Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Monday, July 20, 2009

Do You Recognize Yourself in This Piece?

I think a lot of us have fallen into the trap of spending more time policing our students than teaching them. What do you think of this article about that tension? How do you keep yourself from being too much police officer and too little teacher? Or do you disagree with the premise and think the police officer role is more important than the author suggests?

1 comment:

homer said...

I do not believe that Professor Kakela has any idea or knows the first small iota of any of the duties or responsibilities of a police officer, nor does he have any ideas of how they go about doing their duties. I am glad that he has returned to teaching his students rather than trying to “police” them. Better to leave that to the professional that are truly trained for that particular job and let the good professor do what he trained for.

That said, I have certainly shared all of his feelings and expectations about my students. I* want them to earn the grades that the get and to earn them trough study, work, and research. I do my utmost to teach them and to provide the best material, resources, and examples for them. I constantly emphasize that they must be regular and participating students and that THEY alone are responsible for doing and submitting their work.

Unlike the good professor Kakela I have never had the time nor the inclination to “set traps”, “write “tricky test questions”, nor focus strictly on “detailed, technical knowledge of facts”, “paying little attention to the relevance of those facts”. I do not believe in the use of “gotcha” test questions such as he described. No wonder he was discouraged and unhappy.

While we should not think of our students as criminals, each of us must remain fully aware that we live in an imperfect world. There are those among us that do try to sneak trough. They do take advantage of their unsuspecting classmates and their unsuspecting professors. Some do plagiarize. Some do copy other student’s forum posting. Some carry it much further.

Some students have had other students submit their at-home exams for them. They admitted it long after the fact. We have had serious problems with cheating at this college. We have had other serious problems that no one likes to admit or talk about. In past years, we had several college employees fired for changing grades for other students (and student employees). We have had others warned for the same suspected offense. We have had serious thefts from various campuses committed by students, and some years ago one of our students was convicted of being a serial killer. Yes, we do have some criminals in our midst, they are part of our general population, and they may well be on our campuses and in our on-line courses as well.

Perhaps we all need to wake up and be a bit more vigilant. Is there really anything wrong with being a vigilant protector of academic integrity as the good professor mentioned? I try to keep an eye on all of my students and to treat each and every one equally and fairly, having the very same expectations and requirements, applied equitably for all.

Larry L.