Posts Tagged ‘grading’

I suppose that in an age of cloud drives and cheap terabytes, I shouldn’t be bothered with this, but I am trying to sort out what can be deleted from my laptop.


This may be one of those tasks that surface from the swirl of Things To Be Done when other Things are less attractive or too fraught — rather the way “testing all the pens” or “neatening the desk” became substitutes for grading, as the weather got better and the spring semester stumbled to a close.

Late April.  Grading.  Sending students on their way.

Yeah, no.  They get to do that on their own now.  And whatever grades they earn, I don’t, for the moment, have to argue with them about.

As I was saying… Things.


I might be thinking of grading because I was back at one of my old campuses yesterday, and drove near several others…. or it might be that, as with grading, my mind and mouth are full of tactless, truthful things I’d like to say, and yet know with my heart and well-worn common sense aren’t productive things to say…

Moving on then, to the Things that I might remove, to make way for other, more useful Things: Do I need that collection of business reports?  Do I need that stack of syllabi, or that bundle of articles for impressing people who I no longer need to impress?  It’s all virtual, it doesn’t take up “space” in the office, but am I really ready to burn it to CD or DVD, or punt it to a cloud I don’t entirely trust?  Make room, make way, for …..

I don’t know.  I’m not even sure what I’m making room for.  Something.  Something better than what I’ve got now.

Maybe making room is some strange sort of bait — saying that there’s room at a metaphoric inn, hoping something special will arrive, looking for just that bit of space to get started….



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Points-o-lightAh yes — it’s time for the “You’ll probably get a C” lecture for my undergraduates. This is the lecture in which I point out that everyone enters my class with a C because I can only assume they are average. Some people, over the course of the term, will demonstrate that they are below average, and a few will be above average. But it takes effort _beyond_ the ordinary expectations for the class to earn something above a C.

Wailing and gnashing of teeth often ensues, sometimes accompanied by the crunching of a snowflake heart. You may all be ‘special’ in your own way [and surely we are, given the latest research on the average # of mutations in human beings], but not all of you are special in the academic sense.ChamplainPath

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I don’t have any student papers in yet, but this pie chart from GraphJam is seems mighty plausible [I am not responsible for the graph originator’s inability to spell “choice” properly!]:

song chart memes graph
more music charts

Of course, the creators of this graph completely forgot the soundtrack references, which should include “Dare Me”, by the Pointer Sisters. [I just looked at the video for the first time — never would have expected drag from them, but I think the zoot suits age better than their big (and I mean BIG) 80’s hair.]

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  • Sculpey III “Sweet Potato” clay is perfect for making oriole ornaments
  • Jury participation FAILs: reading Dante’s Inferno, working in the pharmacutical industry, having a Ph.D.
  • Giving 6 northern folks a request for Soup Joumou will result in 9 wildly different versions, due to vagueness in given recipe
  • You can get from Texas to Illinois in a day by car
  • There are three long-eared owls living in New York City
  • Grading without commenting is only fun if you don’t want to continue the conversation with your students

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Alphaville is proclaiming themselves from the speakers on my lap — there’s an image, eh? How much farther from stadium Euro-rock could you get? But the distance shouldn’t be measured from concert venue to little laptop: the distance is really from being an undergraduate studying in a dorm lounge to being a professor grading assignments the night before the final exam.

Back in chilly suburban Philadelphia, I would have just come in from class, or in from the graveyard (where I would often chill for a bit after class). Orion would be twinkling over the parking lot, someone would be making hot chocolate in a hotpot, and I’d have Milton, or Turkle, or Piaget to review one more time… There would be some drama, some impossible thing to sort out before morning, there would be the uncomfortable memory of a less-than satisfying cafeteria meal, and sense that too many things needed to be done before the end of the week, oh God, and then I’d have to be back in Jersey remembering how to live at home again.

Here, in Elsinore, I slog through other people’s mangled thinking and my own spreadsheet formulae, while trying to postpone thoughts about social obligations [who will be where? when? for how long? how many presents need to be completed before X date, given who will be where, when, etc? were we getting a tree? were we going to try to bake anything? could I pretend to be Russian Orthodox and buy myself another week of time?]……

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Today’s contestant in the Festival of Bad Writing:

“Only in a research article will a reader be able to find an
example that is shown above relating towards graphical information;
which can create a table to better understand.”

Fire for the pyre

Long before there were blogs, long before the web was populated by advertisers, I’d wanted to have an online place where a randomly-selected sentence from my fine collection of horrible student-generated sentences could sit on an animated pyre. Contributions would be welcome. We could gasp in horror at the latest form of man’s inhumanity to language.

I never got around to coding the thing, and now I don’t know if there’s really a call for it. But I still remember when the denizens of the Humanities and Social Sciences graduate computer lab talked of taking the “winning” entry from the contest and using it to light the torch, which would then be run around the campus before being used to light a bonfire of our own dissertation drafts.

Haven’t a clue where those former grad students are now, but there have been plenty of occasions when I’ve read a draft and thought of Montserrat Miller’s use of a great dismissive phrase: “That won’t stick together with snot!” [I think the comment was originally in Catalan, since her area of research was market stall ownership in Barcelona].

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