Sunday, April 27, 2008

Musings on grading, teaching, and stuff

Our washer has been broken for 6 weeks now. Thankfully, my friend took me to the laundromat today and I washed nearly everything we own. I am so glad to have clean clothes again!

This weekend has been much busier with social engagements than I'd anticipated or hoped. I spent all day yesterday at a bridal shower which included watching my friend open obscenely expensive gifts for 2 hours. I think she'll have to register for more stuff for the wedding because she already got it all! Really, how many place settings and wine glasses do you need?

So, I haven't done nearly as much work this weekend as I need to. I just started the mountain of grading, which includes group lab reports. Students get really excited about this idea because it means less work for them, but it also means lower scores for the good students since everyone in the group gets the same grade. What in the world do I do if the student who wrote the introduction plagiarized word for word from wikipedia? Is it fair to punish the whole group for that? This person also failed to cite any resources in the text, although they did list them in the bibliography. You know how I knew they'd plagiarized? The paragraph had underlined words, like links. Really dumb. I probably would not have noticed otherwise.

My other dilemma is that I disagree with one of the course instructors about the other assignment I have to grade this week. I didn't really like the structure of the assignment to begin with, and modified the instructions slightly for my students. I talked with many of my students at length about this assignment and I think some of them put a lot of work into it. Now I'm supposed to simply give them a grade but not return them to the students because the course instructor needs to submit their assignments for a grant. I know that most students at the end of the semester probably wouldn't do more than glance at comments anyways, but I feel like it belittles their work to not comment on it and return it to them. I could at least return photocopies with my comments or something.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

That’s really ridiculous. I mean, that student isn’t even trying to care. Can’t you report them to someone?

You are such a dedicated TA. I really respect that and think its great. If all TAs/teachers/professors were like you I think we’d be a much more educated society.