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In one particular university class, many people stopped attending after about half the semester was over as the professor was "confusing" as many people phrased it and opted to instead study from the textbook. The course syllabus outlines the chapters in the textbook that would be subject to testing. The class does not have an attendance policy. It is not recorded, though powerpoints are posted, and you would not get a rundown of what occurred in class in case of absence since the textbook and powerpoints are available.

Near the end of the course, a new topic not found in the lecture slides or textbook was brought up for approximately 10 minutes(each lecture is 1.5hours). I was not in attendance that day. The topic was not mentioned in the syllabus, no online announcement was made that an extra topic was added.

This topic was then put on the final exam as a question of its own. Later, on group pages, students who attended class mentioned that the topic was not explained well at the time, but the professor did say "at least you'll have an advantage on the final over the absent students". Many people sent e-mails to the prof and none have heard back yet.

Is there any recourse now in terms of marks or having the question removed in your opinion? Furthermore, could you provide on brief response as to whether you think the prof was justified in doing this?

closed as off-topic by Daniel R. Collins, Ric, Brian Borchers, paul garrett, Bob Brown Apr 30 '16 at 2:11

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about problems facing undergraduate students are off-topic unless they can also apply to graduate or post-graduate academicians as described in What topics can I ask about here?" – Daniel R. Collins, Ric, Brian Borchers, paul garrett, Bob Brown
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Voted to close. Not a site for undergraduate issues. – Daniel R. Collins Apr 29 '16 at 23:26
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    At first glance, this is asking us to justify your decision to stop attending the course. At second glance, you are asking us if a syllabus could possible contain a listing of all information that would be passed on in a course. Presuming that the topic was in some way associated with the rest of the course, yes it would be valid to put on a test. You are not regurgitating facts from the lectures or text book, you are supposed to learn how to use information to synthesize a response to questions in the field. – Jon Custer Apr 29 '16 at 23:28
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    I often reward my students who attend class with insights into what I am likely to put on an exam. Further, if in response to a student's question, I elaborate on something off topic or probe an existing topic in greater detail, it also becomes fair game for the test. You have no recourse whatsoever. – istvan Apr 29 '16 at 23:42
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    The complaint is at best a quasi-legalistic, anti-educational complaint, as though education, study were merely a game with artificial rules. Gimme-a-break... – paul garrett Apr 30 '16 at 1:45
  • Thank you for all your input. I was personally doing fine in the course(aside from the one thing) and learned more through the textbook than in class which was why I stopped attending. I just needed to know if this could be contested or if it were really up to the professor assuming how he feels about any received emails. The top comment says this isnt the site for undergrad issues though so I will shortly delete the question. This was an intro course dealing with very basic stats. Most people, even those who attended class were bothered by a 10 minute blurb being a standalone question. – user53382 Apr 30 '16 at 1:49
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In one particular university class, many people stopped attending after about half the semester was over as the professor was "confusing" as many people phrased it and opted to instead study from the textbook.

In retrospect, I hope you see the flaw in this approach. If your instructor is confusing about something, you go speak to them, in person, to get to the bottom of the things that are confusing to you. Your instructors are there to teach you this stuff because a majority of students are not adept enough to do it on their own.

The course syllabus outlines the chapters in the textbook that would be subject to testing.

Well, in my syllabi I say something like "this outline is tentative, and subject to change." Assuming your instructor did not have this disclaimer in the syllabus: too bad. A syllabus isn't a legal contract. You'll know better next time.

It would be "nice" if instructors could always think of every little thing to put in a syllabus so that whiny students who don't bother showing up, etc. wouldn't come and complain about how a lack of effort on their part was somehow someone else's fault but their own.

Is there any recourse now in terms of marks or having the question removed in your opinion? Furthermore, could you provide on brief response as to whether you think the prof was justified in doing this?

I do think your instructor was justified. However, I'd also like to point out that you have options, if you really do think you were not given a fair exam. For example, you could go and talk to the course instructor about it (you know, like you should have when the course got to be "confusing").

I hope more than anything that you learn a valuable lesson here: when things don't go your way, don't look around to find someone else to blame — take ownership of your actions.

  • I personally didn't find the course confusing. I just thought the prof wasn't any good. Little time was spent on the slides and most of it was spent on a single(or if lucky 2) simple questions from the textbook. Meaning the bulk of the class material was at best a half hour, which was less than a quarter of my commute time. Sucks to be me I guess. Thanks for your input though. I'll look into emailing him, I just needed to know if there was any administrative recourse that could be had. – user53382 Apr 30 '16 at 1:37