The Final Assignment

  • Zylon 2007-04-03 13:23
    But did he teach them how to tighten up the graphics on level 3?
  • bumblebeeman 2007-04-03 13:25
    LOL, that's great!! Makes me glad I'm done school :)
  • Profo 2007-04-03 13:26
    Reminds me of a course where we had to write a linear programming (LP) solver as the project. The lectures were straight copies from an old (very theoretical) textbook, gone through verbatim. Fortunately one of us students was a guru on the topic, helping us to finish the project more or less as given. Later that student became a professor of mathematics at another university.
  • Capn 2007-04-03 13:27
    I think this was originally a sidebar.

    http://forums.worsethanfailure.com/forums/post/114530.aspx


    Note from Alex: Good find, Kerin submitted the story directly to me and I must have missed his SideBar post. As a general note, keep in mind that submissions take at least 1-2 months to be published. I try to respond to inquiries much faster though, so feel free to email me if you're interested in the status of your submission.
  • Haxd 2007-04-03 13:31
    Seen it, but this sounds pretty much _exactly_ what happened with me and a lecturer from Kazakhstan in my local community college. Lucky for him he went back to Kazakhstan and I am too lazy to sue him for copyright infringement.
  • TheD 2007-04-03 13:33
    bumblebeeman:
    LOL, that's great!! Makes me glad I'm done school :)


    Me fail English? That's unpossible! :-)
  • Chacal 2007-04-03 13:34
    This is much more common in the college world than we think.

    Happened to one of my friends 25 years ago: did a project for a local DoD research lab supervised by a Professor, with said Professor being the middle man between student and lab.

    He got suspicious when Professor insisted on getting the source code himself. Phoned the lab, where researchers were astonished to discover Professor had a helper. The distinguished gentleman had attributed all the merit to himself.

    A happy ending ensued: Professor was bypassed, later lost his bid for deaconship (we saw to it), and my friend turned his project into a multi-million dollar company that he sold to Baan.
  • kimos 2007-04-03 13:34
    Capn:
    I think this was originally a sidebar.

    http://forums.worsethanfailure.com/forums/post/114530.aspx


    I knew it... Thought I was losing my mind. Either that or I could see the future.
  • ShelteredCoder 2007-04-03 13:37
    I once had a professor "on loan" from the IT department of my college. He never taught a class in his life and only had a good rep for knowing Java. Our final project was to create an P2P version of some game he played (Go or Wiki?) complete with chat rooms, game replays, forums, and any other cool thing he thought up. Oh yeah, we had to code it all from scratch, including the p2p Message protocall. My group got as far as the basic game play and we still got an A in the course.

    BTW: The school I went to was the major state school in the state I live in (starts with 'M')
  • rbowes 2007-04-03 13:44
    kimos:
    Capn:
    I think this was originally a sidebar.

    http://forums.worsethanfailure.com/forums/post/114530.aspx


    I knew it... Thought I was losing my mind. Either that or I could see the future.


    I was wondering the same thing :)
  • sir_flexalot 2007-04-03 13:54
    Exploiting entry-level students for profit... ah, the joys of tenure!
  • malfist 2007-04-03 13:55
    I knew I'd seen it before, with slightly differant middle (was real company not some dummy company).
  • JGM 2007-04-03 13:56
    Had something similar happen to me as well. Project was to build a simple job information posting system for the college's career center. Nothing fancy, but it worked. Spent the next 6 months telling the college that any changes/additions were not going to be free, as the work was no longer for a class. Site remained up for about a year, and they took it down because there was no one willing to maintain it for free.
  • jeremyh 2007-04-03 14:03
    sir_flexalot:
    Exploiting entry-level students for profit... ah, the joys of tenure!

    Plagiarism is one of the few things that CAN get a professor canned, tenure or no. I would have gone to the dean.

    captcha: alarm (I should say so!)
  • S|i(3_x 2007-04-03 14:05
    Zylon:
    But did he teach them how to tighten up the graphics on level 3?


    You're the man now, dog.
  • Tom Woolf 2007-04-03 14:09
    On the non-coding front... I took a new course taught by two professors - one tenured and heavily published, the other almost at the point of tenure. Everybody was surprised that the tenured prof, who normally only taught grad level courses and did research, would honor we mere undergrads with his presence.

    There did not yet exist a textbook that covered the material, so the two supplied the class an old textbook (written by one of them) somewhat related to the class subject, along with assorted magazine articles, studies, white papers, etc.

    During the first class, the tenured prof told us that a copy of our notes would be required at the end of the semester. The non-tenured prof then joked "yeah - I'll need them to write the textbook that will be used in the class next year." I thought the tenured prof would break his neck turning to the other to give him the evil eye. He was honoring us with his presence for the sole purpose of gathering textbook-writing material.
  • S|i(3_x 2007-04-03 14:10
    The rwtf is that Kerin didn't team up with dummy company to press fraud charges.
  • DTN 2007-04-03 14:11
    Sadly, this behavior isn't limited to the IT world. In the school of Landscape Architecture at my university, we had a professor very much like Professor Lawrence for one of our design classes. The project I was assigned to was a sculpture garden for a prominent museum in the area. An exciting project. There were three groups working on this project, and we all had some impressive design elements. We all got pretty good grades.

    Then I went to revisit the museum a couple years later: The fountain design from Group 1, the path design from Group 2 and a patio area as designed by Group 3 -- and a little plaque at the beginning of the garden crediting my professor for the design.
  • PS 2007-04-03 14:14
    Personally I keep to the standard practices with my students:

    1. Washing my Porsche
    2. Grading papers
    3. Private instruction with the hot babes
  • PS 2007-04-03 14:19
    jeremyh:
    sir_flexalot:
    Exploiting entry-level students for profit... ah, the joys of tenure!

    Plagiarism is one of the few things that CAN get a professor canned, tenure or no. I would have gone to the dean.


    Excellent point.
  • darin 2007-04-03 14:19
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    But then, CS departments have always been under immense pressure from the corporate world to conform to fashion. Ie, Megacorp complains "Why are you teaching algorithms and computability to these students? We don't need engineers or scientists who can think, we need IT grunts who can keep our e-commerce running. We're going to have to rethink that new building we promised to pay for."
  • Bill 2007-04-03 14:20
    S|i(3_x:
    The rwtf is that Kerin didn't team up with dummy company to press fraud charges.
    '

    Why bother? Like the prof has any money that he didn't drink??
  • former teaching assistant 2007-04-03 14:23
    I sort of did the same thing when I was a teaching assistant, but I was up front about it. I had a rather complex graduate project to complete, and no time to do it.

    I decided that I would break the thing up into a bunch of tiny black boxes (pre-OO) with defined inputs, outputs and behaviors. The class I was TA'ing in had 350+ students, and was graded by totaling scores from all assignments and tests. I told the teacher, and then offered an extra 10 points to anyone who could successfully complete one of my black box programming assignments - no limit.

