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User Topic: College class: grading, participation, fairness, (help!).
happenedtome
♀ Member
Member # 6042
Default  Posted: 5:43 AM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I hate group projects, too. One person's grades should never be dependent on someone else's performance, nor should a slacker benefit from riding on the coattails of more diligent students. Whether to email the professor is a moot point since it has been done, but I definitely think a letter to the school administration is in order about the way she ran her class. I was an adjunct professor and I would never treat my students like this. As far as D's e-mail to the group, I wonder if the prof really said that to her.

Posts: 238 | Registered: Dec 2004
solus sto
♀ Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 8:50 AM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have you heard back from the instructor? I think you need to prepare for a little fallout.

Why? Because you took the word of an unreliable student rather than first verifying it with the instructor.

This instructor is a self-identified gonna-make-your-life-hell type. Hopefully, this will just die naturally, with the instructor shrugging and telling Flaky D, "Sorry, your group won't change your grade---so I'll see you next semester." (Holy blameshifting, Professor!)

But if she's the bitch she wanted you to think she was, she might lean on you uncomfortably. If so, don't hesitate to involve others, appropriately. BUT DON'T DO THAT YET!! Wait to get the necessary information from the instructor, first. Again: do not involve administration until you verify Flaky D's claim. At this point, there is absolutely NOTHING to report--all you have is a request from a deadbeat classmate, and her claim that the instructor said something.

It's too late for this situation, but in the future, it'd be safer to respond to things like Flaky D's bold request with something like:

Good morning, Dr. Smith--

I'm writing to you concerning grading for [insert project name]. As you know, the group has been frustrated by Flaky D's lack of participation in this group project. We've addressed it in the manner you recommended when we last shared our concerns.

I wanted to make you aware that on Tuesday, Flaky D emailed each group member, asking for our help manipulating her grade to pass the course.

Further, she stated that you recommended this approach. Before we consider Flaky D's unusual request, we'd like confirmation that you did, indeed, green-light grade changes.

I am attaching Flaky D's email, and look forward to your feedback on the matter.

If you receive confirmation from the instructor that Flaky D is telling the truth, THEN you discuss your reservations:

While I am sensitive to Flaky D's situation, I am not comfortable with the dishonesty a change like this entails; my evaluation of Flaky D's participation in our project will not change.

Hopefully, you won't hear anything more of this. It's likely that Flaky D will be the one to experience the fallout. But on the off chance that this continues to make you uncomfortable (or worse, affects YOUR grade), keep copies of everything.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 9035 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
cmego
♀ Member
Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm in grad school on-line and we had a group project a few semesters ago. Do you know how hard it was to get together with people who lived all over the US?

So, of the 5 people in the "group", only 3 of us did any work. The other 2 workers constantly re-wrote the other's work. I finally complained to the TA about the 2 that we never heard from, and her response was, "Well, you will need to address this with the people who aren't responding...". HOW?? They ARE'NT RESPONDING.

At some point, I just gave in and did the work, but I blasted the TA in the class evaluation. It was horrid. The 3 of us that did work got A's for the other 2 that did jack crap.

I hate group projects.


me...BS, 44 years old, 2 small kids
WS, 41, multiple gay affairs
M 15 years, together 17
Divorced


Posts: 4231 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: South
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 6:36 PM, August 14th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Well, to respond to many posts, I hadn't even considered the idea that D may be lying. One of my faults is my honestly, and always assuming others are being honest (hey, that's how I ended up at SI!), so it honestly didn't even occur to me that D may not be telling the truth.

Anyhow, I received a response form my instructor today. It says:


Hi (Want2help), I appreciate your concern. Please allow me to explain my intention in having (D) bring her concern about not receiving credit for the first assignment, to her team. I referred her to you all because your team effort is collaborative and decisions about the quality of her contribution can only be made by the team. I expected your team to evaluate her request and explain your reasoning. All I committed to (D) was my intention to abide by the team's final decision.

I never intended to influence your team process. I agree that it was unfair of (D) to apply emotional pressure by hinting she may not pass the class because of your team decision and I intend to address that with her.

Thank you for sharing.

(Instructor)


I'd like to write her back and let her know that I am uncomfortable opening this dialogue again with D, since it was such an emotional and destructive (as opposed to CONSTRUCTIVE) process last time (we were accused of "not liking" D, of "setting D up to fail", of "ganging up on D").

I would like to point out that we endured some abuse (maybe too strong of a word?) that would never be permitted in a social or employment setting because their aren't the same repercussions in an academic setting (for instance, D would not have acted like that if we were at work and she risked being fired, and she would be punched in the fucking mouth if she yelled at me in a social setting the way she did in class that day).

