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The end is nigh December 10, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, teaching.
Tags: ,

I’m through the ‘grading semifinals’: that is, I have no more grading until after the “all assignments are due” date on Monday.  Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling about how this is going to go with some students.  I have several students who handed in last minute assignments.  It also appears they didn’t read the criteria for the assignment carefully and will not be getting credit for some of those assignments unless they redo them before Monday and submit them again.  Some of these assignments are the required assignments.

I had structured the class so that there were six required assignments and 9 optional assignments.  To pass the class, you had to do all required assignments.  These included things like a personal essay, filling out a curriculum sheet so that the students knew how to plan what classes to take, a presentation on a subfield of engineering, how to keep a lab notebook, and how to write a lab report.  The optional assignments involved a lot of metacognitive items like homework and test wrappers, a couple things on learning styles, a library quiz, and the dreaded Matlab assignments.

A couple weeks ago, I gave everyone a little piece of paper that showed what assignments were outstanding and what their current grade was.  Realistically, this has always been available on blackboard.  However, it was very disconcerting to see how many people were failing to turn in certain required assignments and thus were failing the course.  This also led to an onslaught of homework that needed to be graded.  What’s disappointing, however, is that a good chunk of these assignments were poorly done and didn’t fill the criteria outlined in the assignment.  I had more than one student who handed in a lab report that was three paragraphs in essay form.  No sections, no data, no cover page, etc.

I’ve never had to fail too many students in the past.  In fact, the only one I can really recall was someone who did dangerous things during lab and then showed up to a makeup lab drunk.  I guess facing the prospect of failing a large number of students (>5) is rather disconcerting.  It makes me even more glad to get this over with, although I’m going to be very disappointed every time I have to put down an F.



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