Students

UofT Students Are Too Apathetic

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  • Dec 10th, 2011 4:46 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 11, 2009
119 posts
37 upvotes
Toronto

UofT Students Are Too Apathetic

In my years at UofT (doing a Computer Science Major) I have noticed that students here are mostly apathetic towards their grades, and unfair treatment from their professors, course coordinators, lecturers etc. This is especially the case for Math, Science, and Computer Science courses. They will just bend over and take unfair, overly-difficult tests and assignments without ever telling their course coordinator that they have a problem with it.

For example, for one of my math courses we just had our midterm a few weeks back and the marks came up last week. As expected the average was very low, and the coordinator didn't even post the average on Blackboard (the course website). From talking to various TAs who marked the test, most of us gauged that the average was below 50%. Regardless of this fact the prof is saying that no adjustments will be done to the marks because in their eyes it was 'an easy test'.

The test we had barely tested us on course material, but rather just knowing little tricks, and little bits of general calculus knowledge that only a math grad student would readily know. It was a hit below the belt because if you didn't know those little tips or tricks, you could barely do the rest of the test.

Most people in the class were upset with the difficulty of the test so some of us tried to rally others to talk to the professor, and send emails stating that the test was way too difficult. However, we were shocked at the responses we got. They were mostly along the lines of, "yeah the test was unfair, but we shouldn't complain" or "yeah I failed miserably but I should have just studied harder". A few of us did go forward to the prof but all he said was that not many people complained so he assumed they were happy with their results.

I have seen this played out in a lot of my classes. I have friends in Waterloo, Western, McGill, and Ryerson and they tell me about how when similar things happen in their classes there is a much bigger uproar. Marks are adjusted to be higher in those places, but at UofT I have hardly seen significant adjustments made. I think the students at UofT like to get low marks just as much as Professors there like to give them out.

A lot of friends at UofT tell me the same thing, but are there others who have noticed this as well?
107 replies
Newbie
Nov 10, 2009
27 posts
3 upvotes
you must go to downtown campus or something because most math profs I've had so far at Scarborough campus were willing to make some sort of deal with students to help boost our marks up, whether it be bell-curve, shifting weight or whatever.
Banned
Jul 8, 2009
4006 posts
126 upvotes
monsoon66 wrote: In my years at UofT (doing a Computer Science Major) I have noticed that students here are mostly apathetic towards their grades, and unfair treatment from their professors, course coordinators, lecturers etc. This is especially the case for Math, Science, and Computer Science courses. They will just bend over and take unfair, overly-difficult tests and assignments without ever telling their course coordinator that they have a problem with it.

For example, for one of my math courses we just had our midterm a few weeks back and the marks came up last week. As expected the average was very low, and the coordinator didn't even post the average on Blackboard (the course website). From talking to various TAs who marked the test, most of us gauged that the average was below 50%. Regardless of this fact the prof is saying that no adjustments will be done to the marks because in their eyes it was 'an easy test'.

The test we had barely tested us on course material, but rather just knowing little tricks, and little bits of general calculus knowledge that only a math grad student would readily know. It was a hit below the belt because if you didn't know those little tips or tricks, you could barely do the rest of the test.

Most people in the class were upset with the difficulty of the test so some of us tried to rally others to talk to the professor, and send emails stating that the test was way too difficult. However, we were shocked at the responses we got. They were mostly along the lines of, "yeah the test was unfair, but we shouldn't complain" or "yeah I failed miserably but I should have just studied harder". A few of us did go forward to the prof but all he said was that not many people complained so he assumed they were happy with their results.

I have seen this played out in a lot of my classes. I have friends in Waterloo, Western, McGill, and Ryerson and they tell me about how when similar things happen in their classes there is a much bigger uproar. Marks are adjusted to be higher in those places, but at UofT I have hardly seen significant adjustments made. I think the students at UofT like to get low marks just as much as Professors there like to give them out.

A lot of friends at UofT tell me the same thing, but are there others who have noticed this as well?

Strange how so few students don't give a rats butt about their university grade when it is by far the most important grade of your life, it will determine if you can go to grad school, get a good job, but no one seems to care. I guess it is more a fear of reprisal by the professor if they complain, or being to busy. I guess, you could try to organize more complaints from your class, and get everyone with poor grades to email the professor, and email his boss and make a big stink and file lots of reports against him and make his life difficult for revenge. But short of doing that complaining won't be effective because they will label you as being the only one disgruntled

I find universities are very corurpt and bias against students, and have no interest in ever going back to one. Especially in Canada.
Deal Addict
May 3, 2008
4442 posts
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I agree with you but the problem is that every class is like that. The averages are too low (especially considering these are the better students from their respective high schools). The averages of all classes are low so I guess they feel that there's no point in getting one fixed because the mess is still there in other classes. It's an unfortunate university policy and there isn't any type of student organization to fix this.

I wish the student union would address this issue more than the other crap they like to do (organizing anti-bottled water or whatever). Speaking for UTM, the lack of organization and student involvement isn't very good. Our newspaper and website/forum kinda shows that. It's just the culture of the school, if you know anyone then just advise them not to go there or transfer if it's not too late because there are plenty of alternatives in the GTA.
Member
Dec 19, 2010
274 posts
21 upvotes
I believe it has to do with the mentality that attending such a prestigous university as UofT should incur some sort of penalty on students' grades such as making the tests as tedious as possible. Both the profs and the students thinks it's just the price you have to pay to study at UofT. It's completely BS. I especially despise the policy of maintaining a low class average when the class size exceeds a certain amount through whatever means possible. Back when I was taking a third year physiology course with a class size about 250 or so, the prof deemed the average too high and made a downward linear adjustment of 4% to everyone's marks that resulted in a class average of C+. Of course, the class filed a petition but til now, there was no resolve.
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Apr 21, 2007
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On a similiar topic...

