Friday, November 10, 2006

In which I vent a little about student work ethic

The last couple of semesters, I've been using a two-class-day timetable for my homework. So if I talk about Section 20 on Monday, the homework is turned in Friday. The idea, of course, is that all the students will work on it Monday and Tuesday, and if there are any problems, we can talk about them in class Wednesday, and they still have time to finish the problems and hand them in on Friday. In execution, of course, not every student quite keeps on schedule.

In Discrete Math this semester, I am trying something a little different with the proofs. The homework that involves writing proofs, they write up once (in two days), I grade it and make comments, and then they type it up formally for more credit (in another two days.) The idea being that I want to instill in them the notion that a good proof should be well-written, and that that usually takes more than one attempt.

So, with the proofs that I collected today, the problems were originally assigned on Monday, October 30. Some students did have some questions about them, so we talked about them in class on Wednesday, November 1. I collected them on Friday, graded them over the weekend, and returned them with instructions to type them up and hand them in on Friday, today.

So, last night when I got e-mail from a student -- a particularly loud-mouthed student, who is always complaining about how darn hard this material is -- saying, basically, "I don't understand this homework at all. Can you give me a little hint," all I could say was "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!"

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