Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Classrooms

So far we have said that we have big student numbers in the classes, students mostly don't know what they signed up for after Tawjihi, There is a significant number of bad teachers in this University and now I want to address the Classrooms

مدرج 2 - اعمال / مقابله حمام يستحق الزيارة

In university requirement classes like General Safety Principles, Ecology, and other courses where a class has at least 150+ students from different faculties, teachers use big old projectors and transparency paper slides of the actual book pages or exact passages, -yup they still use those, fine if you wanna use it for a graph but text, I don't think so- the teacher goes over the content in a one man show, reading off , alone! there is no use of attending these classes, the exam is a multiple choice that you know you would pass if you read the book, a total waste of energy and most of these classes are too boring, a bigger class requires a variety of methods to keep students focused, believe me I tried to stay focused on what he is saying in military science, in horticulture, but I couldn't. I lose the lecturer at least twice during the class and I am quite a good listener, the Arabic 101 , 102 books and instructors are terrible. Check the books for yourself. we don't take "أدب عربي و تعبير فكري عربي" we take " بصم عربي و كيفية النفاق بالعربي "

In other classes towards the humanitarian faculties some Drs do some underlining in the class while reading to students, students attend these classes because attendance is mandatory and most of the time you have to stick to the seat number, the only question a student would ask is " is this chapter included in the exam? "

Speaking of questions, shouldn't a class provoke questions? 80% of the classes rarely raise questions from students, most of the time, Drs don't like to be interrupted and some of those Drs give you an impression that you are stupid to ask such a question or " inta mish mtabbe3 3ashan heik ma fhimet aw shiklak mish fa6er ". bil 3arabi bisharshe7u bi karamtak il ard iza 7akait mish fahem.. few and really really few Drs welcome a student saying I didn't understand what you just said in class.

لقد تعلمنا ان لا نسأل

We didn't learn the philosophy of science, we didn't dedicate classes for the scientific method, how to reason, what is critical thinking, all this got embedded in the definition of a major and the procedures they teach but truly students don't know what it means. we didn't learn how concepts are formulated, we don't learn PHILOSOPHY. contemplate this action's consequences. its a personal request.

There are Drs who teach wrong information, students correct their math on board and teachers give non convincing answers or bullshit their way out of it making it mission impossible to understand, literally, leaving behind holes in the students' brain, Drs won't think outside their notes that they want to fill up the board with, students end up signing with such a Dr because he has easy grades or mi7taker il maddeh.

Good students are the ones who learned to study alone.Through self-study and reading beyond course requirements in the text book

Drs who do power point presentations / use computer applications have to stick to the rooms that have "a data show" so its either the computer lab, the room with a key, or they would ask the secretary to give them the department data show and guess what,, these doctors use the whole fifty minutes reading off the presentation while the lights are off which is a nap atmosphere, in this kind of classes where the lecture is the presentation, students don't even read the book, we were not given any background reading to do, NEVER, I don't remember being asked for assigned reading, I was not asked about looking up a subject for discussion, very few did discussions and was in 5th year classes, they gave us weekly quizes and homework problem sets, some were very demanding but for the sake of it, few Drs did care that we understand, they spent the time showing us how problems are solved numerically, and asking us to do the same, a series of direct instructions, stick to the notes and the power point presentation, the past papers and you will pass, whatever report we did, there was a perfect answer that needs to be written.

The least attention is given to the Laboratories and conducting experiments, sometimes we were able to finish the lab in 30 minutes out of three hours, there was always past reports to look at and fill the tables, students don't pay attention since its a credit hour, but it is where we really apply what we are learning and I can't really put it in words, its bad. go see for yourself. the labs are old and very badly equipped, especially mechanical engineering labs, automation, control, thermal fluids.

Teachers in JU don't know how to be class facilitators, they don't bother reading the room, knowing the students on a personal level, don't know that a human brain disconnects after 50 minutes in 1 hour 30 minutes class, they don't know that they should give breaks, that they should include activities in class, that he needs to set expectations for the class and agree with the students on some ground rules, he should use variety of tools, flow charts, colors, videos, ppts, reading assignments, problem sets, and web pages and discussions. he should watch his tone of voice that it won't remain monotonous through the lecture, he should know that that who scribbles in class is not totally absent minded and most of all...

