Late-night Labs, Side Effect of Tight Schedule
Late-night Labs, Side Effect of Tight Schedule
  • Reporter Park Tae-yoon
  • 승인 2012.04.11 19:35
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Question: Have you ever attended classes at 11 o’clock? Most students would answer, “Of course. It is normal to take lectures at 11 A.M.” This answer is not strange, but typical. However, the question actually inquires about 11 P.M. Those who specialize in chemistry have a class that starts at 11 P.M. and finishes at 12 A.M. because of the conflicting lab times of organic chemistry and analytical chemistry. During a lab, the teaching assistant (TA) solves homework problems and gives quizzes. But lab times are not considered to be well conducted despite of the original purpose. Because lab times are scheduled late at night, students are so exhausted that they cannot concentrate, and some do not bother to come at all. On some occasions, TAs even condone students’ absences. Why has this happened?
The reason why lab times are scheduled late is that it is arranged considering all students’ schedules. Because not every student takes the same humanities courses, it is almost impossible to meet before dinner. It can’t be helped under the current lecture schedule. In addition, the TAs are under the impression that the lab time could be scheduled at any time, whether late or not, since all undergraduate students live in the dormitory. Such practice begins right when freshmen enter. Some of their classes, such as Calculus, General Physics, and Future Planning for College Life, are scheduled after dinner. For freshmen who try to adjust to college life, late-night classes are burdens on their shoulders. The senior students are no exception. Their major courses have lab times late in the evening as well, such as Differential Equation, Discrete Mathematics, Probability and Statistics for Engineering, Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, to just list a few. Most students have at least one. Does this problem exist only in POSTECH? Let us take a look at cases of KAIST and UNIST in which all students live in dormitories, too.
First, look at KAIST which is similar to POSTECH. Undergraduate students, especially freshmen, take one or two lectures after dinner. What is special is that some lectures and lab times are already scheduled at late night at the time of registration, instead of establishing the time after the classes begin. Lab times for Calculus, General Physics, and General Chemistry are arranged for freshmen to solidify their academic foundation. Lectures are also offered for freshmen to adjust to college life. “Personal Leadership,” planned by the KAIST leadership center is established late in the evening. The remaining lab times, due to the nature of college, are decided upon the professors’ discretion.
UNIST, which was established in 2009, is no exception because it is modeled after POSTECH in many respects. Lab times of some majors as well as calculus, which is a basic course, are arranged after dinner. Interestingly, all classes must finish by 6:30 P.M. on their timetable. In reality, however, this rule is not always strictly kept.
KAIST and UNIST have several lab times late in the evening, but it is not as serious of a problem as that of POSTECH. Lab times are designed for students to improve their comprehension. However, it has been nothing more than just another troublesome, wasteful time for them until now.
The POSTECH Times thinks that because lab time is a privilege for all students living in dormitory, it needs to be used wisely to actually make improvements. Since it is impossible to choose a convenient time for all students’ schedules, the solution is simple: make a better use of this time. If the quality of lab time is improved, students might find it more interesting and participate more readily. In addition, if students tried to learn more, TAs might prepare better contents. In other words, both parties have homework of having better attitudes in order to solve this problem.

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