Wednesday, August 11, 2010

End of Term Smackdown

Dear Online Ophelia,

I couldn't do my work because my free trial of Word ran out. Can I have an extension?

--Wordless Willy

Dear Wordless Willy,

Was this some kind of magical version of Word's Free Trial that doesn't alert you every time you open it that you're going to run out soon? When I told you and everyone at the beginning of class to have a back up plan, did you have your fingers in your ears? Before asking for an extension, find a way to extend Word, such as by buying it with the student discount.


Dear Online Ophelia,

I thought I did the paper correctly, and you told me it's wrong! Do you have any suggestions for resources I could look at?

--Clueless Connie

Dear Clueless Connie,

You haven't turned in any work all term and you wonder why this one was not done correctly? There's a big fat list of resources, include websites, books, and examples, in the syllabus. Looking at one of those before turning in your paper might have helped.


Dear Online Ophelia,

Have you graded the assignment yet?

--Asking Andrew, Wondering Wilfred, Unclear Ursula

Dear Students,

What part of "I haven't graded the assignment yet" don't you understand? Is it the haven't? Are contractions too confusing?



  1. On doing papers correctly: not only do I have an anal-retentive syllabus that is (admittedly) way too long, but I have a separate (external) web site that has links to free material.

    But... I still see Word, formatting, and APA citation & reference list problems from the bottom 20%.

    Also: they may claim that they haven't checked EMail, but Blackboard shows that most of 'em have been logging in and checking the Grade Center... daily.

  2. I just love Blackboard's tracking feature.

    Snowflake: "I have not been able to access my computer because [enter details of personal tragedy here] so you should feel sorry for me and excuse the fact that I have not done any of my work this week."

    Me: "Blackboard shows that you have logged on 5 times in the past two days."

    Snowflake: "I really don't appreciate you calling me a liar."

    Ahhh. Screw Blackboard. You still never win.

  3. I keep a grading schedule and provide regular updates including an announcement that says, "I have finished grading Assignment X" as a pop-up when students log in. I also tell students that if they ask me if I've finished grading, they get moved to the back of the line and will get their grade last. It's Blackboard; if you don't have a grade, then I haven't finished!

  4. Dear Wordless Willy,

    There is free software that works as good as, if not better than, Word. It's called Open Office ( And, if you have a Mac, get NeoOffice, it's the Mac version of Open Office. It comes with a version of Excel and even Access... So, no excuse for not having the homework in on time.

    -"NOT OO"

    Mathsquatch out.

  5. that's a graphic I can fall in love with.


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