لا تستعملوا اسلوب التخويف

There is a truth, we are very much behind when it comes to teachers and technology. I can think of 3 Drs in the electrical engineering department who have a webpage, the rest don't. I swear a Dr in the Mechanical Engineering Department asked us to write him an e-mail so he would send us the presentations back instead of uploading it to a website, he replied back to fifty something student, I SWEAR.. The Computer Engineering Dept staff Webpages are still of Web 1.0 form. its still a one way communication, log on and check the announcements and download files, that's it, there are no online discussions, there are Drs who don't reply e-mails, and there are Drs who can't be found in their offices quite often, so you can say communication is not impossible but it does very sincerely SUCK!! not to mention if you are a girl, some Drs exhibit a sense of discomfort dealing with a female student, and this is so evident, they won't look you in the eye, and you have to be super polite when talking to them. the female voice is so silent, so non existent, girls sitting next to each other, in one row, questioning too little, having the group distribution automatically labeled as " the girls group " they always said girls commit to studying better, master the homeworks, but the guys are the better engineers! you wanna know why, because they go easy on girls when its a practical assignment! girls get a preferential treatment in classes. It makes others politer but reserves incompetency attitude towards females. guys always joke about female incompetency in my faculty, it was never not there.

As for the competency test, you can find the result file for Fall 07/08 here, it includes the Gender, Nationality, University, ID number, Tawjihi Grade, GPA, Exam Score and Rank. I omitted the names column.

how did the results turn this way,, its another story =)

Support Worthy Student Activities - IEEE Jordan University Student Branch

Students / Professors Must Check - Wesch Classroom

why don't the branch students make a training session for the Drs on web 2.0 applications that can be used in the classroom ?? courses would give a drive for the classmates to work collectively and learn and lets say make wikis of knowledge by the end of the term that is a product of what you have done with the Dr .. WHAT YOU THINK?


Asal said...

let me please comment on some points of my interest,
about how old our web pages are,you know what,this is really driving me crazy,we have lots of talented young engineers working in the university of Jordan and we still cant get some nice looking web pages , or even provide some good web services to university students.

making sessions to fix this,seems nice but guess what , we had a bigger project about this in mind (actually we were discussing this a week ago) why not make a FULLY FUNCTIONAL,USER FRIENDLY,SERVICE ORIENTED website for the university using any free tool available on line (Word press templates , Google Apps Educational edition(http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/included.html)
and just show those guys how you can build a good think in no time and with less (actually zero) money !!!!

IMHO, i guess the fact that ppl here learned to take everything as is without thinking that they can actually accomplish something new or make a difference (which is also a part of us being taught to just learn what they asked us to),this is one thing leading to the other,if you were not taught to learn on your own,how to search for knowledge on your own, you will end up being in the ages of web 1.0 , were ppl mow are moving towards web 3.0 !!!!!

Thanks for your support ;)

Asal said...

BTW , where did you get theses results from ???
i want those for CPE :P

Tala said...


thx for your comment :D google apps is a great idea, I browsed the universities case studies that signed up, campuses examples of 65 thousands, 200 thousands users are operating, deployment won't take over 3 weeks, smooth integration and immigration for the system, remote access to work pages that load easily, sharable and can withstand class work. perfect.

now only Drs have an ID@ju.edu.jo and recently the staff got to have ones too, i don't know how they look like, but the website is like a jenga tower collapsing any second and doesn't seem that its ever going to introduce any 2.0 applications, it can't handle the integration, its barely loading, did you see this application they developed for administrative staff, that says administrative staff mail which i can't link to since its down right now!! btw, the website is down every two days and the main page is so lame, like in every faculty there is a staff corner and student corner and its just a list of anouncements!

Google apps would integrate easily with already established administrative applications but as a first stage, it can be used to integrate students in a collaborative medium since there is nothing to fix now, its not there in the first place, get 40 thousands users going who can interact with each other. i think this would be awesome!

imagining myself as Dr Walid Abu Sufeh [hehehe] what about security ya sameer ?? what do we currently have in the computer center and how much does now cost them, how much money is the university willing to invest in such an idea?

keep going guys, you rock =D

as for competency test results, I got them during the week they were announced from the ministry of higher education website, it was available for a short period of time =P

kan il imti7an sansikrity. we yelled at the control dr because it was a mechanical engineering test, lots of robotics questions which we didnt take any courses in, couple of circuits questions and one question on memory buses a Tawjihi student would answer, this test was made for techno who didn't sit for exam =)

khouloud said...

