Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Great College Misery Demographic Survey

How old are you?


How long have you been teaching?


27 comments:

  1. It's probably just as well that you didn't ask how old we're feeling, or how long it feels like we've been in the classroom. That might have seriously skewed the results. It was a long semester, and summer school starts all too soon.

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  2. I had a hard time answering the length of time question. Would you count just teaching full-time or even while teaching as a TA? If I counted all of my teaching in college my number would have been much larger.

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    1. I answered it as since I started TAing as a grad student.

      This is why my colleague who has the unenviable task of writing surveys for various report-creating reasons always tests the questions out on a few of us; she says we can find the most ingenious ways to confuse ourselves!

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  3. I answered it as, "How long have you been in higher ed?", so that may have skewed the results slightly in the 16-20 category.

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  4. The question was just how many years you have been teaching at the college level. We will not lose any grant money over any confusion.

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    1. That might be a problem. One can teach at the college level only if the class is up to learning at the college level. So I may have overestimated my teaching time.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Sorry for the double post. I think it was caused by moving between pages using the back and forward functions of the browser, as opposed to the newer and older post links at the bottom of the page. Perhaps others have experienced this phenomenon.

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  5. Wiseacre Sid from Sanra Fe writes:

    For the first question I answered with the age of my younger brother. Then for the second question, I just gave the number of cars I've owned in my life. Did I do something wrong? Can I take the test again? Will this affect my grade?

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    1. Right. 'Affect' is of course the proper verb, but a snowflake would use 'effect' here with probability significantly greater than zero.

      I was being a wiseass. Correcting spelling is not something I'd typically do, especially here, but I thought the irony of being wrong about the correction would have some humerous effect in itself, and that the allusion to a frequent snowflake error might ice the cake.

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    2. Ugh. I don't get jokes right now. I can barely figure out shoes. Right, left, laces, socks first or last ... Hopefully the neurotransmitters start working again soon.

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  6. i thought the first one was height in inches and the second was what's the biggest steak you've ever eaten. your test sucks, man. it isn't FAIR, and I should get the points.

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    1. I brought my own stapler, I know the test didn't need stapling but can I have the extra credit anyway?

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  7. For the purpose of the test, if I'm 7.7 in dog years and 28.7 in Mars years, and both answers are correct, then the next best answer is "Spring Chicken" and I should get credit, right?

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    1. Well argued. Everyone gets the point, just to be "fair."

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  8. Quit your complaining, people. The whole survey is invalid because the first "pie chart" isn't round, it's oval. I mean, what the fuck? Who the hell bakes an oval pie? Nobody, that's who. So it's not a pie chart. I don't know what it is but you'll find nothing like it in any Excel graph options - and they've got some weird shit there, like 3D multicolored cones. And don't get me started on why they call them "plots." You know why TV shows suck so much these days? Because Excel has taken all the plots and used them to display your spreadsheet data, when they should be using graphs. It's little things like this - and there are many, many little things like this - that make me wonder whether there's any point in getting out of bed in the morning. Shit.

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    1. Attention all presenters at scientific meetings:

      YOU CAN CHANGE THE FONT SIZE ON YOUR EXCEL CHARTS/GRAPHS/PLOTS.

      You know how you can't read other presenters' axes unless you're in the front row? Why do you perpetrate and perpetuate the same idiocy? And this:

      NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE A COLUMN CHART.

      Sometimes a good old scatter plot is just what you need.

      Back when people used Letraset and made actual slides, we almost never had this problem. Now, they take what Excel gives them by default as if they are helpless.

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    2. I'd say that my original comment holds up pretty well, even when I'm reading it sober.

      OPH, you are correct. The appropriate graph varies by discipline. My bane is the one that doesn't show data points but draws a smooth curve through each point. Horribly misleading.

      Small fonts in data presentations really bug me. When the presenter says, "I doubt you can read this, but it shows -" I want to scream, "Why did you make a slide with data we cannot read?!"

      Ugh. Now I'm all pissed off. I need a drink.

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    3. OPH...

      My univ offers free classes in making presentations, among other things. It would be nice if faculty took advantage. I kid you not, I have attended presentations where the presenter took an 8.5x11 page of type and simply made it into a single PowerPoint slide. PowerPoint should distill what you are saying into summary statements - it is not a way to present an entire paper or proposal word for word. After all, if you put everything in the PowerPoint, I could just download it and wouldn't need you to read it out loud to me. And if type is large enough to read, I simply stop paying attention and do something else (I go to meetings prepared).

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    4. As we are apparently getting worse at communicating among ourselves, I shudder to think of what this means for our ability to distill the esoteric for public consumption.

      Yes, Ben, your comment holds up. And the "pointless curve" option should not exist, as in, "if you want to do THAT, I'm certainly not going to help; draw it freehand in MSPaint if you must."

      Academaniac, all you say is true.

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  9. I totally missed the test. Can I make it up now that I've seen the answers?

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