After receiving a petition from game programming students outlining serious complaints about the quality of some professors, Humber’s School of Media Studies and Information Technology is pledging to take action, possibly going so far as not inviting some of the part-time faculty back, according to the program coordinator.
The second-year game programming students prepared and signed a petition mid-November, which listed their concerns about inadequacies of some professors and the substandard level of learning. In the petition, the students named more than half of their professors.
Program coordinator Rob Robson says some teachers will not be asked back.
“These teachers have to adapt to our students. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can’t . There are instructors right now who will not be invited back. There are other instructors who I believe we can work with and make them far better than they are right now,” says Robson, “If we are successful in improving the teaching so that the students are happy with it, then the teachers will remain with us. If we are not successful then sadly they will be replaced.”
Josh O’Donell, 24, is one of the 19 game programming students who helped put the petition together. There are 21 students enrolled in the second year of the program.
“This whole semester we’ve been plagued with insufficient education in terms of either teaching quality or teaching presence. Three teachers out of five that are relevant to our program falls under these issues. One of them was dropping out of class frequently, ending class before the labs, giving us assignments that were way out of scope – and then giving us very little or no help at all in terms of trying to finish these assignment,” says O’Donell.
The petition also details what the students describe as the lack of structure in the professors’ lectures and the absenteeism of one professor who they say in the petition has spent “50 hours in the last two weeks playing video games.” The petition also said that though the professor is entitled to free time, the professor still has to return their midterm projects which hasn’t been done because of “long downloading time,” according to the petition.
O’Donell says such quality of education has a direct hit on his motivation.
“You don’t really feel like going to school, you don’t feel like doing the assignments and when you do the assignments you don’t feel like you’re not prepared well enough and that really takes a poke at your motivation,” says O’Donell. “We are proud of the program we’re in. We want future students to not experience the things we are experiencing and hopefully bring a level of quality to the program itself because we would hate for Humber to be realized as a school that’s not giving the workplace a quality employee.”
O’Donell is not the only student who is concerned with the quality of learning.
“This experience this semester has dampened my college experience a bit. I’m hardly getting feedback on some of my grades and I’m not sure if I should work harder or less,” says Justin Stacey, 19.
Sarah Childs, 19, also shares similar concerns.
“Sometimes I felt why am I in this class when I can learn this stuff at home and I had to self-teach myself. I find myself struggling so hard I had to go to my fellow classmates for help because I was so lost,” says Childs. “Some of the teachers are really nice but they just can’t teach.”
Deanna Sowa, 19, also had her say: “I felt like there was no structure in the classroom. Then there was the huge gap between coming to college from high school. High school felt so much more organized, the teachers would plan out their lectures before coming to class. But when I came to college, I felt this is something I’m paying for, it’s not a government service – this level of education should be much greater than high school.”
In the meantime, O’Donell feels the administration needs to rectify the problem since the reputation of Humber College is at stake.
“As much as our names and livelihoods are on the line, Humber has a great reputation especially for this program in terms of their graduate qualities and if affects them as well. Because with a tarnished reputation there will be a decrease in numbers of students wanting to come to Humber for this program,” says O’Donell.
Robson says it is not the first time there have been complaints about the program. It’s “pretty routine.” Robson says they’ve always looked into the issues as they arise.
Humber Students’ Federation President Timothy Brilhante is also looking into the matter.
“I’ve been actually contacted by students from Game Programming with a number of academic concerns. I always approach these situations from an advocacy position by reaching out on behalf of the students to key people. The goal is always to gather some information and see what the appropriate course of action will be,” says Brilhante.
Last week, the petition was presented to the Associate Dean Nancy Rodrigues. Rodrigues says she is committed to following up with the students’ concerns.