I'm a simple student who is having some problems with their IT studies. The thing is that my (Java) code teacher doesn't know how to code, and I don't say it, he has told it to us during more than one class.

What do you recommend me to do? Because apart from that is like a class without teacher, he just gives us tasks to do and we have to search on Internet how to do it while he "plays" with his laptop and laughs or rests silent. And when we have to correct the tasks, he just shows us the code he had on his disk and, of course, he hasn't coded.

The last thing I want to share is that when he "explains" us theoretical things he doesn't really know what is he saying and in 80% of times he's wrong. He just reads presentations of other teachers, but from 5 years ago, so they aren't updated at this times (like 2019 or 2020).

It's very frustrating, he is a teacher but he doesn't teach us.

  • 1
    Is this teacher "reasonable", i.e. can one talk to them about this problem and offer suggestions? (I guess not). Is there anyone in power over them you could complain to? Do you and your collegues learn the stuff well without him or not? Are there students in the class/in your student organisation who are fluent in Java and could teach the others? – user111388 Nov 26 '20 at 9:25
  • I mean, could one go to them and say "hey, you could do this and that to make the course better" or would he be like "hey, I don't care about teaching and don't want to lose time by preparing, tough luck for you"? Also, what exactly is your goal? – user111388 Nov 26 '20 at 9:30
  • He is reasonable: Yes but no. Let's see if I can explain myself. He will explain you how to solve the problem, but only resolving the problem as if it were a math problem, not coding. We don't really learn the stuff well, because Internet is so big that is hard to find exactly the site or video that explains what we need to be explained. There is students that are fluent in Java and yes, sometimes they help us, but they are busy and in a lot of times we spend more time searching that information we need to be explained to us that coding it. – Daniel Nov 26 '20 at 9:32
  • Theoretically a month ago we we filled out a form with a lot of questions about this and more themes, so I don't know even if he has read it but if he has done it he should notice that he isn't a good teacher and he has to change. And we talk with him about this, always respecting him, and he respecting us, but nothing is changing. – Daniel Nov 26 '20 at 9:35
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    I have to guess that the instructor is just as frustrated as you are and has probably been forced into this. If you want/need to learn this stuff you will need to use books and videos to do so. Much harder, of course, but it can still be rewarding. I feel sorry for everyone involved here. If people were more willing to pay higher taxes, the schools could be improved. But the problem is much bigger than your class. – Buffy Nov 26 '20 at 12:54

Your question is probably not about University academia, but about school or college. At university at undergraduate and graduate level you are unlikely to experience the situation you describe as those who teach computing at that level are likely to have a computer science degree or learned it as part of their own degree studies.

However the situation can occur in schools because of a lack of suitably trained teaching staff. In many places governments have realised the necessity of school level digital education and have introduced the subject to the curriculum without facilitating the supply of teachers to match. Schools have had to react to the situation by co-opting other subject teachers to take the subject. You then get the situation where physical-education, languages or mathematics staff are asked to follow the national agenda and cover the digital subjects like programming.

The situation is not one that your teacher would be happy with; clearly having to cover a subject that they themselves did not study, is outside their remit and experience.

But, as a good student you can help. You should self-study. You should find out what is needed. Pass on that knowledge to your friends. Make the class a good one. Make the bad situation that the administrators and governors created into a better one.

Also this question is off-topic here and should probably go to https://cseducators.stackexchange.com/

  • 1
    I don't.know the difference between the terms university and college, but it can certainly happen in the place where 18-year olds go and obtain a Bachelor, Master and PhD degree (I believe those are "universities"). I had a similar situation (in math study) where a math prof was teaching a course on some math subject which was not his speciality and he quite obviously neither knew the topic nor cared to learn. In some universities, phd students teach courses they never had and don't know too well because some admin tells them to teach this course. – user111388 Nov 26 '20 at 10:18
  • @user111388 Not knowing a particular math speciality is not the same as not knowing how to code. The teacher at least would have been a mathematician in your scenario. Yes: sometime at higher level people teach outside their speciality but not entirely outside their subject. – Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 Nov 26 '20 at 10:21
  • Well, I cannot bring a counterexample (even though I think the idea behind this question has nothing to do with coding, only with a teacher incompetent in their subject), but given their are universities in the world where professors openly ask for bribes, I don't find it unplausible that somewhere a math prof needs to teach a coding course. – user111388 Nov 26 '20 at 10:26
  • By the way, it strikes me now, that in my university, the math phds where asked if someone wanted to teach the problem session of the "Python for mathematicians" course. I could have said yes (and I didn't knew Python at all) if I wanted the money and nobody would have asked questions. – user111388 Nov 26 '20 at 10:27
  • Yes, I'm not in university yet, I don't know how to translate what I'm studying right now, but maybe it's like a web applications development course, I'll take note of your comments, thank you, we'll get it! – Daniel Nov 26 '20 at 10:34

From your comments, I infer that the teacher is unable/unwilling to change his style. Therefore, I only see to options:

  1. Complain (to someone in charge). However, be sure to do your research beforehand (maybe talk to your student organisation): is it possible to complain anonymously/as a group? Is usually something done when complaints come? Can someone invoke disciplinary actions against this prof? (Maybe not if he is tenured) Be careful with this as complaining might hurt your grade. Note that complaining will most likely not make the situation better for you, only for the next generation.

  2. Learn the stuff by yourselves. I am sure you should, want and need to learn Java. "Introduction to Java" is not an exotic topic. There are plenty of courses online. Maybe you could listen to a course in a neighboring university. Read a script/book. Maybe someone from your student organisation can organize a Java course for your class. Be sure to coordinate with your class — maybe you can find a solution which helps the whole class. Exchange good links etc.

As I see it, (1) is optional (and maybe dangerous), (2) is not.

  • Unfortunately he will not... and yeah, to complain is too risky, anyways we'll try and let's see if we can get something good about this theme or new students can get a better experience in where we study. Thanks for your advices, It's time to self learning, and nowadays, even more. – Daniel Nov 26 '20 at 10:38

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