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Re: The Story of a Technion Course

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... As much as I am for sharing information and for not re-inventing the wheel, I also believe you learn better by experiencing with the material yourself. To
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 6, 2001
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      On Tue, 6 Nov 2001, guy keren wrote:

      >
      > On Tue, 6 Nov 2001, Shlomi Fish wrote:
      >
      > > 1. We were given four "dry" assignments and three computer assignments
      > > throughout the semester. Each one took days onend to complete. My partner
      > > and I prepared all the assignments completely without making use of
      > > references or copying other people's answers.
      > >
      > > Our marks reflected that fact. While the grades of the assignments were
      > > littered with 100's and above 95 grades, ours were around 90.
      >
      > i think you've missed one of the greatest values the technion teaches you
      > - learn how to share information ;) what do you think we do at work? we
      > 'cheat' and 'copy' from each other (and other people) all the time. to
      > paraphrase on newman's words
      >
      > "he who controls the reference - controls in-for-ma-tion..."
      >
      > (by the way, this is an afterthought - when i was a student i didn't realy
      > use references, for sheer lazyness).
      >

      As much as I am for sharing information and for not re-inventing the
      wheel, I also believe you learn better by experiencing with the material
      yourself. To quote one of Hazal:

      "I learned a lot from my teachers, more from my friends, and from my
      students the most."

      Therefore, I deliberately try to avoid using references whenever possible,
      so I will be prepared for the test.

      > > 2. Before the test, my partner and I went over all the tests in the tests
      > > booklet and solved them. I could testify that I knew the material
      > > perfectly for the "Moed Aleph" exam.
      >
      > that's already 50% of the purpose of taking a course - to know. you know?
      > its good enough for you.
      >

      Actually, I think it's 33% - see below.

      > >
      > > 3. This course was actually one of my two favourite courses which I have
      > > took until now.
      >
      > and that's the second 50% of the purpose of taking a course - to have fun.
      > you liked the course that well? its good enough for you.
      >

      Again, that's 33%. The other 33% is to get credit for the course.

      > > 4. The "Moed Aleph" exam was not fair, to say the least. It contained
      > > questions which non of the students encountered either in their homework
      > > or in the previous exams. As a result of it, I freaked out,and eventually
      > > made myself leave the room as to calm myself down.
      >
      > why should questions in the exam be taken from homework or from previous
      > exams? contrariwise - the more interesting exams i had contained questions
      > i didn't see beforehand. i hated exams whose questions were copied from
      > older references i have already seen - that made the exams boring (unless
      > it was in courses i never wanted to take - in which case the exams would
      > have been boring regardless).
      >

      Maybe I did not explain myself well. The questions in the test bore no
      _resemblence_ to what we learned or encountered previously. I believe a
      question should be such that a student should be able to solve it using
      the tools he acquired in the course. That was not the case for that test.

      > > The grades were factored (which is a poor replacement for a fair test),
      > > and I received 51 as my final grade.
      > >
      > > 5. Without much choice, I went to the "Moed Beith" test. This time, I felt
      > > the test was fair and felt that I did well on the test. However, my final
      > > grade this time was 54.
      >
      > i had a similar (althought a non-failure) case with physics 3. i got a low
      > grade in the first exam (i think 55) and due to homework the final grade
      > was 57. i went to moed bet - and got 56. i decided to let go at that.
      > the next time i got a 59 (APL) i didn't even think of taking another exam.
      >
      > actually, it makes one's grading paper more colourfull - i had grades all
      > the way from 56 to 100.
      >

      I'm not into trying to improve very low grades, either. However, 54 or 51
      is useless for me because I cannot get credit for it.

      > > I ordered the test booklet. It turned out that they checked all three
      > > questions, and gave me a final grade of 28. There was a comment that said
      > > that my hand-writing was very illigible (which is true). After I went over
      > > the test, I wrote an "Ir'ur" in which I hope to earn some extra points
      > > over mis-graded section marks. Hopefully, my grade will be raised by at
      > > least a point or two.
      > >
      > > 6. The caveat is that I cannot meet with the professor (or whoever graded
      > > the test) to explain and negotiate with him.
      > >
      > > 7. I wrote and gave a lecture about the GIMP, based on some of the
      > > material I learned in the class. You can find it online at:
      > >
      > > http://vipe.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/lecture/Gimp/
      > >
      > > This course has been the pinnacle of my frustrations with the Technion. If
      > > my "Ir'ur" will be rejected I'll have to ask for an oral test (under what
      > > grounds, though?)
      >
      > perhaps on the grounds of their claim that 'your hand writing is
      > illigible'?
      >
      > btw, even if you'll take the course again, you'll find you need to invest
      > in it much less time then you did previously - a course's materia sinks
      > into one's mind much better after a few month (its the case with any
      > course to which you return after a while, especially when you _didn't_
      > deal with it for a while - such is the human mind, from my experience).
      >

      I know. I just want to save myself the extra time and effort it will take
      to freshen the material, attend the test, etc.

