education

the inspiring professor: I wanna be

Believe it or not, in live we need someone we wanna to be, someone we admire him/her, someone who continuously  inspiring and encouraging us a long life.

As new lecturer, sometime I do need a model.  I mean ideal model, like whom i supposed to be. Unfortunately, since my department is one of the newest departments in my University I do not find it. So, sometime I feel my career in this department is directionless. I know there are other lecturers in this department.However, I do not find one of them is the “real” lecturer. I knew them, just do it as a profession and for making money. I do hope, I was wrong. What I mean “real” lecturer here is the one who fully dedicates his/her life for educating student, nurturing  science and technology, and finally giving something beneficial for public.

Till, one day I met a Professor in my University. He is still young professor. But, I find him as perfect model for what I call “real” lecturer. He inspired me to keep on learning,researching,and writing. Thank a lot for him.

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Art Performer VS IT Professional

At my campus, in the main campus building garden, stand up a colorful stage. At this stage, nearly in each single afternoon, in each single business day, there will be held students’ performance. On the stage some of students were performing something like Ballet (Sendra tari, Bahasa Indonesia), theater, dance, yell or something else like that. equipping loud speaker, and loud music, make the stage glorious and crowded. The audiences were laughing and clapping when the performers were funny or doing fooling actions. Finally, in the end of their performance, some of lecturers as jury panel judge and comment their performance. If the students were lucky,  “all out” in their performance, and the most important thing is able to make lecturers happy, they will get Full Mark (100) for their performance means mark for the course they taken. Else, lecturer will give “spicy” comment, and absolutely they will get lower mark.

FYI, this glorious and crowded stages was happening, while other classes nearby the stage were ongoing. To tell you the truth, I always accidentally stop my office job when the stage is on going. I can not concentrate on my work disturbed by loud speaker and loud music, and I am not the only one, my other office mates as well. I can not imagine, how the students and lecturers in the class. I guarantee they can not focus on their class. My experience shows that it is very-very hard to handle class, when the stage is on going.

Can you guest what department my campus is?

Did you think it is Art and Theater department campus? if so, you are in a big mistake. It is truly happen in Information System Department, in Faculty of Information Technology Campus in which the students will graduate with Bachelor Degree in Computer Science (Sarjana Komputer, Bahasa Indonesia). Stage is intensively used as medium of learning in the odd semester for Interpersonal Skill  course ( 4 credit hours). In the even semester as well, stage is also intensively used for Information Technology Project Management course (6 credit hours) and Information Technology based Entrepreneurship course ( 3 credit hours ). Three absolutely different courses, but with the same approach i.e. on the stage.  Three absoultely different courses, but with the same lecturer. Coincidently, the lecturer is HOD.  Imagine ! there are at least 13 credit hours lecture on the theater stage, and there only 7 credit hours (algorithm and programming 1, and algorithm and programming 2) lecture on programming stage. I am sure, it is also not impossible there will be more credit hours lecture on the stage with the same ‘you know who’ lecturer.

In this note, I do not manage to blame anyone. I do not managed to blame any course or anything, I just want to write what in my head.  However, I think it is not wise, to judge something without knowing the reasons. Because, nothing happens without a reason, isn’t it? Let us see:

(1) Interpersonal Skill (4 credit hours)

The objective of this course is upon completion of this course  students have excellent ability in  team work, communicating, leadership, intra/inter personal, learning, writing, presentation and critical thinking skill.  To attain those objectives, most of  learning method is outdoor class and on the stage performance.

(2) Information Technology Project Management (6 credit hours)

The objective is upon completion of this course students have ability in managing IT Project including understanding project concept and framework, project planning, executing and handling IT Project.To attain some of these objectives  students are required to perform ballet. It is considered to be the most effective way to teach students how to develop solid team.

(3) Information Technology based Entrepreneurship ( 3 credit hours)

The objective  is upon completion of this course students dare and have ability to initiate, execute, spread, communicate, promote their IT based business. Since, entrepreneur must be passionate and has strong spirit and vitality, students are required to yell up and perform on the stage.

