The End of the Semester gripe thread

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by christopher d, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. DoctorJones24

    DoctorJones24 Member

    Aug 26, 1999
    OH
    "Throughout history" is pretty bad as an opener, I'll give you.

    But does it beat: "Nowadays," ?

    Also, has anyone else noticed that we now have an entire generation that thinks that "definitely" is spelled "defiantly"?
     
  2. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    These are the same students that have replaced "have" with "of." To choose one example sitting right in front of me, "Gilmore could of included more oral history evidence."
     
  3. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My guess? They start about by mispelling it "definately" (which is ubiquitous on BS) and their spell check function offers "defiantly" as an acceptable alternative.
     
  4. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Gave my final exam in Intro to Lit yesterday. Saw a student blatantly copying off someone sitting next to her, so I announced, "keep your eyes on your own paper. This is the only warning. The next offense is an 'F'." And naturally, everyone looked up except the person who was copying. She moved her eyes back to her own paper and kept them there. There's no evidence that she copied after the first two Identification questions, so I just went with her original answers that she had erased once she saw the correct ones next to her. Losing the 6 points didn't do too much damage, as she lost several others elsewhere.

    I wonder how long short-bus riding students have been getting into this college. And I wonder where she gets the idea that I was a short-bus passenger myself back in the day. I mean, do I look that ********ing stupid to her?
     
  5. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    That's the thing that gets me. Do that actually think that I'll look at a paper in 16 point courier with 2 1/2 inch margins and think "Jane's computer certainly formats her papers strangely and her paper consists of four sentences, but she does have the required 5 pages so I'll have to pass her." Do I look like someone who is completely unfamiliar with the working of word processing programs?

    I actually had one student (at a previous institution) claim that his paper was in 16 point type because "That's the way his computer does it."

    I enjoyed that F.
     
  6. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I had a type-font trick like that in Chicago once. 18 point font on page 1, 2, and 5, 20 pt on pages 3 and 4.

    So we scanned it, reduced the font to twelve, and it was one page plus three lines. I graded that, then stapled it to the 5 page original. She came to me and told me I graded her rough draft by mistake. I asked her to show me the revisions, then put her out of her misery, as Dr. Jones said, though not as quickly as a better person would've done so.

    This same kid missed the midterm that same semester. She called the English Department office and told the student that she was in New York for a modelling shoot. She got off the phone by saying that it was 5 til noon, and her noon flight just issued its last call so she had to hurry: she'd be back later that afternoon and would call me in my office.

    Her oversight? It was in fact 11:55. Central time. Poor idiot forgot about those darn confusing time zone thingies.
     
  7. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    My favorite plagarism/cheating/idiot student story is from when I TA'ed the first half of the US history survey. One of the other TA's had a student that missed the first paper and midterm, then came in and explained to Ellen (the other TA) that she was under a lot of stress because her sister had recently died. Ellen, of course, told her to take what time she needed, prioritize her family, etc.

    She gets the papers in and we get to the final. For the final, the students get six essay questions in advance and we drew two questions out of a hat (in a drawing more rigged than the CONCACAF semi-final draw). After the final, we go back to the grad lounge and Ellen checks her email. Lo and behold, there's an email from the student and she's accidentally written on the wrong question. Ellen looks at her blue book and it's a strange answer, in that it's a very well done essay but doesn't really answer the question we asked. So she googles some phrases, and there's the essay. She'd copied it off a paper mill into the blue book.

    So the course's professor brings her up on charges with the honor board. Mandatory F and academic probation, etc. The next thing you know, the parents are calling the professor, "She's going to appeal. How can you do this? Our daughter wouldn't do anything like this? I can't believe you're accusing her of cheating, etc." The professor responds, "Well, we know she cheated, but I can kind of understand how this would happen, given the tragedy your family recently went through." Parents: "Um, excuse me."

    End of appeal.
     
  8. d'Entre les Morts

    d'Entre les Morts New Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Having looked at some of these horror stories I could not help but be reminded of my current school and so please excuse me for any biterness that follows, but I just feel like venting a bit.

