190 votes

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

Can a professor do this? Is this legal? Or a violation of students' First amendment? You are 100% correct to be concerned. No, the professor most certainly cannot do such a thing; his behavior is ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
189 votes
Accepted

I'm afraid of chemicals. How do I handle my required uni biology class?

To further echo one of the comments: Seek professional help. This may be a trained psychologist, or even just a general medical practitioner, who may be able to direct you to another institution if ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 135k
171 votes

As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

If the assignment deadline was not shown correctly to the students, then it is your error and they cannot be penalized for being late. Claiming it is correct in one area while incorrect in another ...
Solar Mike's user avatar
  • 28.1k
165 votes
Accepted

As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

First thing: The student handed in on the shown deadline. That says everything. Not accepting is not an option in any reasonable way. But to be more specific: In dubio pro reo (in a case where nothing ...
Mayou36's user avatar
  • 3,289
120 votes

First year Math PhD student; My problem solving skill has been completely atrophied and continues to decline

I think it’s not a coincidence that the timing of this decline matches up with the pandemic. A lot of people are really struggling right now, I feel like I can’t do math as well as I could a year ago....
Noah Snyder's user avatar
  • 32.8k
115 votes
Accepted

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

While it is certainly ethically and morally questionable - do consider how much you are willing to take this battle as a representative of justice or students or whatever. You can avoid conflicting ...
Stian's user avatar
  • 1,757
114 votes
Accepted

Is it normal to have a hard time comprehending academic papers?

Yes, yes it is. But it gets easier. What most people don't realize when starting out reading academic papers, is that not every paper is an island (to paraphrase...). Terminology and 'lingo' is ...
nabla's user avatar
  • 13.4k
99 votes

As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

If you occasionally published two different dates as a deadline, you should accept the work until the latest date without penalty. This is what essentially happened: you announced the deadline as 23rd ...
Dmitry Savostyanov's user avatar
98 votes
Accepted

Is it fair for a professor to grade us on the possession of past papers?

If this was not mentioned in the syllabus (or at least announced prior to the papers being returned), this is totally inappropriate. While it may be foolish for students not to keep their graded work ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 20.4k
90 votes

Can a professor force me to submit my incomplete paper to a journal?

I find this highly annoying that a professor would assign something like this. Submissions take time, time the editors invest, time the reviewers invest. To have student papers submitted that are ...
Debora Weber-Wulff's user avatar
88 votes

Is it unethical of me and can I get in trouble if a professor passes me based on an oral exam without attending class?

I feel like you're overthinking this. What you did seems an improvement to me over taking, say, bowling to fill a last credit, which isn't uncommon in undergrad. The professor gave you your grade and ...
Jeff's user avatar
  • 16.2k
82 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable to extend deadlines for coursework delayed due to student activism?

Much would depend on the concrete situation. But, by default, I would think that activism is part of student's life that the student needs to learn to manage themselves; if they do not have the ...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
79 votes
Accepted

Grading on a curve in required doctoral course, failing as a result

How could I talk to the professor and tell him that I put a lot on effort in his class, but due to my lack of programming experience my performance was way below the average of the class? The ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
75 votes
Accepted

Should I hide the fact that I did a group assignment completely by myself?

Personally I would dodge the issue using Most of the work is done, but we need to... I don't think it will really matter which option you go with, but that way you don't have to worry about it. ...
Jessica B's user avatar
  • 16k
74 votes

First year Math PhD student; My problem solving skill has been completely atrophied and continues to decline

I experienced a similar deterioration in those skills during my time as a Ph.D. student. A key element in enabling me to recover those problem-solving skills was TAing (working as a teaching ...
Daniel Hatton's user avatar
69 votes

How can I communicate that the word limit prevents you from elaborating something in an essay?

How to communicate that word limit prevents you from elaborate something in essay? You don’t. You take the time and put in the effort to make your argument in the available space. If you do that, ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
68 votes
Accepted

I am struggling due to insufficient background in a graduate course and feel like a moron. What do I do?

Sounds like my Physics II course decades back. The effort on that course was greater than the effort on all other courses combined. Little did I know that I took it from Paul Chu, who at the time ...
Edwin Buck's user avatar
  • 1,506
65 votes

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

The professor has given us all a template where we get to "customize" one paragraph with our own supporting statement. If your original contribution is only a small portion of the letter, that ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
64 votes

Can a professor force me to submit my incomplete paper to a journal?

The professor's requirement that you submit for publication a paper you do not want to submit, and the advice from the Grad Studies director to submit and then immediately withdraw your paper, are ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
63 votes
Accepted

How can I communicate that the word limit prevents you from elaborating something in an essay?

Stock phrases you will hear are "is beyond the scope of this piece" or "is excluded in the interests of conciseness", perhaps with a pointer to where it has been discussed. You ...
Ian Sudbery's user avatar
  • 38.3k
63 votes

Professor using student paper as an example of what not to do in class?

This sort of behavior by a professor is poor pedagogical technique and, in many cultures, poor etiquette. It is not misconduct and it is not rule breaking. If you are a student and a professor acts ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
62 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable to ask for course notes ahead of time?

I suppose there might be exceptions, but I think in general it is fine to ask. But explain your reasons as you have done above. On the other hand, don't expect that you will necessarily get anything ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 365k
61 votes

Can I request for a change of a musical piece assigned to me due to physical discomfort?

would it be wrong of me to ask my tutor if I could do another piece of his music like Lacrimosa/Requiem or the 9th Symphony for one half of my assignment? No, it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask and ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 365k
60 votes

Undergrad overwhelmed by a graduate math class

Mathematician here: We've all been in a similar situation when transitioning from undergrad to grad classes. You write that you are "embarrassed" due to your lack of understanding; don't worry, others ...
JoshuaZ's user avatar
  • 5,235
57 votes
Accepted

A team member of a coursework software development project didn't contribute in any way. Can I remove his name from the project?

Can I remove someone's name from an academic software development project that didn't contribute a single line of code? Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate ...
Flater's user avatar
  • 554
54 votes

As a course lecturer, should I excuse late assignment submissions if I wrote the assignment deadline slightly wrong?

I think the most important question a teacher should ask about their own actions is "What my action will teach?" If you accept the late submission you will teach that one must assume their own ...
Cochise's user avatar
  • 1,615
53 votes

Is it acceptable to extend deadlines for coursework delayed due to student activism?

Lots of good and lengthy answers here: put concisely the answer is a resounding no. A huge benefit of choosing to do something extracurricular in college is learning the consequences of failing to ...
user1717828's user avatar
  • 3,861
52 votes

First-time teaching PhD students make course assignment way too demanding for a new lecture

The professor in charge of this course replies my email that he won't discuss with an anonymous email address, and could perhaps set up a meeting including these 2 lectures if I send it with ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
48 votes

Is it normal to have a hard time comprehending academic papers?

I am in my second year of a statistics PhD. I have by now examined many hundreds of papers. Some of them are, I now know, of only tangential relevance to my research. Others are relevant but when I ...
JeremyC's user avatar
  • 3,559
47 votes

Is it unethical of me and can I get in trouble if a professor passes me based on an oral exam without attending class?

Many schools, including the one where I got my undergraduate degree, have a system whereby a student can get credit for a course by proving that he knows the material --- usually by taking exams but ...
Andreas Blass's user avatar

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