The question is:

Despite of whether this on the stage class disturbed other classes or not, is it (on the stage class method) the most effective and smartest method for above mentioned courses?

Regarding, this matter I am in line with what our Vice Dean 1 said.  Vice Dean 1 of Information Technology Faculty, one day, tell us:

“I am afraid, someday, exactly, the real competency alumni of Information System department is as art performer, or outbound trainer, neither business analyst, nor IT manager, nor IT Developer”.

He added this course, Interpersonal Skill, should not be a course, even  a course that cover 4 credits hours such as in Information System Department. A course with outbound model in each single week like this in his opinion is not effective, it will make students bored and finally can not grasped the essence of this course.

Lately, my campus concern in how to enhance student’s soft skill, and my HOD articulate it by forcing Interpersonal Skill course. Is it effective way to nurture student soft skill? In advance, I am one of those  strongly agree with this course. But, finally I don’t think so. I think it is not effective way to force students’ soft skill in 4 credit hours in one semester. The result is most of students are only mark oriented and did not get the soft skills expected. In my humble opinion soft skill can only be attained by long processes. This long process can be attain by students by joining extracurricular student activities, and student organization in which they are free to set their own way not disturbed by their damned lecturer. Sometime, a good education is education that free students. Actually, it has been responded by campus. Students can graduate from this campus, if only they can accumulate 1000 credit hours from extracurricular activities.

Distinctive  and unique methods/approaches  are good okay, but how to make sure that those new methods/approaches are running well? Can it be measured by measurement that set up by ourselves. I don’t think so. However, we can not judge some one in the process, right? We don’t know whether on the stage approaches that are boasted by our HOD will result a better graduate. Only God knows the future, even we do not know what will happen tomorrow. Let the time show the fact!

Now, I am talking the fact. This semester, I deliver a course in class whose  students just taken interpersonal skill course last semester with grade A (most of them). Ideally, they have skill above mentioned competencies for this course. For instance communication,  learning, presentation, writing, and critical thinking skill.  In my pinion, in my classes there is no one shows this competencies. When I ask them to deliver presentation in front of class, they are not confidently reading in front of class, not presenting.  When I ask them to pretend (role play)  as marketing team attracting the audience to by their product in front of class  they are talking to their own team, it looks they have no good communication skill. When I ask them to write scientific manuscript e.g. Practical Work report, most of them just “copy paste” not caring about citation ethics, and the most important thing is when I deliver lecture material in class, most of them are passive and ignorant  listeners, no one ask me showing their curiosity or even  criticizes what I deliver in front of class.  The worst case is when my teaching assistant deliver practical work material in Lab., the student is absolutely passive students. There is no feed back at all, even silly question from the  student.

So, can we conclude that Interpersonal Skill course is successful ? this question strengthen my opinion that soft skill is not effective deliver in one 4 credit hours course in one semester, but it should thorough long process and implicitly embedded in each course.

I am telling another fact here. I am a coordinator for Final Year Students who have interest in Decision Support System and Business Intelligence (DSS&BI) Lab. At the beginning of semester, many final year students come to office, discussing about their proposed final year project. Bellows are most-common discussion happen:

—-

Student :

Hello, Sir. I manage to enroll Final Year Project this semester and I am interested to Join DSS&BI lab. Do you have any idea that you think I can do it .

Me :

Okay, thank your for interesting join us at DSS &BI Lab. No,  have a look at our Lab. Research Road Map here !. Actually, There are many topics as shown here that may you interest in. It includes ……….

Student:

Oh, Sir. I am confuse.

Me :

It is Okay. But, now, please tell me what do you like most (may be subject do you like most), and dislike most !

Student:

Hmm, I am sorry Sir. I dont know What I like most is. But, I don’t Like Programming and I don’t like mathematical modelling.

Me :

Oh, what? May you are  misled joining DSS and BI Lab. Since you dont like programming and mathematical modelling, I  think it is better if you join Information System Planning  and Development Lab.

Student:

In advance, I think so, Sir. But, To tell you the truth, actually I don’t like dealing with “Him”. So, please, please help me Sir! I want to graduate this semester.

