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Well, the title is almost self explanatory. I am in a graduate school and have two professors this semester both of who are telling me that they are not following any particular book, and yet when I pressed for some recommendations, they came up with some books. I got them from the library and started reading them, only to discover that they are not really using those books. Somehow, I found out the books which they are actually using and it turns out they are copying each and every example from that other "a little less known book" in the class. The assignments are also exercises from that book.

Now, my point is why do professors feel the need to lie about such stuff? I am not someone who can take good notes, so all I try to do in the class is understand what is being taught, and then go home, read the relevant section from the book and then make notes later, at peace. I am kind of pissed off at my profs, and yet I think getting some different perspective might help, and so, I'm asking here. Do a lot of professors do that? And why? If it makes any difference, I am at one of the best institutes in my country, and the professors are pretty distinguished researchers world wide.

1. They are lazy. 2. They think their students are stupid 3. They don't know to use the internet --- My luck I had not to to deal with sth like this up to now –  stg Feb 17 at 21:55
This sounds like the kind of thing that would fit well at Academia –  David Z Feb 17 at 22:28
Because, if they wouldn't, then students might find out the source of their knowledge, and get their hands on it... and then they would eventually become just as smart as them, and will discover that they don't need their teachers anymore ! –  Lucian Feb 17 at 22:42
My guess: solutions to exercises in "a little less known book" can be found online if one knows to search for the book title/author. Hence, the desire to hide the source of exercises. –  user127096 Feb 17 at 23:59
This question appears to be off-topic because it is an accusatory rant, containing no real question and any attempted answer would be purely opinion-based. –  David Richerby Feb 18 at 8:54
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closed as off-topic by David Richerby, The Hiary, Peter Jansson, Ben Norris, EnergyNumbers Feb 18 at 11:06

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2 Answers

It depends on the person.

  • Sometimes they use their own script which is not yet ready to publish.
  • Sometimes there is no good book for all lectures, but for all lectures there is a good book (that is, different for each).
  • Sometimes the book the examples/questions come from is good only for those who already understand the topic (i.e. it is bad for newcomers to area).
  • Sometimes the book is ok, but contains some horrible typos and other mistakes, which the professor can correct himself.
  • Sometimes the book is outdated (e.g. old notation, lacks new theorems).
  • Sometim...

There are many reasons. And sometimes there is no reason, and some unkind words come to mind...

I undeleted this answer as I could not find any reason for it to be deleted. @Dtldarek, if you wish to have this deleted, please do so yourself or flag it for a mod to do so if for whatever reason you can't. –  eykanal Feb 18 at 15:44
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Sometimes a bad professor tends to get his/her exam questions from the book itself with minor changes in the variables that can be manipulated, I've seen two professors do that so far.

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