I'd also like to include D's email to us, which I feel puts the responsibility of her failing directly on US, not her.

What do you all think?

Also, it sounds like D was scrambling to get enough points to pass, and pitched this idea to the instructor, who said "If you can get your team to go for it, fine, I'll give you the points back."

And thank you, for all of the responses. This is new territory for me. I am so glad I have you all to give advice.

[This message edited by Want2help at 6:38 PM, August 14th (Thursday)]


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014

Reconciled


Posts: 2339 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Amazonia
♀ Member
Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 8:41 PM, August 14th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I wouldn't. Honestly at this point, you've said your piece (peace?) and the professor has made it clear that she'll handle it. My response in your case would be to simply state that your group was quite clear and thorough in explaining the grade/reasoning to D at the time it was given, no further explanation is necessary, and you will not be changing the grade. Anything further starts to feel like tattling to me.

[This message edited by Amazonia at 8:41 PM, August 14th, 2014 (Thursday)]


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13871 | Registered: Jul 2011
solus sto
♀ Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 9:13 PM, August 14th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It sounds like you got good feedback from the instructor.

There is absolutely NO need to have any additional contact with D about the situation.

She made her request. You don't need to address your decision with her.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 9035 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 10:35 PM, August 14th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Alright, good advice Amazonia and solus sto.

Fingers crossed D isn't in class on Monday. If she knows she's going to fail the course, there really is no reason for her to be. If she is there, I anticipate a repeat of the day we gave her a zero.

Oh lord, I cannot believe this is my life at 30 years old.

On the bright side, I love my other two professors I took this summer, and had a great time in their classes, so it definitely isn't all bad.

Thank you, everybody, for your feedback.


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014

Reconciled


Posts: 2339 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
jrzeegirl
♀ Member
Member # 44261
Default  Posted: 7:51 PM, August 18th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I also went through this last semester. There was five of us in the group, and 4 of us did the work and one of course didn't. He was responsible for putting the power point together, but never gave me feedback on my contribution. I explained to all of them from the beginning I was a novice w/powerpoint and I could do anything else but that. I kept asking him for his input because if I needed to fix it, I wanted to do it before i had to write up the whole 10 page report which was my part of the project. Not a word, until the night before it was due at 10:30 pm after I had already signed off the computer! Then he put my rough draft in the final powerpoint with everybody elses final draft. I was fuming! Thankfully I had saved all my emails, and some from other members of the group and sent them to the professor. She said she appreciated my dilemma and would take care of it.
This is an online class so thank goodness I didn't have to see or have contact with him again. I ended up with an A. I also hate group projects. Especially being online only.
You did the right thing. And that is why they have the evaluations. Let us know what happened tonight. I'm anxious to hear.


Married since 1994
DDay 9/18/10
DD 15
“You two deserve each other, and I deserve better” ~Me

Posts: 76 | Registered: Jul 2014 | From: Jersey
Gottagetthrough
Member
Member # 27325
Default  Posted: 10:05 AM, August 20th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

interested to know, was D in class on Monday?

This whole thing makes me sad and angry for you.

As someone who has had a little experience in education, "Making your life hell" is not a great way to encourage learning.

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 10:06 AM, August 20th (Wednesday)]


Posts: 1434 | Registered: Jan 2010
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 7:10 PM, August 20th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Class on Monday was TERRIBLE.

Either the instructor said something to D about pulling the "I'm not gonna pass!" card on us, or D was upset that I did not respond to her email. We sat across from one another at a very small table all day and she did not look at me or acknowledge me once during the 5 hour class.

Then the instructor asked for feedback.

A little background: this is a required course for my major, and I took this instructor despite her pretty dismal reviews.

She stresses "professional writing", and marks you down accordingly (accidental use of any nouns, saying "we", etc.). Okay, fine, I can handle that. She claims our university does not prepare us for technical writing, so she is trying to do that singlehandedly, in 10 weeks. (I used to do technical writing at my old job. I've got it).

She then makes our grade dependent on the work of the others in our team, to emphasize teamwork.

The people on my team, while they mean well, cannot write, are seemingly incapable of finding sources for what they write/claims they make/etc.

We have weekly papers that are lengthy, and we all have to do research for them, then we send them to one person to piece together and submit online the night before class.

The first paper (which I wrote MYSELF, without any help) earned us 100%.

Then 3 weeks (and 3 papers went by). We didn't get any of the papers back, because she was "too busy" to grade them. When we got them back, they were all Ds. One group member almost cried. The feedback for the paper she put together was "Very frustrating! Horrible writing!". This put us at a huge disadvantage, as we had no time to correct our writing (as we would have if she had given us the first failed paper in a timely manner).