    A few of the more enthusiastic kids saw it as a chance to pass the class without taking the midterm or final, and did so. Since the programming work involved stuff that was a bit beyond the scope of the class, they wound up learning quite a bit, and I got my project done without having to write anything more than a main driver, a few factories and a bunch of test cases. - Symbiotic !!!

  • dirtside 2007-04-03 14:40
    To address the point about why tenure exists, in the original article:

    Actually, let me just steal from Wikipedia's article on tenure:

    Academic tenure is primarily intended to guarantee the right to academic freedom: it protects respected teachers and researchers when they dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time on unfashionable topics. Thus academic tenure is similar to the lifetime tenure that protects some judges from external pressure. Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole might favor "safe" lines of inquiry. Tenure makes original ideas more likely to arise, by giving scholars the intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions about which they are most passionate, and to report their honest conclusions.

    Yes, there are obviously problems with tenure -- when you have no one to answer to, you might also go off the deep end and pursue useless nonsense, but that's apparently an acceptable risk.
  • f.forcen 2007-04-03 14:44
    In Spanish universities the "norm" is that most of the final career projects, an special project carried during the last year, is always a project that the professor has sold to a customer. Even when the alumn has its own idea for the project.

    It's ilegal, but most of the time is take it or don't pass.
  • Mitch 2007-04-03 14:44
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!

  • Troy Mclure 2007-04-03 14:46
    Slightly off-topic but I had a similar experience in high school. The guy didnt know how to teach the CAD drafting class and instead of telling us how to do something, he would say "Look it up and when you figure it out come tell me. You'll never learn if I tell you the answer all the time." So when someone would figure out the answer, we'd write it out, print it up and put it on the wall.

    Took me a couple weeks to figure out he didnt know what the hell he was doing. He wasn't using our answers for any of his own work, so it wasnt quite as bad, but he just didnt know what he was doing. Then when I took a second CAD course with a different teacher he was amazed that we had no idea how to do the simplest things.

  • Gsquared 2007-04-03 14:50
    "Yes, there are obviously problems with tenure -- when you have no one to answer to, you might also go off the deep end and pursue useless nonsense, but that's apparently an acceptable risk."
    Check out http://www.improbable.com/ the section on Ig Nobel prizes, for some of the really fun "off the deep end" stuff. (Good things come out of going off the deep end too, but this is so much more fun to read about.)
  • Anonymous 2007-04-03 14:53
    No, the real WTF is that he didn't licence his code. All the decent students at my uni licensed all their assignment submissions... ranged from full copyright thru GPL to BSD, depending on what the student wanted. If a prof ever pulled a stunt like this, they could potentially haul his ass over the coals... or they could be fine with it (and would've given prior consent in their licence, with/without attribution as they see fit).
  • ssprencel 2007-04-03 14:53
    Troy Mclure:
    Slightly off-topic but I had a similar experience in high school. The guy didnt know how to teach the CAD drafting class and instead of telling us how to do something, he would say "Look it up and when you figure it out come tell me. You'll never learn if I tell you the answer all the time." So when someone would figure out the answer, we'd write it out, print it up and put it on the wall.

    Took me a couple weeks to figure out he didnt know what the hell he was doing. He wasn't using our answers for any of his own work, so it wasnt quite as bad, but he just didnt know what he was doing. Then when I took a second CAD course with a different teacher he was amazed that we had no idea how to do the simplest things.



    I think that guy is pretty smart as far as a HS teacher goes. I doubt he applied at the school as a CAD expert. Chances are he was a History buff or a coach and was assigned the class. He made you all do the work while he reviewed the next week's opponent's offensive line formations.
  • Chris 2007-04-03 14:57
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?
  • chrismcb 2007-04-03 15:03
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    But then, CS departments have always been under immense pressure from the corporate world to conform to fashion. Ie, Megacorp complains "Why are you teaching algorithms and computability to these students? We don't need engineers or scientists who can think, we need IT grunts who can keep our e-commerce running. We're going to have to rethink that new building we promised to pay for."


    I am not exactly sure what you are trying to say here. Are you trying to say that there is no theory behind the concept of design? Or perhaps you are trying to say that there is no theory behind the concept of client server technology?

    I don't know what this class entailed (other than making extra money for the professor as a consultant) but web design doesn't exist in a vaccuum. I'm sure you could write plenty of PHD Thesis on web design...

    Granted if more people took web desing classes, we might have fewer WTF's.
  • etr 2007-04-03 15:06
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    But then, CS departments have always been under immense pressure from the corporate world to conform to fashion. Ie, Megacorp complains "Why are you teaching algorithms and computability to these students? We don't need engineers or scientists who can think, we need IT grunts who can keep our e-commerce running. We're going to have to rethink that new building we promised to pay for."


    ...or maybe Karin was a *design* student...

    Sheesh... not everything that has to do with computers requires a CS degree...
  • Milkshake 2007-04-03 15:07
    Long after I received my BS in Comp Sci and began working as a full-time software engineer and web developer, I went back for my MS. The intro to web development course started with some basic html, css, and cgi. Then, it was announced that we would be split into groups and given a "client" who would provide us with some "real life" site requirements. At that point, things started to smell funny. We were told, under no circumstances, were we to use the college's webspace for hosting these projects. That's when it started to outright stink. When we presented a list of webhosts and their respective fees, the "client" balked and said they weren't paying anything for hosting. We designed the site, managed to cover the outrageous requirements, made a far more advanced site than the course had covered (only because half our group did this professionally), and I put the "project" up on my personal webspace for contracting projects.

    After getting my final grade, I removed the project from my webspace and immediately got a flood of emails from the "client" and instructor. When I went to the professor's university homepage to get her phone number, I saw a link to her resume. On it were links to all of the sites she had developed. Lo and behold, the "recent work" had all of the class "clients" listed, along with a broken link to my domain.

    I forwarded all the email communication to the dean, reminding him that academic work is the property of the student, and haven't heard a peep from the instructor or "client" since.


    captch: ninjas (indeed)
  • jeffdav 2007-04-03 15:10
    BRILLIANT!
  • Sammy 2007-04-03 15:15
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?


    At my university, the web design classes were taught as a part of the communications department. There's a bit of HTML in the electives involving web programming, but it's generally assumed the students will learn it on their own.

    One communications prof of my acquaintance actually ran a little side business farming out students to work on contracts doing web monkey stuff. The vast majority of the students were communications majors, or at any rate weren't in the CS program. This led to some pretty horrible scenarios - at one point, he lamented to me that since they were migrating a db backend from mSQL to MySQL, he had to edit every last page on his site.

    Because they all had embedded Perl in them.

    And they all had the DBI connection string, as well as a hard coded SQL statement.

    And he didn't know how to fix it using awk or some other regexp tool.

