Friday, May 19, 2006

It bodes

It bodes ill. But I'm not sure it bodes iller than last time, since everything I whine about below is hardly new behaviour. But you'd think they'd have learned. <- famous last words.

I just picked up the latest (and final!) set of assignments that my students have handed in. Each has a coversheet attached, as required by university regulations, on which they have to fill in their name, tutor's name, tutorial day/time, date of submission and sign a statement saying they didn't plagiarise or collaborate. And as usual, most of them have stumbled already at this preliminary hurdle.

Take the Wednesday 11 o'clock tutorial group, for example. According to their coversheets some of the students are under the impression that they have been meeting all semester at any (maybe all?) of the following times:

  • Wednesday at 12 o'clock
  • Wednesday at 10 o'clock
  • Wednesday at 4 o'clock
  • Tuesday at 11 o'clock
  • Tuesday at 10 o'clock
  • and most bizarre of all, Tuesday at 4:45
Most of them spelt my name wrong (which is understandable, since it is one of those names with several variant spellings). Some of them wrote under "Tutor" the name of the other tutor for the course, despite always having attended my class rather than hers (and despite hers being a clearly Korean name and me not looking the slightest bit Korean). Some of them wrote ScaryLecturer's name. Some of them -- even more inexplicably -- wrote the name of one of last year's tutors.

I don't think anyone spelt their own name wrong, but plenty of them forgot to write their last names, among whom the ones named Sarah, Kate, Ben, Matt etc were the worst culprits. One of them forgot to put their name on at all, but fortunately had a reasonably legible signature beside the plagiarism statement, so I could make out who it was from that. Several of my Asian students whose legal names differ from the ones they use informally wrote only their English name (e.g. "Mandy") when I have their records filed under the official name, so I not only have to work out "Mandy's" last name, but first try to remember what her real first name is.*

And finally, a significant number "forgot" to sign the plagiarism statements. University policy requires me to get them to do so before even marking the assignment. In reality in these cases we tend to mark them anyway, and just get the student to sign before returning the assignment to them. But even so, it is extra hassle I could do without.

And of course there is the usual number of students who, despite being told and told and told not to, (1) wrote in pencil, (2) wrote in red pen or (3) wrote in sparkly silver or gold pen (unreadable).

All of which bodes for the state of the rest of their assignment. Oh yes. It just bodes.

* The solution to this isn't as simple as filing their records under their English names instead, as some of them are pretty random about which one they write on assignment coversheets. And for some stupid reason the list in my head (to the extent that there is one at all) goes: "Zhu Ling = Mandy" rather than the more sensible method of thinking of "Mandy Zhu". I should really make a list of the English names and corresponding official names to look up when I get confused.

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turtlebella said...

As is often the case, StyleyGeek, you have provided me with a good morning laugh. they find their way out of the dorm in the morning is a miracle.

StyleyGeek said...

Maybe they don't. That would explain some of the absences...