193 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 ...
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  • 171k
190 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 ...
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  • 127k
174 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 ...
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  • 27.9k
167 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 ...
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  • 2,961
116 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....
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  • 30.5k
113 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 ...
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109 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 ...
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  • 13.1k
105 votes
Accepted

How should I communicate that I do not hold the views expressed in a paper I wrote

I would precede my paper by a strong explanatory note disassociating myself from the views expressed in the paper, in boldface and surrounded by a big black frame. For extra clarity and safety, I ...
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  • 171k
101 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 19.2k
92 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the "underwater basket weaving" meme in Academia?

The earliest reference known to Wikipedia (as shared by jakebeal) is from 1956, but I found a few that were earlier. First, perhaps a hint as to how this usage evolved, here's a mildly sarcastic 1919 ...
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  • 107k
91 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 ...
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89 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 ...
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  • 16.2k
84 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 171k
76 votes

Can a professor refuse to introduce any textbook for a course?

There is no "right to have a textbook". Students do have a right to pick a different professor, or a different major, if they want. You should assume that the lack of a textbook for the course means ...
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  • 6,833
74 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. ...
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  • 15.7k
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 ...
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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, ...
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  • 171k
68 votes

What is the point of a lecture when you have a textbook?

I started writing a post about all the things I like to do that the book doesn't: offer an intuitive overview, a fresh perspective on the basics, etc. Then I realized that of course, there's no ...
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  • 6,288
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 ...
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  • 1,431
65 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 ...
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  • 171k
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 ...
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64 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 30.6k
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 ...
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  • 271k
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 ...
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  • 5,218
60 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 ...
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  • 271k
58 votes

Strategies for facing an "impossible" required course for PhD

Your description of your PhD program makes it sound quite unhealthy. There is a required course that students can only pass by cheating, the faculty have been apprised of this and that "only makes it ...
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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 ...
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  • 544

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