Despite the indubitable value of an educational policy which allows upperclassmen a wide sphere of independence, this principle has been carried to an extreme in many of the advanced courses. In some cases it has resulted in the total abolition of section meetings and a gradual widening of the breach between students and professors.
It is inevitable that questions should arise in the minds of upperclassmen who are taking advanced courses. In the great majority of them the material covered is of an extremely amorphous nature. Three times a week a learned professor expounds the gospel to them, assigns them a mass of reading, and then expects them to digest the heterogeneous meal without any aid, whatsoever. It is true that some courses still retain the section meetings in form, but as conducted at present, these are rarely of any material aid to the bewildered student. Conducted by indifferent section men, they often degenerate into fruitless debates over insignificant issues. Rather than solving the problems of the men, they serve only to increase his general feeling of perplexity.
It is indeed difficult to suggest any infallible panacea. Some professors have adopted a policy of allowing questions during the lectures or at some stipulated periods. In other courses the nature of the subject permits cooperative treatment analagous to the case method. Whatever the system adopted, it is essential that professors should provide some means whereby the student can secure satisfactory answers to questions arising over the material of the course.