Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rantlet, Which, Seriously, Is What Speedy Rants Used to Be Called, but Cassandra, Whom I Love, Has Conflated Rant with Playlet and Added a new Word to the Ever-Evolving Lexicon. And Now That I've Thought About It, I'm Coming Around.

It's a small problem, really, and sort of a first-world one by CM standards, given that it arises from some of my students actually doing their work at the beginning of a holiday weekend (on a really lovely day in the local area, where most of them are located, despite it being an online class), multiple days before the due date, but:

Why, oh why, when a student figures out how to solve a technical problem about which (s)he has emailed me before I get around to replying, doesn't (s)he email to say "never mind; I figured it out"?

And why, oh why, haven't I learned to check the LMS site to see if a student reporting a technical problem has overcome said problem before I write a long trouble-shooting email (especially when it's a beautiful day outside, and the beginning of a holiday weekend -- the last partial respite before the way-too-intense-for-anybody's-good midsummer term starts)?



  1. Some of this site's detractors would say that all CM's problems are first-world. A snappy reply is that taking contemporary problems in education seriously might just keep the first world from turning into the third world.

    To the problem at hand: one reason your students do this is lack of confidence in the often brand-new powers they've acquired from you. Many scientists don't become fully confident in their scientific abilities until they're postdocs---and judging from the prevalence of "Imposter Syndrome," some don't fully become at ease with it ever. Your students may feel confident in their own solutions only after after having seen yours. A less-charitable alternative solution may be sheer laziness.

  2. Apparently I've used the word at least once before (I thought I had, and google agrees): It was, however, on a Friday night, and I posted it directly (and somebody else may have been RGM then, and apparently only Frod read it, so I'm not surprised the neologism didn't make a lasting impression).

  3. Aside from the aforementioned method of (1) first checking the LMS to see if the student solved their own problem, other ways I've learned to deal with these situations are:

    2) answer in the form of a question: what have you already tried in order to solve the problem yourself?

    3) copy/paste/update from a previous response to a student having a similar problem.