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Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 5:16 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I am a senior at a state university (Public Health major). This summer I took a required class that is for seniors only (specific to my major). On the first day of class, this instructor advised that she had graduated from the same college, and felt we had it "too easy", and was there to make our summer a living hell.

We also learned the first day of class we learned that the 3 other people at our table had been chosen by the professor to be our "team mates" for a project that would last the span of the class (11 weeks). The project involves designing and public health intervention I am with 3 other women, one in her 40s, one in her 30s (my age), one in her 20s.

Every week a lengthy paper is due. All 4 of us must contribute to that paper equally.

The first paper (12-14 required pages) we all had to visit the neighborhood, take picture, and submit impressions of the neighborhood, along with potential negative health outcomes experienced by residents, backed up with research.

The 30-something team mate (we will call her D) did not visit the community, and therefore was unable to contribute to the paper in any meaningful way. The other two submitted opinions not backed by any sources. I essentially wrote the entire paper by myself.

When I approached the instructor about this, she said that we would be given a grading sheet, and we were to determine as a team who get full credit, and who got no credit (no partial credit given). Since the other team members gave something, we gave them full credit. Since D contributed nothing, we gave her no credit. She also did not attend class that day.

Needless to say, the next class meeting (it meets once a week) D was very defensive, accused me of not liking her, setting her up to fail, etc.

Since then, D has contributed her portion of the paper, but has continued to miss class (2% deduction from your grade for every missed class). She has also mentioned not doing well on the required weekly quizzes. We have all been marked down on our papers for mistakes other team mates have made (mostly not citing their sources).

Now it's the end of the term, and D is going to fail the class. She wrote the instructor, and apparently the instructor encouraged her to write us (her team mates) and ask us to "GIVE" D back the points she did not earn on the paper, so that D can get a C in the class.

I am miffed about this proposal for the following reasons:

1) D contributed almost nothing to the paper. She did not even visit the neighborhood until it became clear to her that she would continue to receive a grade of zero on the papers until she did so.

2) It took a lot out of us to give someone zero as a grade. It did not feel good. We then (mostly me, because I am pretty much the leader of the group) endured half an hour of accusations from D when she discovered her grade.

3) Most of D's lost points have come from her attendance, as she attends cheerleading performances out of town instead of attending class.

4) While I am not in danger of failing the class, I am in danger of getting an A- or even a B+ because of the mistakes of other's (not citing their sources). Every point deducted from the papers is 1% deducted from our grade. I currently have a 4.0 GPA, and am trying to graduate cumma sum laude (a personal goal and something I'd like to put on my grad school application). I also have a scholarship that is dependent upon my GPA. I am still not asking the teacher to give me points back on anything.

5) In the email she mentions that she wants her points back because she "did do the demographics portion" (she sent me demographics that I had already done, from a website I showed our team mates in class that I had found, so it sounds like she's feeling very entitled to having her points back.

I have typed up an email to our instructor politely suggesting that instead of asking us to renege on a decision that was very difficult for us, and that we paid for (by being berated by D), that she (the instructor) give D back the points she missed when she attended cheerleading performances instead of class. I think that it is more fair for our instructor to go against her own policy than to ask the students to (obviously this is me being snide in a passive aggressive way, but I cannot tell the instructor to get bent, as I'd like to). I haven't sent the email, I am waiting until I'm not so pissed off.

The other option is that I write the teacher and say "Sure, we'll give D her points back so that she doesn't have to retake the class, if you'll give me my points back for mistakes my team mates made so that I don't lose my A and screw up my GPA." (Obviously this will result in neither of us getting the points).

I think it's perfectly fair that someone who has shown us that she doesn't give two shits about this class FAIL the class.

Opinions? Send the email or not? TIA.


ETA: Edited email sent, instructor response on second page.

[This message edited by Want2help at 6:37 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: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 5:18 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Here is the email I am waiting to send her:

My name is (Want2Help), and I am a member of the Team 9. I would like clarification on an email I received earlier today, regarding our team mate, (D)

Apparently (D) has spoken with you and you have given her permission to ask that the other 3 members of the team (myself included), reinstate the 5 points (D) lost as a result of not visiting the (redacted) neighborhood within the first 4 weeks of class (leaving her unable to contribute any impressions, observations, pictures, etc.).

