a journal of a researcher

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Identify bad students

Daniel and Bruce sent me a lot of their opinions about how to identify a bad student. They both tell me that there is no magic I can do to turn a bad student to a good one. Daniel said "forcefully organizing many meetings with the student often won’t help". I am happy to know that I do not need to be tough or strict to the students, because that would not help.

Here is Daniel’s metrics:
• cannot keep track of tasks assigned to him and be responsible for such tasks;
• lies to you about what has been done and what hasn’t been done;
• repeatedly ignores some of your phone calls or emails.

Here is Bruce’s metrics:

1. weak language skills (written and oral communication are weak with respect to technical topics -- even for many native speakers of English)
2. not open to research culture (student does not make an effort to talk to others about research and does not come to colloquia or group meetings)
3. unclear about objectives (supervisor does not portray the point of the research and how it fits in the big picture)
4. laziness, inability or unwillingness to focus (student does not come to work regularly, or dissipates research energy when there)
5. insufficient background (student does not have clear grasp of the essential elements of computer science and the required background for the research topic)
6. no research spark (student does not possess an innate ability to innovate, especially necessary for PhD.)

3 Comments:

  • Well, choosing a good student for a Ph.D. is another ball game. My conditions are *not* sufficiently for someone who can earn a Ph.D. and follow-up with a good job afterward. I don't know what those conditions would be...

    By Blogger Daniel Lemire, at 6:08 AM  

  • I never think I qualify to be a good student, but I've been trying hard to make myself not a bad student, it is great to see opinions from professors.
    Two metrics, or two types of metrics, are often used for introspection.

    1. Be a conscientious student.
    Graduate study is different from undergraduate study, it is more like a job which consists of learning how to research and doing research. I guess that is why we need a supervisor. If a student is conscientious for his "job", he/she should complete the tasks that are assigned to him/her in good quality and be an active student.

    2. Be a skilled student.
    Being a skill student doesn't mean being talented, some skills can be learned after born. I admit that there are genius in different areas, but they definitely have to learn other skills in which they are not talented.

    Speaking of these two metrics, I guess bruce's items 2, 3, 4 falls into metric 1 and others belong to the one about skill.

    Of couse these two metrics will take effects on each other. If you are smart, you can learn the background knowledge very well and if you work hard, you will have also gain good knowledge even you are not the smartest person.

    By Blogger Weiwei Geng, at 11:35 AM  

  • I can't say... But I learn something from it :) Thanks.

    By Blogger Ben, at 4:00 PM  

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