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Old 03-06-2009, 10:08 AM
Gestalt Gestalt is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,634
Professors: How would you feel about such a request?

Some background: So, I'm taking a calc-based Physics II class at a small, liberal arts school that's very teaching-oriented (I think my professor and I sent 8 emails back and forth yesterday about a homework problem, and there are maybe 40 students in the class total, divided into two sections). I'm a postbac student and this is the only class I'm taking there; I'm taking it to fulfill my premed requirements.

Anyways, so, atomic decay is not on the syllabus for the class. Atomic decay is tested on the MCAT, and I feel that a large chunk of the people in the course are probably only taking it because it's a premed requirement and covered on the MCAT, as is true of any intro physics classes at any university. Also, I remember being confused about this topic the first time I took the MCAT, and I feel like I could understand the topic a lot better if I learned it in a classroom setting.

So I'm thinking of emailing the prof just suggesting that she consider squeaking that topic in, particularly as it might be useful to many people in the class who are not taking advanced physics but will probably need to know this information for the MCAT.

While I think this is a reasonable thing to mention to the prof, I'm worried that it might sound presumptuous of me to "tell" her what she should be teaching (although this is really meant more as a suggestion). Furthermore, I know how annoyed many basic science profs get with the premeds in their classes who don't give a damn about the material and are only there to make the highest grade possible to inflate their gpa, and to learn what they need for the MCAT, and I wouldn't want to irritate her by bringing up the possibility that many people in the class are just there to fulfill a requirement. And finally, the curriculum is really more waves-optics-electricity and magnetism, and atomic decay doesn't really fit with that "theme."

So professors, how would you feel about such an email? Also, don't know if it makes a difference, but I like to think I'm generally a good student . . . go to office hours, show up to class on time, sit in front, do the homework well before it's due so I'm not emailing her at midnight with questions, etc. The professor is fairly young as well; I would think early-30s, and this is her second year teaching.


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