oxymoron67: (reading)
My grades are submitted! Yay! This class has ended.

If I were tot each 101 again, I would do things differently.

1) Less lecture-y
2) Small student projects. Like putting together ads for companies or non-profits or something.
3) I'm not backing down on the writing assignments, though. I want them to think, after all.
4) Also, use more realia. The students responded very well to the documentaries and speeches I showed in class. I think it makes sense to do that more.

Next week, my summer class starts. I have the syllabus printed out as well as the first two worksheets. It's an intensive six-week class, so I have a lot of stuff to cover. As a result, the states project is taking the summer off.

In its place are two smaller projects: I'm going to do more work with the News Project, turning it into something bigger and there will be a project in which they have to take a poem (from a list I provide) and match up imagery for it and turn it into a digital story with windows moviemaker.
oxymoron67: (Default)
... or...

Maybe they're just trying to raise my blood pressure.

1) On Arizona
The student who gave his speech on Arizona did a decent job on the current politics, but his history was a mess.

He merged the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.

This led to the following:

Him: Why did I lose points in the "accuracy of facts" category?
Me: Because you made a mistake with the history.
Him: No, I didn't.
Me: Yes, you did. The Mexican American War took place in the 1840s; The Civil War, in the 1860s. They were two different wars.
Him: The Mexican American Was was the Yankees against the Mexicans and the Confederacy was the South against the Yankees.
Me: So the Yankees fought both the South and Mexico at the same time?
Him: Yes.
Me: No. Most of the generals of the Civil War got their experience in the Mexican American War. Further, the US annexed the Southwest as a result of the Mexican-American War. In the Civil War, the Arizona Territory, now Arizona and New Mexico, was part of the Confederacy.

The woman whose state was Minnesota said that the Battle of Gettysburg took place in Minnesota.

Her: The Battle of Gettysburg was in Minnesota.
Me: No. It was in Pennsylvania.
Her: No. It happened in 1863 in Minnesota.
Me: Well, you got the year right. But Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania, I've been there.
Her: It happened in Minnesota.
(Apparently, saying it over and over again makes it true.)
Me: No, it didn't: General Lee invaded Pennsylvania in an attempt to divide the North in two. (At this point, I google Gettysburg, and put this site up on the computer.
Her: But people from Minnesota fought there.
Me: Men from every state in the Union at the time fought there. Look here.
(I show her the website.)
Her: So, I'm not getting those points?
Me: No.


Student3: I noticed that I'm not doing well.
Me: Yes, not turning in seven of the ten homework assignments will do that to you.
St3: But I need to pass.
Me: But you didn't do the work.
St3: Can I turn in the work late?
Me: What?
St3: Please.

I ended up giving him until Thursday, but he knows he won't get full credit, and frankly, I don;t see him passing anyway.
oxymoron67: (Default)

Let's break down some numbers:

I started with over thirty students.
By the end of add-drop, the class had shrunk to 27.
Two students dropped before midterms: 25.
By the start of May, three more had just vanished: 22.
Of those 22, five more abandoned class when time to give speeches came: 17.

Overall, I lost almost half of the class.

I wish I were surprised. It's a 6:45 am class. 6:45 classes are so new that we don't quite now the demographics of the class. These classes are supposed to be targeted at people who work, and want to get a class in before work.

But... from what I've seen, my students were just people who couldn't get into another section of the course.

I make my students work: four quizzes, ten assignments, a midterm, a final and a speech, and this may play a role, too.

Of course, I've been talking to colleagues and I've discovered that I'm not the only person that this sort of thing is happening to.

I know that many of my colleagues track students down when they disappear from class. I don't. Not my job. They have their reasons. And I'm not their father: if they choose to leave... their choice.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Yup... it's finals season here.

Technically, not yet... tomorrow is the last day of class and Tuesday is Reading Day and finals start Wednesday, but it is Desperation Season.

I've received e-mails from two of my students, who JUST NOW realized that not turning in over half their assignments wasn't a good idea.

I told them that if they turned these assignments in by Thursday, I'd grade them. They wouldn't get full credit, but they'd get something.

Meantime, the last eight speeches go tomorrow. Provided that they all show up. It may be as few as three.

We'll see.

In other work-related news, we have a departmental meeting to elect someone to the Personnel and Budget Committee. I've decided to throw my hat in the ring. I doubt that I'll win... but it should be interesting.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I.. have a problem.

Over half of my class is getting D's and F's.

Right now, out of 27 students, eleven are getting F's, another six are getting D's.

I may get in trouble for this.

