I am currently in my final year of a Computer Science degree in which there is a database module, and the first large-scale assignment is in progress. The Lecturer that has led most of the classes has come across to me as somewhat abrasive when I communicate with them. To give a rundown of the actions that have happened so far:

  1. The lecturer asked for a diagram to support the design of the database
  2. I sent a design by email before the submission along the lines of:
  3. Dear Lecture A,

    This is my first attempt at the diagram for the coursework. Could I get some feedback on what I >have done so I can correct any mistakes?

    Regards Student (Me)

  4. I received feedback in another email:
  5. Dear student (me),

    List of improvements, etc.

    You have not modelled the diagram correctly, more is needed.

    (Lecturer name)

  6. I was not very pleased with the final line, but I applied the suggested changes to the diagram, changing a significant amount.
  7. I officially submit the second draft to the hand-in point on the University VLE system.
  8. I received feedback today (being given significantly less than expected), in which some of the same corrections were given as when I submitted the first version, even though I have completely changed how it appears on the diagram.

I should make it clear that from the start of this first coursework assignment, a brief was given, specifying what was to be designed and built. What I am not very pleased very annoyed about is that the lecturer has picked out what they deem to not fit the brief, without any positive feedback (which is often the case with other classes and lecturers), and the lecturer has then gone on to say that I should add additional points to my work that were not specified or assumed in the brief.

What would be the best choice of action to be taken with this lecturer?

  • 1
    About the last line of the lecturer's e-mail, why were you not very pleased? Did you add more to the design per their request in the second (final) draft? – scaaahu Nov 19 '20 at 11:30
  • @scaaahu Yes as per request (from the lecturer), I added what was said to the second draft – Bookworm Nov 19 '20 at 11:32
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    This is a final year in CS, not primary school. You will not get a sticker and a stamp for nice work. But you will learn a lot from the critical feedback. It sounds to me like you are taking the criticism personally, instead as helpful and as a chance to improve. Regardless of whether the lecturer is "nice enough" or not, the best way to deal with this is to see what YOU can do to improve your diagrams and what YOU can do to better deal with negative feedback. Voting to close because a lot depends on details of the personality of you and your lecturer. – Louic Nov 19 '20 at 11:38
  • @Louic But in this class the lecturer does have to give feedback to every student, and that is routine practice throughout my course. – Bookworm Nov 19 '20 at 11:46
  • 4
    I see nothing abrasive in the response of the lecturer. It is just straight-to-the-point. It is a choice one makes, which, in my opinion, is a perfectly acceptable one. – Anton Menshov Nov 19 '20 at 12:09

Lecturers are not obliged to give individual feedbacks on first attempt of each and every student, let alone positive feedbacks.

As far as I have understood, this particular lecturer has put on extra effort and wrote a list of improvements to help you.

The very purpose of a homework assignment is to measure one's ability to apply the knowledge (supposedly) obtained in the classroom while solving different and more difficult problems. I have never, ever saw a homework which tells the students what to do step-by-step. It is your job to figure out.

Especially in a homework which requires a design for a database, it does not make any sense for the lecturer to give a guideline. Usually, a person who designs a database is given a list of requirements, and must follow certain standards to come up with a feasible design.

So as for your question, thank your lecturer for their time, and maybe make an appointment to see what your mistakes are.

  • 8
    @Bookworm - To expand a little on this excellent answer by padawan: I believe you are asking too much of your lecturer. If they had to do this for all students they would not have time for anything else. The point of a first degree is to learn to work independently as far as possible. It prepares one for higher degrees or shows your ability to an employer. No employer will want to spoonfeed you when they are paying you to provide solutions for them! Sorry if I sound as harsh as the lecturer! It is a harsh truth but it is a truth. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 19 '20 at 12:23

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