Re: Grading, Plagiarism, Webbed Writing and ...

Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 10:24:15 +0000

>From Eric C:

"I would like to suggest that we *reconfigure* control and
put a whole helluva lot more of it in our students' hands"

Dammit, just when I thought you were an easy target, you got clear
and reasonable. Missed again. (Right on, baby. Listen, I grew up
in California in the 60s, just north of Compton and east of Watts, so
I can do this thing with anybody.) Can't you just stand still like a
good stereotype so I can hit you?

>From Bob King:

"We're arguably transitioning from a paradigm of mass-industry (factory)
to one of personal-industry (computer), and maybe we need to position
the class, or the course, as an artifact of mass-industry which no longer
applies. The metaphor of game may indicate that in effect it's already
game over?"

Dang, this is pretty sharp, isn't it (see the rest of the posting,
too)? And by the latter statement, do you mean that the fact that
we're conscious of the whole process means that its days are
numbered? Maybe, maybe. . .

>From Richard Long:

"The thrust of this conversation is that everything students
do is right and everything teachers do is wrong, and
that if teachers somehow question the motives of students,
if teachers suggest that a student might be trying to pull the wool,
then the teacher is wrong and is somehow being a monolithic

I think that's what bugs some people like me who have some vestiges
of traditionalism left. No, I take that back. Maybe they're not
vestiges (useless and irrelevant) but rather roots, or a nucleus, or
pick the metaphor of your choice (better than I can).
But, yeah, the presumption that students always do the right and
honorable and constructive thing when left to their own devices
strikes me as a bit, um, human-potentialish? (BTW, I used to buy
into the HP movement lock, stock, and barrel, and even now I think
many of its beliefs are quite accurate and valuable, so all you HPers
put down yer official people-are-basically-good six-shooters, pilgrims.)

>From the (always intelligent) Janet Cross:

"Perhaps the "creativity" comes in with the *why* people did what to
whom, eh? [re the study in a history class of what happened in
WWII, etc.]"

I see what you mean, but I still wonder what students are "creating"
by asking why. I guess this broad application of the term
"creative/creativity" is what's bugging me, because it seems both
inaccurate and not very useful. It seems to me that more than
"creativity" is going on in a really good classroom--that is, that
"creativity" is not the final and only good, as has been both implied
and close-to-explicitly stated in this discussion. I'll come up with
something either more inclusive or more descriptive of other aspects
of higher-level learning, or I'll just steal something, and post it
later, maybe.

>From (the typically brilliant) Darlene Sybert, re M. Hamende's
insistence that "most American public schools are about the
business of socializing people, not about learning. They are about
sitting down, shutting up, and not making waves or asking questions":

"Who can know about MOST of anything?. . .
The statement may be true about MOST public schools, but how
would we ever know? How could it be measured?"

You go, girl! That's sort of what I was trying to say. Of course
it's true that socializing goes on in U.S. schools, but to say
"most," and more to the point, to say that the schools are "about"
something (which means that's their main business), seems kind of a
big statement. Not to say that the socializing aspect isn't
significant, just that it's not the only thing, or even the
absolutely mainly most importantly significant thing going on.

And an aberrationally wrongheaded message from D. Sybert:

"Actually, that is the answer to Finley's question about Mike's
comment...if you only ask students to tell you what they know,
then no creative learning will happen."

Hey, wait up! I didn't say for students only to "tell you what they
know" (assuming that means feeding back the same stuff they've been
fed without any additions or transformations or anything--'cause I
know you don't want students telling you what they DON'T know!). I'm
just saying that the basic fact-level stuff, or the reasons behind
what happened, or any of that kind of thing, are a necessary precursor
to this loosely-named "creativity" that everybody's talking about.
I'm just saying that an assignment that asks you to demonstrate that
you actually know some of the base-level stuff about the subject is
not necessarily an illegitimate or useless or nonvaluable assignment
just because it doesn't leave people screaming in orgasms of
creativity, that's all. So there. Ha. (Did I say anything in all
of that defensive reactionary stuff?)

I gotta do another answer to M. Hamende separately. Man, that's a
fun match going on, and I like the guy's directness. But I can't
even begin to answer his last post here.

s finley