Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mission Impossible: Following Simple Instructions and Holes in Buckets

An Academic Variation on "Dear Liza and Henry's Hole in the Bucket" Dilemma:

My email to a student reads: 


Dear Frustrating Phil: The file you uploaded to our LMS will not open. The IT office claims it is 'corrupt' and cannot be opened. Please cut and paste the content of that file into an email message to me so I can read your final reflection and give you a grade for it. This is not how I normally operate (i.e. it is your responsibility to make sure the files you upload are readable; however, since this is the final reflection, I'll cut you some slack). Thank you, Dr. Cynic.


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Student's  response: 


My email is: frustratingphilshizzle@ghotmsnmail.com


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My response to the student:


I have your email address. In fact, you'll notice that I emailed you using that address. If you want credit for the assignment you uploaded to our LMS, you need to cut and paste the content into an email message to me because I cannot open the file you uploaded and cannot give credit for something I cannot read.


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Student's response:

Here's an assignment I did for my Psychology of Ducks class. Could you please check it over for me?

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[WTF???]

My response to the student:

If you want credit for the last assignment that I cannot open, you need to cut and paste it into a message to me. Without that, I cannot read it and will assign an F. If you have a paper for another class that needs feedback, please go to the Writing Center like you have been doing all quarter for your writing needs.

***


Student's response:

Oh, OK. I attached the file to this message.

***

Yes, he uploaded the same 'corrupt' file that no one could open... and we're back to the hole in the bucket. 

25 comments:

  1. It's nice of you to cut him some slack. I might have done the same. You should have reeled in the slack after his first response. You're not back at square one, he's back at square zero.

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    1. Yeah, the ONE time I was trying to be nice... and that was a very satisfying F to put in the gradebook!

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  2. That exchange reminds me of Bob & Ray's "Komodo Dragon" sketch.

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    1. I had never seen that before. Thanks. It was hilarious!

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  3. Easy zero. End e-mail communication.

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  4. He didn't do the assignment and he is stalling, or hoping that you will somehow think it must be your fault and give him a B to make it stop. Do not do this.

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    Replies
    1. I got suckered into a similar situation during my third year of teaching. I had a student who got behind in his work for what appeared to be legitimate reasons (he was taking my course while holding a full-time job or some such thing). At first the stuff was a day or two late, but, as the term progressed, the backlog increased and his "I'll have it for you by xxxx" excuse wore thin.

      Not wishing to get on my newly-appointed department head's bad side, or invite a formal complaint form the student, I eventually made a deal with Mr. Backlog. He ended up getting full credit for the course without doing all of the required work.

      Had that happened to me a few years later, I wouldn't have been so accommodating.

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    2. I actually saw the assignment on his computer, so I know he did it, which is why I was willing to cut him some slack. But yeah, usually, students who do this tend to not have done the assignment...

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  5. I state in my syllabus that I will not accept anything past the due date, it just gets a zero.

    Took me a long time to have the guts to actually back that up. This past semester I batted 1000!

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    Replies
    1. Good on you! I was the same for awhile. Now if a student so much hands in an assignment 1 minute past the due time, I give them a 0.

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    2. I am actually a stickler for this, too. I don't accept late work. Ever. I'm hated for it, but I don't care. But because I'd seen it in class on his computer BEFORE it was due (it was done and he was asking me if he had formatted his header correctly), and I'd scanned it and had seen it was completed, I figured it was a technological glitch.

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    3. And he had submitted it on time. I just couldn't open the file...

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    4. Did you actually see text-on-screen on this student's computer? Or just a file name? Students have been known to submit junk files -- which can be found online -- in order to give themselves a little extra time to complete an assignment.

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    5. I actually read through it on his computer screen to see if there was anything he'd missed. I'm not THAT clueless. :)

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  6. Contemplative Cynic, I feel for you, seeing as how you'd actually seen the assignment. I find that the most maddening part of this exchange. How could someone be so out to lunch that they would not understand what you are saying? It would not be a satisfying F for me (like it would have been without that information----in which case I would have assumed he just did not do the assignment) because I would know he DID the assignment. Why oh why wouldn't he do what is necessary to get credit for his work? What is WRONG with these people????? WTF!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's easy. They don't hear what you say or read what you write.

      They may be capable, in some theoretical way, but they don't.

      The reason why seems to me to be that careful parsing of communications has simply not been an important skill in their lives so far.

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  7. Take the "corrupt" file and try opening it with Photoshop. Odds are it's a JPEG.

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  8. Can we find a way to turn in corrupted grades?

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  9. Give him a zero...that tends to make kiddies grow a brain. I'd do that all the time, 0/100 and wait for them to come banging on your door.

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    1. As soon as I plunked an F in the gradebook, he managed to do what I'd requested in the first place!

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    2. that tends to make kiddies grow a brain.

      I've seen this work with passive-aggressive faculty when it comes to turning in grades by the deadline also. Many years ago I was a school where this was a regular problem. The Registrar's Office was ready for their time off, too, and announced, "If your courses' grades are not in by the posted deadline (which was very reasonable), all your students will receive an "I" (for Incomplete) and you will need to complete a Grade Change for each one after we return from the holiday vacation."

      Only a few instructors didn't believe the threat. They came around when they were bombarded with phone calls and emails from students. The next semester ALL the grades were in well before the deadline.

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    3. This leads me to conclude we should all start with Fs and earn our way up...

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