Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This seems... just, somehow

Casual Carrie is working with me on a year long independent study double-credit module, and has been very slow to actually start studying. Her Agreed Assessment Instrument will be in the form of a research report, including field data, and unlike most students taking a module like this who scurry into the field as soon as they're allowed to in September, Casual Carrie left it until January. This seems to be her style.

Casual Carrie took an honours module with me last semester, and gained a rather mediocre C, largely because as she freely admits she wrote the discussion section on the day the work was due in 'because that's the short bit at the end'. Never mind that it's the bit that needs the most thought.

Casual Carrie felt that she was 'ahead in all her classes' this semester, therefore took a week off to go skiing with her family.

Casual Carrie picked up a nasty infection during her trip. Casual Carrie is feeling very sorry for herself - she's on several kinds of antibiotics, is a bit feverish and clearly feels rather unwell. But she's used all of her allowed absences on her holiday, and her doctor said she didn't need a sick note when she told him uni only took up 'a few hours' of her time.

Much as I hate to see anyone suffering, I can't help feeling a certain amount of satisfaction that going on holiday wasn't quite as consequence-free as Casual Carrie hoped.


  1. I thought the discussion was supposed to be a fairly longish part at the end (which, yes, requires a good deal of thought). Or maybe I'm thinking of results & discussion combined? I'm curious because I actually teach students this form of writing (in a writing-in-the-disciplines course) but it's not my native format; I've picked it up by studying published models. I tell students to aim for having at least 2/3 of the total focused on their own original research (sample & methods, results & discussion), because otherwise they tend to overdo the review of literature and give short shrift to their own original research, but I realize not all published models have those proportions (and that they can vary by discipline). Still, I'd like to know if my guidelines are way off.

  2. Me too. I'm in the middle of writing a report outside my discipline that involves a lot of statistical work and I have never done this kind of thing before. 1/3 data, 1/3 discussion, 1/3 literature review? Can I just, you know, stuff the literature review into the discussion in bits and pieces? I try to read statisticians and I'm at sea. "You can clearly see from figure 2 that ..." - clearly? You could tell me that figure 2 shows the incidence of crop circles made by space aliens protesting the Arizona immigration laws and I'd have to believe you.

  3. Did anyone else hear Nelson
    in their head when they got to the end of this story?


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