I understand that (D) feels that she will not pass the class if she is not "given" at least one point back for her lack of participation, and that the solution you two have come up with is for her team mates to give her back the points she lost on that assignment, a plight that I am sympathetic to. No one wants to see a classmate fail. However, considering that my team mates and I not only made the very difficult decision to not give (D) points for that assignment (a solution originally proposed by you when I had come to you before class that morning to discuss the fact that not all of the team mates were fully participating in assignments and I had been forced to essentially write the entire first assignment myself), but also endured no less than 20 minutes of berating and accusations while we defended our decision based on a policy instituted by you, our professor.

I think a much more fair way of ensuring that (D) passes the class would be to reinstate the points she has missed by attending cheerleading performances instead of class. For you to go back on your own policy seems much more logical than asking members of your class to renege on a decision they made based on a rule you have implemented, in my opinion.

Thank you for your time,

(Want2help)

[This message edited by Want2help at 5:07 PM, August 16th (Saturday)]


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

Reconciled


Posts: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Crescita
Member
Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 5:51 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Ugh, I hate group work like this. Maybe you could suggest an extra credit assignment for your entire group so you can earn back some of the points she cost you?


“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
lordhasaplan?
Member
Member # 30079
Default  Posted: 5:54 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I would respond, No she doesn't deserve her points, she didn't participate. And leave it at that.


D-day: 5/18/10, lies and TT till (11/26/10).
No life should be passively relinquished due to the toxicity of others and taking steps to protect yourself may very well be the most important steps you will ever take.

Posts: 1923 | Registered: Nov 2010
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 6:04 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I would respond, No she doesn't deserve her points, she didn't participate. And leave it at that.

The instructor had the student email us. I will be emailing the professor back. I am considering CCing her superior, as well.

Ugh, I hate group work like this. Maybe you could suggest an extra credit assignment for your entire group so you can earn back some of the points she cost you?

Nope, the instructor said no extra credit. She's here to make our lives "hell", remember?

Another reason I am pissed is that the instructor has a rule that you are allowed to miss two full class periods, 2% grade reduction for each. Anything beyond that, even a tardy (1% reduction) = failing the class. Well, my team mate D has already missed 3 classes, so the instructor is obviously making THAT concession for her, as well.


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

Reconciled


Posts: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
gahurts
Member
Member # 33699
Default  Posted: 6:08 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I think your letter is very diplomatic and well written. I also think there will be consequences to you for writing such a letter and calling the instructor out.

I really want to see you tell the instructor to "get bent" JK

I wonder if it would be appropriate for you to write a letter instead to the department head explaining how the instructor has been very unprofessional - telling you that she was there to make your summer "a living hell" and how she manipulated the teams and then is manipulating the scores to force you to give away points that D did not earn. It cheapens the school's credibility. I also suspect that when you give the points back to D that you will be penalized for not following the policy that the instructor told you to violate.

This situation reeks of favoritism. If D gets special treatment then you should too so that you can keep your 4.0. You certainly earned it more than D earn her gift of 5 points.


"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indominable will" - Mahatma Gandi

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - Aubrie


Posts: 3469 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Georgia
gahurts
Member
Member # 33699
Default  Posted: 6:10 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I am considering CCing her superior, as well.

DEFINITELY!!

I think it is time to play hardball with this instructor.

ETA: You have it in writing that the instructor suggested that D get you all to cheat so that D does not fail. She is also violating the class policies by allowing multiple absences.

Just make sure you have all your facts lines up and then request a meeting with the superior to state your case.

[This message edited by gahurts at 6:12 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)]


"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indominable will" - Mahatma Gandi

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - Aubrie


Posts: 3469 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Georgia
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 6:28 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Well, I got a little ahead of myself, and sent her an email (a different one).