    *shudder*
  • Rafael Larios 2007-04-03 15:15
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn
  • Rafael Larios 2007-04-03 15:16
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn
  • Troy Mclure 2007-04-03 15:17
    ssprencel:
    Troy Mclure:
    Slightly off-topic but I had a similar experience in high school. The guy didnt know how to teach the CAD drafting class and instead of telling us how to do something, he would say "Look it up and when you figure it out come tell me. You'll never learn if I tell you the answer all the time." So when someone would figure out the answer, we'd write it out, print it up and put it on the wall.

    Took me a couple weeks to figure out he didnt know what the hell he was doing. He wasn't using our answers for any of his own work, so it wasnt quite as bad, but he just didnt know what he was doing. Then when I took a second CAD course with a different teacher he was amazed that we had no idea how to do the simplest things.



    I think that guy is pretty smart as far as a HS teacher goes. I doubt he applied at the school as a CAD expert. Chances are he was a History buff or a coach and was assigned the class. He made you all do the work while he reviewed the next week's opponent's offensive line formations.


    Interestingly enough yes you're right. That is definitely not why he was hired and I think he just fell into it. He was a nice guy but to this day I still think its hilarious that he has zero clue what he's doing.
  • JohnB 2007-04-03 15:22
    I have to say that I've never seen that happen in any of the courses I've taken. One course had us redesign the system for the campus bookstore with end-of-term presentations to the class, prof and bookstore staff. Nothing plagiarized, nothing surreptitiously "adopted". How do I know? I went back for a couple of additional courses and the bookstore was still, uh, "challenged".

    OTOH, I had a data structures course early on. I can -- many years later -- remember watching the prof develop an algorithm (one I'm sure he had developed every time he taught the course) and then seeing him pick up bits and chunks of code saying things like "Well, these two are the same except for the sign" and "Hmmm, these look similar except for this bit here" and gradually collapse the rather large piece of code into an exquisitely tight piece of code and I remember looking at the final result and thinking "Wow! That is so elegant!" He got tenure a year or so later and truly deserved it.

    His doctoral thesis was on resolution of ambiguity (you could look it up, I suppose). Here's one of the issues he was trying to resolve:

    Find the first "*" before the "C": A * B * * C


  • Zylon 2007-04-03 15:27
    JohnB:
    Find the first "*" before the "C": A * B * * C

    Could you rephrase that in a way that makes it seem hard?
  • Eric 2007-04-03 15:31
    Rafael Larios:
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn



    Ummm... "it's a moral imperative" is a line from that movie.

  • JC 2007-04-03 15:40
    Eric:
    Rafael Larios:
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn



    Ummm... "it's a moral imperative" is a line from that movie.


    pwnt
  • Steve 2007-04-03 15:41
    Oh, bosh.

    Tenured professors are not "unfirable".

    Professors are tenured for a number of reasons, partially as a reward for many years of hard academic work, including lots and lots of publications, but mostly as a way of protecting professors who may take unpopular or unorthodox views from retaliation.

    Professional misconduct is another thing entirely.

    If a professor showed up in class falling down drunk or otherwise abused their position, there are definite methods for revoking tenure and/or removing the professor from the faculty. I've seen it happen.

    It's not pretty, but firing someone rarely is.

    This story, if true, is a textbook case of academic misconduct and the faculty senate would have made short work of "Professor Lawrence" if the facts were made known. Far too often, incompetents are allowed to remain in place because of bureaucratic interia, complacency, and misunderstanding of the meaning of tenure.

    As for abusing students by stealing their work, yes, that sometimes happens as well, but that usually happens at the graduate level. The late Gary Kildall, who was one of the pioneers in the microcomputer world, was a professor in computer science (I don't recall whether he was tenured or not) at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. He was developing an operating environment for one of the first microcomputer, the 8080, which went on to become CP/M.

    Some of his graduate students were reported to have grumbled that some of the code in CP/M looked awwwwwfulllly similar to work they'd done for their thesis projects.

    I, of course, cannot verify this to be true but I am the personal acquaintence of several folks who worked with Kildall at Digital Research or NPS and have been known to make similar claims.
  • clevershark 2007-04-03 15:47
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was popcorn ultimately involved?
  • ElQuberto 2007-04-03 15:49
    Rafael Larios:
    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn


    As your post lacked "the REAL WTF here is" you don't win the trifecta of stupid.
  • JGM 2007-04-03 15:51
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?


    Sadly enough, all students at my college were required to take a semester long course that boiled down to using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access. This included the IT and CS folks as well.
  • Rafael Larios 2007-04-03 15:52
    JC:
    Eric:
    Rafael Larios:
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn



    Ummm... "it's a moral imperative" is a line from that movie.


    pwnt


    Sadly, yes.... I feel like crap now. although i watched it in spanish.
  • Lihtox 2007-04-03 15:54
    Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole might favor "safe" lines of inquiry.

    And safe doesn't just mean "uncontroversial" or "politically correct"; tenured professors can pursue research which has only a small chance of yielding any new ideas or any useful ideas, or which may take decades to complete. There are ways, at least in theory, to get rid of tenured professors who neglect their teaching duties or who plagiarize or the like. These rules need to be enforced. But you don't want (OK, I don't want) colleges to be able to get rid of a professor just because their research isn't trendy enough or raking in the grant money.
  • Godai 2007-04-03 16:01
    You have your string.

    The string consists of an A followed by anything folowed by a B followed by anything followed by some more anything followed by a C.

    AAAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBBBC = true
    A( * )B( * *) C
    so * * = BBBBBBBBBB
    so which of the B's belong to the first asterix and which to the second.


    I think thats what the problem is. Its been a while since i dealt with that.
  • ContractorInLivingHell 2007-04-03 16:13
    Oh yeah, you got me started. Tenure is a ridiculous notion. It basically says a certain type of worker can only be eliminated if there are compelling financial reasons. Reasons having to do with anything else don't even qualify. Prof. Pukey McRummy can show up stoned and drunk two hours late to class and face only "discipline" rather than getting sacked on the spot; try doing that on any other job.

    The notion of tenure was originally designed to keep profs with controversial opinions about politics and society, or even engineering practices, from being sacked. It's the same reason a civil service system is developed-- to keep cops, etc. from getting sacked just because the councilman they supported for re-election lost the election and the new councilman wants his supporters wearing the badge and drawing the pay. This was ostensibly designed with the interests of the people (or the students as the case may be) in mind. But like all such ideas, there are unintended consequences, and over time, all systems get corrupted as people learn to live and work within them-- and exploit them.

    Good profs don't need tenure. Good but controversial profs generally don't get sacked since they are too popular, and if they do, they can find other work (since they are good). Bad profs however need tenure. They are the ones that carry on the loudest about it.

