Dear students,

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by chad, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard
    That's what reviewing it is for.
    Although in all seriousness, I've read some appallingly drafted documents that are not helped by their verbosity.
     
  2. Quango

    Quango BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 25, 2003
    Colorado
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Hopefully, it is your last. This reminded me of when my father, an HS English teacher at the time, was grading a paper that used, "In my eyes...." He decided this meaningless phrase might as well be "Up my butt...." We had a good time that night making up theses such as, "Up my butt, To Kill a Mockingbird was a good book." :D
     
  3. alliu23

    alliu23 I'm a Yank til I Die

    Jul 28, 2004
    Williamsport, PA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    hehehe

    It just drives me nuts because it's so blunt and just seems so damn tacky
     
  4. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    I want to stand up for "In this paper, I argue that," especially in early drafts. From my experience, students' biggest problem, once they have the mechanics of writing down, is in composing arguments that are clear, interesting, and that tie the paper together. Too often, papers "discuss" or "explore" topics, never clearly laying out what the paper is arguing.

    This leads to far more bad prose as they stumble around trying to figure out what their argument is than one clear sentence that states the argument. It also forces students to recognize that the paper has to have a cohesive argument, and not just wander from point to point. The writing that troubles me as a professor is the writing that leads me around with seemingly no central point.

    "I" can be overused, and the "In my view" stuff is out as far as I'm concerned, but oftentimes, as students are learning to state and construct arguments, the blunter the better.
     
  5. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ...and here I thought that I had avoided any grade disputes this semester. But, this one is a doozy - a new one for me. This was a second email exchange - from a student for whom I already arranged to submit one assignment late. In the second email, the student says s/he doesn't agree with my grading policy, then continues:

    "I guess in your opinion I deserve a C- because I skipped some of the
    threaded discussions [my note - these totalled 25% of the grade for the semester] . . . . If for whatever reason I was unable to complete some of the threaded discussions I don't think I should be penalized."

    And I'd say that this is a good guess! I've had people contend that I should accept work after the semester, should reconsider my grades on a particular assignment, or give an incomplete grade when none is warranted, but never before that I should ignore missing work because s/he did well in other areas.
     
  6. Howard Zinn

    Howard Zinn Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    Brookline, MA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    I wish that one time in my life I would have the courage to do something completely idiotic like this. :D :cool:
     
  7. Bluto11

    Bluto11 The sky is falling!

    May 16, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    my senior paper was 35 pages. The prof wanted between 25-35, so i just came in at the maximum. I could've made it a heck of a lot longer.

    Some of the people in my class were doing there paper for "honors" so they had to write around 100 pages. one kid's paper was freakign awesome, it was about land management in Vietnam before the Vietnam war. I think he is using it for his master's thesis.
     
  8. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 16, 1999
    Big City Blinking
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We had to write a thesis-type paper as a graduation requirement for law school. Mine came in at 128 pages with over 200 footnotes. Good times......:(
     
  9. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I have a screen-play idea for a scene in which characters are asked to approach profs for an authentic letter of dis-recommendation. (It has to do w/ getting on a reality tv show.)

    You know, that letter of rec that you would just *love* to write but of course never could/would. "Mr. X was a lazy frickin' a-hole who blah blah blah."

    Me thinks this student would be a nice candidate for a letter of dis-recommendation.
     
  10. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re letters you wish you could write - I drafted a couple of replies to this one, but decided it was better to post here than to send any version of a response back to the student! A letter of dis-recommendation sounds good to me, though!
     
  11. DoctorJones24

    DoctorJones24 Member

    Aug 26, 1999
    OH
    I'm with needs on this one--I don't have a problem with the first person if used sparingly. It's a hell of a lot better than the old "the writer of the present paper suggests..."

    If I was a high school teacher though, I'm sure I'd feel differently.
    What really gets me is the use of "you." Drives me batshit.
     
  12. jec1

    jec1 Member

    Sporting Clube de Portugal
    Portugal
    Aug 27, 2004
    Los Angeles ATM
    Club:
    Sporting CP Lisbon
    Nat'l Team:
    Portugal
    you is a word that is often misused and i hate that word to :eek:
     
  13. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I think I may have said this earlier, but the more advanced the writer, the more they can get away w/ these things. At the HS level, yeah, nix it. But at the grad level (humanities and social sciences), it's another option.
     
  14. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    I saw something similar in a college final exam. Someone who showed up 3 times during the semester comes into the final with a broken arm. Sits there for about an hour, pulls out a pre-completed blue book while the prof. was distracted and hands it in. How f-ing lame. I wanted to break that scvmbag's other arm.
     
