160

In my opinion, you should take this seriously. What you are observing is bullying. The students that are asking questions, and trying to participate, need to know that you have their back. For example, during class, as soon as students start laughing: "Excuse me, X was asking a question." "Please be respectful of other students." After ...


77

I'm afraid my response would not be as diplomatic as those suggested in the other answers. This concerns last year undergraduate students. You are dealing with adults. Moreover, your are dealing with adults who are likely paying tuition in order to attend your lectures. This isn't grade school; attendance is not compulsory, and they are free to leave if ...


47

I understand your challenge. Have you established house rules at the start of your course? If not, you still can. Also, you could consider inviting the misbehaving students for a one-on-one in your office.


39

Surely 'cuz you're not paying the tuition for the class... To put it bluntly, that's what tuition is for: to give you access to class material and instructor time. I doubt having coursework material password-protected is uniformly a decision of the instructor: certainly where I work my notes, assignments (including solutions), exams are on a university ...


26

(Answering title question) Yes, studying at some universities is harder than others. This is because the curriculum is different, in turn because with better students one can also teach more difficult topics. That's why the same BSc degree from a top university is worth more than one from an obscure university, even neglecting the brand name of the ...


25

My solution might not be yours, but I learned from many (many) years as a student and professor that when one student asks a question, others in the class also have that question but aren't brave enough to answer it. I developed a facial expression (one raised eyebrow) that can be used to express skepticism or extreme displeasure. I might walk over to an ...


22

Note that the notes from the University of Auckland seem to be for an undergraduate course (Bachelor's Degree), while the notes for Stanford are from a graduate course (Master's and Doctoral students). It doesn't seem surpising to me that the undergraduate notes are easier to grasp. Graduate courses are generally going to assume more background and more ...


22

In my observation, this change is a recent epiphenomenon that is tied to the widespread organizational deployment of learning management systems (LMS). Thirty years ago, course notes were not generally online, because even in leading universities the Internet hadn't taken hold sufficiently yet. You got your lecture notes on paper, typically by picking up ...


17

In practice, the decisive questions for an instructor posting their notes online are: Are you, as a writer, sufficiently proud of your own notes that you won't be embarrassed to see them circulate widely? Do you have a personal website or care enough (and have the time) to build one? (Even the easiest options, like Github Pages, take half an hour or so of ...


10

Irrespective of whether this rises to the level of bullying or not (and I don't really want to get into the weeds on that), as an academic teaching undergraduates, you need to learn to "control the room". Undergraduates are generally young and sometimes immature. Consequently, you should ensure that your classroom is being run by a responsible ...


8

Maybe some of you will find this a bit harsh but as a student, I had last year a professor asking the question back to the people laughing : John, can you answer the question you are laughing at? If he failed, he would get a small remark from the professor and was laughed at, a bit. People quickly stop chuckling at each other questions and from then. It ...


8

Where I've worked, making teaching materials available on the password-protected digital learning environment was compulsory by university policy, but making them available on the public internet was at the option of the individual faculty member. I never did make mine publicly available, because they contained third-party copyrighted material for which ...


6

So in Germany, everyone else here is wrong. The reason is Copyright. The lecturers, as educators, enjoy a very broad and free exemption from copyright, and therefore can create their slides/handouts etc. without much thought to ask for permission for this graph or that figure. They simply see something they think would help student understand the topic and ...


5

Simply have them leave the class, they cannot disrupt if they are not there and a very strong message is sent to the others that it will not be tolerated. Repeat interruptions simply drop them from the class. I taught ordnance disposal and never tolerated for 1 instant a source of disruption. I would show them a photo of someone who needed to be fed, wiped,...


5

To answer the question in the title: yes, studying at some universities is harder than others My answer is more a comparison of universities within the USA as opposed to around the world; nonetheless from my experience how challenging a university/department/program is depends on several factors: How large/reputed the department is How competitive the ...


4

The reason seems obvious to me as a software engineer. Professors are provided with a learning management system (LMS). They are highly encouraged to post their lecture notes to the LMS. Usually no one is telling the professors they can not post content outside the LMS. However, if a student has to leave the LMS to get higher quality content (e.g., the &...


4

UK-focused perspective: universities are heavily subsidized by the taxpayers. I find it very hard to justify not sharing the notes these notes with the people who payed for it (ie making them generally accessible in the UK). So I think the answer is, that the uproar about this issue (taking taxpayer money and not sharing the thing which was produced using it)...


3

I mostly agree with the general theme of the other answers here, but figured I'd contribute by making something very explicit: You absolutely should take this seriously, and furthermore whatever you do should ensure that the number of times that a student behaves disruptively in such a manner is kept in the low single digits. I'm surprised that this behavior ...


2

If you know the names of the offenders, I would contact them directly by email asking them to show respect for other students in the class. If you don't know the names, if such an event occurs, without calling anybody out, I'd ask the class to please show respect to the others in the class. If the behavior continues, you have the option of immediately ...


2

The questions might (intentionally or unintentionally) be hilarious. I would ask what is funny about the question. This isn't guaranteed to get an answer as sometimes for various reasons people don't want to or can't articulate why something is funny, but it seems to be a good place to start. Or you could ask some other people about the questions, and see if ...


2

In my classes, part of their grade is professionalism. In the syllabus, it's a multiplier applied to their final grade, so there is no limit to how much impact it can have. I explain on the first day of class that any disrespectful behavior toward me or any other student will immediately result in a reduced grade, per the syllabus. Since you didn't start out ...


2

In addition to giving warnings and removing students from class if they don't heed the warning, you should also consider if attending class is really necessary. If not, and it's good enough if students submit homework problems, then that should be mentioned at the beginning of the course. You then don't have bored students in your class who would rather do ...


2

I think a very important factor is: What is the teacher-supplied materials for? Sometimes it is: To replace the teaching for students who did not turn turn up Or to get the students thinking about the subject before the teaching Or to remind students of the important details, so the students don't need to take notes so can understand the background ...


1

Broadly speaking, there are three main factors affecting how difficult it is to study at university: The student's prior knowledge and competencies before arriving at university. If all else is equal, a student who is already better at their subject will have an easier time studying the course. The level of knowledge and competencies the student is expected ...


1

Both instructional quality and difficulty vary considerably among universities. I don't know how it works worldwide, but the Publish or Perish paradigm at research universities in the United States and the UK (maybe Canada, too?) puts pressure on university professors to publish large numbers of papers in academic journals. Little emphasis is placed on ...


1

Not all universities have equally strong programs. as to course material, this depends on a lot of factors, most obviously the instructor and the level of preparation of the students. Teaching philosophies and learning outcomes are also different: if you take a grad course in a department which is research-active in the area as a prerequisite for a thesis ...


1

You did not add a country name but since you mention "undergraduate", I guess this is the US - my perspective is French. I had once this case when teaching (first year of university). I asked once "What is the problem?", and then "Leave the course now" when they were maliciously sniggering again. They tried to explain that I ...


1

A solution one of my professors used was to have herself be the owner of the repo for each team and then just allow each member access. That way they the students could learn to use Git without having control over whether the repo went public or not; they could write to the repo, but not change its settings. (There's really no way around the fact that ...


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