Tuesday, October 07, 2003

In Uncertain Inference today, the professor was completely unable to give an example of what he was talking about. He tried two or three times, and every time he stopped halfway through and gave up because he was using a formula incorrectly or a variable was getting used twice or something. So we never got an example of the stuff being "taught". Now, I can handle incompetent teachers. You just pay a little more attention or get to know the TAs better or - best of all - don't worry about lectures and study straight from the textbook. In fact, sometimes an incompetent teacher isn't even a bad thing - I've had one or two that knew they weren't doing a great job, so they cut us some slack. However, there's one thing I haven't figured out. What the fuck do you do about an incompetent teacher who is also an incompetent writer-of-the-class-textbook???

I'm not kidding here. On every homework assignment, I spend about half an hour just trying to figure out from context the meanings of the new terms and notation used. On the homework due today there were three problems, and one of them was entirely dependent on a term that had never been explained anywhere (before class today, of course). Just for example.

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