    Personally I think the whole higher ed thing has become utterly corrupted by money (witness the recent kickbacks-on-loans scandal in New York state that is rapidly getting settled out of court and swept under the rug: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/us/03loans.html ) and various forms of BS, such as battles for prestige of all kinds, most notably in the realm of sports. Academics on the other hand can go hang-- for example, many of the teachers in freshman and sophomore classes are grad students themselves, with limited or no experience to recommend them, while their students are paying top dollar for actual professors. Many of the actual profs though usually don't want to "deal with" students anyway since the money and prestige is in research and publication, not teaching. On top of that, we are using a style of instruction that is wholly unsuited for today's work-world. All the while, costs for "higher ed" continue to shoot up-- why? What's the point? It's ridiculous.
  • dudacgf 2007-04-03 16:20
    this is what I call a boomerang assignment. The teacher proposes a job that he needs to be done and uses the best he collects. used throughout the world...
  • AGould 2007-04-03 16:26
    Anonymous:
    No, the real WTF is that he didn't licence his code. All the decent students at my uni licensed all their assignment submissions... ranged from full copyright thru GPL to BSD, depending on what the student wanted. If a prof ever pulled a stunt like this, they could potentially haul his ass over the coals... or they could be fine with it (and would've given prior consent in their licence, with/without attribution as they see fit).


    Wow, times have changed - I would never have considered licensing my assignments. The thought wouldn't even have occurred to me. It's kind of depressing, in a way. (I'm told my high school teacher is *still* using some of my assignments as examples - wonder if I should charge him royalties? ;)

    But I agree - the issue should have been brought to the university's attention. While the "dummy company" won't care (they paid for work, they rec'd work), and the university might not care to make an issue over this incident, getting it on file starts the paper trail for when this prof isn't favored as much.
  • Tyler 2007-04-03 16:32
    I had a similar teacher in high school. I took an advanced placement Computer Science course where we were supposed to learn C++. Our teacher had no idea what she was doing. She would assign us a chapter to read for the week, then tell us to do the programming exercises at the end of the chapter. My friend and I would finish the assignements within a half hour or so and spend the rest of the week teaching the other students the information from the chapter or playing Quake on the school network. If a student asked the teacher a question, she would just refer them to my friend and me. They eventually stopped asking her and started comnig directly to us. At the end of the year, each student had to submit a multiple-choice question (with the answer, of course) about something from the book and this set of questions became our final exam. At one point, we watched the movie Sneakers, had to take notes, and then had a quiz about the movie. Supposedly it was a C++ class, but I don't remember ever hearing or reading the word "object" in the entire course...
  • Steve Rapp 2007-04-03 16:33
    This is the classic case of fact be much stranger than fiction.
  • Zylon 2007-04-03 16:36
    Godai:
    You have your string.

    The string consists of an A followed by anything folowed by a B followed by anything followed by some more anything followed by a C.

    AAAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBBBC = true
    A( * )B( * *) C
    so * * = BBBBBBBBBB
    so which of the B's belong to the first asterix and which to the second.


    I think thats what the problem is. Its been a while since i dealt with that.

    Oh, that one's easy-- It's unresolvably ambiguous, unless you specifically use greedy/nongreedy selection operators.
  • Zero 2007-04-03 16:38
    Zylon:
    JohnB:
    Find the first "*" before the "C": A * B * * C

    Could you rephrase that in a way that makes it seem hard?

    Find the first number before the "C": A 1 B 2 3 C.

    Is it 1 (because that's the first number in the list), 2 (because it's the first number in the group of numbers before the C) or 3 (because it's the number immediately preceding the C)?
  • Shadowman 2007-04-03 16:46
    Wow, I thought I recognized the story. Reading both the main article and the older sidebar is a good look into the anonymization process for these articles
  • Chris Knight 2007-04-03 16:51
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!

    Would you classify that as a launch problem or a design problem?
  • L. 2007-04-03 17:01
    Do I know you? This sounds *just* like the C++ class I took in high school. Right down to the games of Quake. Did the teacher leave class one day almost in tears to have a smoke break?
  • Kerin 2007-04-03 17:13
    It happened a little differently; the original article can be found here: http://forums.worsethanfailure.com/forums/post/114696.aspx

    and for the record, I was well-versed with SQL long before that and I never submitted the project - the prick actually gave us the source to improve, and all the links were direct (e.g. http://www.initech/file.htm instead of /file.htm)

    The funny bit was that what he started us with was what was live on the internet; for my final, I completely redesigned it from scratch with the same graphics, the old code was just too horrible to work with.
  • fauxparse 2007-04-03 17:33
    In the second year of my computer science degree, we had to develop a CGI application in C (OK, this is going back a while). As part of the preparatory tutorials, we had four hours of labs on HTML. I walked out of the first one ten minutes in, when I looked at the handout and discovered that the "example" HTML page was one I'd written for the department as a research assistant the previous year.
  • el jaybird 2007-04-03 18:28
    Rafael Larios:

    Sadly, yes.... I feel like crap now. although i watched it in spanish.


    A real genius, you are. ;-)
  • BrownHornet 2007-04-03 18:33
    Haxd:
    Seen it, but this sounds pretty much _exactly_ what happened with me and a lecturer from Kazakhstan in my local community college. Lucky for him he went back to Kazakhstan and I am too lazy to sue him for copyright infringement.
    Was this the site you designed for him?
    He was probably here for cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan.
  • nwbrown 2007-04-03 19:12
    Haxd:
    Seen it, but this sounds pretty much _exactly_ what happened with me and a lecturer from Kazakhstan in my local community college. Lucky for him he went back to Kazakhstan and I am too lazy to sue him for copyright infringement.


    Well, you can't anyways since the school generally keeps rights to the copyright of anything you produce for them.

    The school might be able to sue, though.
  • Eric 2007-04-03 19:14
    Rafael Larios:
    JC:
    Eric:
    Rafael Larios:
    Chris:
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Was it a moral imperative?


    You hear that?... SWWOOOOSHHHH-------

    That was the meaning of the post passing right over your head.... think pop corn.

    Captcha: yummy... like pop corn



    Ummm... "it's a moral imperative" is a line from that movie.


    pwnt


    Sadly, yes.... I feel like crap now. although i watched it in spanish.



    In that case, you're totally off the hook. I watched that movie so many times as a kid that now, at 33, I can practically recite the entire thing from beginning to end.
  • nwbrown 2007-04-03 19:18
    dirtside:
    To address the point about why tenure exists, in the original article:

    Actually, let me just steal from Wikipedia's article on tenure:

    Academic tenure is primarily intended to guarantee the right to academic freedom: it protects respected teachers and researchers when they dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time on unfashionable topics. Thus academic tenure is similar to the lifetime tenure that protects some judges from external pressure. Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole might favor "safe" lines of inquiry. Tenure makes original ideas more likely to arise, by giving scholars the intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions about which they are most passionate, and to report their honest conclusions.

