Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Internet is for PORN...not homework!

So, my wife is taking classes at the local university. She is taking a Chinese class...A beginning Chinese class. The school has a website where all the Chinese homework is supposed to be done. Well, the site has all these tabs and stuff. All of them are in Chinese. My wife doesn't read/speak Chinese. That's why she's in the class. She has to do some homework for tomorrow and she can't find the friggin' audio. But, the professor sees this as a problem on her part. Um... It seems that a site to help somebody learn Chinese that is all in Chinese is no help at all. It used to be that a student would buy a textbook and it would come with a CD (or group of CDs, or, in the past, a group of cassette tapes, or, even further back, some records). That way, the student could pop the CD(tape, record) into a player and listen to the correct track. If the student couldn't find the track, it would be their problem. But now, with a site written in Chinese, the students can't find jack shit. This doesn't help anybody.

The students also get to turn in all of their homework online. I saw it done in a French class once. A student missed an accent but the website gave no clue as to the nature of the mistake. I mean, how can it? So, the student spent a half hour trying to figure out the mistake with no help at all. At least with handwritten assignments, the instructor (or grader) could put in the accent and the student could find out that they only missed a small part of the answer instead of spending forever trying to figure out their mistake. I say, let's call for a ban on computers as textbooks for most classes (Of course, programming, and other technology fields are not what I am aiming at.). Let's aim to help students by giving them some useful resources to learn a foreign language. Don't give them anything on how to read and write esperanto written entirely in esperanto. That is just mean...and stupid.

Mathsquatch *Trying to help his wife learn Chinese* Out.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mathsquatch! I just want to add in here that in my online classes, I give homework assignments, and then I grade them (in English, so this case is definitely different) and comment on them. I try to write lots of comments. And then I send them on back to the students. I use blackboard, so the student has a tab marked "Assignments" over on the left hand side of their screen when they are in class. When they click on "Assignments" they are automatically in the "submitted" screen, and they'd have to tab over to see the "corrected" version of their assignment.

    This is all explained in the syllabus, and it is also a part of their online student orientation to Blackboard Vista that I post a link to on the home page. That does not stop students from complaining about "how are we supposed to learn anything from you if you just slap a grade on our assignments and never give us any feedback!" But I am actually happy when I get angry emails about this DURING class. What I really hate is when a student complains to me or to the dean AFTER CLASS IS OVER that I don't write comments on their homework or their essays or exams.

    I guess all I am suggesting is that maybe, hopefully, the French teacher DID comment on the lack of accent, and the student did not click in the right place to see the explanation?

    I send out an e-mail when I hand back the first assignment (I just sent out that e-mail) carefully explaining how to look at the corrected version of the assignment (even though I already explained that in the syllabus and they should have learned about how to do it in the required student orientation). And STILL I get students who complain at me that I don't comment on assignments.

    I wish Blackboard made it a bit more obvious, but while there is a link that lights up when they have a new grade (GRADES! it screams at them) where all they have to do is click and they will be taken immediately to a screen where they see all their newly posted grades, there is nothing that does that for corrected assignments. Sigh.


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