Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Check my reasoning here

This has been bugging me for a while now. It kind of keeps happening.

Let's say you are a grown up adult human being (assumption #1), enrolled as an undergraduate student at a mid-size North American university. Maybe you're not North American, and hence an 'international student', which I presume requires a certain amount of personal responsibility and ambition (assumption #2).

You are now entering the final week of classes, and you are concerned about your final grade.  You are holding in your hand a syllabus, received on the first day of classes eleven weeks ago, which details, among other things, how much the homework will count for in your final grade, and how late homeworks will not be accepted except in extreme circumstances.  The syllabus also indicates that all lecture materials and handouts are made available electronically via the university's web resources.

You calculate that if you get 100% on the final, you can barely pass the class.  And now you want to know if you can go back and do the homework, which you now walk up to your professor, IN THE LAST WEEK OF CLASSES, to ask what you can do about it.

Your professor, misunderstanding your initial question, which was 'how much is the homework worth', tries to explain, using the syllabus you are still holding in your hand, that some of the exercises were take-home homework kinds of things, and others were in-class exercises that you get full credit for, even if you weren't in the room, a policy your professor, for the record, is idiotic, but it means less work for him, and as it's free gradepoints no one has complained so far. 

You explain that you have often 'not come to class', and didn't know there were any homeworks.  Your professor explains that the homeworks, when they were given, were made available electronically, as indicated in the syllabus you are still holding in your hand. You explain that you never bothered to check. You then ask if you can turn them in now.

Is your professor being unreasonble in simply saying "I cannot accept late homeworks," as indicated in the syllabus, which I remind you you are still holding in your hand, and "You are responsible for the course material. I can't help you with this now."?

Sometimes I just want to slap some sense into people. And sometimes I really wonder if I am doing them a disservice. Then I convince myself that the bigger disservice is letting them go through life never facing the consequences of their actions, not making use of the information they are given, and not living up to the obligations they agree to be placed under.

But is this unreasonable?

I mean, it's the freaking last week of classes. The drop deadline was two weeks ago.  You're suddenly worried about this *now*? And you expect me to help you? Or for that matter care at all you don't bother to come to class (not 'had to miss classes due to illness, or hangover, or work or family or visa problems or some external reason you could not reasonably control), or that you didn't bother to check the electronic materials, or make a friend in the class, to check to see if you missed anything important, like a homework. Which you knew a) you would have, and b) you could check on, because it's in the syllabus you received on the first day of class, and was announced on the first day of class, and repeated several times during the course, which apparently you could not be bothered to attend with any regularity, or check with your professor or someone on those rare occasions you did bother to show up?

And I'm sorry, if you think you can get 100% on the final, and thus 'barely pass' the class, even if I give you credit for all the work you haven't done, you're crazier than you are stupid.

But again, am I being unreasonable?