Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Well, the title is almost self explanatory. I am in a graduate school and have two professors this semester both of who are telling me that they are not following any particular book, and yet when I pressed for some recommendations, they came up with some books. I got them from the library and started reading them, only to discover that they are not really using those books. Somehow, I found out the books which they are actually using and it turns out they are copying each and every example from that other "a little less known book" in the class. The assignments are also exercises from that book.

Now, my point is why do professors feel the need to lie about such stuff? I am not someone who can take good notes, so all I try to do in the class is understand what is being taught, and then go home, read the relevant section from the book and then make notes later, at peace. I am kind of pissed off at my profs, and yet I think getting some different perspective might help, and so, I'm asking here. Do a lot of professors do that? And why? If it makes any difference, I am at one of the best institutes in my country, and the professors are pretty distinguished researchers world wide.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by M Turgeon, Claude Leibovici, Alexander Gruber Feb 18 '14 at 5:03

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." – M Turgeon, Claude Leibovici
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1. They are lazy. 2. They think their students are stupid 3. They don't know to use the internet --- My luck I had not to to deal with sth like this up to now –  user127.0.0.1 Feb 17 '14 at 21:55
This sounds like the kind of thing that would fit well at Academia –  David Z Feb 17 '14 at 22:28
Because, if they wouldn't, then students might find out the source of their knowledge, and get their hands on it... and then they would eventually become just as smart as them, and will discover that they don't need their teachers anymore ! –  Lucian Feb 17 '14 at 22:42
My guess: solutions to exercises in "a little less known book" can be found online if one knows to search for the book title/author. Hence, the desire to hide the source of exercises. –  user127096 Feb 17 '14 at 23:59
@DavidZ No it doesn't. It's an ill-disguised, accusatory rant that contains no actual question and for which any answer is purely opinion-based. That's three reasons it's not suited to any Stack Exchange site. –  David Richerby Feb 18 '14 at 0:56

1 Answer 1

It depends on the person.

  • Sometimes they use their own script which is not yet ready to publish.
  • Sometimes there is no good book for all lectures, but for all lectures there is a good book (that is, different for each).
  • Sometimes the book the examples/questions come from is good only for those who already understand the topic (i.e. it is bad for newcomers to area).
  • Sometimes the book is ok, but contains some horrible typos and other mistakes, which the professor can correct himself.
  • Sometimes the book is outdated (e.g. old notation, lacks new theorems).
  • Sometim...

There are many reasons. And sometimes there is no reason, and some unkind words come to mind...

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.