Monday, May 14, 2012

Random stuff...

The spring semester ended today.  It was the last day of finals, everything is graded, and now I switch gears for my summer field course (starting Thursday!).

Some things that have puzzled, annoyed, or amused me these past few days...

- Students who plagiarize a final paper, even when I require them to submit it TurnItIn before handing it in and I provide them with multiple documents warning them against plagiarism.  He turned it in even though TurnItIn said it was 36% plagiarized.  I suppose the student hoped I was too stupid to notice substantial portions of text, without quotations, directly lifted from an online Encyclopedia of Science.  TurnItIn even provided me with the link to where the material was lifted.  That paper was easy to grade.

- Students who tell me they didn't know the time and date a final exam was due in an online class even though there was a banner in the announcements, a statement in the weekly checklist document, a post in the weekly discussion board, and an email sent directly to all students ALL stating, in BOLD-FACED, CAPITALIZED, RED TEXT that the final had to be submitted by Friday, May 11 at 12 noon.  Good God, what more can I do besides hold the sides of their head and yell it into their faces!

- The astonishingly poor quality of many of the final papers received in one of my classes.  We added a freshman English corequisite to this course specifically for this reason but it doesn't seem to have helped.  While some students did a great job, and wrote papers which were interesting and enjoyable to read, many others submitted papers that barely reached an 8th grade level in terms of grammar, coherence, and quality.  And really, how hard is it to use apostrophe's correctly?  And what's up with the random Capitalization of words. [Yes, those two errors were intentional!].

- Faculty who don't turn things in (like grades or attendance records) and make people like me (department chairs) chase them down to ask them to do their damn job.  Come one!  Gotta love being a department chair - we have all this responsibility but no power to get people to do anything other than by pleading.  It's routine to get an email from some area of the college saying professor so-and-so didn't do something they were supposed to do and I am expected to address it.  Problem is I have no power to get professor so-and-so to do anything.  They have tenure.  They tell me they're busy (so is everyone else dipshit).  I have nothing to give them and no method of punishing them (no carrots and no sticks).  Yes, I volunteered to do this job.  Yes, I am fucking stupid.

- So I subscribe to something called Pixel of Ink.  It's a daily email listing free Kindle books you can grab from Amazon.  As I was reading the mailing today, I couldn't stop laughing.  Here's an actual description (comma errors intact) of a book (Written in the Sky: Rise of the Wadjet Witch): "All, future astronomer, Memphis Holland wanted was to quit smoking. The pressure to complete her dissertation on Ophiuchus the lost astrological sign and receive her PhD in Astrophysics has been high. She visits a hypnotherapist to rid her of her cravings and instead is given the ability to see the future and to teleport."  Yeah, astrophysicists write dissertations on astrological constellations!   Free is too expensive for this one.

- We're looking for a chemistry adjunct and a remedial math adjunct where I'm teaching.  We received a dozen resumes for the remedial math position and none for the chemistry.  I guess I understand why but it will be a problem if we can't find someone to teach General Chemistry II next fall!

- Read something recently that cracked me up.  A not-nice guy (Tucker Max) was talking to a particularly vapid girl in a bar and suddenly blurted out "You are making me stupider."  Ever wanted to say that to someone who was talking to you?

- Been depressed lately and feeling like no one likes me.  Probably because I'm such a grumpy bastard.  I do look forward, however, to my eight-day field course (I will post more about this in a couple of days).  Students in the course are generally interested in geology and motivated.  I get to hike around with them all day looking at rocks.  That's a good way to spend a couple of weeks.  Rocks are so much more interesting than many people I know.  Rocks also don't mind being around me unlike many people I know.

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