The Student Room Group

poor lecturers / course change

i’m in my first year of university and am completely questioning if i should transfer to another course because of the performance of my lecturers.

we consistently get feedback 3-4 weeks later than expected and the feedback is minimal and lab techs have made mistakes in our labs by handing us the wrong chemicals etc.

a few of the lecturers also are very unhelpful and are quite passive aggressive in their emails to us.

it’s rated in the top 3 unis for the course and all of this has really surprised me. unsure on if i should transfer to another course at the sane uni and not waste 3 years with these staff members.
Late feedback is an issue you can raise through your course reps. Has this been highlighted to them? Lab tech mistakes is something to flag through the course reps as well. Being given incorrect chemicals may also be a health and safety issue to be raised urgently.

Minimal feedback is relative and hard to quantify. Generally you shouldn't expect extremely detailed feedback on any piece of uni work, although there should be some feedback. You won't have notes on every mistake explaining exactly what you did wrong for example - it's not like school. Lecturers often have hundreds of pieces of work to go through. Brief notes is the standard at most universities in my experience (outside of very, very small modules with less than 10 students). So this may simply be a matter of managing your own expectations.

"Unhelpful" and "passive aggressive" emails are hard to gauge here. What do you mean? If you mean that they only wrote a couple sentences in reply, then this isn't necessarily passive aggressive and may well be as helpful as they can be. Remember again - lecturers have hundreds of students on a given module oftentimes, will frequently be teaching multiple modules, will also have a host of administrative duties beyond those, and on top of that need to do their actual job which is academic research.They aren't teachers who are paid exclusively and only for the purpose of teaching you (and bear in mind even teachers who are paid specifically to do just that in schools 2 in 5 teachers work 26 hours a week unpaid on average on top of their normal work!).

Ultimately lecturers have little to gain by being "passive aggressive" and are unlikely to realistically be that invested in any given student to spend the time on such emotional responses to things. Also remember, it's easy for text to be misinterpreted in an email - tone is hard to convey there. It may be purely neutral. And again, helpfulness is relative. So this may also be a matter of managing expectations - as it may well be the same at all universities, on all courses.

Regarding feedback and "helpfulness" from lecturers - have you gone to office hours to ask questions? As those are the dedicated times for lecturers to provide support or further detail on feedback, and often they are more than happy to help in that time where they have been set aside the time to do so. It's also usually easier to communicate in person in terms of tone etc to gauge whether they are actually being "passive aggressive" or "unhelpful" if they just don't have much else to add.

Overall, without further detail/examples, it's hard to say that this is actually what you are making of it and not just the nature of university level study which would be much the same at any uni on any course. So as noted above - you may need to manage your expectations here.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
Late feedback is an issue you can raise through your course reps. Has this been highlighted to them? Lab tech mistakes is something to flag through the course reps as well. Being given incorrect chemicals may also be a health and safety issue to be raised urgently.

Minimal feedback is relative and hard to quantify. Generally you shouldn't expect extremely detailed feedback on any piece of uni work, although there should be some feedback. You won't have notes on every mistake explaining exactly what you did wrong for example - it's not like school. Lecturers often have hundreds of pieces of work to go through. Brief notes is the standard at most universities in my experience (outside of very, very small modules with less than 10 students). So this may simply be a matter of managing your own expectations.

"Unhelpful" and "passive aggressive" emails are hard to gauge here. What do you mean? If you mean that they only wrote a couple sentences in reply, then this isn't necessarily passive aggressive and may well be as helpful as they can be. Remember again - lecturers have hundreds of students on a given module oftentimes, will frequently be teaching multiple modules, will also have a host of administrative duties beyond those, and on top of that need to do their actual job which is academic research.They aren't teachers who are paid exclusively and only for the purpose of teaching you (and bear in mind even teachers who are paid specifically to do just that in schools 2 in 5 teachers work 26 hours a week unpaid on average on top of their normal work!).

Ultimately lecturers have little to gain by being "passive aggressive" and are unlikely to realistically be that invested in any given student to spend the time on such emotional responses to things. Also remember, it's easy for text to be misinterpreted in an email - tone is hard to convey there. It may be purely neutral. And again, helpfulness is relative. So this may also be a matter of managing expectations - as it may well be the same at all universities, on all courses.

Regarding feedback and "helpfulness" from lecturers - have you gone to office hours to ask questions? As those are the dedicated times for lecturers to provide support or further detail on feedback, and often they are more than happy to help in that time where they have been set aside the time to do so. It's also usually easier to communicate in person in terms of tone etc to gauge whether they are actually being "passive aggressive" or "unhelpful" if they just don't have much else to add.

Overall, without further detail/examples, it's hard to say that this is actually what you are making of it and not just the nature of university level study which would be much the same at any uni on any course. So as noted above - you may need to manage your expectations here.


late feedback has been raised and their response was that “it cannot always be returned on time” but it never is.

i’ve raised the lab tech issues too and was told that i myself need to be mindful of what chemicals i’m using and they dismissed the responsibility of the lab tech in that situation.

when i say minimal feedback i mean comments just saying “detail” or “?”. there’s only 24 people on my module too.

the passive aggressive emails for example: i got a piece of feedback stating i must do something to scale, but was told in a lab session that it shouldn’t be to scale. i emailed for clarification on this and the lecturer pasted the exact same feedback into the email and said “thats not why you didnt get full marks” ?
Original post by phi04
late feedback has been raised and their response was that “it cannot always be returned on time” but it never is.

i’ve raised the lab tech issues too and was told that i myself need to be mindful of what chemicals i’m using and they dismissed the responsibility of the lab tech in that situation.

when i say minimal feedback i mean comments just saying “detail” or “?”. there’s only 24 people on my module too.

the passive aggressive emails for example: i got a piece of feedback stating i must do something to scale, but was told in a lab session that it shouldn’t be to scale. i emailed for clarification on this and the lecturer pasted the exact same feedback into the email and said “thats not why you didnt get full marks” ?

The feedback issue maybe is worth raising with your SU then as well.

They do have a point about the chemical usage I suppose.

That seems pretty par for the course in the feedback I've gotten. Some lecturers add more but many don't. What you can do when you get feedback like that is to go over the work, think about what they want you to do, make a note, then go to the office hour to discuss in more detail.

The scale thing is probably worth discussing in an office hour that you were told one thing in the lab session but something else in the feedback (although I'd go with what the feedback states for future reference). Possibly could've been phrased better but in the grand scheme of things I think that's a minor issue relative to the other matters. Out of curiosity, did you just email about the one query a single time?

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