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Old 09-03-2009, 06:53 AM
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 3,295,528 times
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Would you attend lectures if you couldn't understand a professor because of his mumbling and VERY thick accent? I'm a grad student and only for the second time during my college years am taking a class where I've run into this problem. His syllabus noted that attendance is not recorded and does not affect final grade. So I'm very tempted to only attend every other week..
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:51 AM
Location: Texas
8,668 posts, read 19,912,286 times
Reputation: 21277
If possible, I would be tempted to drop the class if that was permitted and take at another time. Actually, that's what I did many moons ago when I was in college. I got an economics professor who had suffered a stroke, and his speech was affected greatly by it. Though I sympathized with the man, I just didn't feel like I could understand him well enough to do well in that course (which was rumored to be a bit difficult anyway.) So I dropped the course and picked it up later under someone else.

All that said, sometimes we just have endure and play the hand we're dealt so to speak. But again, I think it IS very important to at least understand your professor if you can make that happen.
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:03 PM
Location: ATL suburb
1,366 posts, read 3,603,242 times
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Here's your problem: you're a grad student. Depending on the size of your dept, he may be the ONLY professor who teaches that course, in which case, you'll have to suffer through. Especially if it's a course that's only offered once a year and you need it. Also, while attendance isn't recorded, it may make the difference between an A and B if you're on the bubble (your average is an 89, not 90). Professors are more likely to give you the extra point if it APPEARS that you work hard and attend class. (Yes, I'm a professor).

Here's what I did in grad school for a similar situation: I came to class, but I read the textbook and took notes (in other words, class time was my study time), while half paying attention to the professor. Every now and then, he/she may say something important, like "make sure to study this figure/equation". That way, the professor thinks you're working hard and paying attention, you (maybe) get hints on what to really focus on, and the professor can associate a name with a face.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:03 PM
1,367 posts, read 4,972,698 times
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I would think as a grad student you would be comfortable enough to talk to him about your trouble understanding, or to ask your adviser how to handle it if you are afraid of offending him. Perhaps he could slow down, rely more on Powerpoint, or something along those lines.

Otherwise, I think the other poster's advice about attending is good. I've never had attendance taken in a graduate level class. Once you get to that level it is assumed you will attend most, if not all, class sessions; I wouldn't consider skipping class to be a valid option. If nothing else it makes you look irresponsible in the eyes of the people that will soon be your peers and will write letters of recommendation, possibly publish with, etc.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:46 PM
25,165 posts, read 47,301,031 times
Reputation: 6942
Find a different graduate program to be in.
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