My respect for professors has plummetted

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Brian Forum Pro • Posts: 21,580
Re: My respect for professors has plummetted

glasswave wrote:

Brian wrote:

My son just started college, going into Mechanical Engineering.

First semester has calculus and physics. Just basic classes. beginning physics and calculus hasn't changed for 100 years or more. I could pull out my text books from 25 years ago and they would be perfectly adequate.

Don't get me wrong, if a professor writes a book that adds something to the field of study or shows new insight, then I can see the professor requiring a new book and making some money on it. But beginning physics and calculus...... give me a break.. We are talking higher education mafia.

How much do you think beginning physics books and calculus books are running these days?

You don't really say what you are so taken aback by. Are his profs both specifically specifying books that they have written? Are you asserting that a prof should not be able to specify his own book? Are you saying that by using older books that the cost would be cheaper? How much cheaper?

Actually, the way in which we teach beginning physics and calc has changed dramatically over the last hundred years. Perhaps the prof has decided that by using his own book that fits his methods and feels that the class is better because of it. Usually this is why new beginning textbooks are written, in that a prof finds a way of teaching an old topic that gives consistently better results. Then they write a book design to fit that new curriculum.

You can blame a lot of things for the soaring cost of education, but the idea that profs have jack up the prices thru' some mafia like scam of speccing their own books, should not really be one of them.

Maybe books have changed from a hundred years ago, but looking at my sons calc and physics books, they have changed little in the past 25 years.

The price certainly has though.  I paid around $50 for my physics and calc books.  my son is getting soaked for $200 for the calc and $220 for the physics book.  Tuition at the school since I went is up 80% but books are up 200+%.  You can't tell me it cost that much more to publish a book.  A book that basically hasn't changed in 50 years.

So yes, I blame it on the professors.  A basic physics book should be good for at least 5 years.  Maybe update the problems and examples from time to time.

you say because a newer book fits his methods.  I don't see it.  I thumbed through my daughters precalc book.  Didn't really see anything different in it than when I took it many moons ago.

It is a way for the professors to make additional income as if they don't already make pretty good loot as it is.

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