Grading the blogs

I must admit that I assigned the blogging assignment without really thinking through the fact that if I want the blogs to have any value to you (the students) or us (the instructors) someone needs to read the postings.

I’ve been reading blog postings for the last hour and a half, and I’m about half way through. I’ve come up with a grading rubric, and method.  I’ve also extracted some statements that I would like to re post below after quickly explaining the rubric.

Grading Rubric

The stated assignment was to make at least 1 blog posting per week so I will review the blogs periodically check the content and posting dates to assign points.  As I do the reviews I will add to the score in the Blog grade column. I reserve the right to give bonus points for high quality efforts.

Possible Points Due Date
Week 1 2 18-Jan
Week 2 3 25-Jan
Week 3 3 1-Feb
Week 4 3 8-Feb
Week 5 3 15-Feb
Week 6 3 22-Feb
Week 7 3 1-Mar
Total 20

Some excerpts from the blogs

If you don’t find yourself quoted here it’s possible that your name is from the 2nd half of the alphabet, or perhaps I thought something I copied from another post was redundant with your comment.
“would be nice to have some sort of direction on when things are due and what order they should be completed in”
  • I’ll try to address this in on the web site — people have also been having difficulty figuring out were to upload finished CAM files
“So far I’ve been in two lab periods and haven’t had a chance to complete any labs yet. It’s a little frustrating but understandable since there aren’t many lab TAs and they can’t be expected to give everyone perfect instructions.”
  • You should have had a chance to work on CAM exercises.  The intent is that several different activities are going on at the same time to allow us to use more of the labs resources at the same time.
“The directions for the lab seemed unclear until the PLAs helped with setting up the template along with using the machine”
  • I think we need more pre-lab prep activity.  I’m glad the PLA was helpful.
“I think I might have to go do the CAM exercises on my own outside of lab time because I feel we do not have enough time to do that and the directions seemed unclear at first but now I understand them.”
  • This is encouraged if you feel that you are getting behind.
“it was quite frustrating at times, between the confusing instructions (which are apparently worse than they were last term, according to a PLA)”
  • If you have a comment like this please indicate what was confusing (if you can) I’ll speak with the PLAs to see if I can figure out the problem
  • The instructions this term are almost identical to last term for most of the exercises.
“THe lab was very confusing and could have used any explanation or some introduction to how it was going to work.  I found my self wasting alot of time simply because I did not know what I was supposed to do or how to start the process.  Overall, it was very frustrating.”
  • For comments like this please include information about which lab section you are in so I don’t have to look you up in the class list to figure out if the problem is specific to your section, or systemic. 
“Something I think could be approved upon for the labs – have the lab assistants be available, but not hovering over the groups working. Not only did this make us uncomfortabe while working, but it also resulted in the unecessary stopping of the machining process, because he wasnt fully aware of what we were doing, and jumped in.”
  • This is my intent.  I will make sure that the PLAs are reminded.
“It would good if there was a greater degree of organization, however, because it was confusing at times whether we were supposed to be working at a machine or on CAM.”
  • This is the intended function of the Watch Do Teach lists.  There is supposed tobe one PLA in eash section who’s job is to maitaint he list and make srure people kow what they are supposed to do.
“TA’s couldn’t fix the problems fast enough. I stood there for a long time just doing nothing and felt that it was an extreme waste of my time, especially because I still need to do the measurement lab and the CAM labs”
  • This is a good point.  if there is a problem that will take some time to correct something broken.  We need to be able to quickly determine that the problem exists and sen people back to the computers or to some other task while it is being fixed.  Alternately rather than fixing the problem the PLA could have instructed you how to fix it so you could learn something new…
“I feel like there are a lot of overlapping labs in this class, and it stresses me out because I never know if Ill get the good grade or not because of how much stuff there actually is to do.”
  • I’ll do my best to address the organization and make sure that feedback is prompt.
“don’t like how the lecture is getting rushed near the end. I am not getting a grasp on the lecture side of class as much as the lab, because I always feel rushed in the lecture”
  • This is a common problem.  I’ll see if I can stick to the agenda better, and try to reduce my expectations about what I can include in a given lecture to avoid rushing at the end.
“Today was my first time in Washburn!  It’s taken me three years to discover this grimy wonderland”
  • It’s not supposed to be grimy
 “While I’m learning some things, I’m still a little confused by the course organization”
  • Me too! I once vowed to appear more organized to my students. I quickly determined that I would actually need to become organized, and would probably never appear organized.
  • I’ll revisit the Syllabus page and update a weekly reminder of the coming activities for the next week
“I warn anyone new to this software not to overestimate it’s user-friendliness.”
  • it gets better as you get used to it.
 “The instructions were….detailed, but missing steps”
  • Please include specifics.  Don’t struggle too long before asking for help.
see you in class

Worst Lecture Ever

The title may be exsessive, but that was how I felt as i walked away from the classroom. I think part of the problem was high expectations. I spent a good part of the weekend thinking about the lecture and preparing figures.

The first time you use any figure you notice the mistakes… The pen input in the classroom not working as expected didn’t help.

The real problem with the lecture though was my drawing the wrong angle and not noticing my mistake even when pointed out to me. That is why I try to avoid doing math on the fly in front of the class.

I feel that I need to fix a few things as a result of the lecture today.
In order of increasing importance.
-  reduce the value of the quiz questions to reduce the impact of my poor lecture.
-  post corrected slides
     -  rt=t1/t2
     -  Phi and Theta used interchangeably
-  create and post a camtasia video of the feed to t1 derivation
-  create and pose a camtasia video of force transformations

I would simply change the due date of the quiz  andtry the lecture over but that would disturb the schedule significantly.

You laugh I’ve done it before when I was unhappy with a lecture.

Monday lectures suck. Especially when the happen on Tuesday (I saw you sleeping! People aren’t supposed to be falling asleap until next week)

Stay tuned for anouncements about the items listed above.

See you in class

Perfect is the enemy of good enough

I have to admit that this first blog posting has been a little bit hard to start.  It is the first one after all it seems that it needs to be exceptional to set the tone for the class and the site.  You know the exceptional tone that I think it should have.

I sat and made notes about what I wanted to write.  I made plans and outlines even sketches.  I was going to film a video intro with embedded screen capture.

It was going to be perfect!  You know, like the first time should be.

It dawned on me though that while worrying about making it perfect I wasn’t doing anything useful.  Nothing that the class could use, or decide to ignore, was flowing out.  The realization that that was much worse than a little less than perfect made me decide to type this stream of conciousness this morning and if all goes well I’ll click publish and stop procrastinating.

see you in class