Class fill up the full time?

In this thread “I don’t want to go to class tonight”, Lsura comments:

OK, so I teach an MBA class, that’s supposed to run from 6:00 PM to 9:15 PM. We have about a 15 minute break, and I always end by 9:00 and sometimes before 9:00.

I figure, the students are employed, they work all day, and then have to sit for three hours listening to the same person (mixture of lecture and discussion) speaking. It’s gotta be boring. I’m up at the front, I can walk around and wave my arms, they have to sit still. So I try to cover the material faster.

One of my colleagues said he always goes to the schedule end of class. So, my question: Do you think I’m “cheating” them out of the full time? That they’re not getting their “money’s worth”?

I taught as a grad student (and a bit as an undergrad) and I always tried to fill the time alloted. I agree that it’s what the customer is paying for.

If I ran out of teaching material with some time left I generally through the time open for questions and discussions in case I hadn’t been completely clear. If the questions ran out before the minutes did I cut them loose then.

Actually, the undergrads I taught caught onto this faster than the grad students.

Curious, Captain.

I would only feel cheated if you didn’t cover the material fully or allow time for questions and interaction between students and professor. I don’t particularly care how much time the instructor takes, I only care about the quality of the learning experience. Interaction and discussion helps to cement the comprehension for me. Being talked at for three hours would numb my brain.

And one 15 minute break for a three hour class? I would have a serious problem with that - I can’t sit still and focus that long, and need regular potty breaks. I have a once a week class that is four hours long, and we get a 10 minute break each hour. Very humane for us old fartesses.

And I work 40+ hours/week plus part time grad school, so I guess I would fit in your student population profile.

In my undergraduate classes, where the cost of school was just a vague concept to be dealt with later, it was great when a class ended early.

In the credits I pay for now, the money is a bit more straight-out-of-the-pocket, and I better get my full time for it.

There are some classes I have to take that I care nothing about. I don’t mind if these end early. I wouldn’t take them to begin with, if I had a choice.

There are others that are in my major, or I am interested in, or prepare me for a future class. These are the ones that I want my moneys worth out of.

I had an engineering class last spring that met twice a week, for three hours each meeting. We never got one break the whole semester. Eventually, students started getting up and leaving for a few minutes on their own.

I’m an undergrad, so maybe I’m one of those unsophisticated kids. I like it when SOMETIMES the TA or Professor cuts out a little early. Like a surprise. If it happens all the time, I’d expect it, and maybe feel like my tuition wasn’t being well spent. But getting out of class 15 minutes early once or twice makes my day.

However, let me add that I’m late twenties, have a job, etc.

If the students are Customers, and since

  1. “the customer is always right”
  2. “if the customer is wrong, see rule 1”

the students should be allowed to come and go as they want as long as they’re satisfied. Obviously, that’s not how it happens.

Even, if the university wants to call students “customers”, I think the actual relationship has a different dynamic and should be treated as such.

I always tell my students, “If we don’t have something to do that’s important/useful, then you’re outta here early.” What’s the point of saying “Oh, we have twenty minutes left. Take out a piece of paper and write…”? That only leads to crappy writing, which is a waste of their time to write and of my time to read. I’d rather cut 'em loose early.

I’m with Manatee. Giving them something substantial for two hours is far preferable to giving them busywork for an additional hour and then letting them fall asleep due to sheer boredom when they finish early.

I had a class tonight that is technically scheduled from 7 to 9:50pm, but since we don’t take a break, the latest we get out is 9:25. We happened to finish by 9 tonight; everyone had done their stuff and we’re right on schedule. So we all left. Nobody appears to be feeling cheated and I’ve never heard a complaint in 12 years.

I had a class that was scheduled to run from 7:30 to 10, three nights a week, at a community college. It usually let out around 8:30, and I was thankful, because the hour when I was in class was incredibly boring and once class was over I could go into the computer lab and take advantage of the T1 line.

However, I’m under 18 years old and a full-time high school student, and because of that I get community college classes free. So I really couldn’t have felt cheated if I tried.

All my classes this semester are 2-3 hours, and back to back. If one of my Profs offers to let us out 15 mins early in lieu of a 15 minute break in the middle of class, I’m a very happy camper. mabye I’l lfeel different when I reach grad school…

I agree that two hours of substantial content is preferable to 2 hours of content and an hour of busywork just to fill up the alotted time.

I’m a grad student (currently not working). This semester I have one class at almost three hours and one at 1h15 minutes. The longer ones meet once a week, the short one meets twice. The longer ones usually have about a 15 minute break, the shorter one runs all the way through.

These are substantial content classes, all of them. And in all of them, there is lecture or class discussion the entire time. I’ve never left one thinking that it was a waste of time. If I felt that one was, I’d either not be taking it or I’d never show up.

When I studied at Leeds in England, I had two lecture classes in 19th century English history. One of the two lecturers always finished early, but his style of teaching was exciting and he always left you with at least two or three interesting points to ponder. The other lecturer took his whole hour, but droned on like Alan Greenspan on downers.

Who do you think I felt was “getting my money’s worth” from? It’s content, not time, that’s of value.

Hey, my first post - go easy on me.

I think with everyone being so incredibly busy these days an unexpected few free minutes are a God send. I would, however, stay until the last student leaves and use the time to answer any questions or just engage in general chatter with the students inclined to do so. I remember wanting just a little more in depth discussion of a couple of topics in college but the professors were so unapproachable and busy. Who knows, you just may find someone who has a real passion for the subject and their inquisitiveness makes it all worth while for you.

Another chiming in on the side of feeling I got my ‘money’s worth’ (or more accurately, my financial aid allotment’s worth) so long as the content of the course is there. (I’m mid-20’s, full time student, part time worker.)

My personal preference: if the prof covers what they wanted/needed to be covered and they aren’t ready to move on to the next topic (don’t have notes with them, etc.), then open the floor to questions and let those who don’t have an interest in staying leave. That way, those who need or want a bit of extra help can get it easily, and those who want (or need) to scoot out a bit early can without worryng that they’re missing a critical part of the lecture.

Now, if more students would actually take advantage of the Q/A time…

<< Rrrrow. >>

It’s obviously not a question of content vs busywork. There’s lots of additional substantive content that I could add. I could certainly start the next week’s topic, for that matter. It’s a question of their attention span and mine.

I actually tried the Q/A approach, but no one stayed… which I took as a good indication that no one felt they were losing time they’d paid for.

Students as customers is an interesting but flawed analogy. A student who doesn’t attend class or take the exams or hand in the papers is not going to get a passing grade.

Thanks for the input!