    Yes, there are obviously problems with tenure -- when you have no one to answer to, you might also go off the deep end and pursue useless nonsense, but that's apparently an acceptable risk.


    Well, the question of whether or not professors should be encouraged to stay at least within sight of mainstream opinion instead of going off on some wacko tangent while they are working for the taxpayers set aside for a second, they still are not free to do whatever they want. They need to get published, get funding for research, attract students, etc. The only professors who are free to do whatever they want are those who don't do research and who just teach entry level required classes (like this guy).
  • Xythar 2007-04-03 19:37
    Oh, man. Is it someone's birthday? Because that just took the cake.
  • gygax 2007-04-03 20:16
    JGM:
    Sadly enough, all students at my college were required to take a semester long course that boiled down to using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access. This included the IT and CS folks as well.

    Was this perhaps at a major engineering university in Missouri?
  • Arancaytar 2007-04-03 20:19
    At least it became clear what the good professor was referring to when he mentioned his "contacts in the business world".

    So let me get this straight: The company hired the professor to do their website, and the professor assigned his students to do it?

    I'm *sure* there's a law against that... but, well...
  • Ifni 2007-04-03 20:28
    Heh, when I was working towards my CS degree, I always put "copyleft $date" in the comments of any code (or by my name for any creative writing, though that's not as pertinent to this discussion) just because I thought it was sort of silly (as a variation on "copyright"). I basically felt that the work was public domain, essentially the polar opposite of copyright, hence how I came up with the word. Years later, I found out that there was an _actual_ copyleft, and it was only slightly different than my intended meaning (i.e. the inclusion of the provision that derivative works maintain the copyleft status). I wonder now if that was an unintentional hindrance to some professors dreams of exploitation...
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2007-04-03 20:55
    Heh.. not coding related but when I was in school we always thought one of our networking professors did this. We had an assignment to write up a network design proposal and the rumor going around was that he used the best ones submitted for his own consulting business.
  • Scott Mitchell 2007-04-03 21:06
    I hope you gave credit where credit is due, not just to us, but to the professors evaluating your work, as well.

    As one of my graduate professors said, "Giving credit is the currency of academia." In other words, there's nothing wrong with using another person's ideas or work, but if you don't clearly cite and give credit where it's due, it's tantamount to stealing.
  • Zardoz 2007-04-03 21:20
    reminds me of a colleague's database design teacher. He read directly from a powerpoint presentation. He then asked after each slide if anyone did not understand. If so he would re-read it, louder.
  • Skits 2007-04-03 21:21
    If it's Maryland, then you are making me cringe.
  • Franz Kafka 2007-04-03 21:33
    nwbrown:
    Haxd:
    Seen it, but this sounds pretty much _exactly_ what happened with me and a lecturer from Kazakhstan in my local community college. Lucky for him he went back to Kazakhstan and I am too lazy to sue him for copyright infringement.


    Well, you can't anyways since the school generally keeps rights to the copyright of anything you produce for them.

    The school might be able to sue, though.


    I don't see how, as coursework is likely not a work for hire (haven't checked specifically), and you have to assign copyright explicitly otherwise.
  • foxyshadis 2007-04-03 21:46
    Arancaytar:
    I'm *sure* there's a law against that... but, well...


    Why does there have to be a law against it? Do you feel a need to pass a law to legitimatize or restrict every other behavior anyone could ever engage in? Perhaps we should go through life having to look up a rulebook before shaking anyone's hand?

    Sorry, people who confuse private rules with public laws annoy me.
  • vidar712 2007-04-03 23:11
    JGM:
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?


    Sadly enough, all students at my college were required to take a semester long course that boiled down to using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access. This included the IT and CS folks as well.


    Into to Computers. This class was very good for preparing students. It taught the education and liberal arts majors to find the CS or CIS students to do their computer assignments for them and, at the same time, prepared the CS and CIS students for the lack of an education that they were about to receive. Good old DSU. It was great when during my senior year the CS deparment was crippled when one of the good professors was promoted to dean. Slim pickens for your electives.
  • powerlord 2007-04-03 23:24
    Arancaytar:
    At least it became clear what the good professor was referring to when he mentioned his "contacts in the business world".

    So let me get this straight: The company hired the professor to do their website, and the professor assigned his students to do it?

    I'm *sure* there's a law against that... but, well...


    Like this one?
  • Anonymous 2007-04-04 00:00
    AGould:

    Wow, times have changed - I would never have considered licensing my assignments. The thought wouldn't even have occurred to me. It's kind of depressing, in a way. (I'm told my high school teacher is *still* using some of my assignments as examples - wonder if I should charge him royalties? ;)

    No, I don't think you can charge him.

    Copying materials for the sake of TEACHING is listed under fair use clauses in copyright laws. That means, such activities do not constitute a copyright breach.
  • Anonymous 2007-04-04 00:03
    fauxparse:
    In the second year of my computer science degree, we had to develop a CGI application in C (OK, this is going back a while). As part of the preparatory tutorials, we had four hours of labs on HTML. I walked out of the first one ten minutes in, when I looked at the handout and discovered that the "example" HTML page was one I'd written for the department as a research assistant the previous year.

    Interesting. You were a research assistant during the first year of your CS degree? Do you mean a masters degree? Or a PhD?
  • operagost 2007-04-04 00:21
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    I also find the "A+" grade dubious. What college or university has an A+ grade?
  • rjnewton 2007-04-04 01:34
    operagost:
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    I also find the "A+" grade dubious. What college or university has an A+ grade?


    Lane Community College, Eugene, OR

    The school went to a +- grade system either before or during the 1999-2000 academic year.

    There is an almost-related story that goes with the one A+ I earned. The main difference is that I was somewhat pissed that my work did NOT get used IRL.

    The capstone course for Programming majors used the real-life problem of tracking building keys as the subject matter. Most of my classmates were quite content to confine their efforts to group-development process meetings and UI mock-ups. I focused on making a working application.

    Our instructor noticed, and gave me the single A+ awarded for the class.

    By the end of the term, I had completed only one screen in full working condition, but I took the initiative to talk to our Public Safety Director and inquire whether he was truly seeking a working application. On his assurance that he was, I spent a good part of my time that summer cranking out the rest of the key-tracking system.

    When I went back to show the system I'd built, it became clear that the college IT department had put the kibosh on the project. I never got to show the system I'd built because the IT folks were convinced that anything not produced by a commercial vendor would be impossible to maintain, too much work, impossible, impractical, and too expensive, yada, yada.

    Postscript: I went to work for the college the next year, and spent five years in a user support position. I did have to get a new key issued a couple times during my tenure. Each time we went through he same process where the administrative assistant down in Public Safety would look through a card-file to find the paper copy of the key order, sort through a pile of keys for the right one, have me sign a key contract that went back into the card file, etc.

