Tag Archives: Student culture

March 24, 2008, 4:00 pm

The suckage of being an engineering student

A blog post at Wired claims to give the Top 5 Reasons It Sucks to be an Engineering Student. Discussion is in the comments there and at this lively thread at Slashdot. The reasons given at the Wired blog are (in reverse order):

  1. Awful textbooks
  2. Professors are rarely encouraging
  3. Dearth of quality counseling
  4. Other disciplines have inflated grades
  5. Every assignment feels the same

It sounds to me like the blogger at Wired is stereotyping, based on what goes on at large research universities. A student could avoid #2, #3, and maybe #5 just by doing a 3+2 program where the first three years are done at a liberal arts college (…shameless plug alert…).

As for the grade inflation, I admit there’s no solution to this short of doing the right thing and forcing real academic standards on some of the touchiest-feeliest portions of the liberal arts world. But I think that would lead to mass…

Read More

October 31, 2007, 2:00 pm

Retrospective: The purging of a sorority (2.27.2007)

Editorial: This is article number 7 in this week’s retrospective series, and the first article I’ve reposted that wasn’t posted in 2006. That was a pretty good year for me, blogwise!

My calling as a prof means getting my hands dirty with the lives of students and trying to have some kind of positive influence in how they make meaning out of things. I categorize such topics here at CO9s under “Student Culture“. One major subtopic of student culture is the Greek system. I’ve blogged many times about it, mainly wondering what exactly it contributes to the life of a college — and implicitly wondering whether the benefits are worth the cost.

Those questions are still open, and the real issue is probably more complex than I make it out to be. But this article came out of a story that happened not too far from here, at DePauw University, that for me encapsulates and justifies my ongoing…

Read More

October 2, 2007, 8:54 pm

Getting tough on cheaters

My college’s official policy on academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, and the like) goes as follows. When a student is “convicted” of academic dishonesty on a course assignment and it is their first offense, then:

  • The student receives an automatic “0″ on the assignment.
  • The student’s final letter grade in the course is reduced by one full letter. (An earned B- becomes a C-, etc.)

And should the student ever commit academic dishonesty a second time, the student is expelled.

This policy is pretty typical of a lot of colleges. But I am beginning to think it doesn’t go far enough. Here’s what I am thinking ought to happen to a student caught in academic dishonesty:

  • The student gets a grade of “0″ on the assignment and a reduction of one letter on the final grade, as is currently the case.
  • The student is barred for one year from holding any officer position in any official…

Read More

September 27, 2007, 8:57 pm

These digital natives don't email

If you read enough edublogs, you begin to encounter the factions that believe that students today are digital natives and have all sorts of rich information experiences all the time in their everyday lives. This is usually taken to mean that they use all kinds of electronic means of sending and receiving information, such as email. I’m already skeptical of that claim, and after the following experience from today I am even less sure about it.

We had some high school students visiting the math department at my college, and part of the program was a discussion panel with current math majors. One of the math majors was asked about some of the main differences between high school and college, and he mentioned the quantity of email that one has to keep up with as a major difference. He asked the high school students how often they checked their emails now. They all looked at each other…

Read More