    Last year I returned to Uni having earlier quit in a furor over the morbid incompetence that was utterly rampant in a school that was supposedly decent. Attending a small state school, due to price and geographic proximity I felt I was ready to return having been forced to deal with working in the "real world" for a few years. At first I was excited, there would finally be people to talk to, reading books was no longer going to be a point of suspicion or at least shame, at last redemption. The fates however have once more taken the slapstick of reality and paddled my bottom to a deep crimson. I should have know better yes, but I was little prepared for the downright negative reception I received whenver I attempted to go beyond the textbook, and this from the professors. It often seems that any external interest in subject matter is to be regarded with suspicion usually reserved for child-killers and arabs. Are non-top-flite schools all this generally bad, god it pains me to think so because I may as well toss all of intellectual curiosity out the window and start watching nascar and voting republican.

    p.s. This all seems to make good sense to me now, but being a bit drunk and in a state of general unhappiness it may not be, forgive the crappiest bits .
     
  9. elainemichelle

    elainemichelle New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    I will admit that I can't spell but I'm intelligent enough to use spell check on papers.

    Why did I post more here last week? Maybe I'll start a beginning of the semester gripe thread for when I start my Christmas homework on Jan 2.
     
  10. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It definitely sounds like you're dealing with an extreme case. My non-top-flight alma mater had handful of bogus teachers that were just interested in collecting a paycheck and they had some that were interested, but not very good. Thankfully, I figured out early which ones were really interested in challenging their students and the ones for whom extra effort was appreciated. For them, the bare minimum was frowned upon and I signed up for their classes. Also, the department of my major really took stock of itself around my sophomore year and decided to start cleaning house. They started imposing some pretty strict standars because they said previous administrators had gone soft and it was bad for the program. They instituted a course that you had three chances to get a "C" in and if you couldn't get a "C" in it after the third try, it was mandatory that you changed your major. I remember when I took the course, there were 12 of us in the class, it was 2 A's, 2 B's, 2 C's and 6 F's at the end. They decided they weren't messing around anymore, and I was happy about that.
     
  11. d'Entre les Morts

    d'Entre les Morts New Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Well I am glad to hear that, I am not usually such a miserable cuss, but to see how little can be done to earn a degree is depressing especially as fall graduation approaches. Not everyone is completely lousy, but as one of my friends put it so succinctly "D's get degrees," and sadly many people seem rather content with the situation.
     
  12. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

    Oct 11, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Earlier this quarter, I assigned my students to write a Togo-style "dilemma tale." One student turned in a plot summary of the movie Saw. I recognized it right away, and I had only seen a preview of the movie.
     
  13. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    Got the first final-paper back from this semester. I'd probably be more upset if I hadn't been mailing it in the entire semester, but this was one of the few times I put out actual work. Seeing as I got Bs when I half-assed it and Bs when I put forth effort, I probably should have enjoyed my Thanksgiving instead. Bleah. Oh well... 51 units down, six to go, plus two incompletes. 145 days until graduation. Senior-itis, here we come.
     
  14. backheelflick

    backheelflick New Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    York, Pennsylvania
    finals over; grades are all in. Ended up with a 3.8 while taking some weed-out courses. I must wonder how much better I would have done if I hadnt wasted 6 hours watching the mersey, brum, and london derbies two weekends ago.

    anyone else struggle with football/school compromise?
     
  15. elainemichelle

    elainemichelle New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    This sounds like me.
     
  16. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I sometimes require students to use cours ematerials and only course materials - it totally depends upon the nature of the assignment. For example, an exam on course and lecture material is just that, and usually takes place in introductory-level courses. It is appropriate to assess knowledge of those sources. In more advanced courses, research assignments let you delve into all sorts of additional reading materials. But, I am increasingly frustrated by students' misapplication of the wonderful research tool the internet has the possibility to be. In short, "informative" and "authoritative" are not synonyms. I'll always remember one student's contention that I should not have knocked "Buber's Basque Page" as a source, because Buber has "a lot of good information." And for all I know, Buber is a nice guy (gal?) who truly does have an informative web page - but not an authoritative one.