    You know, I'm not at all sure that the biggest WTFs in academia have anything to do with what goes on in the classrooms.
  • Cable 2007-04-04 02:52
    I once had a Professor that drew a falling curve in is very first class. He told us tht would be the amount of students present at his class throughout the semester. I soon found out why. Despite having a computer with a beamer at his disposal he insisted on writing his sourcecode on the chalkboard. He tried to sell us 30 year old pinciples as brand new and not beeing able to speak any english at all he managed to pronounce every english word totally wrong, so you had to really think to find out what he really was describing. I hated that guy, every time I had to keep myself awake, I wasn't always successful. ;)
  • Gyske 2007-04-04 05:02
    Haxd:
    Seen it, but this sounds pretty much _exactly_ what happened with me and a lecturer from Kazakhstan in my local community college. Lucky for him he went back to Kazakhstan and I am too lazy to sue him for copyright infringement.

    Maybe you can get Borat to appropriate this lecturers' goat for you as compensation.
  • Anonymous Tart 2007-04-04 05:18
    Anonymous:
    No, the real WTF is that he didn't licence his code. All the decent students at my uni licensed all their assignment submissions... ranged from full copyright thru GPL to BSD, depending on what the student wanted. If a prof ever pulled a stunt like this, they could potentially haul his ass over the coals... or they could be fine with it (and would've given prior consent in their licence, with/without attribution as they see fit).


    This means that they would put non-binding legal mumbo jumbo at the start of their source code eh? Every single university (in the UK at least) will have in place in their Calendar (the Calendar is the rules and laws of the university) that all submissions are copyright of the university and cannot be assigned without express permission of a department, usually some 'ventures' or 'IP management' office.

    For example, heres University of Warwick's one:


    12. Who owns Copyright in the Work I produce at University?

    As soon as a work has been produced in a recorded form, it is automatically copyrighted. However, the creator can also provide additional protection by marking their work as copyright followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of publication. The creator can sell or transfer all or part of their copyright to another individual/organisation.

    However, please note that any intellectual property produced by staff in the course of their employment at University is owned by the University. Intellectual property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate students during their course of study is also owned by the University. However, where intellectual property is exploited for a commercial purpose leading to income generation, the University can offer support to ensure a sharing of income between you and the University. There may also be cases where alternative contractual arrangements apply, such as intellectual property generated as a result of externally sponsored research. Students should contact their project supervisor for further advice. Members of staff should contact Warwick Ventures or Research Support Services.
  • DOA 2007-04-04 05:37
    Mitch:
    Oh my god! The same exact thing happened to me when my roommate and I built a 5 megawatt laser for our professor who then sold it to the government! When a classmate of ours built a target-tracking system from a large mirror, we knew we had to stop them!



    Hey, weren't you the kid that filled the dorm with synthetic ice?

    Bloody students...
  • Mark 2007-04-04 06:56
    Anonymous Tart:


    This means that they would put non-binding legal mumbo jumbo at the start of their source code eh? Every single university (in the UK at least) will have in place in their Calendar (the Calendar is the rules and laws of the university) that all submissions are copyright of the university and cannot be assigned without express permission of a department, usually some 'ventures' or 'IP management' office.

    For example, heres University of Warwick's one:


    12. Who owns Copyright in the Work I produce at University?

    As soon as a work has been produced in a recorded form, it is automatically copyrighted. However, the creator can also provide additional protection by marking their work as copyright followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of publication. The creator can sell or transfer all or part of their copyright to another individual/organisation.

    However, please note that any intellectual property produced by staff in the course of their employment at University is owned by the University. Intellectual property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate students during their course of study is also owned by the University. However, where intellectual property is exploited for a commercial purpose leading to income generation, the University can offer support to ensure a sharing of income between you and the University. There may also be cases where alternative contractual arrangements apply, such as intellectual property generated as a result of externally sponsored research. Students should contact their project supervisor for further advice. Members of staff should contact Warwick Ventures or Research Support Services.


    Exactly. Members of staff implicitly assign copyright of any created works to the University. This text specifically states that the creator maintains copyright in any other case. Therefore, a student could certainly attach the GPL or any other license to her assignments and have the right to pursue enforcement if the terms of that license were violated.
  • icelava 2007-04-04 07:16
  • foobar 2007-04-04 07:21
    Wow, sounds just too similar to my own school a few years back. In case you're considering going to http://www.bib.de/, don't. For just about the same reasons.
  • Pax 2007-04-04 07:35
    See "Intellectual property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate students during their course of study is also owned by the University." immediately following that section.
  • Pax 2007-04-04 07:37
    Mark:
    Anonymous Tart:


    This means that they would put non-binding legal mumbo jumbo at the start of their source code eh? Every single university (in the UK at least) will have in place in their Calendar (the Calendar is the rules and laws of the university) that all submissions are copyright of the university and cannot be assigned without express permission of a department, usually some 'ventures' or 'IP management' office.

    For example, heres University of Warwick's one:


    12. Who owns Copyright in the Work I produce at University?

    As soon as a work has been produced in a recorded form, it is automatically copyrighted. However, the creator can also provide additional protection by marking their work as copyright followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of publication. The creator can sell or transfer all or part of their copyright to another individual/organisation.

    However, please note that any intellectual property produced by staff in the course of their employment at University is owned by the University. Intellectual property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate students during their course of study is also owned by the University. However, where intellectual property is exploited for a commercial purpose leading to income generation, the University can offer support to ensure a sharing of income between you and the University. There may also be cases where alternative contractual arrangements apply, such as intellectual property generated as a result of externally sponsored research. Students should contact their project supervisor for further advice. Members of staff should contact Warwick Ventures or Research Support Services.


    Exactly. Members of staff implicitly assign copyright of any created works to the University. This text specifically states that the creator maintains copyright in any other case. Therefore, a student could certainly attach the GPL or any other license to her assignments and have the right to pursue enforcement if the terms of that license were violated.


    Sorry, longtime reader, first time poster. Makes more sense now.

    See "Intellectual property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate students during their course of study is also owned by the University." immediately following that section.

    WTF is "onomatopoeia" (my captcha)?
  • cparker 2007-04-04 08:33
    jeffdav:
    BRILLANT!
    There, fixed that for you.
  • Will 2007-04-04 09:02
    Pax:
    WTF is "onomatopoeia" (my captcha)?

    Onomatopoeia are words that sound like the sounds they're describing, such as buzz, ding, or snap.
  • KattMan 2007-04-04 09:04
    Pax:

    WTF is "onomatopoeia" (my captcha)?


    For some reason this is my favorite captcha to see.
    When this word POPS up on screen and it's meaning WHIZZES past your head and BANGS into the wall behind you, landing in the floor with a CLATTER, you realize that an onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like the sound it is used to describe.
  • rob 2007-04-04 09:29
    unfortunately, this is not as un-common as you'd expect. The real WTF though, is how people get tenure in the first place....

