I’ve marked 40 odd exams (not that they’re odd exams, but that I’ve not got an exact count) out of ~140, and at the same time following the discussion on RFAnet, an email list for Ryerson Faculty. The discussion has been very serious, and is centred on how difficult it is to mark a large number of exams in a short period of time. I have 4 days to do it. There is a feeling that there is too much rush, and that more time should be available. Mostly well intentioned and well thought out, and it is a great way for me as a newer faculty member to know about and share in the struggles that the university community face.
I think we’re all getting a bit exhausted at this point… so some wag (”A person whose words or actions provoke or are intended to provoke amusement or laughter.”) posted the following link as a suggestion. It is nothing new, but rarely so well illustrated. Enjoy. I’m back to the grind.
It’s that time of year again. Students have taken their finals, and now it is time to grade them. It is something professors have been looking forward to all semester. Exactness in grading is a well-honed skill, taking considerable expertise and years of practice to master. The purpose of this post is to serve as a guide to young professors about how to perfect their grading skills and as a way for students to learn the mysterious science of how their grades are determined.
I just posted the final exam for CLD121 Fall2006: The Competent Learner and Reflective Practitioner.
Imagine that you are given the task of creating a school for children. Describe that school in a personal reflective essay format so that it reflects your personal system of values. Explain some or all of the following:
- how the school would function;
- what it would look like;
- what activities would go on;
- what its goals, mission and social function would be;
- the role adults would play;
- how would students be evaluated;
- how it would integrate with the community, society, and/or world.
I like to give the question a week in advance so that there is no panic. Students get to plan out their answer and bring in a sheet with their notes on it. It makes the exam performative rather than a ‘guess what’s in the prof’s head’ sort of thing. I’m really excited to see what sort of answers I get. Definitely more fun than multiple choice or short answer: explain the significance of critical thinking in your personal and professional life. Ugh.
I was just wondering about how RMP would reflect the end of the term, as students find out that they’ve missed too many classes, or haven’t done assignments, or are just plain frustrated with the experience, so I figured that I’d have a look to see at: Jason Nolan - Ryerson University - RateMyProfessors.com. The interesting thing about RMP being a public, though anonymous, forum is that I can comment on it without breaking any privacy rules. I am beginning to see RMP as a positive thing for students who are frustrated with the university experience. I can see the need to shout out/back when they feel that they haven’t been properly… (not sure what the right word is) accommodated. Of course it is also nice to get positive and friendly comments as well, but the best of those come face to face. I wish I could write about my thoughts regarding the fall student experience, as it has been in generally profoundly wonderful in terms of what I’ve seen students accomplish. But I don’t really think it is appropriate to go into more depth than that. Anyway, have a look at how I’ve been rated (Nov 26/27 actually), and enjoy the day.
For my CLD121 course “Competent Learner and Reflective Practitioner” lecture this week we’re talking up ‘Arguments’. Yes, I have Python. But jeremeaie also suggested I check out what the god of funk, GEORGE CLINTON, had to say, perhaps to help with my lecture prep, or perhaps just to mess with my head, as is his wont. THAT said, there is a wonderful subversive nugget right at the start:
“The defense department created the Internet,” proclaims Clinton. “I know something’s got to be wrong with it. You don’t get anything that good for free.” Clinton further expounded that the information age is merely a digital preparation for the masses.
This is my favorite UseNet Oracle post from I don’t remember how long ago. It predates the WWW for me, so probably late 80s. It is archived at http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~reich/DATA/
This question was posed to the Usenet Oracle:
> If you drop a buttered piece of bread, it will fall on the
> floor butter-side down. If a cat is dropped from a window
> or other high and towering place, it will land on it’s feet.
> But what if you attach a buttered piece of bread, butter-side
> up to a cat’s back and toss them both out the window?
> Will the cat land on it’s feet? Or will the butter splat on
> the ground?
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
} Even if you are too lazy to do the experiment yourself you should be
} able to deduce the obvious result. The laws of butterology demand
} that the butter must hit the ground, and the equally strict laws of
} feline aerodynamics demand that the cat can not smash it’s furry back.
} If the combined construct were to land, nature would have no way to
} resolve this paradox. Therefore it simply does not fall.
} That’s right you clever mortal (well, as clever as a mortal can get),
} you have discovered the secret of antigravity! A buttered cat will,
} when released, quickly move to a height where the forces of
} cat-twisting and butter repulsion are in equilibrium. This equilibrium
} point can be modified by scraping off some of the butter, providing
} lift, or removing some of the cat’s limbs, allowing descent.
} Most of the civilized species of the Universe already use this
} principle to drive their ships while within a planetary system. The
} loud humming heard by most sighters of UFOs is, in fact, the purring of
} several hundred tabbies.
} The one obvious danger is, of course, if the cats manage to eat the
} bread off their backs they will instantly plummet. Of course the cats
} will land on their feet, but this usually doesn’t do them much good,
} since right after they make their graceful landing several tons of
} red-hot starship and pissed off aliens crash on top of them.
Mind Hacks: “There’s a curious article from The Guardian on the work of two researchers who are investigating the link between beauty and intelligence, and who argue that a genuine link exists…. It seems the research is largely on the link between beauty and intelligence in females, however.”