Saturday, October 3, 2009

172 - When people copy down every little thing in lectures

Okay, so I can't take really take it anymore. I've been to five lectures, and I have found around fifty things to blog about. I don't know why it's taken me two weeks to finally visit this empty blogging space - I wasn't exactly busy. I guess I didn't want to put a negative spin on this new life - to look on the positive side primarily. I have mostly, as I expressed in my other blog, but it has gotten to me that people, just like in Hong Kong, can be incredibly daft here as well - so, get ready for a whole week or two or three on university life-related topics, 'cause man, university is annoying.


I've been to five lectures so far, and walking into my first one on Monday 28th was quite exciting. I was probably one of the last ones out of three hundred to walk into the lecture theater, so I had to resort to sitting in a seat high up at the back of the theater 'cause people had occupied all the rows in the front. I think sitting at the back of lectures will be the death of my scholasticism, 'cause all I could pay attention to was what the two-hundred-and-something people in front of me were doing.

Now, my first few lectures were quite mundane, as they were just introductory sessions that outlined what we would be learning for the rest of the year, what textbooks we would need to buy, how to access the slideshows on the university database, etc... The lecturer was using a PowerPoint to illustrate everything. I don't understand how other people learn - but to me, listening to the speaker speak is usually enough for me to gain a bit of knowledge.

What sickens me is how a lot of people in the lecture hall were copying every single thing down in their notebooks. What the Hell is the point of duplicating a PowerPoint that can be found on the Internet later anyway?

It also irks me because it makes me wonder how people are actually learning things in their head. On one slide, there was a quote: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." This was said by Theodosius Dobzhansky. It was on the slide and I remembered it - simple as that. Why anyone has to write it down to remember something is beyond me - these people are my age, young, passionate about learning, clever enough to get into my university apparently, but they can't imprint something in their minds without imprinting it on a piece of paper?

What relevance does this quote have to anything anyway? When are you ever going to use it? Oh, wait, maybe you might in some essay, always good to make a note of something, just in case you need it for later.

But make a mental note of it, please. Stop relying on your fancy underlinings in highlighter pen to tell you what's important and what's not.

Seriously, though, you're copying just about anything on the slide show, though. Are you actually thinking about what you're writing down?

"Evolution is not a means of explaining the origin of life. Anthropologists are not concerned with the origin of life, however, the scientific explanation physicists theorize is the Big Bang.
- Ice and rock formed the planets 5 billions years ago – Earth forms as part of our solar system
- Steady cooling gives rise to hardened crust = first continents
- Bombardment by icy comets = Water (oceans)
- Volcanic activity released gases and water vapour = early atmosphere"

Why are you copying it all down? We are anthropology students, and it states clearly that anthropologists are not concerned with the Big Bang theory. Put down your frickin' pen! Who cares if it's the first lecture, who cares if it's the start of something new, who cares about making a thorough duplicate of what's on the big screen just because it's something to do after a whole summer vacation of not learning anything - what the lecturer is describing is not relevant - not, not, not, not, not, not, not relevant!

So stop copying it down! It's useless information! Try remembering it, instead, if you insist! And if you can't remember it in a year's time when it comes time to be tested on it, you can view the slides on your own computer, it's all uploaded on the Internet! What the Hell is the point of having a lecturer speak if all you're going to do is disrespect him/her by goggling at the PowerPoint and duplicating it on your own piece of paper like a drone? What is the point?! Argh!


Elizabeth said...

I know what you mean. People these days do that a lot, it's ridiculous. Write down things that are important and relevant. If you need to write down notes, cut it up, or just sum it up in your own words it'll stick better that way. Humans are just frustrating creatures.


Marcy said...

The same thing happens in my lectures. All the profs put the powerpoint presentations online either before class or after. I don't see the need to copy anything down but quite a few in my classes do.

Recently we had a prof turn off the lights completely during his presentation, so we wouldn't spend time writing things down. He just wanted us to listen. Makes more sense but I'm sure we had a few students fall asleep.

gaf85 said...

It's important to identify your unique learning style. Some students are auditory learners while others are visual learners. From your description I would guess you are an auditory learner, and the ones writing everything down probably are better at visual processing as their strength.
You are right though why write down what is already available via the slides which the students evidently have access to.

vilges suola said...

I teach university students from overseas and in some cultures students are expected to write down everything the lecturer says. After one lecture i found my Chinese students had managed to copy out every one of the lecturer's powerpoint slides - and he had a lot. There must have been sparks flying from their pens, and they cannot possibly have registered a word of commentary or explanation the lecturer said. Utterly pointless, but old habits don't die in the space of a 5 week study skills course.

Douglas said...

Back in the Stone Age when I was in school, I never took notes. Like you, I simply remembered things of importance. It didn't seem difficult to me. Body language and speech inflection revealed what the lecturer wanted the students to retain for the tests that would come. The few times I attempted to take notes, I missed things while trying to write down others.