Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Die, IT, die. From Prof. Mindbender.

Some button-pusher who controls the workings of my university’s LMS - Desire2Kill - changed the default Quizzes setting. The old default setting showed five things after a student completed a multiple-choice/multi-select quiz:

• the quiz questions
• all the possible answers
• the student's answers
• the right answers
• a button that would display a feedback comment

The new setting? None of these. Just the percent grade.

I've been creating quizzes on D2L for a few years now. This problem has never occurred before. We’re six - scratch that, make it seven - weeks into the semester. The students in my first year comp class have taken 13 quizzes. They’ve received ZERO feedback. They couldn't even tell what answers they got right or wrong. I found this out yesterday.

Soooo…I fired off an irate-but-respectful "WTF, why didn't anyone tell the faculty about this change?" email to IT services, signed as “Dr. Mindbender,” and in return, this insolent pack of lies arrived in my inbox:

I can assure you that for any new quiz the default view for 'Show Question' is always set to NO and it has been that way from the beginning. Show questions is set to NO by default, but "Show attempt score and overall attempt score" is turned ON by default—but this only applies if the quiz is set to "allow attempt to be set as graded immediately upon completion" in the Properties tab. For any new quizzes you create, the 'Show questions' must be turned to YES and then you can pick what you want students to see. There was no change made to this setting. For the imported quizzes, the settings was changed to YES when they were created and the settings stayed. Let me know if you wish to talk about this.
Thank you.
Idiot Functionary
Desire2Kill Administrator

Let’s see here…you lie to me - twice - about changing the quiz settings. You pedantically lead me through basic functions that I already figured out. You use an abrupt and dismissive tone.

Righty-o, then. My associate Dr. Strelnikov and I are going to wander over to your cubicle for a little chat. You'll know it's us. We'll be the ones carrying matching bags of doorknobs. See you real soon.


  1. Every time I deal with IT, I feel like Oliver Twist with his bowl out: "Please, sir, may I have some more?" I also wonder: Who is working for whom here?

    1. You still aren't clear who's working for who? Dude.

      Resistance is useless!

    2. Not just IT. Facilities management has destroyed more data collection sessions than any other cause.

    3. > You still aren't clear who's working for who? Dude.

      As John Cleese noted toward the end of the Cheese Shop Sketch:

      "Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place."

  2. Wasn't there once an IT guy on here who jumped to defend things like this?

    I spend a lot of time being kind to mine so my tech needs are met, but it's not easy.

  3. I.T. has two policies:
    1. Lie if the truth sounds better. If the person questioning you knows so much, why are they asking you?
    2. If it ain't broke, upgrade it. Just another way to say "Job Security."

  4. #2 is incorrect: if it IS broke, upgrade it as well. Basically: Upgrade it.

  5. Hey Mindbender, have you tried turning it off and on again?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Defrag your hard drive.

    3. Pat: OMG, I've been turning my PC on and off at work for years now. It doesn't fix the fact that my DVR Drive is fried. And yet IT always asks me to do this. Always.

    4. I recently bought a new computer (die Microsoft, and the people who foisted a Microsoft email system that doesn't play well with Windows XP, which is still theoretically supported, and still present in many of our offices, on us, and then, once everything was more or less working, updated it, after which all hell broke loose and I decided to throw up my hands and buy a machine running Windows 7). Mostly, the new computer is working very nicely, but there are a few familiar errors that are still occurring on the new setup (mostly the Firefox "unresponsive script" warning). So I did a bit of googling, trying to find a solution, and was highly amused to find many "experts" recommending that all would be resolved if I would clear my history, defrag my hard drive, and generally "unclutter" the computer. Those activities can be helpful on occasion, I realize, but, given the fact that I've currently got a hard drive holding little more than an OS and a freshly-downloaded copy of Firefox, and I've used said copy of Firefox for all of 24 hours, somehow I don't think that's the solution. Maybe I need to turn it off and on again.

    5. CC, have you tried Chrome? I like it partly because it runs all the scripts and apps and add-ons as their own processes, so if one crashes, it doesn't crash the whole browser. It still has its foibles, of course, but I've found them much easier to deal with than Firefox's foibles.

    6. The mods have always pushed Chrome. It is the least problematic - by far - of all of the browsers community members use. IE is, of course, by far the worst.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.