For one of my classes (upper-level), the professor seems to be quite unprepared for the class. More specifically,
- As they openly disclose, they haven't looked at the course material in many years (prior to the preparation of the course), and are formally teaching that specific class for the first time ever. Although the professor offers nice explanations and new insight in some course topics, it's clear that they lack the necessary knowledge to fully teach the course. Many of the students, including myself, ask questions on covered & related material to gain a deeper understanding, but we're far too often met with "Oh I can't help you with that. Sorry." Then we read the standard literature (textbooks) on the subject, and see that the answers to our questions are standard knowledge (i.e. should be known by an instructor).
- The professor has been packed with other obligations/commitments that are intruding in on his obligation to teach the course (or, more generally, be prepared for the course). These include graduate student advising, personal issues (family most probably - their health seems fine), and research-related stuff. As a result, the professor has literally ended class early and even cancelled class altogether on multiple occasions because, as they have openly disclosed, they "didn't have anything else prepared". On top of that, they have severely cut down on the number of exams and homework.
For students who really only care about getting the course over with, having no intention of using and exploring the material covered in the class, this is heaven. But for those who care deeply about the quality of the class, most of which are paying, this is hell.
What could I do to make this situation better? I haven't talked to the professor about this, because (1) I believe the problems are external to the professor, and (2) the professor is a bit hot-tempered. I don't know if I should talk to his authorities, because then I'd feel bad/mean. Obviously I try hard to supplement by studying the material on my own, but that shouldn't be the case for a payed class.
If you aren't comfortable bringing this up to the instructor, you should definitely bring this up to someone in the department, such as the under/grad coordinator or chair.
Like you said, you paid for this class. Things like this can slip by without the department ever being aware of it but I would hope that they would take this very seriously.