Perhaps the future snowflake of the year has a point.

14 01 2010

This morning, Rate Your Students posted an awfully good example of what that site is there to mock:

I’m sure others out there are experiencing my pain when it comes to professors and the obnoxious policies they implement regarding cell phone usage during lecture. In the past, I’ve tolerated their dictatorship like authority and snuck messages under the desk or behind my laptop, but that era is over. In my latest course, the professor thinks he has the right to automatically deduct 10% of a students final grade for any single use of cell phones: that means texting, tweeting, facebooking, and the like.

It goes on into a long rant about students being consumers and universities of essentially being Target or Sears which just makes me laugh every time I hear it. The thing is, a 10% reduction on a final grade for what is essentially an etiquette issue does strike me as a tad dictatorial.

Personally, assuming I notice someone texting and it’s blatant enough to distract me, I’m in the “stop the lecture first to try to shame them” camp. If that doesn’t work and it hasn’t failed yet,* I’d just kick them out of the room. If students ignore the lecture, the bad grades should take care of themselves.

Either way, the comments on the original post are extremely interesting as professors and students are coming together on the Internet to discuss issues that they would never do in person. Isn’t technology grand?

* Or perhaps they’ve changed the angle of their head and moved the phone so far under the desk that I can’t see them text anymore. There’s no difference to me.




3 responses

14 01 2010

Why do I suspect Snowflake doesn’t understand [or is deliberately misrepresenting] the 10% deduction, which is typical for a “participation” grade?

Perhaps the prof has threatened a 0 for Participation if someone repeatedly violates the established rules? Perhaps that campus has severe etiquette problems this prof is hoping to stave off with a big syllab-stick?

I know that one reason I quit teaching certain classes [and basically destroyed any chance at a higher ed career] is because the technique of public shaming simply does not work with certain student populations. And I’ve had Flakes successfully complain to adminidiots (who made my life Hell) when I kicked them out for disciplinary reasons. It’s also not pretty when a 20-year-old pulls a full-blown kindergarten-level hissyfit when kicked out.

We all don’t/can’t work at institutions where one is more likely to have a critical mass of appropriately socialized undergrads…or supportive admins and senior profs.

14 01 2010
mr. mike

You have to hammer them or they won’t learn; if they throw a hissyfit have a tape recorder ready to collect evidence. Shame them, then knock down the grade…after all, who’s running the classroom; you or these worthless f@#kwhistles who deserve seventy years in a Siberian gulag?

27 11 2010
How do you handle texting in class? « More or Less Bunk

[…] That last part always gets a laugh, which tells me that most people don’t quite realize it. I used to think I’d be in the kick ‘em out of the room camp, but I now realize that I don’t have […]

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