"favorite" student e-mails

**new_bus_prof**:

Quote from: mystictechgal on May 03, 2013, 4:09:00 pm

Of course, if you really use a straight points system, with weighting built into the assignment values, and you reflect that on your syllabus with x - y points = A, there's no excuse, and I'll not be an apologist for students who can't figure that one out. But, I've honestly never encountered it in such a straightforward manner.

Yes, I really use a straight points based system (900 and up = A ; 800 to 899 = B; 700 to 799 = C) posted on the syllabus.

As far as assignment flexibility, I plan on so many but if I make extra assignment I just let students earn more points. I don't even bother to drop assignments. If I'm short, I simply state the highest scores will be worth a double whammy.

**chemystery**:

Quote from: dr_know on May 03, 2013, 10:28:18 pm

Quote from: octoprof on May 03, 2013, 4:19:48 pm

My problem (which is clearly just me, I know that) is straight points means the professor has lost the flexibility of having more or less homework or quizzes or widgets or whatever based on what's happening in class during the term. If straight points are used, then the points assigned to homework (or whatever) is predetermined and the number of those homeworks is thereby predetermined and it should all add up to something reasonable. My preference for using nice round numbers (say 1,000 points possible) drives me nutty when trying to use straight points.

Okay, my post just disappeared.

Anyway, it's not just you, Octo. I don't like losing the flexibility either. I had to use straight-points at one institution and hated it.

Quote from: cgfunmathguy on May 03, 2013, 10:25:02 pm

Quote from: mystictechgal on May 03, 2013, 4:09:00 pm

Of course, if you really use a straight points system, with weighting built into the assignment values, and you reflect that on your syllabus with x - y points = A, there's no excuse, and I'll not be an apologist for students who can't figure that one out. But, I've honestly never encountered it in such a straightforward manner.

Yes, I really use a straight points system. In the catalog, the college has defined the percentage scores for various letter grades. I list the letter grades, the associated percentages from the catalog, and the point range corresponding to the associated percentages on my syllabus. I'm always stunned by the number of students who can't subtract their total points so far from the total listed in the syllabus for a given grade to determine the required score on the final to earn the given grade. Like I say, I can't make it any easier than addition and subtraction.

My missing post essentially said this, but not as well probably.

I also refuse to switch to straight points. I don't know how many quizzes there are going to be, and I'm not going to try to guess.

**ptarmigan**:

To be fair, the percents my boss was impressed by my ability to handle were in the context of division orders, which are sort of like weighted averages on steroids. But that's still middle school math at best.

This semester I taught our survey class for humanities, arts, etc. majors (not STEM or social science majors). Not one single student has made a "math is hard" or "I suck at/hate math" type of comment all semester. The worst I got was a very reasonable skeptical question about whether my final exam practice test question "Draw a graph with two even and two odd vertices" had any real-life applications.

My students haven't all done well at the class by any means, but they definitely haven't fulfilled any negative stereotypes either. They're such a great group.

**golden_ticket**:

Quote from: golden_ticket on April 26, 2013, 9:12:56 pm

"Hey Professor Ticket,

I was not aware of the mistake I made until after my outline for the [Topic 1] was turned in. I thought the outline we handed in was for the the research proposal presentations we just recently did. I may have been the only person that misunderstood this but the way your syllabus is set up just confused me. I was under the impression we were handing in an outline for the research proposal and not the research paper. Of course after I handed in my outline I realized the error I made and attempted to research the [Topic 1] in depth and found very little information and the information I did found was either A)very difficult to read or B)very boring. Therefore, I started from scratch and chose to do [Topic 2] because I was able to find a lot of research on that topic. I really hope I do not have to start from scratch again because I have already spent countless hours working on the rough draft I made. I am sorry for the mistake and hopefully we can work something out. I can make your office hours at 11 on Friday if you would still like to meet about this."

The background: students had to turn in a complete draft of their Big Term Paper that is 25% of their grade in my senior capstone class. The student had done all the scaffolding steps (bibliography etc) on [Topic 1], but then submitted a draft on another topic without seeking approval from me (students had to get their topic approved in the second week of the semester). The write-up on the new topic was a written summary of what we discussed on this topic in class; there was no original contribution. After I informed the student that the paper is not acceptable, I got the response presented above. I don't even know where to start with this...

What I wanted to say was along the lines of "jumping Jesus on a pogo stick - are you f-ing kidding me?" My actual response was more along the lines of "we need to talk now; Friday is too late."

Oh, and the finished project is due next Monday. And yes, he was the only person who misunderstood this.

I'd wager a bet that I'll be dealing with my next plagiarism case shortly....

Update: why yes, the paper turned out to contain extensive plagiarism.

**lucero**:

This is what really annoys me about some students. It is always the professor's fault. "The way your syllabus is set up confused." WTF? Just accept that you (student) misunderstood the assignment. I got one of those last week in regards to something the STUDENT didn't do, yet in the e-mail puts the blame somewhere else. I would have so much more sympathy for the student if they just admitted that they didn't understand and didn't try to blame it on the way I (or another prof.) set up the course. In my case only about 1,000 students have done the course already and maybe at most 2 others had the same problem!!

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