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    I've been looking at my chosen classes for August and it seems that none of them have seminars; this seems pretty strange to me, as I don't see how the professor can differentiate between their students if they only teach via lectures. Or are lecture groups just very small?

    Anyone know?
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    (Original post by Evil Muffin)
    I've been looking at my chosen classes for August and it seems that none of them have seminars; this seems pretty strange to me, as I don't see how the professor can differentiate between their students if they only teach via lectures. Or are lecture groups just very small?

    Anyone know?
    maybe thats the way they teach in america. which university is it? in really large universities such as university of toronto professors don't really intereact with students or know their name. and maybe its all lectures. i dono't know, just a possiblity
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    The impression that I have been given is that in the US, undergraduates are usually taught via large lectures delivered by full professors in combination with smaller "discussion sections" (I suppose we would call them seminars) led by Teaching Assistants ("TAs") who are PhD students.
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    (Original post by Craigy_Boy)
    The impression that I have been given is that in the US, undergraduates are usually taught via large lectures delivered by full professors in combination with smaller "discussion sections" (I suppose we would call them seminars) led by Teaching Assistants ("TAs") who are PhD students.
    In America a lot of courses at public universities are taught by Teahers Assistants (have BA's, Matsters and PhD's) ,however at iunior/community college courses are taught by professors/instruters. At private univesities the courses are taught by the profssors. The courses are taught as lectures. Sciencess and Forgin Languages have lab sections which are usually smaller.
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    (Original post by Evil Muffin)
    I've been looking at my chosen classes for August and it seems that none of them have seminars; this seems pretty strange to me, as I don't see how the professor can differentiate between their students if they only teach via lectures. Or are lecture groups just very small?

    Anyone know?
    It depends on the college and the specific classes. Most classes tend to be fairly small (20-40 students), which means they are treated as seminars for all intents and purposes, though you do sometimes get a professor who lectures all class.
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    It depends on the college and the specific classes. Most classes tend to be fairly small (20-40 students), which means they are treated as seminars for all intents and purposes, though you do sometimes get a professor who lectures all class.

    Are you refering to PhD courses or undergrudate courses and are you talking about in the UK in the U.S.A?


    The impression that I have been given is that in the US, undergraduates are usually taught via large lectures delivered by full professors in combination with smaller "discussion sections" (I suppose we would call them seminars) led by Teaching Assistants ("TAs") who are PhD students.


    In America a lot of courses at public universities are taught by Teahers Assistants (have BA's, Matsters possibly working for PhD's) ,however at junior/community college courses are taught by professors/instrutors. At private univesities the courses are taught by the profssors. The courses are taught as lectures. Sciences and Forign Languages have lab sections which are usually smaller.



    to clearify what I said before
    You are partly right about what you say in the U.S. undergraduate lectures are suppoaed to taught by Professors (either full ie with PhD's or assistant professors ie without PhD's but working for one) but at public Univerities much of the time courses are taught by TA's are people either working on their MA's or possibly just starting their PhD's and the classes are about 20 to 40 while some mainly Freshmen courses or required courses. As far as I now there are not "disscussion sections".
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    (Original post by usa1981)
    Are you refering to PhD courses or undergrudate courses and are you talking about in the UK in the U.S.A?
    Undergraduate courses in the US.

    The impression that I have been given is that in the US, undergraduates are usually taught via large lectures delivered by full professors in combination with smaller "discussion sections" (I suppose we would call them seminars) led by Teaching Assistants ("TAs") who are PhD students.

    You are partly right about what you say in the U.S. undergraduate lectures are suppoaed to taught by Professors (either full ie with PhD's or assistant professors ie without PhD's but working for one) but at public Univerities much of the time courses are taught by TA's are people either working on their MA's or possibly just starting their PhD's and the classes are about 20 to 40 while some mainly Freshmen courses or required courses. As far as I now there are not "disscussion sections".
    Having gone to a public university in the US, I think I know how the system works. Many basic classes that are requirements for everyone are usually taught in large lecture halls (since it would be impossible to have enough professors to teach 10k+ students for each of those classes). Once you get through the mandatory courses, class size goes down to 20-40, since there aren't enough students to fill a large lecture hall for any individual class. The TAs usually lead the discussion sessions in classes that are taught in lecture halls (i.e. for classes that are mandatory for everyone). They very rarely teach the actual class. I have heard that some colleges, like Columbia, do rely too much on TAs, but they're the exception and not the norm. Also keep on mind that the focus in public colleges tends to be on education, while the focus in private colleges tends to be on research (there are exceptions). This means that professors spend most of their time teaching in public colleges, and thus there is no need to have TAs teach classes.
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    You seem to be confusing my comments with someone elses, so I'll just clarify what I mean.

