Monday, August 09, 2010

Adventures in TAing, case 8 (in a ? case series)

[In a preemptive effort to stave off boredom, and save you from having to read punishingly bad grammar and spelling, the following has all been paraphrased.]

What the student wrote:
'I didn't understand the assignment and I talked to 5 other people from our tutorial who didn't understand your expectations. 1) Do you want us to give our opinion or to tell you what the authors of our texts say? In my other courses, where I get grades like A and A+, they don't want me to just repeat the people we read and are more interested in my opinion.' 2) You say that you want me to develop my discussion of 'power' and I know a lot about the topic, but do I have to use course texts or can I use other texts that I've read?'

How I responded:
'I'm sorry that you found the assignment so difficult, but if you refer to the list of topics online, you'll see that the professor addressed your questions. 1) "Your evaluation is based on your answer to the question and your knowledge of course readings", meaning that while your argument might represent your own opinion, it must be supported by references drawn from course readings - and more references than the two quotes that you used. 2) "No outside sources are permitted", since, as I mentioned before, you're supposed to be demonstrating your knowledge of our readings and a familiarity with the issues that we've covered.'

How I wanted to respond: 'If you can't read the directions that are printed at the top of the essay topics list - all seven sentences of them - you are screwed. Get out of university. Now.'

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