Here is what I sent:

My name is (Want2help), and I am a member of the Team 9 (Redacted). I would like clarification on an email I received earlier today, regarding our team mate, (D)

Apparently our team mate, (D), has spoken with you and you have given her permission to ask that the other 3 members of the team to reinstate the 5 points (D) lost as a result of not visiting the (redacted) neighborhood within the first 4 weeks of class (leaving her unable to contribute any impressions, observations, pictures, etc.). If you recall, I approached you the day after the Neighborhood Report was due, because I felt that I had been required to write the entire paper, due to the fact that two members had contributed the bare minimum and one member had contributed almost nothing (D sent me a paper of demographics, for which she feels entitles her to the 5 points for that assignment but it was a website that I had already found during class and shared with our whole team, so it contributed nothing new to the paper. She did not bother visit the (redacted) neighborhood until after she found out we had not given her any points for the Neighborhood Report).

I understand that (D) feels that she will not pass the class if she is not "given" at least half the points she lost for her lack of participation, a plight that I am sympathetic to. No one wants to see a classmate fail a class. However, my team mates and I have already been put in an uncomfortable position by being asked to grade the participation of another team member. Now we are being put in an even more uncomfortable position, and are being asked to decide whether that team member passes the class, which is dependent upon us reneging on our initial decision. I feel that asking this of us is unfair and unethical.

This is my position on the matter, and I look forward to hearing yours. Thank you for your time.

I forgot to mention that she is already making huge concessions for "D" by not failing her based on her attendance.

I work my ass off for my 4.0, which has earned me a scholarship that pays for the entirety of my educational costs. That scholarship is GPA dependent. You don't see ME asking the teacher to give me the points we lost for the other team members not citing their sources.

D earned her "D" grade, as far as I am concerned. She only lost 5 pts for this assignment, but has less than 70% for the class. The rest have come from her attendance and failing quizzes.

I have some other serious issue with this instructor anyway (inappropriate comments and behavior towards certain people in the class she has taken a liking to), so I'll likely end up filing a complaint once my summer of hell is over.

Lord help me, I'm in hell!!

[This message edited by Want2help at 5:08 PM, August 16th (Saturday)]


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

Reconciled


Posts: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Lucky2HaveMe
Member
Member # 13333
Default  Posted: 6:41 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I think you did the right thing and I think your edited version was very well written. You/your team should never have been put into the position of determining a pass/fail for a student.

Let us know if the Prof responds!


Love isn't what you say, it's what you do.

Posts: 6638 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: WNY
Phoenix1
Member
Member # 38928
Default  Posted: 6:59 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

OK, I'll give my two cents as a college instructor...

First, you are under no obligation to give credit where it is not warranted, nor is it your problem to overlook her lack of participation so she can pass the class with a "C." You were fair in your determination, and this student should have thought about the consequences before she failed to participate. If the instructor wants to inflate her overall grade, that is on her, not you. Stick to your position as it is correct.

Second, you should have a course evaluation to complete upon conclusion of the term. That is an opportunity to vent about the instructor's unfair practices. And yes, they do get read. The fact that the instructor pushed the issue back to the group to resolve when you have clear substantiation for your group's decision is, IMHO, problematic and is making your group out to be the bad guy to take the heat off her.

Lastly, this is precisely why I don't utilize groups in my classes. Yes, they can be set up better to avoid some of the known pitfalls, but I have seen more problems and complaints arise because of them which negates the benefits of learning how to work as a team.

Good luck!


BS - Me
XPOS - too many OW/OCs over 20+yrs
Kids - DDs 23,18 -DS20 Deceased
M Dissolved 2013

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet


Posts: 1263 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Rising out of Hell's ashes!
gonnabe2016
Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 7:15 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

She wrote the instructor, and apparently the instructor encouraged her to write us (her team mates) and ask us to "GIVE" D back the points she did not earn on the paper, so that D can get a C in the class.
I'm not seeing where you needed to contact the professor at all. D communicated with the prof, prof told her that if she had a problem then she should contact you guys (her team members) -- but I never saw that she did? Did I miss something?
I wholeheartedly support your whole story and all actions taken during the class and feelings you feel about D's lack of commitment/participation. D *deserves* to fail or get a low grade. I'm just worried that you may have put a target on your own back unnecessarily.

eta: If you DID receive an email from D and she mentioned that the prof suggested that she contact you, I still don't see where the professor needed to be contacted. If that's the scenario, a "yea....NO" response to D would have worked out better than emailing your response to the prof, imo.

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 7:17 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)]


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 8185 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
FaithFool
Member
Member # 20150
Default  Posted: 7:27 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Wow, that prof sounds like a total wingnut. What an awful thing to say to students about making your life a living hell!

