Sunday, September 07, 2008

September and Courses

It always seems to take until about the third week of classes for students to fully demonstrate that they realize the semester has indeed started. That's especially true when Labor Day shortens the second week.

We had enrollment the Friday before classes started on Monday. However, more than a few students waited until Monday to come to campus to handle diverse issues that could have much more easily been handled on Friday - especially if it meant attending class on Monday and/or arriving in class at the start time. It still amazes me that students will bang their way into a closed door instead of waiting until the door is opened for them. But I digress.

I always like to get a "feel" for my students before finalizing the semester's assignments and always reserve the right to tweak assignments to ensure that students fully understand what is expected AND that I've been as clears as possible in conveying those expectations. I continue to reiterate to them that earning an "A" does not mean that they "met the requirements". Instead, that means a "C" or average. I have used some of the explanatories that Liz Lawley has used over the years to try to more clearly express this to students. That goes along with explaining that grades are earned and not negotiated.

A large project is about to be put to bed and for that I will be more than thankful. It's been more stressful than it needs to be by design - especially given how much of it is out of our control. That's the nature of a group project. But, when it is out and available - hopefully within a year from now - it will have been well worth the various ensuing struggles. And, the best part is that I have gotten to know several colleagues much better and, as a result, have even more admiration for the work that they do. We do similar work as this project will attest but almost every one of us comes at it with a different mode of thought and/or approach. In other words, great minds think alike but also distinctly.

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