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regentrude

Who gets to graduate? (article)

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I know two men who did sleep through their college Russian final, because they'd pulled an all nighter studying for it. They evidently came rushing in in the last few minutes of the exam period.  Fortunately, they had been pretty good students and the prof was gracious in letting them take the exam rather than just failing them.

 

I had someone oversleep and miss a final while I was a grad student. I was not the instructor of record, and the instructor was out of the country. I had no idea what to do. The guy came running in at the end of the exam, totally panicked and nearly in tears

 

I went to the department office and asked the chair. He told the guy "The office closes in 1.5 hours. You have 1.5 hours to get as much done as you can." (It was a 2 hour final). He did pass the class.

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My classes are small; under 35 students.  I see that it would not work with large lecture classes. 

How big is your course?

I can see handling a small class of up to 40 like this, but with 100+ students, no way I can make individual arrangements. I'll  simply have to announce a time and place when I am available.

 

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They are doing this at our local school too. I know a mom whose son attends this school and when I asked her about it awhile ago, she told me it was actually more rigorous to have the papers done in school because when the kids were working at home many parents were helping too much, including writing the papers themselves! The school decided this keeps everyone more honest. It's probably true, but yikes.

The real issue is plagiarism - the only way teachers can determine if the students wrote the papers themselves is to watch them write them! It's too easy to copy and paste from the Internet.

 

 

Textbooks themselves are a problem with their highly distractive layout, the tons of unimportant boxes and side bars and extra infos. There is not actually consecutive text during which a complicated concept is explained in English. The publishers claim that this is catering to the way students learn, but seeing how little students work with those - tailored- to- them- textbooks I wonder whether textbooks are not really contributing to the short attention span. Those books are like ADHD on steroids.

 

At the small high school I just left, where I taught Spanish, I had a class set of textbooks. I HATED THOSE TEXTS! The pages were busy, so busy you couldn't find stuff, and then they would bury important info in a small note. Several times I would ask myself, "When did they explain that to the student?" and start looking and it was in those ridiculous notes. Plus, the books were big and heavy, so I didn't want to make the students carry them around.  My biggest headache as the teacher was that they were divided up strangely. Instead of chapters, they had 6 units with 3 sections in each and numbered them like that. For the life of me, I could never remember if we were in 2:3 or 3:2!! And then there was a preliminary section. Hello! They're called chapters - start with the first one and call it 1, and then the next one is two and call it 2, and then continue in like manner!

 

So last year I'd finally had enough and I didn't use them at all, even to supplement. I simply made up my own stuff or printed things off the Internet to use.

 

We had a Chinese teacher at our school and he pointed out that in China, texts are small and inexpensive and the students buys them so that they always have them and are expected to know what's in them because they always have access to them.  I think that would be a better system.

No student dreams (nightmares) for me, but I do have a recurring dream of being late for a Calc class that I was teaching.  I am standing in the stacks of the university library engrossed in a book--and have forgotten about my class. 

In my MA program, one of my professors got so absorbed in his work at home that he forgot to come to class. To make it up to us, the next class period he was prepared with his own Top Ten list a la David Letterman - Top Ten Reasons I Missed Class. I still have them in my notes somewhere. They were hilarious. I think one was a hot date with Madonna.

 

I left high school early to go to college, and while I did graduate, I did not attend the graduation. For years I had a recurring dream that I had not finished high school and they were telling me that I had to go back and I would wander around telling people, "But I have a master's degree!"

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We had a Chinese teacher at our school and he pointed out that in China, texts are small and inexpensive and the students buys them so that they always have them and are expected to know what's in them because they always have access to them. I think that would be a better system.

 

It is very cheap too in SE Asia. For example Vector Mechanics for Engineers Statics - SI Units by Beer & Johnston would cost around $30. University textbooks Asian edition are very affordable and lightweight, and the libraries would have three copies of the lecturer's recommended textbooks in the reference section and another copy in the 1 hr loan section for my alma mater.

