Wednesday, December 09, 2009


On the Desk:
  • 9 final exams
  • 8 in-class essays on a short story
  • 3 3-page papers presenting a poem to a high school class (I was so discouraged by the quality of the the first papers on short fiction, that I decided the class simply was not capable of writing a unified literary analysis, especially of a poem. I instead set up the assignment so that students looked at about six aspects of a poem without the need for any unity beyond the subject matter of one poem: rhyme, symbol, diction, etc.. Part of my goal was to avoid placing stressed-out students at risk for plagiarizing. I failed. I'm also wracked with guilt that I may have dummed-down the assignment.)
  • 2 oral presentations
  • 2 2.5-page papers writing to a hostile audience
  • 27 8-page research papers
  • 22 4-page papers explaining a concept
  • 62 final exams
  • 40 3-page papers proposing a solution
  • 2 Rock Star gigs, including a two-hour workshop on a topic yet to be fully determined

What I've learned:

  • Length requirements make little difference to the amount of writing a student will do. For years, I've used a proposal assignment. Some semesters it's 5-6 pages, some 4-5, some 2-3. In any case, students will fail to meet the length requirement by at least 3/4 of a page.

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