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Old 02-11-09, 06:47 PM
keladry keladry is offline
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Group Work Problems

I'm taking an intro physics class/lab.

I love physics, and I know a fair bit about it. I like the professor. I can't stand the class.

The way it's structured is such that 99% of class time is devoted to group work, by which I mean small groups (not of our choosing). The professor writes a numbers that correspond to exercises in the back of the book on the board, and as a group we answer them and turn in a page of answers. Ignoring the fact that it makes being in class pointless (I can work the exercises on my own time thankyouverymuch), I find the group work excruciating.

I do my reading and understand the questions and am able to answer each one. The same cannot be said for others in the group. What's more, the professor insists that one handwritten answer sheet be turned in for the entire group. I type *everything.* I have extreme difficulty focusing when I write by hand because it takes So Long. I'm a kinesthetic learner, and taking notes/typing out answers/etc. is the best way I know to understand something, work out a problem, etc. Because I can't write by hand (or, rather, can't keep up with my thoughts or produce a piece of writing that's legible), I end up dictating the correct answer to another group member, which turns it into a slow and agonizing process. What's more, because I understand what's being asked and my group doesn't, I have to stop to explain *everything* and I lose my train of thought.

I don't mind actually doing the work, as I said, I like physics. My issue is the conditions under which the work takes place. I've spoken with my professor and asked to work alone. He said that to let me work alone would throw off the numbers of the group and disadvantage the other students as they would then be down a person. He won't accept a typed-and-e-mailed set of answers because "well, all of the information's on the internet and if you're using a computer there's no way for me to know that you haven't just ripped answers from Google." This was after I stopped by his office to discuss the accommodations allowed me by the disabilities coordinator, one of which is the use of a computer for exams.

The professor posts the questions online after class and we can turn them in later at a 10% penalty. Given the weight group work is given, it's not enough of a difference to change a grade. A few times, I've simply not gone or cut out early and done the work on my own later and am at the point where that seems like a better option than continuing to sit in class wanting to tear my hair out. (In fact, I should be sitting in class right now but just couldn't force myself to stay).

It's made worse by the fact that the class meets for over three hours at a time on Mondays and almost three hours on Wednesdays and he doesn't give us a break, which means that by the end of class I'm frustrated, unfocused, and about ready to snap at anyone or anything who dares to speak to me. I go straight from physics to another class that I actually *like* but it means that I'm in class without a break for almost five hours on Mondays, almost four hours on Wednesdays. It doesn't matter how well Adderall works for me, that's still a long time to maintain focus without the opportunity to get up, stretch, and let myself be unfocused, as it were. When I chose my schedule, I had assumed that the physics class would operate like every other class on campus that means for over 75 minutes and include a 15 minute break. Finding that it doesn't has made my entire day more difficult, and I'm at the point where I'm dreading going to that class at all.

Does anyone have any suggestions for making the long class runtime combined with massive quantities of small group work a bit more bearable? I think I could handle one or the other, but trying to manage the group work over the course of 3+ hours is more than I can bear.
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