Teacher vs Textbook

In class we learned about statistical process control and how it helps a person distinguish between common cause and special cause variation. The example in class where we had to write our name 5 times and then again with the opposite hand was an example of special cause variation. Some kind of an event happened to make our writing look so messy the second time around.

Special cause variation can always be traced to a specific reason. This happens because of unusual circumstances. In order to manage special cause variation, the problem needs to be identified and removed. It is easier to remove special cause than common cause from the system because it can be identified.

Whereas common cause cannot be traced to a specific problem because there are multiple causes contributing to the problem. It affects every outcome, so in order to control common cause variation something in the process needs to be improved. Common cause is inherent in the system. Only management could be blamed for common cause in their system.

These topics made me think about how one little thing can change the way we act, the process time, and the look of something. Writing with my left hand took a lot longer, looked a lot messier, and felt funnier. It would be an identifiable fix if I wanted my writing to look better.

This made me think about how some academic textbooks are written. There are so many incomprehensible concepts that the meaning and the purpose of the article gets lost. We have all had a class where the professor does not teach, but assigns readings, which will be tested on. I believe everyone can interpret readings differently and could get way off base on what the real idea is supposed to be. That is the class where 80% of the students get below a C. The students blame the professor because there is no identifiable cause to why everyone failed. When in reality it is insufficient training.

Then there are the professors that teach the class and give out assignments and questions to make sure students understand the concept. Everyone has the same thought process and understands what the professor wants and what the class entails. The common cause of misinterpretation has turned into a special cause, which can be fixed with proper instructions and understanding.

In this common cause variation, is a professor better than a textbook?

The Worst Week Of College To Crash

The week before final exams is the most stressful week for students. It’s even more stressful for those students who do not manage their time as best as they should, or their workload is just too much to handle.

It always seems during that last week before finals there are more assignments and projects due than there was all quarter.  Not only do we have to study for our final exam, but we also need to finish the group projects, last minute readings, term papers, and online assignments. Sometimes it just feels like everything is on a critical path.

In class we learned that project crashing is shortening the duration of a project. When a business crashes a project they consider: the amount by which an activity is crashed, the shortened activity durations, and the total cost of crashing the project. I believe students do crash certain assignments or final exams in order to work harder on different ones. If I was taking five classes and two were easier, I would definitely put all my studying effort into the three harder classes to make sure I did well. I believe people do this on assignments too. Though I believe group projects are always being crashed because it always takes up all of the slack time until there is none. Everyone’s had a time when they had to meet with their group, but also had a paper due the next day and a final the day after that. The group meeting was supposed to take 30 minutes, but one person arrived late and the other one was confused to what was supposed to be done. The meeting then takes two hours which cuts into your slack time you had for your paper and final.

The risks of crashing a project can relate to the risks of giving one class more attention than the other. The risks associated with crashing a certain class final or assignment could cost you a lower grade. Crashing for a final would mean you didn’t study as much material, in the shortened amount of time that you know you should have. Yet, since you studied less it means you can give another class more time. Would it be worth it? A benefit, however, would be getting a higher grade in another class that you really studied hard for.

The week before finals week everyone is contemplating on what is more important to get done first. There is always way too much to do and never enough time to do it. During this dead week I know everyone is thinking to themselves “next quarter I’m going to it different and not wait until the end”. Then next quarter comes along and you say the same thing.