    I used to lecture at a UK university, and as a junior lecturer generally got s**t on by a number of the principle and senior lecturers (normally the one's that knew little about their subjects). In order to start rising through the lecturing ranks, you'd have to show that you were a valued member of the research community - i.e. papers and publications.

    So then we get to the point of tutoring student projects. It was always my opinion, that a students project should, if published, be published under the name of that student (a view which most academics i worked with agreed upon). Since really tutoring isn't much more than guidance - have you looked at X? do you know how to debug? are you going to be completed on time? etc. Most students i tutored knew more more about their chosen subject than i did (i'm not lacking in knowledge, just honest!).

    There were however a small percentage of lecturers that believed that any publication from one of their students, should be jointly published under the name of the student and the tutoring lecturer. Pretty much every publication from those lecturers was more often than not, the entire work of the student. To compound matters, those senior lecturers were normally the ones who assigned tutors to students - so you could normally guess who the top students were going to be tutored by....

    Anyhow, after 4 years of that i finally went and got a real job and am very glad about that. (and yes, lecturing does turn you into a raging alcoholic - it's the only way to retain your sanity)
  • jtwine 2007-04-04 09:34
    > However, please note that any intellectual property
    > produced by staff in the course of their employment at
    > University is owned by the University. Intellectual
    > property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate
    > students during their course of study is also owned by
    > the University. However, where intellectual property is
    > exploited for a commercial purpose leading to income
    > generation, the University can offer support to ensure a
    > sharing of income between you and the University.

    That is complete BS. A student has to pay for the right of possible exploitation? That is crazy! I can understand the first part regarding staff - the staff are PAID by the college. But to PAY for the right to give your IP to someone else? WTF? There is no way I would let my college(s) try to take ownership of stuff I created on my own system in my dorm-room, even if it was related to my coursework.

    Not to mention the "the University can offer support to ensure a sharing of income" part - they "can" offer support or "will" offer support?

    Schools need to remember that they exist for the benefit of the students, not the other way around! Geeze...
  • Mitch 2007-04-04 09:36
    Yeah, sorta like the time we built this laser using a frozen bromide-argon matrix and the professor sold it to the military. We got him good though; See, he hated popcorn and we build this gi-normous jiffy pop (tm) in his living room and then hacked the military control computers with the help of the local physics guru burnout-turned-hermit to target hist house during the test flight.

    Man, that was awesome. Almost as good as when we hacked the pesky pet student's braces to make him think he could talk to God...
  • jtwine 2007-04-04 09:55
    Mitch:
    Yeah, sorta like the time we built this laser using a frozen bromide-argon matrix and the professor sold it to the military. We got him good though; See, he hated popcorn and we build this gi-normous jiffy pop (tm) in his living room and then hacked the military control computers with the help of the local physics guru burnout-turned-hermit to target hist house during the test flight.

    Man, that was awesome. Almost as good as when we hacked the pesky pet student's braces to make him think he could talk to God...


    Heh - have you read the earlier posts? I think you are a bit late to the party... :)
  • Pax 2007-04-04 10:26
    jtwine:
    > However, please note that any intellectual property
    > produced by staff in the course of their employment at
    > University is owned by the University. Intellectual
    > property produced by undergraduate or postgraduate
    > students during their course of study is also owned by
    > the University. However, where intellectual property is
    > exploited for a commercial purpose leading to income
    > generation, the University can offer support to ensure a
    > sharing of income between you and the University.

    That is complete BS. A student has to pay for the right of possible exploitation? That is crazy! I can understand the first part regarding staff - the staff are PAID by the college. But to PAY for the right to give your IP to someone else? WTF? There is no way I would let my college(s) try to take ownership of stuff I created on my own system in my dorm-room, even if it was related to my coursework.

    Not to mention the "the University can offer support to ensure a sharing of income" part - they "can" offer support or "will" offer support?

    Schools need to remember that they exist for the benefit of the students, not the other way around! Geeze...


    I read this differently - "where IP is exploited (BY THE UNIVERSITY) ... leading to income generation," and the support they offer is not help-desk stuff that you'd be paying for, it's assistance by the Uni to the student to ensure the student gets their fair share of the moola collected by the Uni.

    Of course I could be misreading their meaning, your meaning or, in extreme cases, the very fabric of reality, in which case feel free to ignore my psycotic ramblings.
  • Eponymous 2007-04-04 13:09
    Anonymous:
    AGould:

    Wow, times have changed - I would never have considered licensing my assignments. The thought wouldn't even have occurred to me. It's kind of depressing, in a way. (I'm told my high school teacher is *still* using some of my assignments as examples - wonder if I should charge him royalties? ;)

    No, I don't think you can charge him.

    Copying materials for the sake of TEACHING is listed under fair use clauses in copyright laws. That means, such activities do not constitute a copyright breach.


    I don't think it's quite that cut-and-dried. For instance, a college professor certainly couldn't (legally) photocopy a novel wholesale and hand out the photocopies to students. The doctrine of fair use certainly lowers the bar to classify copying as non-infringing when done for educational purposes, but doesn't make it fair game to copy indiscriminately. I suppose this is offtopic enough, though, as I 'm certain that displaying a homework problem as an example of a well-done assignment has a strong argument for falling within the bounds of fair use :)
  • savar 2007-04-04 13:28
    I've never heard of a programming class where you could turn in the final assignment days after the semester ended and still get a passing grade, let alone an A+!

    Forgot to submit his source code? Twice? Kerin is lucky the prof was stealing his work.
  • mo 2007-04-04 13:41
    A cs professor at my university lost tenure for far less, only teaching classes but skipping departmental functions (There were some major disagreements among faculty in the mid 90s that had everyone mad at each other). If department faculty police their own, tenure usually works. It's mostly mega-depts at mega-universities or those schools with lots of part time faculty where it all falls apart because faculty don't know what is going on. My department had 10-15 full time faculty plus a handful adjuncts brought in from industry to teach advanced lab classes.
  • Homer 2007-04-04 13:51
    That jackass professor should be flogged. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all too often. If I had a nickel for each "chapter topic" a prof got from my work or my friends work, I would not have to work :-)
  • Eeve 2007-04-04 14:30
    The CS program at many universities do not assume ANY computer knowledge at the start of the program. My degree came with essentially a computers 101 course that was mandatory. Did you know a mouse is an INPUT device? *shock* Skipped much of that waste of time.

    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    But then, CS departments have always been under immense pressure from the corporate world to conform to fashion. Ie, Megacorp complains "Why are you teaching algorithms and computability to these students? We don't need engineers or scientists who can think, we need IT grunts who can keep our e-commerce running. We're going to have to rethink that new building we promised to pay for."
  • Val K. 2007-04-04 14:40
    I'll take Real Genius for $1000 Alex...
  • Demaestro 2007-04-04 15:16
    Once I realized what he was up too I would have submitted either an invoice to be paid for my services or I would have been vindictive and sent him an email telling him that I couldn't let go that search didn't work and I would go on to tell him I had a "working" version and he should replace the source code.

