Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A "solid week" means five hours a day of work? Sign us up.

Prof: I'm sorry I don't have your essays back, but they have been taking me approximately 10-15 minutes each to mark. And with 560 of you, that is about 100 hours of marking. That's THREE SOLID WEEKS of marking, people!

-- Ecology 283 lecture, overheard by CS

36 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the prof had other work than marking to do in those three weeks, and five hours a day were all he had allocated to it? Huh?

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did say that this one assignment was worth three solid weeks of marking.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, none of you have ever marked anything. Trust me, if you tried to sit down and mark exams for five hours straight, doing nothing else, you would shoot yourself in the fucking head by hour three.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:23 Amen!

I'm marking 1st year papers. And my god they teach nothing about writing in high school!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm marking 1st year papers. And my god they teach nothing about writing in high school!

I've always had second and third year classes, but you're right. Also, I would point out that at least 60% of the students appear to have no idea about the material of the course either, which makes marking very difficult, if (like me) you're trying to be generous and squeeze out as many marks as you can for the tots.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I would point out that at least 60% of the students appear to have no idea about the material of the course either, which makes marking very difficult

It's sad how many students don't take their studies seriously. I tend to be an easier marker (my average is usually 3-5% above the class), but it's hard sometimes to justify giving decent marks when there isn't the effort or the slightest thought put into a paper.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, be fair now! A lot of high school teachers are high quality and do teach their students how to write. My high school English teacher was fantastic and taught me very well. I got 80's on all my first year essays.

Also I would like to point out that many of the students who are taking these essay courses are not majors in the subject. Very few students in my English course are English majors, including myself. For many, the minimum Gr12 U English grade for acceptance into their program of choice is much lower than the standards of the English department. In my chase, I only needed a 60 to get into my program (I achieved much higher than that). A 60 in high school is practically failing here. So, its not that High School doesn't teach anything about writing, its just not every student was paying attention.

Sorry for the rant, but all this snobbish whining really stuck in my craw. We're all here to learn. It's not where we start that counts, it's where we end up.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're all here to learn. It's not where we start that counts, it's where we end up.

6:45, I completely agree. Hence why I emphasized that I have a problem giving good marks to people who don't try. If there is some effort and thought put into a paper, I do take that into account. However, if a paper clearly was done the night before, and very little time was spent on it, I have no problem giving a bad mark to a student. Effort does matter, but so is giving constructive criticism when it's necessary for the student to improve.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My high school English teacher was fantastic and taught me very well. I got 80's on all my first year essays.

That's great. But that is indicitative of the fact that you actually put in effort, which many students don't.

8:13 summarized my thoughts quite well. The assignments and exams I mark are all mathematics, rather than English, but the same general ideas apply.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting back to the prof being a tool, the essays were due on October 15th. So, we're approaching on 6 weeks since they were due with no end in sight, which according to his own words, means the prof has been marking at a rate of less than half of "solid".

So, la-di-da people who stuck up for him.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the professor is a 'tool' because s/he doesn't dedicate every spare second of their existence to grading shitty papers? Interesting. This professor likely teaches more than one class, has graduate students to supervise, committees to serve on, research to conduct, grants to write and papers to publish. We bust our asses, as do our TAs, to get your work back to you as quickly as possible (and with constructive comments)...in fact, I guarantee that we often spend more time (weekends, early mornings, late late nights) grading/correcting some papers than the actual student authors ever spent on writing/researching them in the first place. It seems to me that folks should cut this prof a break....maybe you should crap on the department who clearly over-enrolled his/her course and then didn't provide enough TAs to mark the ba-zillion essays that that program requires. The great students make this all worthwhile....but geez, those crappy papers suck out your soul! Good luck writing your papers folks :)

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ A prof posts on Oaw? Bullshit!

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ Profs are people too, even if some of them don't appear to be human. Therefore profs reading OAW isn't that surprising...

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it would be a lot of marking for a single person to do, most profs at a decent university have enough TAs to spread around the workload.

Assuming 10-15 hours per week go into marking, the prof should (reasonably) have 6-8 TAs, meaning that the papers could be back out in a week, two weeks tops.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the implication in "three solid weeks of marking" was that, if the prof did nothing but mark for three weeks (which, let's face it, is totally unrealistic - profs have lives too, and the idiocy levels at UWO would probably become unbearable), it would take that long to get them done. That means only about 5 or 6 hours a day of work, and for those of us who often have 20-hour days, that sounds pretty awesome.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the implication in "three solid weeks of marking" was that, if the prof did nothing but mark for three weeks (which, let's face it, is totally unrealistic - profs have lives too, and the idiocy levels at UWO would probably become unbearable), it would take that long to get them done. That means only about 5 or 6 hours a day of work, and for those of us who often have 20-hour days, that sounds pretty awesome.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Realistically a the length spent marking a paper depends on the quality of the paper. An "A" typically takes 15-25 minutes, because it has a clear thesis, excellent grammar, and relevant analysis. A "D" paper takes 40-45 minutes because it takes longer to correct all the errors and make sense of broken prose. Plus, marking takes a lot of energy and concentration from the marker. Typically a good marker can mark 20-25 papers a week (we want to fairly assess grades, so give us a break), on top of all our other work. We do the best we can, and Western often underfunds programs and TAs, so cut us some slack.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW at OAW. This is the first relatively intellgent and thoughtful commentary on this site. I love how all of this intelligence scared of the fag bashing fuckers (who are usually bicurious in the least,) the Ivey wannabes and haters (seriously, a jokes a joke, move the fuck on) and all the other shit heads who have nothing better to do than make lame comments.