      > >, or take the course again to improve my grade.
      > >
      > > Had I known in advance what the Technion would be like, I would not have
      > > entered it in the first place. The "Electrical Engineer" title is simply
      > > not worth the 5 years one has to spend in it, and all the frustration
      > > that I encountered so far. The fact is, I was actually happy being an IT
      > > worker, and, surprisingly learn much more doing actual work than studying.
      >
      > are you sure the technion didn't give you anything? not even that
      > ellusive quality called 'coherence of thinking' ?
      >

      I believe I was a relatively coherent thinker before I entered the
      Technion. If at all, the Technion gave me specific knowledge and skills. I
      believe some of it is actually useful and insightful, but the
      Signal to Noise ratio is not very high.

      > > But right now, I have 7 semesters behind me, and a lot of courses which I
      > > did well (or extremely well) on, and I don't want to throw all this time
      > > down the drain. Frankly, the thought that I may be earning more as an IT
      > > worker by virtue of being a Technion graduate, is not much comfort since I
      > > personally don't care too much for money.
      >
      > cheer up - you'll be over it some day (regardless if you finish our
      > studies or simply decide to leave them, btw). cheer up. life outside
      > uni right now are somewhat hellish on their own. possibly in 1.5-2 years
      > we'll start seeing some improvement (no, it won't get back to the 'jolly
      > 1999-2000' days in the next 5-6 years, but still, it could be again like
      > it was in 96-97). until then, you could enjoy the technion - just take it
      > more lightly, not as some 'mission to accomplish'.
      >

      My only objective now regarding studies is to get the diploma. Thus, I
      avoid or circumvent difficult courses, specialize in what I'm good at
      a-priori, etc.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      > feel well,
      >
      > --
      > guy
      >
      > "For world domination - press 1,
      > or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
      >
      >
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      >



      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      If:
      1. A is A
      2. A is not not-A
      does it imply that
      1. B is B
      2. B is not not-B
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... When you study 50 courses, it s very probable that you f*ck up in one course - maybe you didn t feel well during the test, maybe the teacher didn t like
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 6, 2001
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        On Tue, Nov 06, 2001, guy keren wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Story of a Technion Course":
        > why hide? this is the perfectionism's voice, that you are speaking with.
        > besides, the effect the grade would have on one's final average is far
        > less dramatic then it seems, so it'd hardly matter later on.

        When you study 50 courses, it's very probable that you f*ck up in one course -
        maybe you didn't feel well during the test, maybe the teacher didn't like
        you, maybe you had an allergy to the material - it doesn't matter.

        Everybody that does statistics knows that it is common practice to remove
        "flukes" before doing averages, standard deviations, and things like that.
        If you have a "90" in 49 courses and a "50" in one, it doesn't make any
        sense to say that you have 89.2 average, and some standard deviation: you
        have a 90 average, 0 standard deviation, and one fluke measurement.

        True, the change isn't dramatic unless, for example, you're 0.5 points
        below graduating "summa cum laude". And in the real world, these things
        do matter... I've seen people (not me!) who went to teachers begging for
        them to raise 1 point on their test grade, because that fraction of a
        point is exactly what would have given them hitstainut nasi (teachers usually
        react angrily to such requests not based on any actual error in their grading).

        Anyway, I wasn't saying that Shlomi should do this and get this course
        removed from his GPA. I only meant that if this grade really bothers him,
        there is a way that it can be removed if he works hard enough (*pass* the
        course first, then take an extra course).

        > for what it's worth - i, personally, don't look too highly on people who
        > hide their 'bad work' in this manner. it makes you wonder what else such
        > people will be hiding when they work for you.

        Should you also publish papers even if your research failed? Sell a product
        that doesn't work? Publish buggy programs on the web? If you don't do that,
        are you trying to "hide your bad work"? Is that bad?

        When you fail on one occasion, it is natural to want to cover this up,
        and not being remembered this failure forever. When you're an habitual
        failure, there is no way to cover it up (you can't take 20 extra courses
        and remove the 20 worst courses: first, they won't let you, and second,
        if you're such a failure why would you do better this time?)

        > > Of course, one implication is that you probably
        > > won't get a "Mitstayen Nasi" for this semester - I don't have an idea how
        > > to get around this problem.
        >
        > in 4 words - does it _realy_ matter?

        If you need the money, it does... (the prize was several thousands shekels
        when I studied, depending on your GPA).

        Besides, as I said, the final GPA *does* matter. It doesn't matter if you
        get a 93 or 93.1, but graduating "cum laude"/"summa cum laude" impresses
        employers (whether that _really_ matters is arguable ;)), and the difference
        between (say) a 75 GPA, 85, or 95 is also important for the same reasons.
        I'm not saying it actually says something about you ("if your grade is less
        than X you are stupid and useless!") but rather that other people who don't
        know you, such as potential employers, many pay attention to this grade for
        lack of better verifiable input about your "qualities".

        --
        Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Nov 6 2001, 20 Heshvan 5762
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Can Microsoft make a product that doesn't
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |suck? Yes, a vacuum cleaner!
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