Sunday, January 30, 2005

I'm Not Glinda

Yes, the internet is still down at my house (has been since Thursday). Instead of calling Comcast and complaining, I bought a flash drive and drove my files to the office so I could get some schoolwork done. My excuse is that my phone battery only gives me 20 minutes of talk-time, so I can't deal with being on hold, but you know that's just an excuse.

Unfortunately for my students, part of this work is in crafting the test that I'm giving on Wednesday. This is bad for them because I just finished grading the 70-odd homework papers that they turned in on Friday. The homework that I told them would be graded on effort, not on correctness. The homework where at least 25 students copied the answers from the back of the book, symbol-by-symbol -- including replicating the arrangement of the symbols on the page. Using the book's sophisticated notation that we did not use in class.

Yes, yes, I think that it would be most fair to give them problems similar to those found on the homework.

They will be getting a bit of warning about this, as on Monday I will be distributing an addendum to the syllabus, clarifying the standards for homework grading and also how the academic honesty principle applies to homework. It makes it explicit that copying a solution from another source and representing it as your own is unacceptable. When I told my dad about what happened and what I'm going to be doing, he told me that I should be NICE about this. That I should downplay that this is a serious and widespread problem. He says I don't want them to think I'm "a witch" (his words). This is his comment to me every time I tell him that I'm going to start enforcing things that I think should be obvious.

The evil woman archetype? Bring it on. I don't care if they think I'm mean because I'm insisting that they do their own work to get good grades. Just imagine the looks of horror that I'll get on Wednesday when I come to class with a box of 40 calculators and tell them they have to use my calculator on the exam.