooses to provide the course material through a website. On the site, students can view the lectures, homework and take quizzes.
Although easy to access, the website lacks practice problems and answers to examples and tools that would aid students when learning the material.
The other professor uses a textbook written specifically for this class. Students note this textbook is simple to navigate and provides plenty of examples.
Some students have expressed their annoyance.
“We are supposed to be learning the same material because we all signed up for the same class,” freshman Meghan Blakey said.
Whitney Cleveland, a freshman student who has a different professor, said, “It’s weird because it has the same course name, but it’s a completely different class. They’re teaching two totally different topics.”
In this instance, there is no doubt the material introduced is vastly different between the two courses.
If two different professors are going to teach the same course, I would suggest they draw their information from the same source, and professors should be required to converse with each other when determining the course load necessary for a class.
That way, even if the teaching styles are vastly different, the core material is guaranteed to be identical for every student.