  15. billyireland

    billyireland Member+

    May 4, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Has anybody ever got a paper handed into them that is taken straight from the web... and no, I don't mean copied & pasted onto Word, I mean just copying the web-page. Some idiot tried that for an end-of-term paper on Antigone (I cannot remember the full title of the essay, since I did a different one), and although it must have been a .txt file since he just couldn't have been stupid enough to copy one with all the images, the web address gave it away in the end.

    Of course, on the subject of 'I this, my that' and it's being loved here like Oliver Cromwell in Ireland, is it not less applicable to certain subjects? I would imagine it is a lot easier to take a completely objective standpoint in more business and/or law-based courses, as opposed to a a course more geared towards arts. I am doing a film studies course, and in so many of the essay titles we are given, opinion is either asked for or implied. I'm not saying that it is a common practice in my essays, but it certainly does pop up on occasion (esp. since every HS teacher I ever had drilled using said word into every argument/review I wrote for six years). So just a question, really: when discussiing such topics as the adaptation of Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now or creating an analytical anthology of poetry, how would it be best to replace 'In my opinion/views' and such. I usually try to avoid it as most lecturers are not too fond of it (to be mild), but it's hardly like I can replace it with 'research has found' or other such phrases that have been suggested so far, and there is only so much wriggling one can do in a 2,000wd paper before eventually just giving in and using it at one point or another; in which case it is usually easier to just get it over with at the start, and build upon from there.

    So, any suggestions?
     
  16. Howard Zinn

    Howard Zinn Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    Brookline, MA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Why don't you just skip the phrase 'In my opinion/views' all together and just say what you think. For example, instead of saying "In my opinion, Fyodor Dostoevsky used his novel "The Brothers Karamazov" to advance his own religious views, especially the idea of suffering for salvation." just leave out the 'In my opinion' and you've got this left "Fyodor Dostoevsky used his novel "The Brothers Karamazov" to advance his own religious views, especially the idea of suffering for salvation." Now you just proceed to back up what you've stated with facts. This has more of an air of certainty, giving whoever is reading the essay the feeling that this person knows their shiite.

    At least that's what I do. Could be wrong. :D
     
  17. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I mentioned mine on page three, from the end of last semester. I just checked this thread again because the guy had his hearing last week (he appealed my judgment that he plagiarized, which is something he told me he wasn't going to do). The hearing (I was told by the head of the Humanities departments) consisted of reading my syllabus to him, the assignment, and then showing him the 5 pages (complete with a picture of Jonas Salk) he turned in, and then comparing it with the website from which his essay (except for the introduction) came. His excuse was that he accidently turned in his notes instead of his paper.

    His "F" for the course stands, and if he gets caught again, he'll get a suspension.
     
  18. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    So I gave in, I gave 3 students B+'s, mainly to reward their excellent participation (their writing was a solid B).

    Our semester started this week. Within a day of it beginning, two of them had come to see me to see if they could do anything to raise their grade and if I would look at their final papers again.

    When will I learn to listen to me?
     
  19. mcdiesel

    mcdiesel New Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Boston
    Jebus. I was a moron and plagiarized 2 pages of a 15 page paper my junior year of college (silly me, I thought I needed to reach the page limit to get a good grade). I didn't whine when I got caught, didn't appeal, and basically fell on my sword and took what I deserved. Apparently what I deserved, for a first offense in an otherwise clean college career, was a full year's suspension. I must have gone to the wrong school...

    Do teachers believe that simply giving an F and a warning is, in most cases, sufficient punishment for plagiarism? Or would a case like mine better illustrate what teachers and professors would like to see more of? I recall at the time that my parents thought a full year off was a bit much (they also thought my life was over, evidently they were wrong), but I remember thinking that I committed the ultimate academic crime and deserved whatever was coming to me.
     
  20. jec1

    jec1 Member

    Sporting Clube de Portugal
    Portugal
    Aug 27, 2004
    Los Angeles ATM
    Club:
    Sporting CP Lisbon
    Nat'l Team:
    Portugal
    What school do you attend?
     
  21. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Hmm, I think it varies from professor to professor and school to school. At research universities, I think most professors (certainly asst profs) are more concerned about tenure and publishing, so they want to dispose of these things as quickly as possible.

    At teaching colleges/universities, I think there would be greater consequences and/or willingness to "go to the mat" on a plagiarism case.

    Even as a teaching grad student, my focus is on research and publishing, so I don't go looking for plagiarism--although it has smacked me in the face a couple of times. In those cases, I turn it in and let the course faculty rep deal with it. But I don't go out of my way to look for it (even though our liberal arts college does have a subscription to turnitin.com).
     
  22. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would just like to point out that every time I read the title of this thread I hear John Lennon singing it, as in Dear Prudence. It's starting to drive me a little nuts.
     
  23. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    In an ideal world, students wouldn't be so ig'nant and they would stop giving us material.

    Damnit, now that you mention it, I can't get Siouxie and the Banshees' cover out of my head!
     

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