Keep in mind, the class has not been shown any examples of what to do, just feedback on what not to do.

When she asked for feedback, I likened this teaching approach to throwing a group of people in water, and trying to teach them how to swim without giving them any clear instructions, just telling them what NOT to do (inhale water).

She said that she designed this class so that the people who "skated by" would "take their C and leave with their head down", and that people who work, and are used to getting A's, would struggle. She said she was "trying to build our confidence".

I let her know there was a thick line between building confidence and destroying confidence, and she had crossed that line long, long ago.

She made some remark about me having the confidence to have this discussion with her in front of many people, and I let her know that had nothing to do with her class or her teaching style.

She said she was trying to break people like me, and our "co-dependent", "I have to control everything and do all of the work so that it's perfect" style. I let her know that for me, all this class has accomplished is reinforcing that behavior.

At this point, a few other people said their piece about how awful the class has been, how they now feel that they need to do all of the work for their team or suffer the consequences, etc. Essentially, the whole class was in agreement with the exception of one person.

Needless to say, I am not looking forward to next week, but at least it is the LAST class.

I have every grade I have received for every paper. Our grades are based on a point system in this class. 1 point = 1% of your grade. I am now at an 89% (was hoping to get the 5% extra credit for improved writing, not holding my breath after having it out with her).

There is no room for interpretation, so if my grade is any less than I deserve, I will be filing whatever it is the university has you file to argue a grade.

I hope I'm not coming off as a spoiled, petulant child, I feel like I am, but this class and this term have been very painful. I hate being accountable for the work of others, then being paired with people who shouldn't even be college seniors, let alone be unleashed on the world in a few short months.


ETA: as far as "D" goes, I also found out that she has been enforcing the "miss 2 classes and you fail" rule for many students in the class. When I mentioned that one of my team mates had missed 3.5, so it must not be enforced TOO strongly, she said "Well, D and I talked it out."

So an exception has been made to the one member of the team who has refused to participate (doesn't attend any get-togethers, doesn't respond to emails, doesn't pull her weight on assignments), and you punish everyone else who tries their hardest. That's great.

[This message edited by Want2help at 7:13 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)]


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014

Reconciled


Posts: 2339 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Bobbi_sue
♀ Member
Member # 10347
Default  Posted: 8:43 PM, August 20th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wow. I applaud you for standing your ground in this extreme case of a horrible professor. I am a professor myself and I would be appalled if a student "had it out" with me in class and other students chimed in to agree, so I hesitate to applaud you for this. But based on what you said about how the instructor conducted the class, I just can't blame you for it.

Posts: 5775 | Registered: Apr 2006
scaredyKat
♀ Member
Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 8:49 PM, August 20th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I applaud you with no reservations and encourage you to do whatever you have to do to see that this woman is never allowed to teach again! I am appalled. THIS is the kind of BS that earns teachers a bad name!

(and I hope there aren't negative repercussions to you!!!)


Me-BS-60
HIM-SAFWH-63
Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3776 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 9:48 PM, August 20th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Unfortunately I am not known for biting my tongue, but I am also known to have absolute respect for my professors (I was tickled pink this term when one of my professors--voted "Favorite Professor" last year, invited me to sit in on a class I won't be able to take because he "enjoys the dynamic and energy I bring to class). I often form very close bonds with my instructors, and stay in touch (and subsequently receive amazing letters of recommendation from them).

So this is really an anomaly for me.

And what I have mentioned here is just my personal issues with her. She has made some very off-color remarks (sexual in nature) to students in class that, although I was grossed out, I ignored because they weren't aimed at me and the student that they were aimed at didn't seem to care, so I just turned a blind eye. Now I see this inappropriateness is a pattern.

No, I agree, she probably shouldn't be a professor, at least not at a university that she does nothing but disparage the quality of our program (which is SO BAD she not only got her undergraduate degree there, but her GRADUATE degree, as well, despite there being several different options with the same major in our metro area!).

I am sure there will be repercussions, but as I told my husband, I'd rather get a C and have it all off my chest than an A, wishing I had told her off.

There was a lot more to our debate, but I'm not entirely sure what the sequence was, as I was pretty heated. I am at least glad that I had the support of the class.

Also, please let it be known, I am nearing the end of my undergraduate, and never would I have imagined I would speak to an instructor in such a way. I have always had nothing but reverence for my past professors.


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
OC born 3/08
OC Adopted 2014

Reconciled


Posts: 2339 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
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