PM me if you want the website address to post a rating about her to warn others away from the crazy...

[This message edited by FaithFool at 7:30 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)]


DDay: June 15, 2008
Mistakenly married Mr. Superfreak
20 years of OWs, WTF?
Divorced Dec 26, 2011
"Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget
to sing in the lifeboats". -- Voltaire

Posts: 17706 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Canada
Amazonia
Member
Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 7:33 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I second writing a letter to the Dean, and I think your response was perfect, including the fact that it was directed to the professor instead of D. You should never have been put in a position to discuss this with D in the first place. I feel like the teacher ran out of options and shoved her responsibility onto you.

Re: contacting the Dean, I did this my senior year of college about a fairly new professor who was similarly unprofessional. He loved "group discussions" where he would actively pit students against one another and egg them on to argue. As I went to a very conservative school and am not personally conservative, I was a favorite target, and he frequently brought up topics unrelated to class, would get people riled up, and then would directly ask me my opinion, which nearly always contradicted the rest of the class. I am not a confrontational or angry person, but would calmly state that i disagreed, and my opinion was X, and then when told i was "wrong" by classmates tell them i understood their perspective but didn''t agree with it, and was comfortable disagreeing with them. This resulted in several instances of being berated and one even followed back to my dorm room with one very persistent classmate yelling at me about the fires of hell I could expect to endure.

The last day of class the professor pulled me aside and told me how much he appreciated having me in class, and that he agreed with me on every topic, it was so nice to have a kindred spirit especially since he wasn''t allowed to express an opinion as a professor, so he was so appreciative that I fought his (unrelated to class content and never owned by him) political and religious battles for him.

My letter to the Dean lost him his job. I have no regrets.


"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
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 8:03 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Sorry, for those wondering if D actually contacted me, yes, this was the email that prompted this whole exchange (from D):

Hi ladies,

I am coming to you to ask for your help. After seeing our grades we got for our last few assignments I added up my points and the points left and even if we get 100% on everything left I will be shy 1 point to pass the class. I talked to (instructor) about getting points for the neighborhood report since I did submit the demographics for it and she said she will reinstate points for me if my group says it's ok.

So I am basically begging that you will help me out and give me at least half credit for that assignment so I do not have to retake this class and spend the additional money on because I missed the 75 point cutoff by 1 point.

Please consider my request and let me know. I would be forever grateful.

Thank you,

D


The whole "since I did submit the demographics" thing might be what gets me most. That was maybe 1/10th of the assignment. The assignment was to visit this neighborhood in the inner city (45 minutes from where I live, 15-20 from where D lives) with the group, take pictures, observe, and write impressions of the neighborhood. Then, we were to extrapolate some negative health outcomes these residents might be facing, and back this ideas up with evidence from peer reviewed sources. Then we had to compile all of into a report (with demographics for the neighborhood). In class, I pulled up a website I had found for our city that had the demographics on it, and showed it to the team and said "We'll use this". That website, copied and pasted, is what D submitted, which makes her feel entitled to having her 5 points "given" back to her.

D was not present for the class period during which we planned the assignment. She was not present the following class period either (when we were to come to a consensus on each person's participation grade).

When D arrived in class and found that we had given her a zero, she lost it. Accused me of "setting her up to fail" by not emailing her personally and telling her what she needed to do in order to get full credit. I very calmly explained that it was she who missed the class, and that she needed to be the one to contact the team and ask what she needed to do, if she needed clarification at all, but each of us were given the same assignment sheet (very detailed, outlines everything needed for the assignment) that stated "VISIT NEIGHBORHOOD. TAKE PICTURES. OBSERVE. LIST POTENTIAL NEGATIVE HEALTH OUTCOMES FACED BY COMMUNITY MEMBERS."

D still argued that I should have been responsible for emailing her and telling her what to do.

Then D resorted to pulling the "You guys just don't LIKE me" card (I was honestly shocked that she didn't accuse us of being "jealous" of her, or some other childish bullshit, as she still very much has the personality of a high schooler).

In the end, she accepted her grade and we moved on. She has since gone on to miss more classes, flunk quizzes, and now we're supposed to say "It's okay, D, you can blatantly disregard class policy and treat college like it doesn't matter, we'll give you the points back so you can pass."