Of the eleven F's, five are people who abandoned the class. I won't hear anything about them and some of the D's may yet become C's, depending on the final and their speeches. Of course, some of those D's may become F's as well.

Understand, I make my students work, but I like to think I'm a fair grader. If they make an effort and I see that they're trying, they'll get a decent grade. This is an intro course after all. And, despite some joking to the contrary, I don't relish failing people, even when they deserve it.

I wasn't the best student in the world, I have plenty of F's. I *KNOW* what it's like to get them. I *KNOW* the blows to your self-confidence that they are.

I'm not saying I didn't deserve them. I just know that they hurt.

BUT... one student has so far missed ELEVEN classes. That's almost one third of the total times we meet. One of the smarter, funnier students didn't turn in five assignments and bombed all the quizzes. Two never made up the midterm. One student routinely sleeps in class and then is surprised when her assignments and quizzes suck.

I feel like my hands are tied: I don't want to sacrifice my integrity here: I gave ten assignments and four quizzes. That's a lot of chances to drag up grades. BUT, like I said, I may hear about this. I think I need to talk to my supervisor.
oxymoron67: (Default)
1) With language changing throughout its time periods, new words are being created and are being used instantly in sentences that change the sentence into a whole new meaning.

2) In California I think is a more Mexican oriented which allows people to be more themselves.

3) The corporal message is the way we that we can communicate with other through our bodies.

4) Learning new ways words and ways to write can help you learn new ways to write.

5) I have not been discriminated or judged for the language I speak the way Ann Arbor* has.

*This student is referring to a discrimination suit against a school in Ann Arbor. The student seems to think that Ann Arbor was the person being discriminated against.

6) Nowadays whenever you go to different countries or cities, people talk with different vocabulary, accents and intonation.

It's the "Nowadays" that kills me. Evidently, 50 years or so ago, everyone spoke the same language then, suddenly, the Tower of Babel all over again.

Oh, and I got the extra credit question today. "No, no extra credit. You've had ten assignments, four quizzes and a midterm. You will have a final and a speech. That's plenty."
oxymoron67: (Default)
A little of this, a little of that.

1) Body stuff
My shoulder and upper arm are bothering me. It feels like I pulled a muscle, but I'll be damned if I could figure out when. Since I normally sleep on my side, sleep was an adventure last night.

This ear infection is holding on for dear life. It' doesn't hurt anymore, but the my ear feels... heavy.


2) Work
The finals of the speech contest are today. I'm not attending: I judged the preliminaries; I've done my part.

I volunteered to help with assessment next fall, mostly because assessment is one of the big things right now, so more experience in it is a good career move.

3) Class
We were talking about cultural differences today, and I brought up my sister getting a tattoo, which amused the class.

Then I terrified them with this sentence: I might videotape your speeches."

We'll finish up intercultural communication tomorrow.

4) Family
My brother's oldest graduated on Friday. They took mom and my sister over to see how the house repairs were going, and mom is... oh let's let her say it:

"It's been weeks and the house still smells of smoke. This work crew is useless. They're lucky they're not dealing with me: I'd ride their asses all day long. I would put the fear of God into them."

And she would. Mom is good at that. She can also rain fire and destruction down on you. It's a talent that serves her well.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I started with another great speech. Today's was Bill Clinton's speech after the Oklahoma City bombing:

I had to give a brief background on the Oklahoma City bombing, but the speech is amazing.

Then I used it and Mary Fisher's A Whisper of AIDS speech to highlight how a speech in constructed and how a speaker appeals to an audience.

I thought it went over well.

We'll see.
oxymoron67: (Default)
... or (frequently) spell check is not your friend.

Many of my students live in a comma-free universe.

1) Workers who deal and serve people for a living are expected to obtain a smile.

2) All the time I am smiling to the customers even though its not the appropriate time to do it.

3) I also felt like telling him to take his nasty attitude and leave, but that was defiantly not allowed.

4) Sometimes conflict withy customers gets too aggressive that I had to leave the store and sometimes.

5) Material statues can can become a problem if a male or female had been flirted by a customer.

6) The leader in emotional labor environment is not required to engage in emotional displays as a clerical clerk.

7) My direct boss had a smile on her face, but not a regular smile, a smile that was even to a pint a bit scary.

8) Our society, demands a lot from people who have jobs or interfering with customers.

9) In some cases were employees felt that their actions were justified. I had to collect information regarding the recurring events being investigated.

10) People can deal with the burnt of interpersonal demand by keeping personal values and the tasks of their jobs separate.

