Dog Days of August are Better with a Pool!
Me and Mom

End of Term Considerations

I'm winding up my last day teaching two sections of ENG 123 for Term 16EW6, although next week starts a whole new term: 16EW1 all over again! No matter how long I teach the short terms for SNHU, I still feel like the length of the terms should be "semesters," 15 or 16 weeks. But I guess that's not unusual, considering I taught for 24 1/2 years with those course time frames.  I'm always wishing I could have done a few things differently at these times. 

For one thing, I wish I had stressed how annoying it is to have repeated grammatical or punctuation (surface-level) mistakes in a piece of writing, especially one considered a final version. Next term, I should warn students about things that irritate me. Here's a list:

  • Unclear or vague pronoun references--it, this, them, that, they, etc..
  • Missing commas after an introductory clause
  • Fragments
  • Too many "there is/are/was/were" phrases in a paper
  • Using regular paragraph indentation instead of hanging indents
  • Not even thinking about a title for a paper
  • Thinking that I don't actually read the papers thoroughly or know when a student is writing a bunch of BS
  • there's more, but I don't want to come off sounding like Oscar the Grouch.
  • Students who don't bother to read the etext or the directions (Guidelines) for an assignment
  • Obvious plagiarism

I'm not happy with the way the Course Modules dumb down the paper-writing experience. More "Design Feedback Tickets" to fill out--ugh! I spend enough time grading, doing outreach, checking the Grade Center, and talking or emailing with students. 

I'm glad I didn't see too much blatant plagiarism this time. It's the bad paraphrasing-kind of plagiarism or near-plagiarism that I mostly see, and that's not necessarily a student's fault since they are simply learning how to integrate sources. It's so hard to do that skillfully, but it's 10 times harder when a person doesn't read on a regular basis. 

I could easily predict who might get a decent grade in a class if I simply had a questionnaire at the beginning asking students if they read for pleasure at all. The ones you do will probably get a better grade. It's pretty amazing. 


I'm going to diverge from this topic for a brief minute and send a shout-out to my brilliant husband whose book was published a couple of weeks ago: 

Here's the blurb for it on the publisher page:

Congratulations, Dan! Quite impressive! (Those people at Wolters-Kluwer need to put a picture of you on their site, too, not just the other guy!!)

Dans book on bankruptcy