I wonder how we will end up deciding this.

We did a "personality assessment" on the first day. The other two team mates (not D and myself), were what the instructor called "wet blankets". they basically go with the flow. D and I are obviously NOT in this category. The "wet blankets" may end up going along with it in an attempt to not rock the boat. Will it be a vote? That remains to be seen.


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

Reconciled


Posts: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 8:17 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

First, you are under no obligation to give credit where it is not warranted, nor is it your problem to overlook her lack of participation so she can pass the class with a "C." You were fair in your determination, and this student should have thought about the consequences before she failed to participate. If the instructor wants to inflate her overall grade, that is on her, not you. Stick to your position as it is correct.

Phoenix1, that is SUCH a good point, abut inflating the overall grade. I should have included that!

Second, you should have a course evaluation to complete upon conclusion of the term. That is an opportunity to vent about the instructor's unfair practices. And yes, they do get read. The fact that the instructor pushed the issue back to the group to resolve when you have clear substantiation for your group's decision is, IMHO, problematic and is making your group out to be the bad guy to take the heat off her.

Excellent point. I've never had an instructor that I didn't give glowing reviews for, so I totally forgot about the course evaluations.

Lastly, this is precisely why I don't utilize groups in my classes. Yes, they can be set up better to avoid some of the known pitfalls, but I have seen more problems and complaints arise because of them which negates the benefits of learning how to work as a team.

I wholeheartedly agree. And group projects may be great for a certain demographic (namely young people who have never been in the work force and have little experience working with other adults), but that is NOT this class. It's a state university with a pretty good population of "nontraditional students". With the exception of one 20-something, every one on this team is over 30. It is unfair to students like me, who are older and taking their education very seriously (it's basically my whole life right now) to be paired with younger people who may not take their education as seriously as someone attending school later in life (trying not to generalize here).

I

think you did the right thing and I think your edited version was very well written. You/your team should never have been put into the position of determining a pass/fail for a student.
Let us know if the Prof responds!

Thank you, I was hoping it didn't sound too rage-filled. I will DEFINITELY update when/if the instructor responds, and what she says.

I'm not seeing where you needed to contact the professor at all. D communicated with the prof, prof told her that if she had a problem then she should contact you guys (her team members) -- but I never saw that she did? Did I miss something?

I have since posted to clarify, and included the email from D, asking for her points back.

Wow, that prof sounds like a total wingnut. What an awful thing to say to students about making your life a living hell!

Yeah, that's unfortunately one of the least shocking things she's said.

Amazonia, what a HORRIBLE position to be put in. I can only imagine. Hopefully he learned his lesson.


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

Reconciled


Posts: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
caregiver9000
Member
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 9:21 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

I am assuming you received a syllabus and/or a class expectations outlining the attendance policy and group grading policy? I would have been tempted to copy and paste, high light the relevant portions and send to both D and the professor. All questions answered.

On the "silver lining side" working in Public Health will likely mean dealing with exactly these types of people and situations... You now have valuable experience.

I would blast this professor in the course review for failing to have a grading policy or a backbone.


Me: 44, independent, happy, despite co-parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 13 DS 10
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 5910 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
Kuwaited
Member
Member # 5491
Default  Posted: 9:44 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Well..I had a similar situation more years ago than I care to remember.

It was a senior design project (we had to design a business aircraft) and my team consisted of 5 members. Two of those member were woefully deficient in their responsibilities. We were each responsible for a design aspect of the airplane: Aerodynamics, Stability&Control, Structures, Propulsion, Engine. You know, you can't really skimp on any of those things and have an airplane that flies.

They came swooping in in the last couple of weeks with their less than stellar inputs.

The other three of us spent a couple all nighters pulling the report together and camping outside of the Kinko's so we'd be the first in to get the report printed and bound (long before the days of "Desktop Publishing" !!).

While waiting outside Kinko's in the wee hours of the morning we discussed what to do about those other two. In the end we decided: Fuck it. Hardly worth the effort. We got an A on the project and I got an A in the class (don't know about the others). We carried their asses.

