We the students of Dr. Rhonda Trust-Schwartz's COM 321 class believe the following: 1) Dr. Trust does not teach us. She assigns us textbook chapters to read outside of class that need to be the focus of her lectures. Rather than dedicating the necessary class time to these textbook readings, Dr. Trust has, at most, spent 10 minutes during 4 classes discussing them. Another critical component of the COM 321 is the statistical computation program, SPSS. Dr. Trust admitted to having no prior familiarity with SPSS before she began teaching at Boston University, Instead of teaching us SPSS herself, Dr. Trust has directed us to a pre-existing, online SPSS tutorial and expects us to learn this complex program mostly on our own. We believe this reflects her lack of the familiarity with SPSS that is to successfully teach us how to us it. In addition, Dr. Trust uses most classes as opportunities to meet with groups individually and frequently expresses her dissatisfaction with the quality of their work. While Dr.Trust does this, other groups sit idly and wait for her; sometimes, she doesn't even talk to all the groups. We believe Dr. Trust's dissatisfaction is directly correlated with her lack of experience with SPSS and her leaving us to learn the material mostly on our own. 2) Dr. Trust's grading is arbitrary, unfair, and in some instances, inaccurate. She told one group that their work was "good," and just needed a few minor changes. The grade she awarded this group's work was 15/30. Her feedback on assignments is either completely illegible or is not written on the assignment at all, When a group does not know what needs improvement in order to achieve a satisfactory grade, it is nearly impossible for it to improve its work as the professor expects. 3) Given the absence and lack of clear feedback, the number of improvements expected in group work, and the high quantity of low grades students are receiving we believe Dr. Trust's availability outside of class is minimal. 4) We understand that we have raised this issue late in the semester. In order to resolve the issue at hand, we present two possible solutions that, given the circumstances, we believe are appropriate: 1) A grading curve for students of Dr. Trust, so those who have received unnecessarily low grades are able to receive a final grade that accurately reflects their effort and quality of work. 2) Not having a final exam for Dr. Trust's classes, since her lack of teaching does not allow for students to demonstrate knowledge of the course material. Regardless of the resolution we reach with the administration, we ask that the Mass Communication Department conduct an investigation of Dr. Trust's teaching methods and grading rationale. If the Department's findings are aligned with our complaints, it is our sincere hope that they change what they see fit in order to prevent such circumstances in the future.
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