I agree with the TA's or profs (etc.) who made these comments - students really don't take enough care or put enough effort into their studies. We need to move toward merit, where kids get the marks they deserve - and if that means failing them, do it. No squeezing marks out. If you can't study, get the fuck outta uni and make space for those who can!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in that class, and was there for the comment. Apparently he also assigned essays the year before and spent ages marking them - but didn't learn his lesson... What you haven't heard said was that the idiot had to redo his marking scheme that originally included another essay, due December 5th. The new scheme includes the first essay, midterm and final.

Moral: Profs, if you can't handle giving essays and don't have the TAs to mark them with you, don't give a freakin' essay assignment. Especially when the essay topic isn't even teaching me anything (ecology students will agree with me on this one....). I'd rather have a handful of online quizzes that actually help prepare me for the final.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi...it's 'the prof' again (and I've been reading this site for AGES...as do other profs). Just FYI, when we are assigned to teach an 'essay' course we have literally NO say in whether or not we can "give a freakin' essay assignment"...that is determined by people much higher up in the chain of command than ourselves. We also have almost no control over how many TAs are assigned to our course (or which TAs we get for that matter). I find it quite cute and spunky of undergrads to give us advice on how to teach and work within the university system. Thanks for the chuckles.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

283 is not an essay course, but i give kudos to the prof who wants to teach you in 2nd year how to write an essay...when ur in third and fourth year and still don't know how to write a scientific essay except for the brief experience in 290...it is sad

9:27 PM  
Anonymous 283 TA said...

First off,
have you ever marked 500 papers or exams?
Have you ever tried to read people's incoherent thoughts and sentences that are supposed to "make sense"?
NO, I did't think so.

Your professor teaches 2 courses and he is responsible for marking the essays. You have to realize how much work this is. Do you think he sits at his desk and stares at the wall? No, he doesn't. He travels giving lectures across Canada (to people who obviously appreciate it more than you), and while he is doing that he is trying to finish ALL of his marking.

It took me and the other TAs TWO FULL WEEKS to mark 500 exams.
People have other obligations. Every TA has their own RESEARCH. Being a TA is a job we take as a part of our scholarship, and not something we sign up to do for fun.
And for your information, we are allowed to work 5 hrs/week per course. So, please do the math.

Also, the reason he gave you the essay is to make you think about something that is NOT IN THE TEXTBOOK that all of you love to depend on.

So, please stop complaining about how long it will take him to mark the essay. This is really ridiculous.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You tell 'em.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:07 from one TA to another, give 'em hell!

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still find it hard to believe that a profesor who has to teach more than one class, grade papers, supervise grad students, serve on committees, conduct research, write grants and publish papers, has the time not only to read the bullshit the rest of us post on this blog, but also to provide his/her own lengthy comments.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....profs need entertainment too....and it doesn't take long to write a few sentences...at least not for some of us.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean, I agree with 2:07 and all, but the way he/she says it really makes 'em look like a douchebag. Am I right? Not EVERYONE here depends on the textbook, writes incoherent papers and sleeps through class. It probably makes you feel better to piss and moan about all the work YOU have to do, but don't forget; hard working undergrads have to WRITE those papers, and those that try to do well may (or may not) have the added stress of dealing with uppity, self-important TAs who are convinced that every single undergrad doesn't give a fuck, simply because they're undergrads. Conversely, I'm sure everyone has seen some pretty deficient teachers in their day (students, TAs, AND profs alike), and noting this, to automatically blame the student is not only a huge mistake, but a big problem with education as it stands today. I've seen profs hand back papers the same week they were handed in, and I've seen profs take months. While cases certainly differ in terms of work load, I'm sure some profs (such as the one in the post) really are working harder than others. In any event, this IS what they signed up for, and it certainly WASN'T for fun, so markers have to be prepared for a little shit to fly their way, and take it in stride. If you don't like it, 2:07, don't sign up.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard working undergraduates at UWO? That's hilarious! Tell me another one, Sam!

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, no undergraduates work hard at UWO. We all spend our days sleeping, our evenings drinking, our nights sleeping with random strangers, and if we have any time in between we go to the mall to spend our parents' money. No UWO students actually try at school, and none of us have jobs.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the professor takes six weeks to mark the papers, how are the students supposed to use his/her feedback?

I understand that it takes a while. My dad is a professor, and I've seen him mark. I wish the professors would understand that we don't just want our stuff back for kicks. I need that input so I can improve on my next assignment, and if I have nothing to work with, I'm kind of screwed.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boo hoo

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:45, thank you for saying that. I think trying to overgeneralize students at Western as people who just don't care isn't fair. Sure, there are students who are here merely because going to university is now "the thing to do". But some of us actually want to learn.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't wait til collecting unemployment cheques is "the thing to do" because i am soooo ready for that fad.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ That was so awesome.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in that class and I got my essay back yesterday... I have the highest mark as far as I know (90%) and he STILL ripped apart my whole essay. Now... with the avg mark being 70% imagine how much chickenscratch is going to be all over you page.
He chose to make all the essays himself.. and the point of the essay in the first place was to get involved and excited about issues concerning the environment.

p.s. the prof is an editor... and I think he took the time and effort to mark the essay well.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

edit to the above...
your*
mark*
blah blah typos.

6:57 PM  

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