 

We joke that Asian editions of textbooks are very condensed because we need to keep cost for printing down. Also our university lockers are small so bulky textbooks are a "space eater".

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The real issue is plagiarism - the only way teachers can determine if the students wrote the papers themselves is to watch them write them! It's too easy to copy and paste from the Internet.

 

 

The kids who want to get around this.  They still work at home, then sit around in class either bored, working on other homework, or playing games on the computer pending what the teacher allows.  If you speak to them about it they'll tell you they "can't concentrate in school" so do it at home.  They might be right.  They might be telling a story to cover for getting the paper via other methods.  Who are we to know?

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The kids who want to get around this. They still work at home, then sit around in class either bored, working on other homework, or playing games on the computer pending what the teacher allows. If you speak to them about it they'll tell you they "can't concentrate in school" so do it at home. They might be right. They might be telling a story to cover for getting the paper via other methods. Who are we to know?

Having students turn things in electronically is a way teachers can find plagerized papers. There are several services where you upload the students' papers, and the service will search the internet for and exact or pretty close to exact passages. Our English and History teachers use these things.

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Having students turn things in electronically is a way teachers can find plagerized papers. There are several services where you upload the students' papers, and the service will search the internet for and exact or pretty close to exact passages. Our English and History teachers use these things.

 

Ours talk about using them, but admit they don't have the time.  Students usually print their papers to turn them in as teachers tend to like to mark up the papers - esp rough drafts.  A few e-mail them.

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The kids who want to get around this.  They still work at home, then sit around in class either bored, working on other homework, or playing games on the computer pending what the teacher allows.  If you speak to them about it they'll tell you they "can't concentrate in school" so do it at home.  They might be right.  They might be telling a story to cover for getting the paper via other methods.  Who are we to know?

 

Same here.  What I find,  when talking with friends of my sons,  is that two things are going on... one batch is waiting until the night before it is due, then popping off a 5 page paper that will earn them a B. All they need is the 85 to stay in honors, and they aren't aiming at anything higher than Community College in a field that doesn't require them to write papers, so no need to take time out from their recreational activities to revise a rough draft.    The other batch does not know how to outlne.  Neither gets anything done in school because they haven't enough done to continue a line of research on class or study hall time.

 

There are always one or two parent outliers who write the papers for their children, and then brag about it. Same for siblings.

 

The honors English teacher here is encouraging honest learning by allowing one revision after he returns the paper. They can earn half of the credit they lost if they improve their paper.

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There are always one or two parent outliers who write the papers for their children, and then brag about it. Same for siblings.

 

I have never heard of a parent doing one for their kids here.  I've heard of other students "helping" and there are places on the net where one can buy a paper written to any level one desires (or so I've been told), but I can't imaging most parents around here being able to write a paper for their student to be honest.

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All English classes at my son's high school require students to electronically submit papers so that they can check for plagiarism. Other courses can use it, too.

 

Teachers then talk into their computers using a feature that converts their spoken comments to text  which then show up in the margins alongside the corresponding paragraph, phrase, word, etc. It's pretty cool.

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Having students turn things in electronically is a way teachers can find plagerized papers. There are several services where you upload the students' papers, and the service will search the internet for and exact or pretty close to exact passages. Our English and History teachers use these things.

 

My brother was a professor's assistant last year and he graded a paper in which the student had cut and pasted the entire thing, but forgot to unify the fonts so every other sentence or so looked completely different.  Oops.  My brother said he wasn't sure if he was more disgusted that the kid plagiarized the whole thing or was too stupid to change the fonts.  He said the paper wasn't too bad otherwise.  This was in seminary. :glare: 

 

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Sigh... on the fonts. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that people who steal papers are lazy. On more than one occasion when I've suspected plagiarism, it was very obvious after talking to the student not only did they not write the paper they hadn't bothered to take ten minutes to even read it before they turned it in. Now that's lazy!  

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