Professor's lack of interest in the students

Mar 27, 2015 • Malvika Sharan

I studied biotechnology until my bachelor’s study and opted bioinformatics during my M.Sc, meaning that only a few years ago I was new to the world of informatics. Our professor who is also the chair of the entire course was responsible to introduce us to the Bioinformatics algorithms and Java programming in the first semester. He is very well known in his field and therefore is well respected. However, he was not a very good teacher, as he never really encouraged discussion or questions during his lecture. If anyone ever asked questions he disregarded them as unnecessary and stupid and chose not to answer politely. On the top we were never provided with any study material except for the lecture that we did not understand completely. As a result most of us perceived the professor and the subject to be very difficult and struggled to understand even the simplest of the concepts. This resulted into poor scoring in the exam and only a few of us could learn how to implement the algorithm using programming. To make it worse he gave us a very condescending and humiliating speech on how stupid we are not to do well in the exams.

In my opinion, if he had dropped his pride of a great scientist and learnt to be a good teacher by encouraging us to ask questions during the lecture without caring about how many slides he is supposed to cover by the end of lecture, we would have learnt better. His students were very helpful during the practical courses however they could help us only if our basic understanding about the subject which most of us new to programming totally lacked. I think this could have been improved by providing extra lessons to the newbies prior to the course. Even an active discussion during the lecture might have changed our attitude towards the subject.

It was only during next semesters when I was exposed to more practical projects during my internships in teaching and research institutes like Max Planck I understood the bioinformatics algorithms, concepts and principles of programming in better sense.