Tag Archives: professor

November 27, 2010, 4:49 pm

Students respond to UCF cheating scandal

As a kind of rebuttal to the cheating scandal at the University of Central Florida, some students have posted this video that raises the issue of whether students were misled as to the source of their exam questions:

I think the students have a point here. Prof. Quinn did say that he “writes” the exam questions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he creates the exam questions from scratch; “writing” an exam could refer to the act of assembling a particular mix of questions from the test bank. But it’s unrealistic to expect the average college student to know the difference between creating and assembling an exam when the word “write” is used in this context; and anyway he said he writes the questions not the exams.

This entire video goes back to a point that involution made in the comments to my first post on this story: Did the students know that the exam was going to come…

Read More

October 20, 2010, 8:19 pm

Do you re-test?

Students sitting a Mathematics C exam.

Image via Wikipedia

If you give a major, timed assessment (test, exam, etc.) and nearly all of your students do poorly on it — as in, really poorly, 3/4-of-the-class-failed-it poorly — do you give a re-test and let them try it again? Or do you stick with the grades they got the first time? Do you invoke some kind of wigged-out grade curving scheme (no offense, Dave)? Or what?

Fortunately this hasn’t happened to me this semester, but it has happened to at least one of my colleagues, and we have an email discussion going on right now about what to do about it. Here are my thoughts on this. (Most of this post is verbatim from my contribution to the email discussion.)

For simplicity, I’m leaving the question of curving the grades out of this for now, and focus on whether you simply have a do-over for the exam or not….

Read More

June 2, 2008, 1:16 pm

Simul kids et adults

I’m working on updating some of my professional documents, including my curriculum vitae and my Statement of Teaching Philosophy (SOTP). Both of these are badly out of date; I don’t think I’ve touched either one since I was up for tenure in 2005. That’s too bad, especially the SOTP; it seems like professors ought to be constantly re-examining their core philosophies behind teaching and having a critical look at what really characterizes what they do in the classroom.

The new SOTP is absorbing some flavor of recent developments in my personal life on the faith front. Since joining the Lutheran church, I’ve become more exposed to — and more appreciative of — the concept of holding paradoxical pairs of ideas in tension with each other and having a real truth emerge out of the dialectic between the two. In Lutheran theology, for example, we have the idea of simul justus et peccator — the…

Read More

May 19, 2008, 5:26 am

Show and tell

Today, my 4-year old (who goes by “L” here) is “Student of the Day” at her Montessori preschool. I’ll be spending most of the morning in school with her, hanging out with her and joining her in some of the activities they do. One of the activities we’ll do is take some time to pass around a photo/scrapbook page we put together about L and to let L do a show-and-tell of a special item for her. During that time, she’s supposed to introduce me to the class and then I’m supposed to describe what my job is. 

That’s where you readers come in. How would you describe the job of mathematics professor at a small liberal arts college to a room full of 4-year olds? 

What you have to work with: The kids are bright, active, know their shapes and numbers, know how to count (most of them to 100 and beyond), and know a tiny bit of basic science. 

Both humorous and serious replies are welcome in the…

Read More