Disclaimer: This post is in no way directed towards Teacher Malou or any of the EDS professors.
Let me just digress here a little and rant. My professor is obnoxious. He is a pompous and abrasive jerk who chastises his students, bullies them and whose idea of a feedback is a sharp, stern criticism that points out our failings and inadequacies. He is pretty fond of pointing out our “lack of common sense”—something, he says, that is inherent and not lacking among UP students. For the most part, he’s been snappy, impatient and quick to lash out on us for even the littlest post in the discussion forum that he feels is misplaced, irrelevant and beyond the scope of the course or the module but the student feels the need to raise for the sake of learning or stock knowledge.
Most recently, he berated the class for not meeting his expectations when we turned in our second assignment. When he gave the announcement about it, I knew it was bound to be technical as we were going to be discussing and explaining the signal flow for the equipment that we’ll be using for our final project. I must admit I felt overwhelmed when it was given, but I went on, sucked it up and did my best. I consulted with him I the support forum and tried my very best to not let his snide comments about my feelings of inadequacy, apprehensions and lack of multimedia and technical skills get to me. A couple of days prior to Assignment 2 deadline, he posted a template of what he was requiring from us. It was his own work which he submitted some years back for a multimedia course in Coursera which happened to receive a perfect score from 5 peers. The challenge was to outdo him. There were some minor flaws, he said, which he could fix in an hour so we should be able to do it in 2 days. Challenge accepted! The eager-to-please student in me jumped at that rare chance to compare my draft to the model and proceeded on tweaking mine to replicate it as closely as I could. I gobbled it up like no one’s business, typed away and made revisions in maniacal frenzy, clicked ‘Submit’ and hoped for the best.
Feedback wasn’t too slow in coming this time. And as always, he wasn’t one to mince words. He made it known in no uncertain terms that he was most disappointed with our output, and even sullenly titled his post ‘OMFG!’. Suffice it to say that his verbal assaults did not stop with the title. The minor flaws he mentioned in his template have, at this point, been magnified into major flaws. I now seriously think he’s deliberately provided us with misleading information to set us up for failure.
I never started the said course with hopes of earning a stellar grade. I knew what I was getting into and realized I was way out of my comfort zone. One look at my classmates’ profiles told me that I was no match against their expertise, background and knowledge; I am a fish out of water. I did not and have not let that deter me. I’m determined to learn (grades be damned!) and make the most out of this experience. I’ve been in the corporate world long enough to understand that incredibly precise 1.00 grades don’t matter in the real world and most certainly will not make me eligible for a higher salary more than a grade of 3.00 would.
But I cannot help but compare BES professors with non-BES professors. This experience has only served to affirm my belief that this profession is an art and a skill at the same time and that knowledge is but a small part of the equation. Even with this traumatic OU experience, I am not regretting anything. It’s a tough journey, and it definitely is not for the faint-hearted. If anything, this perilous ride has humanized me.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all that hard work, those sleepless nights and struggles in multimedia hell don’t come to naught. I do feel like my professor stands to learn a thing or two about the teaching-learning process. I don’t discount the fact that my output for Assignment 2 is nowhere near that exceptional mark, but I have done my best. To assuage this nagging concern of possibly getting a failing mark because of my inability to match my professor’s impossibly high standards and unpredictable whims, I checked my progress and performance against the course objectives. Putting my already injured self-esteem aside, I think I’ve made some progress. I now have some understanding of the basics of sound and how it works. I have somehow developed baseline critical skills. I now can tell the difference between an on-axis and an off-axis, compare bit rates and audio quality. It’s one of the things I can be most proud of in this course. I started out with zero critical listening skills with regard to audio. My posts to discussion forums took twice as long to formulate because I could not detect and pick up these subtle differences in sound as well as my other classmates could. But hey, I’ve made some progress. However minimal they are, it’s still an improvement compared to where I was when I started. I can now operate and do audio editing on Audacity—a thing I had not even heard of when I started the course. So based on these, I don’t think a should merit a failing grade. But then again, I’m just a lowly student whom he wouldn’t mind lambasting for his own personal, twisted pleasure. I rest my case.