Friday, August 03, 2007


:: UPDATE :: So he got the email and changed the time on the quiz. But then, the very last final, which was labelled as 25 questions in 40 minutes turned out actually to be 30 questions in 30 minutes. AARGH. Hmph. But anyway, it's done. Now just to await the final grade.::

So as some of y'all know, I have been taking Philsophy exams this week ... they're all online, multiple-choice. I have till 11:00 pm EDT on August 3 (today) to work on these.

Or so I thought. The final for one class is divided into four sections. Three of them close at 11:00 pm today. One closed at 12:00 am. I started to work on that one at 12:06 am ... of course.

I'm certain this is a mistake ... every other final and quiz this week (the combined total of quizzes/finals given this week in both classes was 15) was due at 11:00 pm. I've sent off an email to the instructor (who's, of course, on vacation ...).

This has been one of the most irritating parts of this class -- the instructor has been awesome, but his finals and quizzes have consistently shown clear evidence of being put together in haste: sloppy spelling, glaring grammatical errors, ambiguous constructions because of spelling and grammatical errors, imprecise usage, and problems with setting up the quizzes online (once he put up two identical quizzes. That wasn't as bad as this error on the time allotted for the quiz). It drives me bonkers (since you know how much of an "English Nazi" I tend to be!), especially when it ends up that I'm trying to guess what it is he might have meant by a question rather than what it is he actually ends up asking. (One notorious example involved a question about Mill and the liberty of consciousness, rather than conscience. Another one is his use of Latin which is clearly incorrect, such as lex talionas for lex talionis or post bello instead of post bellum. I mean if you're going to use Latin, make sure it's correct!). After the quizzes I've tended to send off long emails disputing this that and the other and so far, whereas he's acknowledged clear mistakes right away, he's not been so forthcoming on ambiguities caused by poor word choice/usage. (On the finals, we don't get to see the results immediately, so I can't dispute any errors ... )

Note to self and to any current or future teachers out there: if you expect your students to have decent usage and especially if you bemoan the lack of mastery over English in today's students, make sure that you practice what you preach.


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Bummer. Here's hoping the rest of the exam parts go well.

Don't look at my blog until you're done - the last entires for the Rome trip were just posted.


angelmeg said...

I think doing things at the last minute is a trait among philosophy types. My two professors of philosophy this summer have both tended toward this type of assignment. I HATE THAT!

I would much rather know the first day of class what is expected of me than be blindsided by 50 essay questions two months into the class. At least one has promised a multiple choice final which I would prefer to more essay questions (I hope).

I will pray that you get your issues straightened out favorably.

Gashwin said...

Hey Maggie, to be fair to him, he's been very clear about the requirements from the very beginning, and he is very fair, and his love and concern for students is pretty clear. He hasn't given one essay question ("grading is much more subjective"), and prefers multiple-choice, which tends to work at this level of study. The main problem I've had has been the sloppiness surrounding the quizzes. I just composed a long feedback email to him ... which will be sent once the final grades are in. :) No sense in being imprudent!

angelmeg said...

Wish I had your candor. I just told my professor on the last day of class that I would gladly like to never see him again (this before he gives me my final grade),

I am sure he will be fair.

I hope.

I hate philosophy.