Ya3ni I can't comment on most of the things you mentioned for many reasons including that I have no clue how it's like in those faculties and I have no clue what web 2.0 is or what other things you mentioned are so I'll just comment on the things I understand and know well enough about.

As for English and Arabic teachers, ya3ni Ghada Abu Nuwwar is one of the most people I respect in the world, she teaches English 102 and I was lucky enough to have her as my teacher, she is AMAZING! We finished the book very quickly and the rest of the semester was spent on different activities including writing poetry, looking up information, dicussing issues and even excercizing when we were about to fall asleep, she always has a smile on her face, she's extra sweet and friendly and patriotic and helpful.

As for getting to know students on a personal level, Dr. Ahmad Il Hayajneh, Dr. Basem Melhem, Dr. Rana il 3tour, to name a few, are all Drs who memorize each and every student in their classroom, they also bit7arkashou feena when we least expect it, they ask us questions and that have to do with the course and other questions that have nothing to do with it just to make sure we're all focused, interested and benefitiing. I always reply with " I had a pleasent experience in JU" bas this time I'm mentioning names. 7aram haik yinshamal il mnee7 ma3 illi mish mnee7, some teachers go out of their ways on a daily basis for the students' sake, w bil akher beeji be7keelek wa7ad m2addeeha ybasbes 3al banat aw wa7deh m2addet-ha titda7wak ma3 sa7bat-ha 3a wa7deh sha3erha mzayyet inno il dakatrah bi3amlouhomsh mnee7, tab3an mish ra7 y3amloukom mnee7, every student with the least amount of selfrespect knows inno wala insan bil dinya bitla3lou y2allel min e7tiramo, w kulhom be3rafou keef yjeebou 7a2hom w aktar min 7a2hom tkhafeesh 3alaihom, akeed fi dakatra '3alat ydarsou, hadol aqaliyyeh, bas bardo il dakatra naas wlaad naas ahel naas! mish jayyeen min il fada2 willa min barra had il sha3eb! Zayna zayhom, tfakreesh inno il tollab masakeen w 3indhom bo3d nazar w hamhom 3a drasit-hom wil dakatra bin7atou lail nhaar 3ashan ybahdilou wa7ad w yi2badou il alf laira bi akher kull shaher.

Tala said...

Khouloud, I understand what you said, there are good teachers, I didn't negate that, but I was not talking about the good ones here and I see that this post came negative in writing, I was saying that there are problems relating to the classrooms that need to addressed and though trivial but they are integral, I'm not attacking the teachers themselves but they are part of the problem as well, there is a major difference between a teacher who is an old decent person and a teacher who knows how to teach and run a class and pass knowledge, all I'm saying is that the teaching methods are truly outdated, the curriculum and subjects of focus and research are outdated and there are Drs who are not qualified to teach anymore, but there are great people I will remember my life [4 or 5]

see, teaching in Jordan University doesn't expose the students to much, at least in my field, when my friends sign to compete in international competitions, we rarely score, its not that we don't know how to think, we need practice outside the system dictated measures which gives the illusion to the student inno bifham!we need a driven environment where the purpose is "learning" I know that it takes two to tango, so students are part of the equation, but I dont blame them as much as I blame the administration and staff members.

another note I wanted to stress is that the sample you experienced is different from the one I knew, if my interaction during my five years was of 10000 students which is double my faculty students number and I dealt with a 200 Drs, the university has 50 thousands students and over a thousand Drs so the chances that we are talking about the same people is small,

but Khouloud, its important to admit that there is a problem in order to fix it, JU doesnt rank anywhere near good on international measures, why won't we have a university that rallies one day with MIT or Stanford? why not?

Nadine said...

an online environment is vital for you - while you're investigating what to use, in case you don't already know it, check out ning.com - i've only recently been using it, but what you can do with your site/social network is very cool, easy, makes it super easy for the community to contribute and grow the content within.

Tala said...

surly will check it out and pass it to colleagues, Thx Nadine