Friday, May 6, 2016

5 years Ago on CM.


  1. oooh, that's a goodie!

    what amazes me to this day is that even though I've LONG been a reader at RYS and here, that so many flashback posts seem brand new to me. I know I must have read this one 5 years ago, but I've lost the memory of it.

    I guess when there are more than 5000 posts that can happen.

  2. I love that this post lacks flava. It kind of goes with the theme of the blank file, no?

    I remembered reading Cassandra's post several years ago, but not the details. It was totally worth the re-read.

    I also read the linked post on student evals and its associated comment kerfuffle. Wow! I'd forgotten the we had sometimes turned on each other. I second the notion that we've treated antagonistic newcomers relatively lightly in the more recent past.

    1. I followed the link too, and stumbled upon some of the April 2011 posting/comments nastiness: grammar wars, parents-v-childless HATER throw down etc.

      The Contemplative Cynic captured something with the observation that this community can be hyper-critical of each other. I've felt it...probably cuz I deserved it.

      Then there things like this posting: we should examine whether the empty file/ wrong file type submission is just 21st C 'dog ate my homework' normality,
      Is it a symptom of illusionary 'Digital natives'? Society's fault for not addressing the digital divide? The uni's fault for downloading expectations onto students and prof? Our fault?

      All good fodder for reflection.

  3. Some posts are timeless. This is one of them. At the time of its publication I'd not yet taught a course where I had electronic submission of an assignment take place; this year I took over a colleague's 4th-yr course and left it mostly unchanged, including leaving electronic submission of assignments. I had 2 students who consistently submitted documents that were unreadable, with a subsequent "What? Unreadable? What a shock! I'll get on that right away." response by the students, who got an extra day or two out of the "unexplained error" of the electronic submission.
    I'm still learning how tweak the syllabus, after 10+ years of doing this. Next year's syllabus will include the statement "Submitted files that are unreadable by the TA will be considered late and subjected to the normal late penalty; having a working file readable by the TA is a part of the due diligence by the student in submitting assignments on time."

    1. I'd forgotten this one, but yes, it does hold up pretty well. Even the weather has been similar this year (though I think I may have time-shifted by a week or so; either that, or classes went very late for some reason that year).

      I, too, now have syllabus language about blank files, and issue additional warnings when it comes to final assignments (because the file that I open for the first time to grade 24 hours before grades are due is always the one that turns out to have problems. It doesn't matter in what order I do the grading, it's just one of those corollaries of Murphy's Law. Also, the student who submitted the file will be on a plane, or visiting relatives in no internet land, or have turned off hir phone while celebrating the end of the semester while wilderness camping, or drinking hirself into oblivion, or whatever). It helps that our LMS actually shows a preview of the submitted file for most common file formats, so students really, really should be able to check file format, version, contents, etc. that way. But yes, stuff still happens.

      The other change is that I now have students submit their conference drafts to me by early the morning of the conference, and I read them *in* conference. That means longer conferences, which gets pretty exhausting, but I think I'm averaging at least 6 hours of sleep during conference weeks these days, so that's progress. Of course, I'm 5 years older, and may well function about as well on a 2-hour sleep deficit today as I did on a 4-hour sleep deficit then. I've certainly been sleeping pretty late this week, and I don't think that's only an effect of the gray, rainy weather we've been having.

    2. Sleep is actually one of the few things that get better with age in the sense that you need less of it. Your needs may not decrease by as much as 2 hours within 5 years, but it should be now, not when you were younger, that you are probably functioning better on less sleep.

      What may make you think otherwise is that a younger face is better as concealing lack of sleep or health problems. It may be less prone to issues such as dark circles and puffy eyes, or at least they don't look quite as bad. But mentally, it is now that you can probably function better on less sleep.

    3. Do people need less of it, or just get less of it? I honestly don't know the answer (though I do know that sleep generally diminishes in quality as people age). I suspect that, as with many things, it varies among individuals. We'll see what happens; for the moment, I like sleep, function better with enough of it,* and consider it something of a(n oft-neglected) basic human right.

      *with sleep, as with clothes, I tend to be much more aware of how something makes me feel than how it makes me look, so my impression is not coming mostly from the mirror.

  4. People, read Cassandra's post more carefully. It reveals startling evidence that will change not only your view of Betty's blank file, but you're entire world view.

    Let me spell it out for you.

    Betty and Cassandra communicate frequently about the blank file, conference, etc. Suddenly, Betty stops sending emails and misses her conference schedule. Oh, and by the way, Osama Bin Laden is dead.

    Is that clear enough for you?

    Betty is Osama Bin Laden.

    The only question now is whether or not revealing this violates FERPA.

    1. This is an interesting theory. I *think* Betty was a face to face student (and female), but at this remove I couldn't swear to it. Nor do I remember whether (s)he ever resurfaced.

      If (s)he was a face to face student, then we have to consider the possibility that OBL was actually hiding out at/near a directional state u in the eastern half of the U.S., rather than in Pakistan. That would, indeed, be interesting news (and raise some issues about intelligence capability, conspiracy theories, etc. On the other hand, it might explain the mysterious brief visit of several military helicopters to campus about that time. And that dorm that's still locked down for unexplained reasons).

      It seems unlikely, but who knows? It's considerably more likely that I've taught a cousin of OBL's (this is not a tin-foil hat type proclamation, just a recognition that he came from a large family, most of whose members are considerably more mainstream in their views, and that we draw a number of students from the general region they inhabit).

      P.S. Whether it was deliberate or not, I especially like the use of "you're" for "your" above. It adds just the right air of verisimilitude to the conspiracy-theory posting.

    2. No way that Betty is OBL.... i have it on good authority that OBL and Saddam Hussein have been spotted together in several Chick-fil-A restaurants around Woodbridge and Paramus.... think about it.... how do you know they're dead.... where you there??? your just believing what they want you to believe!!!!

      WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. They’re is no way that OPH and Ben are both correct. Its’ not possible.
      What they don’t want us too know is that Betty is Lord Lucan. They our trying to pull the wool over are eyes when with there mentions of Bin Laden.

      There is inconvertible proof that Betty = Bingham.

    4. Oh my god, oh my god. I'm having the worst week and you guys made me laugh...a deep therapeutic belly laugh! I love you and I love this place! May Crystal live long and prosper and never be bullied out of business!


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