    Another issue - and please, d'entre, do not feel attacked, as I have no idea what you selected for additional reading or what the context was - is the often slanted readings the student wants to introduce. I am the first to admit that many university faculty select biased sources themselves, and like to think that I am different. For advanced courses (I teach courses on the UN, international policy formulation, and Latin America), I have taken to requiring annotated bibliographies before papers are written (too many problems after the fact). Is a paper on military technology to be based upon RAND Corp. and DOD sources? Are the Sierra Club and Greenpeace the only planned sources for an ocean fisheries management paper? Does the student want to use Brothers to the Rescue and other Miami-based groups as the only sources about Fidel Castro?

    Basically, there may be reasons for your professors' prohibition of the use of outside sources. In your case, I would probably require prior approval of your source before allowing you to use it on a given assignment, unless the assignment was to use outside sources in the first place.

    Don't know if this is an end-of-semester gripe or not. I guess I will gripe that I wrote this way too late for anyone to read it - you've all griped and gone!
     
  17. d'Entre les Morts

    d'Entre les Morts New Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Sorry for any confusion but this was not for an assignment, rather for my own benefit. I fully understand the dangers of illegitimate/inappropriate sources, and respect the restrictions placed upon assignments for class. However, I simply asked professors about what editions of certain volumes covered in class would be most complete, or for very basic background information surrounding some artwork (that was being used as an historical reference) and my inquiries were not regarded kindly.
     
  18. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    Have you asked for your money back? That's simply abysmal -- especially if you're doing college at a "non-traditional" age (code word for working at the same time). One should think that if you have the curiosity to seek out further information on a subject that you would have the intellectual fortitude to deal with it.

    It's one thing to not want to deal / not have the time to deal with a precocious student, but the idea of a professional educator taking time out of his or her day to actively discourage further inquiry into the subject in which that educator is paid to foster curiosity is bizarre and reprehensible.

    Care to out the school / class in a public forum?
     
  19. d'Entre les Morts

    d'Entre les Morts New Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Well to be honest though I like the symbolism of asking for my money back I did not pay a dime to attend school so I am ok with my return, at least on my monetary investment. Also, I don't feel like naming names as I am attempting to deal with the matter within the school and therefore am hesitant to piss on them without at least giving them a chance to deal with the issues stated. I just posted here because somedays stoic as I try to be publicly I just feel like shouting ******** at the top of my lungs.
     
  20. MKO|||

    MKO||| Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I´ve seven exams in january and actually havent learnt yet!!! I know nothin!!!!! AAAHHHHHHHH :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  21. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    Bump.
    3 in the morning looking at demographic data. Well, it must be either late November or late April, right?

    Last. End of the Semester. Ever.
    My girlfriend's going to take pictures of me with the bloodshot eyes surrounded by cans of RedBull, just in case I ever get the bright idea to go back for a PhD.
     
  22. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Congrats on the last semester, SObearCAL.

    No gripes from me. Yet.
     
  23. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    Well, thanks :).
    But there are still four papers remaining to be written by 10 May before I can celebrate (still have two incompletes to make up). I have my rent-a-hood hanging up in my office for motivation :D
     
  24. pething101

    pething101 Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Smyrna, Ga
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Damn, I am ready for this year to be over.

    That is all.
     
  25. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    What pething said. It goes without saying, but of course, we all say it.

    Over and over again.

    My closest thing to a gripe: I just collected portfolios for my Freshman comp class. Nearly all of them are good, and nearly all the students showed a marked improvement over the semester, and nearly all of them can SEE the difference between what they thought was acceptable college-level writing in January, and what they need to do in order to get through the program (and what most of them can do, if they keep practicing). However, two students who combined missed a total of 32 out of our 28 class session also turned in portfolios. They're going to be pretty easy to grade, but I still have to read them. But I seriously hope they don't believe they can pass a course they couldn't be bothered to attend.
     

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