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Friday, October 19, 2012

Week's Wrap Up

Thanks for the comments on yesterday's student dilemma; you guys all had some strong, and insightful, opinions about the issue.  Truth is, as soon as I typed the post and hit "publish," I'd already confirmed my decision; sometimes, I just need to write a problem out to find my solution. 

I stuck to my initial decision, and syllabus guideline, that the student fail the class.

There are details here that I've excluded for simplicity's sake, but basically, the essay's plagiarism was deliberate and blatant, and my syllabus clearly defines this and its consequences.  Ultimately, it's not fair to other students if I allow one person to circumvent my policies.

And, yes, I've had other students plagiarize before; in fact, I've had MANY cases of plagiarism -- each, I've treated in the same way, but occasionally, a student reacts in an unexpected manner that gives me pause.  Thankfully, plagiarism has actually declined it the past few years (due in large part to software detection that professors have at their disposal), but it still crops up about once or twice a year.

I've taught at the college level for 12 years now, and one of the biggest challenges is remembering to treat students as individuals.  I teach either 5 or 6 sections per semester, each class with a seat capacity of 25 students, so on average, each semester I have somewhere around 125-150 students.  It's easy to think of them, and their work, as a mass: As the cliche goes, "It's hard to see the forest for the trees."  So, sometimes when a student pleads with me or complains to me about a decision I've made, it forces me to remember that this student is unique, and I have to step back for a moment and make sure that I've considered them thusly.

Anyhoo, like I said, I made what I believe is the fairest decision and I informed the student of that decision, and she seemed to accept that.

In other news, I stood in line this morning for an hour and half for tickets on Monday to see the First Lady speak on our campus.  Now I just have to finagle some other instructor to cover my classes so I can actually go see the First Lady's speech.  That and find parking on Monday -- our campus is likely to be a quagmire in all regards because of the event.

Lastly, in actual running business, I decided to rest yesterday.  Part of me wanted to jump straight back into another streak, but after the time off, I think I need to work back up to that.  But, I do plan to run today and through the weekend.

So, happy weekend to everyone -- hope it's filled with some good running!


Carolina John said...

Stick to your guns. Good call! have a great weekend Jess!

Ririnette said...

Way to go, I think it's a good decision, to choose to be part of the solution.

This is has been filled with muscle soreness, less running, but I think that's normal after completing a marathon. ;-)

You're right to take a rest, rest is good when you've put your body to work for so long. It will thank you later. Enjoy!

ajh said...

Can you just cancel your class to see the First Lady or is that a no no? Jealous!

Jamoosh said...

Good call. What I don't get is there are actually tools that alert you to any plagiarism that may be in a paper. Why wouldn't a student use a tool such as this? But then again, you did note it was a blatant and willful case.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Glad you made your decision. And glad you considered this offense as it's own and not as a broader issue. After 12 years, I'm impressed that you paused to consider your response to the students poor choice.

Sounds like a great opportunity. I'll be eager to how the First Lady's talk goes.

No doubt you'll be streaking again in no time.