11) Females are expected to be more warming and opening than males.
oxymoron67: (Default)
My students had a choice: they could either write an essay on stereotyping or one on political correctness and politeness.

1) Communication with group is interested and sometimes difficult.

2) Jocks are usually popular between other classmates and are looked upon to.

Looked upon to what?

3) I think we classify people into these kinds of categories because of the similar traits within each other.

This one... I could deal with until the last three words.

4) Stereotyping can be harmful at times, because in high school, sometimes being put into a certain group can be something positive.

5) In high school, there are many cliques that come together and everyone knows them for whatever group they are in.

6) So, if everybody treat each other with kindness and respect, we will become soft and docile and easily manageable.

7) In another instance, referring to prostitute as a "sex worker" may not avert the person to seek alternative employment as she has a "polished" cover job.On the contrary, the new position may encourage others to join the trade as an accomplished worker.

8) Unlike Political Correctness, Newspeak demonstrates unconstrained perception of language, giving offense to expressing biases regardless of the various groups and denounce the straight jacket method of restricting freedom of expression.

9) To be political correct instead of saying that a person is ugly you may choose to say that the person is unattractive.

Yes, that fixes everything.

10) In the case of newspeak, ugly will still have the same meaning but be spelled differently. An example of this being the word homely.

Lord, I apparently needed to spend more time discussing Newspeak.

11) Some of the people in this group are threated with fear because they look dangerous by the way they look.

12) Also one as the person sending the message to a kind of person of a group most let them know in a way easily for them to understand.

13) Considers were the types of students that used to go to school just to say present and be out of class right away.

Is there a clique called the "Considers"?

14) Most students like to have their own litter group where they feel good.

Umm... there's a cat joke in here somewhere.

I still have about half the class to correct.
oxymoron67: (Default)
So, this time, the States Project will be an informative speech rather than a commercial.

Which in one way is too bad. I'm probably not going to get things like "Visit Alabama. Sure, you want to go to Paris, but Alabama is much cheaper!" or "If you don;t visit Idaho, the terrorists win."

On the other hand, this is week one, and I already have the following gems:

1) Pennsylvania is part of New England.

2) Colorado is located on the West Coast.

... because when we think "great beachfront property", we think "DENVER!"

3) Georgia is located geographically in Northern Georgia.

I don't know either.

I asked my students to give me the distance from their state capital to NYC. This was one answer:

4) The distance from NYC to Denver is the distance from Denver to NYC.

I'm guessing that this student wrote down the information in two ways and joined the sentences without thinking about it. Or she was being a smart ass. I want to believe that this wasn't intentional.


Apr. 19th, 2010 12:35 pm
oxymoron67: (Default)
We finished up interpersonal (i.e. one-on-one) communication today with a discussion about communication on-line, including its befits and pitfalls.

No, it did not turn into a Law and ORder SVU episode where BEING ON-LINE LEADS TO SEXUAL ASSAULT AND DEATH and Det. Stabler takes it personally because his daughters can turn computers on.

Instead we talked about how the lack of face-to-face communication can encourage people to say things they;d never say otherwise, both good and bad.

For the bad example, I used those who e-mailed MArgaret Cho after portions of her act were on the Drudge Report. I also pointed out that Cho posted all of these e-mails, including their return addresses and sig lines on her blog.

I don't think the blog entry is there anymore, but I found the above, so we'lll be discussing it in class.

We also talked about Newspeak, so I found the song "Doubleplusgood" by Eurythmics and a dictionary of Newspeak. We'll look at those tomorrow as well.

Then we start the next chapter: small group communication.

I'm also collecting their weekly assignments, and handing out a new one.
oxymoron67: (Default)
And here we thought it would be a slow term.
Click here for the fun. )
oxymoron67: (Default)
Because we have been talking about symbols and symbolism, I decided to use some WWII and Korean war era propaganda posters.

It worked and fun was had by all. Except that I am once again reminded about how history-deficient students are. None of them had much WWII knowledge. When I asked when WWII was, most got it right, but a few put it in the 60's.

After that, we started discussing interpersonal communication.

I also collected a homework assignment that is about paraphrasing five quote from ancient philosophers. Wanting to keep current with my grading, I started to correct one. I had to put it down after dealing with grammar that can only be called atrocious.

Of course, some of this is a second language issue, but some of it is also laziness.

My students complained that this was a hard assignment, that they actually had to - gasp! - look up the definitions of words! I told them that was one of the points. After all, would they have looked up that vocabulary otherwise? Many of them admitted that they wouldn't.

I told them I understood, because when I was in their shoes, I probably wouldn't have looked up new vocabulary unless I had to myself.