Me:

Okay, let me discuss with other lecturers and  contact you later.

I am deeply thinking, what happen with my students right now. I am new lecturer here, and the students are quietly different with us when we are students in the same place. I am worried, when Programming Course in this department  is shrinking, the number of above mentioned type  student is increasing.

Should they take “Doraemon Theather” as their Final Year Project?

I do hope it will not happen. Hopefully, It is only all about me that do not understand how the process of good education. Hopefully, It is only all about me that too stupid to understand the process of excellent education. Hopefully, It is only all about me that use too narrow and view in dealing with something that they called creative and smart breakthrough in education. Hopefully, it is only controversy at the beginning, and finally proven acceptable by everyone. Just like Moses and Nabi Khidir.

There are only one i.e.  the audacity of hope make me keep standing here. Since i know, educator is one of the most risky job. God, please give us the best for us.

*) it is just my very humble opinion. I believe there is no real truth in this world, but there is only real belief in this world.

when the students are : Less Motivated and Mark Oriented

I am dreaming someday education in Indonesia is like education in developed country. A campus is fully occupied by highly motivated and hard studying students,  In each single place of campus is fully by student discussing their learning. Campus library is fulled by student learning until late in the night.

I am very sure the future of Indonesia as a nation is strongly depended on how the education in this country. Knowing the education in Indonesia nowadays,  I am afraid and worried about the future of this nation. Regardless how the facilities of  education in Indonesia,  while knowing how the condition of the student really make me sad. As a lecturer in one of leading University in Indonesia, I know well how the condition of student in Indonesia. Frankly speaking, I can say that the student in Indonesia is less motivated and mark oriented.

A case example, when I deliver lecture material in front of class, I frequently wonder to my students: is there any question? It is rarely there will be question. But, when I change the rule by promising them to give extra mark, many student will raise their hand up and ask me “silly” question. They will not study if there is no quiz, no assignment, or test. They will do something, only if they are given reward that is Grade. They are not interested with what their lecturer given, but Grade.  They will hardly complaint if their mark is not like their expectation, many student will come to their lecturer office to try their very best to get better mark. But, they do not care whether they understand or do not what their lecturer delivered in Class. So far, every day I always get student come to my office, but there is no student come to discuss about lecture material in Class. They come to say sorry because of late submission of assignment or test.

“Sir, please do not deduct my mark, please please give me Full Mark Sir”.

No one come to my office and says:

“I am sorry Sir, I do not really understand with this thing, would you like to explain me again?” or

“I am sorry Sir, I do not agree with your opinion that…., in my opinion……”

Lecturer that is generous in giving mark, will be the most favorite lecturer, although he/she is not expert in his/her area. Lecturer that is very strict in giving mark will be “Monster” that is the most unwanted lecturer, although he/she is professor that is very very expert in his/her area.

Sometime, I wonder what are they looking for in this University? Just a piece of bachelor degree certificate with CGPA = 4? what is it for, if they know and can do nothing ! It is even getting worse, when it is known that there is barely student that like Programming, in Information System department. I think it is embarrassing, they will graduate with Sarjana Komputer (Bachelor of Computer Science), but they do not like Programming and can not develop program. It  sounds  weird, but it is truly happen. They graduated from Information System Department, but do not know much about Information System.

In my opinion, university students nowadays are highly affected by “POP Culture”. They only want to be happy, happy in all days. Hang out with their friends just to make happy. They are less hard working, less motivated students. It is rarely view, you can see student in Campus bringing thick text book, read and  discus it with their friend. But, in each single of campus you can easily see student facing their laptop updating their facebook, plurk, or twitter. They use Internet for accessing social network website.  What about library? the backbound of campus Life. I think you know the answer, no student come in this damned place. Library is the most silent place from student.

Knowing this matter, How is the future of this nation?  God knows the answer. As a lecturer, I just have an audacity of hope someday everything will be getting better and better. It is big homework for me, how to make a campus to be real campus. I just want Campus is  not just like a market in which money and bachelor degree certificate is exchanged. I just do hope a campus will be an agent of change, changing for better Indonesia, better life and better humanity.