Inappropriate or Unethical to ask to sit in class and watch lecture instead of audit?

Gauss44

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Do you think there is anything wrong with asking an instructor if you can sit in the auditorium during their lecture of biochemistry or calculus or whatever without registering to audit or take the course?

I ask because auditing can be prohibitively expensive, yet it shows up on a transcript, whereas "sitting in" does not.

Is the question of, "Do you mind if I sit in the auditorium and watch your lectures without auditing or enrolling?" inappropriate, cheating, or unethical? Or just fine?
 
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Goro

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I see no problem with it if the Professor agrees
 

aformerstudent

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Comes down to administrative decisions man. When I was in undergrad, they were kicking people out of class who were registered but had financial obligations to the school.

It's not unethical but if you're not paying for the course, you shouldn't be in it. It's not personal just business.
 
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Not for you. You could just as easily buy a lecture on tape, talk about the topic informally with a Ph.D. or read a book. Exposure to the material is not in any way wrong.

Whether its right for the school to allow it since other people are paying for those seats is another matter...
 
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Gauss44

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Not for you. You could just as easily buy a lecture on tape, talk about the topic informally with a Ph.D. or read a book. Exposure to the material is not in any way wrong.

Whether its right for the school to allow it since other people are paying for those seats is another matter...
Personally, I have found that video classes tend to put me to sleep if it's just a statue-like instructor who stands in one place, essentially motionless, and talks for 3 hours. Being there in person, making eye contact, interacting, does a lot for some classes.

Other classes are fine on video, if the instructor is interesting enough, walking around, writing on the board, doing demonstrations, etc. Walter Lewin is an example of an instructor who is excellent on camera. Others are far less interesting.
 

MareNostrummm

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Personally, I have found that video classes tend to put me to sleep if it's just a statue-like instructor who stands in one place, essentially motionless, and talks for 3 hours. Being there in person, making eye contact, interacting, does a lot for some classes.

Other classes are fine on video, if the instructor is interesting enough, walking around, writing on the board, doing demonstrations, etc. Walter Lewin is an example of an instructor who is excellent on camera. Others are far less interesting.
I would rather just watch a video lecture at my own convenience, at 1.5-2x speed, even if the lecturer isn't that engaging. It's just a huge time sink to audit lectures you do not need. Ain't nobody has time for that.
 
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Turkishking

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Go for it. How would they know in a class of 300+

You could either ask or go do it
 

JustAPhD

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Go for it. How would they know in a class of 300+

You could either ask or go do it
Not all biochem classes have 300 kids... mine had maybe 50. The prof definitely would've known if some random was sitting in.

OP, just shoot a polite email to the prof asking if it would be ok. Unless there's a school policy distracting otherwise, the prof is most likely willing to let you.
 
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fldoctorgirl

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Someone is doing this in a course I'm in now, and it's an upper-division course with ~ 20 people in it. They just asked the professor if they could sit in on the lectures, since they wanted to register for the class but weren't able to for whatever reason. The professor agreed, and the student has been at every class so far.

The only thing I would suggest is, if you do this, you should be a passive listener. The student who is currently sitting in on my course is a very, very active participant in class, answering the professor's questions and what not. It's a bit annoying for those of us who are actually enrolled in, and actually getting a grade for, the class.

But yeah, just ask the professor. Most don't mind.
 
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aldol16

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It's not unethical or inappropriate. College is expensive and it never made sense to me to audit a course because you're paying some rate for the privilege of listening to someone talk. Whether the professor agrees will depend on the him or her though.
 
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Isoval

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As long as the class isn’t full (i.e. somebody doesn’t have a seat because you’re there) and the professor doesn’t care, I think it’s totally fine.
 
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Planes2Doc

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When I was doing my post-bacc, our orgo professor had some crazy level of photographic memory. One day he looked around the massive lecture hall and said, "If you are not in this class. Leave now." A few guys got up, and walked out. He looked around and once again said, "I said, if you are not in the class, leave now!" A girl sitting a few seats away said, "Damn it." She got up and left. Then he continued like nothing happened.

This was before things like Khan Academy, which would have been far more effective at teaching me. If you combine Khan Academy with something like Chegg (using a text book), you'd probably be good.

To answer your question, people got away with this in massive lecture halls. Not so much at small class lectures. Ethics aside, you'll probably get more bang for your time using Khan Academy or similar resources.
 
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