All in all a decent class, despite having to explain what the Luftwaffe was.

Also, all my students have their states and the first round of states project questions are due on Monday. These shouldn't provide much by way of lulz. They're very basic questions, like "What is the Capital city and how far is it from NYC?".
oxymoron67: (wtf)
On the quiz I gave today, I asked my students to explain the difference between a direct object and an indirect object.

"A direct object takes on action or an occurrence while an indirect object is just mentioned."

The first part is fine, if a little clumsy, but the second part?

"Direct is when you ask about when. why how or what and indirect objects replace nouns."

But wait...

"Direct object replace nouns with words like 'he' and 'she'. Indirect objects end in ly."

I've put the rest of the quizzes aside for now.


Apr. 6th, 2010 11:14 am
oxymoron67: (Default)
The homework assignment that was due today included grammar, because none of my students could name the parts of speech; nor did they know the basic sentence structure.

This is one of the sentences they had to analyze:

Vince quietly gave me the overdue homework assignment.

Over half of my class believes that the subject of the above sentence is "homework." Most of these students think that "overdue" is the direct object.

They apparently don't know what Vince is doing there.

And "me"... it's a conjunction.

I sense alcohol or ice cream in my future.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Today, we discussed the history of the study of Rhetoric.

The room was hot, and apparently I bored at least one student, who fell asleep. I was about to wake her up in my usual way (throwing erasers. I never hit, my aim is awful.), until I saw HOW she was sleeping.

She had fallen asleep on top of her open bottle of iced tea.

Her cheek was resting on the mouth of the bottle.

I stared for a second. That CAN'T have been comfortable. Would the bottle tip over? Did I have an obligation to wake her up because she could hurt herself if the bottle just suddenly slipped?

So I did what anyone would do. I shrugged and went back to lecturing.

She woke up about 20 minutes later with what looked like a hickey on her cheek where it rested on the bottle.
oxymoron67: (Default)
We were talking about levels of appropriateness, and the first example of something that I felt was wildly appropriate was the Clown Bouquet Incident, which had everyone laughing.

On Tuesday, a professor from the Business dept. came to see me. He is the point person in his department for the Oral Competency* section of his department's accreditation. When we talked about this over the phone, he said he wanted to have five classes taped.

We could do five classes.

Then we he e-mailed to confirm the meeting, he said he needed this for nine classes.

We could do that, too. It would be a stretch. Figure: thirty students at 5 minutes per student... that's two or three hours per class.

Finally, when we met, he said he needed this for THIRTEEN classes.

We said we couldn't do that. It's too much... we don;t have the personnel or the equipment. Also, Business isn't the only department doing this: what happens when MY department comes calling? I can''t bloody well say that all our time has been taken by Business.

At 2:30 today, I'm sitting in on an engineering class. I'm supposed to give them tips on presentation skills.

At 3:30, I may go to the Hybrid Course Development meeting. It depends on whether or not I'm done with Engineering and the amount of BS I'm willing to put up with.

*Doesn't that sound dirty?
oxymoron67: (snoopy)
I've been bothered that my class is primarily a lecture course. So I decided to liven things up. Nothing gets students' attention like "And when you finish your transcription exercise, put your answers on the board." Maybe I was over the top when I threw my head back and laughed maniacally, but I think of that as style points.

Later, I was introducing the topic of Pragmatics to my students, when a cell phone went off. The ring tone was a song (that I've heard before, but couldn't tell you what it is.) That led to this:

Me: Wow! Pragmatics has its own theme music now.
(Students laugh. Student with cell phone is now fumbling to turn it off)
Me: I wonder who Pragmatics' agent is. I'd love to have a theme song. I'd walk in a room, and then it would start.
(Cell phone still not shut off)
Me: I mean, yes, it would be a pain in a library or movie theater, but still. And it would need to be something jaunty. That the kids could dance to.
(Cell phone finally off. Class is half embarrassed half-laughing)

Finally, about the homework assignment
"I want you to come up with sample words for these IPA* symbols. You have an IPA chart in front of you. However, I will have the same chart in front of me when I correct these worksheets. DON'T USE THE CHART'S EXAMPLE WORDS. Come up with your own."


"Also, look at the words for the /b/ sound. Don't take a sample word like 'table' and put an 's' on the end of it. That's not a new word. Don't bullshit me."

The class was quiet for a second, then they all started laughing. Several students said things like, "I;ve never actually heard a professor say that."

*IPA: International Phonetic Alphabet

Theses past few days, I really do think I've brought my A game. Informative, snarky, fun.


oxymoron67: (Default)

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