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I am working as a university lecturer in a local university in my country. I am sharing one course with another lecturer who has been teaching that course for approximately 3 years for now. A problem began when some of my students complained that they were not able to cope with the material. The dean was not willing to lose those students (as they pay a monthly tuition here); so he decided that myself and the other lecturer should switch groups.

Actually this situation has transformed in something worse. The other lecturer wants me to strictly follow the problems and solutions that he has on-line. I particularly do not agree with that situation mainly because I have a higher educational background, apart from research in my field of expertise.

I have written a complaint to the academic coordinator, explaining my situation. I feel the students here are treated like some kind of stocks in a bursary market. The university loses money if they leave. What would be a good thing to do?

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    The title states that the teaching of this course is being done across two faculties. To which faculty do the students belong? Which faculty has oversight of the course? Yours, or your colleague's? – Nicholas May 24 '13 at 9:46
  • I think in this context "faculty" refers to an individual instructor, not a larger group (what Americans would call a "college"). – JeffE May 24 '13 at 12:01
  • Mea culpa. I had intended to have 'faculty member'. – Bravo May 24 '13 at 12:19
  • This is a tough one. I normally would suggest going with the flow coming into a class part-way through a term -- the students were presumably given a syllabus and it isn't really fair to change things mid-stream. Furthermore, the circumstance around your class swap are suspect enough, and if you go back to teaching as in the other class, I imagine your new students may complain, and then where does that leave you? It doesn't sound like a good situation altogether... – Chris Gregg May 24 '13 at 13:24
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    I feel that the reason for not agreeing with the lecturer should be based on if his/her online exercises hinder students' learning, not whether you have a higher educational background. – Penguin_Knight May 24 '13 at 20:19
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There are some things which are unclear in your question. However, I'm going to make a few guesses and if any are wrong then you might want to disregard this answer altogether.

It sounds like you have more education but less teaching experience than the other instructor. If you are new to teaching, one very common issue that new teachers often overestimate students' abilities. If the other instructor has more teaching experience then you might be better off 'going with the flow' for this first semester.

Another reason to go with the flow is, as Chris Gregg pointed out in his comment above, students once given a syllabus should not have it changed on them mid-stream. It's bad enough (for them) to have to deal with a change in instructor, they should not also have the syllabus changed on them as well. Consider what you could learn from the way the other instructor designed the course - we can learn things from those with less education than us.

I don't know what you mean by treated like some kind of stocks in a bursary market but, of course, without students there is no point of teaching so, yes, they are important. Nobody wants a large group of students to leave.

So, my suggestion is to try one semester following the other teacher's guidance and next semester consider taking everything you know, and everything you learned, and improve things.

  • thanks @earhling for you answer. The other lecturer and me, we both have the same time teaching, approximately 5 years in a row. I am not putting any changes in the curricula, but I am against that they are repeating the same exercise, with minor variance, over and over again. Also the other lecturer thinks that the algorithmic approach for solving problems, Information Systems related field, is not necessary. – Layla May 25 '13 at 15:45
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    @Layla Then you clearly have a difference in teaching philosophies. I would say that if you can change some material to what you think is best, without changing the syllabus (which might not be possible if you want to add something new) then you should. However, you might want to try teaching the 'other' way to see how it goes. I remember when I was learning to debate as an undergrad, the most interesting was when I had to argue the side I did not agree with at all. It really opened my eyes. – earthling May 26 '13 at 4:08
  • I had something of a similar experience earlier - the other instructor (as far as I can tell) was very focused on repeating similar exercises enough so they could be reproduced for the exam, whereas I wanted to explain the understanding I see as necessary for using the material in later courses. What I discovered was that the students uniformly agreed with the other instructor. Problem solving wasn't on the agenda; getting marks in the exam was. At least, that was the way I experienced it. – Jessica B Dec 10 '14 at 7:37

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