Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Information asymmetry

I am disenchanted with my current professor. Last night he asked a question for which I had been preparing an answer for the last 2 weeks. I gave my answer and he said I was incorrect. The question was regarding a political science theory that we have reviewed multiple times in previous classes in grad school and as an undergrad. I thought maybe the scholars who wrote our textbook interpreted the theory a different way and that is why my answer was "wrong" in this class. I looked it up in our textbook and my answer was there, word for word. Now I know that there is what political scientists call "information asymmetry" between the professor and me. This is especially unfortunate because I have to write 2 essays on this particular theory. I guess I will just reference specific page numbers in our textbook as source material.

This is the 2nd class where I've learned to apply the "CYA" approach. In my last class I had a bizarre experience where I gave a speech, and when I went to receive my grade the professor said my speech topic was something different than what my actual topic had been. He wanted to know why I hadn't addressed the other topic in more detail. I was dumbfounded and had to politely explain that the other topic was not my area of research. He said he had heard me open my speech with a discussion of the other topic. Again I had to politely protest that I had said no such words. I got an A on the speech that I did deliver, but next time I give a presentation I will write the speech topic on the white board. I usually use the board for demonstrations anyway. I don't like to give handouts because they are overused and serve as a distraction, but at least you can use them to document what you did in case the professor is on drugs or something.

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