Here's the thing. In the 30 years since, I've witnessed this happen numerous times in the work place. No accounting for sponges and deadbeats. Damned near impossible to get rid of them. You just have to deal with them.

I didn't know it at the time...but I suspect our experience was anticipated by the prof and he knew it would be a "lesson" well learned.


"For every trip to the vet, there's a car ride.", Satchel Pooch.

"At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost." -- Tad...from Craig's List


Posts: 8491 | Registered: Oct 2004 | From: North Atlanta Burbs
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 11:37 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Do you have anything other than D's word that the instructor suggested she ask you to give her the points? I would first clarify that with the instructor.

I hated group projects for this reason. There's always a deadbeat.


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: 9040 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
gonnabe2016
Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 12:41 AM, August 13th (Wednesday)

I have since posted to clarify, and included the email from D, asking for her points back.
Ok, I read her email to you and her email didn't implicate the professor's involvement in any way. Why didn't you just respond to her with a "no, you suck, enjoy your F" message instead of emailing the professor about the issue?

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 12:41 AM, August 13th (Wednesday)]


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 8185 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
Bobbi_sue
Member
Member # 10347
Default  Posted: 1:39 AM, August 13th (Wednesday)

I am a college professor and I do recall having a professor once myself, who said something like yours in that he was there to make our summer a living hell. Actually, in my case, I think it was more like this: He said there would be only 1 or 2 As, a few Bs and the rest would get Cs and Ds.

And he was true to his word. His tests were all essays, yet he graded them like they were objectively gradable quizzes. He looked for a whole list of points/ideas in the essay (without specifically telling us what we had to include in the essay other than a general topic to be addressed and the expected length). If we didn't get those ideas in there, and to his pre-conceived specifications not shared with us, we lost points.

He was huge on whole language. As an education professor, I realize more than ever he was "out to lunch" anyway. I believe children need a combination of phonics and some whole language when learning to read, but phonics are important (he didn't believe in phonics).

Oh, and he was the head of the education department, so theoretically if you had a complaint about a professor, guess who you were supposed to complain to? That's right, there seemed to be nobody to complain about him to because of his position of power.

I was in the middle of splitting with/divorcing my XH at that time so I had enough on my plate and I did not try to argue or report him to anyone since I didn't see an easy way to do so. I got a C+ in his class. I think what made me the angriest though is that only two people got an A in the class and based on discussions and interactions in the class, I'm sure they were no better than the rest of us. However, one of the "A" students was very obviously the daughter of one of his best friends and he talked to her about her father quite a bit during class time, for each class. We all knew if anyone got an A, she would.

I absolutely hate when my own students complain about their grades and tell me "this is the first grade I ever got lower than an A" but I was that person, in that situation, for real (except I did not say anything to the prof about it).

But then again, I know that I am fair and students that get a low grade in my class really deserve the low grade they get. College should not be about making life hell. I know many professors, including some of my colleagues that think making the course difficult or "hell" means better learning. It might be a good practice for learning that life in general is hell sometimes, but if the objective is for students to master the course material presented, it need not be hell and doesn't even necessarily have to be that difficult IMO.

Sometimes I am forced to include group assignments in my courses. I would NEVER do that if not required to. I hated them as a student and hate them as a professor. I do not believe in forcing the students to grade each other, either but I try to have ways where I can, myself determine participation and contributions from each member so that one does not earn an A for the entire group. I have never in my life given someone whom I knew did a good portion of quality work in a group, a lesser grade because other members did not do their part well.

[This message edited by Bobbi_sue at 1:43 AM, August 13th (Wednesday)]


Posts: 5775 | Registered: Apr 2006
happenedtome
Member
Member # 6042
Default  Posted: 5:43 AM, August 13th (Wednesday)

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)

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: 9040 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
cmego
Member
Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, August 13th (Wednesday)

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)

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: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Amazonia
Member
Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 8:41 PM, August 14th (Thursday)

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)

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: 9040 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 10:35 PM, August 14th (Thursday)

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: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
jrzeegirl
Member
Member # 44261
Default  Posted: 7:51 PM, August 18th (Monday)

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)

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)

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: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Bobbi_sue
Member
Member # 10347
Default  Posted: 8:43 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)

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)

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: 3778 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Want2help
Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 9:48 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)

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: 2340 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Topic Posts: 33