I noticed that UofT is indeed more ... 'serious'? if thats the word I should even be using. I was at the convocation ceremony for my GF last week at the St George convocation hall. When I graduated at Ryerson, when the names of people were called up, everyone was cheering, making funny statements yelling them out, or just being upbeat and rowdy! Never a dull moment. However, I did notice at the UofT one, it was veryquiet... no cheering or crazy moments, just small little applauds that could barely pass as acceptable.

Why so serious??!??! That takes away the fun!
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Jan 1, 2007
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tnguyenviet wrote: On a similiar topic...

I noticed that UofT is indeed more ... 'serious'? if thats the word I should even be using. I was at the convocation ceremony for my GF last week at the St George convocation hall. When I graduated at Ryerson, when the names of people were called up, everyone was cheering, making funny statements yelling them out, or just being upbeat and rowdy! Never a dull moment. However, I did notice at the UofT one, it was veryquiet... no cheering or crazy moments, just small little applauds that could barely pass as acceptable.

Why so serious??!??! That takes away the fun!

Lol only uncivilized/uneducated ppl make noise when someone gets their degree.
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Sep 22, 2009
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CavemanJ wrote: I believe it has to do with the mentality that attending such a prestigous university as UofT should incur some sort of penalty on students' grades such as making the tests as tedious as possible. Both the profs and the students thinks it's just the price you have to pay to study at UofT. It's completely BS.

That's a pretty absurd mentality since there are plenty of much more prestigious universities in the world where the students don't incur a "penalty" in their grades for being high achievers or for attending a top institution.
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Jun 20, 2010
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My guess is that they figure they aren't going to change the system, and they're most likely right. I went through the UofT St.George system and they hold on to marks like grim death there. Besides a hand full of upper year electives the profs were 100% anal-retentive about keeping the averages low. I'm pretty sure it's part of the school policy for large classes. If your top priority is high marks, I suggest staying away from UofT St.George because it can't get any worse.
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Dec 11, 2007
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jungeon wrote: Strange how so few students don't give a rats butt about their university grade when it is by far the most important grade of your life, it will determine if you can go to grad school, get a good job, but no one seems to care.

Are you sure about that? I've also heard the complete opposite (that grades don't always matter or only play a minimal role).

I did some googling and read personal accounts of recent grads who never had to show their transcripts.

I'm sure it varies between employers but to say GPA will always be a deciding factor is unreasonable in my opinion.
Member
Sep 13, 2011
364 posts
64 upvotes
I realized quite a while ago that this institution couldn't careless about their students and in fact, prefer if the majority of students fail and drop out. Isn't this the whole "weeding out" that UofT is famous for? As for me, I got used to it in my math classes. For example, in linear algebra, it is very difficult to find official help. The professor is very unhelpful and condescending in his office hours, there's only like 1 TA in the math aid centre to help 10 people, and there's really not much help you can get without paying extra for private tutoring. However, I do feel his test was quite fair and if I just studied out of past tests rather than studying purely out of the problem sets, I could have done much better.
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Feb 14, 2006
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CavemanJ wrote: I believe it has to do with the mentality that attending such a prestigous university as UofT should incur some sort of penalty on students' grades such as making the tests as tedious as possible. Both the profs and the students thinks it's just the price you have to pay to study at UofT. It's completely BS. I especially despise the policy of maintaining a low class average when the class size exceeds a certain amount through whatever means possible. Back when I was taking a third year physiology course with a class size about 250 or so, the prof deemed the average too high and made a downward linear adjustment of 4% to everyone's marks that resulted in a class average of C+. Of course, the class filed a petition but til now, there was no resolve.

Lol I remember that, it was pure ********.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 11, 2009
119 posts
37 upvotes
Toronto
It's a little comforting reading these posts because I'm glad there are others who feel the same way about UTSG. From my original rant I didn't want to give the impression that people should complain whenever they don't get their way, but I felt that people should speak up sometimes instead of accepting things as the status quo.

The frequent downward adjustments at UofT are a joke. I don't see what they gain out of keeping the averages low because weeding out should only occur in first year, but they keep it going all the way through. I learned the hard way about that in first year, when i calculated my mark for a first year computer science course and realized it was much lower than it should have been.

I also agree with that previous poster who said that help is often hard to find. I know when i have tried to talk to profs they say things like, "oh well if you don't know that you probably shouldn't be taking this course".

Anyway the most annoying part about this latest episode is that the prof keeps insisting that our test was easy when it clearly was not, and is shifting the blame on us for not studying hard enough. I guess that's just life in UT and luckily I don't have much longer there.
Banned
Jul 8, 2009
4006 posts
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monsoon66 wrote: It's a little comforting reading these posts because I'm glad there are others who feel the same way about UTSG. From my original rant I didn't want to give the impression that people should complain whenever they don't get their way, but I felt that people should speak up sometimes instead of accepting things as the status quo.

The frequent downward adjustments at UofT are a joke. I don't see what they gain out of keeping the averages low because weeding out should only occur in first year, but they keep it going all the way through. I learned the hard way about that in first year, when i calculated my mark for a first year computer science course and realized it was much lower than it should have been.

I also agree with that previous poster who said that help is often hard to find. I know when i have tried to talk to profs they say things like, "oh well if you don't know that you probably shouldn't be taking this course".

Anyway the most annoying part about this latest episode is that the prof keeps insisting that our test was easy when it clearly was not, and is shifting the blame on us for not studying hard enough. I guess that's just life in UT and luckily I don't have much longer there.

Actually I understand why they do this. They try to overload the students with work, so that they do not have time to protest/investigate all the corrupt practices of administration and professors, its very simple.

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