I'm a student in a part-time graduate program that is delivered online. I had been hoping to enroll in a particular course that, until recently, was indicated as scheduled to be offered in the upcoming course period. However, due to a last-minute change in who is teaching the course, it is no longer available online -- on-campus only.

In my experience so far in the program, there have been some courses for which I find the video lectures very helpful to grasping the material (e.g. computer security) and some courses where I've found the associated textbook / slides / problems much more useful and essentially totally ignored the video lectures (e.g. digital signal processing, linear dynamical systems, etc.). I suspect that this particular course would most likely fall in the latter category.

Since I was very much looking forward to taking this particular course and don't want to drastically reshuffle my program of study, I want to ask the professor about taking the course remotely anyway and simply learning via the text, homework, and the online discussion forum. (I would be able to occasionally show up in person for exams, etc. -- I'm local, but not close enough to realistically be able to attend lectures on a regular basis) If he suggests that this isn't a great idea, I'd be receptive to that advice. However, I'm worried that even asking the question might cause offense, as it basically implies that I consider his particular lectures to be unnecessary. Is it a bad idea to suggest this kind of arrangement?

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    I daresay this might be a better question to talk to with the graduate advisor in your department. Frankly, they (or whoever scheduled/assigned the courses) screwed you over in the course assignments, so they should be the ones to fix it. Nov 10, 2016 at 1:30
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    You shouldn't be the only one with that idea, as the course was originally scheduled to be available online I would imagine more people planned to attend but cannot.
    – skymningen
    Nov 10, 2016 at 9:51
  • Thanks guifa. Good thought, @skymningen, although this program is based on an on-campus program with a subset of courses offered online. Typically most students are not remote, so it's possible that I'm one of few, or the only, student in this particular position with this course. Nov 10, 2016 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


I doubt many people would take offence at only the suggestion. More so if you have a reasonable reason, such as sitting somewhere else in the campus.

And if the professor gets offended by that, you wouldn't be able to take the course anyway, so the damage control is in place (and honestly, you have learned of a professor you probably don't want anything to do with).

On a side note: the value of lectures vs slides and books alone depends more on the lecturer and available books than on the material itself. For example, if you look at any of my slides (regardless of the topic) without me talking, is going to be cryptic and uninformative, because I don't design them to stand on their own. On the other hand, if you have listened to my talk, they can be a good memory refresher of what I said.

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