    When I start my PhD at Georgetown in the fall (large, private research university), I'll be assigned to a professor. He or she will have overall responsiblity for the conduct of a course ("Intro to International Relations" for example), and will teach the undergraduate lecture to a large group (100-150 students). Then, at some point in the week following the lecture, I (as a TA) will lead a smaller discussion section (20 or so students) in order to go through the material, clarify what was said and answer students' questions about what the week's readings (the professor will have several TAs assigned to them and students will be distributed between us).

    But not all classes are taught like this. Some will be taught wholly by a full professor in small seminars rather than large-scale lectures, others will be large lectures with no discussion sections at all. It just depends on the university, how they organise their teaching, and whether the class in question is compulsory and required by all (hence many students will take it and the class will probably be assisted by TAs as I described), or open only to certain categories of student (those majoring in particular fields, or penultimate and final year students only, for example, in which case a professor might be able cope comfortably with taking full responsibility for teaching it themselves).
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    (Original post by Craigy_Boy)
    When I start my PhD at Georgetown in the fall (large, private research university), I'll be assigned to a professor. He or she will have overall responsiblity for the conduct of a course ("Intro to International Relations" for example), and will teach the undergraduate lecture to a large group (100-150 students). Then, at some point in the week following the lecture, I (as a TA) will lead a smaller discussion section (20 or so students) in order to go through the material, clarify what was said and answer students' questions about what the week's readings (the professor will have several TAs assigned to them and students will be distributed between us).
    Exactly. This is because a lot of people will be taking the intro to IR class, but very few will take the more advanced IR courses.
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Exactly. This is because a lot of people will be taking the intro to IR class, but very few will take the more advanced IR courses.
    Yes, which is why I went on to say that classes reserved for students in their penultimate or final years (which by implication will be more advanced) may not be taught in this way, but taught instead by a full member of faculty without TA assistance.
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    (Original post by Craigy_Boy)
    Yes, which is why I went on to say that classes reserved for students in their penultimate or final years (which by implication will be more advanced) may not be taught in this way, but taught instead by a full member of faculty without TA assistance.
    Yep. Out of the 42 classes I took, only 3 were in large lecture halls, and another 6 or so in large classes (~60-80 students). The rest were in normal classes, all of which were taught by professors (with the exception of one class where the professor had a heart attack half way through the term).
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    (Original post by Evil Muffin)
    I've been looking at my chosen classes for August and it seems that none of them have seminars; this seems pretty strange to me, as I don't see how the professor can differentiate between their students if they only teach via lectures. Or are lecture groups just very small?

    Anyone know?
    Evil Mufffin are asking about undergraduate,graduate, or PhD]? I assume you are aking about an undergraduate dagree.
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    Yes, its undergraduate and at a public university (College of William & Mary)
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    (Original post by Evil Muffin)
    Yes, its undergraduate and at a public university (College of William & Mary)
    Dose it cost more to attend William & Mary as an international students?
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    I'm doing an exchange year, so I just pay my home university tuition fees.
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    At UC Berkeley, our lectures are huge (at least a couple hundred usually) and we have graduate students lead our discussion sections.

    My largest lecture had 800 students; the smallest about 100.
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    At Earlham, we never had TAs lead classes. And the biggest "lectures" were around 100...and those were only in the intro-level science classes (that everyone ended up taking to fulfill their requirements).

    But, we're weeney. 800 students would have been half of the student body. It so totally depends on where you go to school.
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    (Original post by Earlham)
    At Earlham, we never had TAs lead classes. And the biggest "lectures" were around 100...and those were only in the intro-level science classes (that everyone ended up taking to fulfill their requirements).

    But, we're weeney. 800 students would have been half of the student body. It so totally depends on where you go to school.
    With the exception of intro lectures (Econ 1, Psych 1, etc.), my university (around 6500 undergrads) taught very few huge lecture classes. Nearly all of my classes in my major have been with about 12-15 people and a proper professor, not a teaching assistant.

    However, at a bigger school or a public university, I would expect mostly what everyone else said: professor led lecture with graduate student teaching assisants for "sections" to discuss things, hand in assignments, etc. I don't knkow what size William and Mary is though.

    US college system is much more about being taught, rather than self-teaching, which is what I experienced when I studied abroad in the UK.
    I think you can get as much out of a lecture as you can from a small seminar in information, however seminars of course are better for critical thinking and discussion.
    Have fun!
 
 
 

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