    Of course my "fixed" version would have fixed him.
  • darin 2007-04-04 15:49
    ContractorInLivingHell:

    Good profs don't need tenure. Good but controversial profs generally don't get sacked since they are too popular, and if they do, they can find other work (since they are good). Bad profs however need tenure. They are the ones that carry on the loudest about it.


    What about the group you're missing? Good by not popular profs? Popularity is of course, completely unrelated to quality. A prof can be popular by giving out A's without requiring any work. Of course, no reputable university rates profs on how popular they ware with students...

    Popularity with other faculty and department does seem to matter though. And that's where tenure helps. It keeps the professors with differing views from being forced out. They no longer have to follow the fashions and trends, or suck up to senior professors.
  • Tukaro 2007-04-04 22:50
    This just astounds me.

    I've had some horrible professors (most with tenure), but even without the blatant plagiarism (and that's what this is!), I haven't had a professor that bad. The Computer and Engineering professors tend to keep their personal politics out of the course. (Can't say the same for anything related to Liberal Arts, unfortunately.)
  • TheRealBill 2007-04-05 13:50
    dirtside:

    Yes, there are obviously problems with tenure -- when you have no one to answer to, you might also go off the deep end and pursue useless nonsense, but that's apparently an acceptable risk.


    It is certainly considered acceptable to those who benefit from it in ways they should not.
  • Luca Masters 2007-04-05 14:09
    nwbrown:
    Well, you can't anyways since the school generally keeps rights to the copyright of anything you produce for them.

    The school might be able to sue, though.
    I don't know about most universities, but at East Carolina University, the students retain the copyright to their work. I don't recall exactly what rights I granted them in submitting my assignments, but I doubt it included relicensing to a third party. (In one course, the professor had us sign something saying he use our projects for academic purposes, or somesuch thing.)

    There was a case at another university where students sued (successfully, I think) one of those 'check for cheating' companies because they add submitted works to their database, which violated his copyright. Or maybe he sued the professor/school. That seems more reasonable to me, but since when do we limit lawsuits to what's reasonable?
  • Reality 2007-04-05 15:01
    I am amazed at the number of students who believe that they actually own the copyright to their academic assignments. Remember that admission form you signed when you started school? One clause states that you agree to the schools IP policy. Did you read the policy? I didn't think so.

    Well, if you read it, you would see that you assign all IP rights (not just copyright) to everything you create for a class to the university. Many take it one step further and declare that everything you create while attending the school is assigned to the university.

    If anybody should be upset at the professor in the OP, it should be the school being ripped off.
  • TheGraduate 2007-04-06 01:44
    Did this in high school on the one computer the school owned (had 8" floppies if you're interested in the date).

    Two assistant principals had to take a programming class to qualify for promotion. They came to me and sheepishly asked for help. That ended up meaning writing all their programs for them. They got A's. They offered to take me out to dinner as a reward, but they were both pretty slimy. I asked just to have the cash they would've spent on dinner. My first paid programming gig!



  • Mostly Evil Frank 2007-04-06 15:00
    operagost:
    darin:
    Web Design 101?? Was this a trade school? If it was a distinguished university, I would hope it's merely an elective, and outside of the computer science department, and taught by a TA and not a professor. It could even be a side-project in a databases course, or a self-study project, etc. Sheesh, what's next, "Wordprocessing 101"?

    I also find the "A+" grade dubious. What college or university has an A+ grade?


    A current midwestern state univiversity does this. It shows up on the transcript as A+. It was a management class and doing the extra credit work I ended up with 105% of the total. What sucks is that an A+ doesn't give you any extra towards your GPA, but an A- pulls it down. I was running a 4.0 for the first 2-1/2 years until a history professor gave me an A- for my course grade.
  • wavenger 2007-04-07 16:22
    Well, before you start riffing off, look up your school's policy on copyright ownership. UC ain't so bad:

    http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/copyright/systemwide/pcoiv.html

    To summerize, you retain the copyright unless:

    A) You're staff (rank & file worker as opposed to faculty)
    B) The university specifically sponsors/contracts/comissions the work

    This means that the academic works of all students and most faculty are solely their property. And I realize that this type of thing goes on even where there are contradictory policies, rules and laws, but it's up to people to take action against plagiarists and thieves.
  • yy2bggggs 2007-04-08 19:15
    Mark:
    Therefore, a student could certainly attach the GPL or any other license to her assignments and have the right to pursue enforcement if the terms of that license were violated.

    Doesn't work that way. Licenses aren't contracts, they are permissions to use. Licenses don't restrict rights, they grant rights. You're not punished for violating terms of a license, you're punished for practicing certain acts without permission.

    The terms of the GPL are acceptance terms of the license (permission). The alternative is default copyright law, which doesn't let you do certain things to other people's copyrighted works.
  • EvanED 2007-04-08 23:29
    Reality:
    I am amazed at the number of students who believe that they actually own the copyright to their academic assignments. Remember that admission form you signed when you started school? One clause states that you agree to the schools IP policy. Did you read the policy? I didn't think so.


    Wow, how nice of a generalization. I *did* read the policies, and at my undergrad university, undergraduates who were not being paid by professors for research retained copyright on their work. At my current university, even graduate students retain copyright, though we do have to turn over patents.
  • EvanED 2007-04-08 23:34
    Here, I'll support what I said:

    Undergraduate students, professional students (such as law and medical students), and others who are not [university] employees are not required to sign the Intellectual Property Agreement. They own any intellectual property that they create.

    However, situations may occur in certain courses or special projects where students are presented with the opportunity to participate in projects or activities in which the ownership of any resulting intellectual property must be assigned either to the University or to a sponsoring entity as a condition of the student's participation. Special Student Intellectual Property Agreement Forms are available to deal with all of the situations requiring assignment, or notification of the sponsors of the research. Faculty Guidance on Student Intellectual Property Rights are also available.


    From my graduate institution:

    Except as required by funding agreements or other University policies, the University does not claim ownership rights in the intellectual property generated during research by its faculty, staff, or students.


    Both are Big 10 universities.
  • Paul Phoenix 2007-04-09 14:07
    Did his name happen to be Borat? ;D

    Why you laugh?
  • 855 2008-11-28 21:00
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  • Bob2 2010-07-01 16:34
    For fun I took an class on Automotive technology. We Spent most of the semester refinishing the professor's classic Corvette. How many people can say they eraned their BS and learned how to bondo and wetsand?
  • cindy 2010-12-22 08:32
    find for all kinds of watches and women handbags

    Audemars Piguet watches
    http://replica038.com/audemars-piguet-watches.html

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    Frank Muller watches
    http://replica038.com/frank-muller-watches.html



  • cindy 2011-01-11 07:04