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Monday, September 5, 2011

A Time To Learn

old fashioned bicycle

When you start to learn how to ride a bicycle, you will fall off. When you start to ride a horse you may also fall off but it is hoped that you will be old enough to follow instructions and not fall off.

Experience teaches us that the first two weeks of EDM310 is like learning to ride a bicycle. Students fall off. Some even skin themselves up pretty badly.

For other students they stay on the horse, but have much to learn.

For a few (4 - 3%), we could enter them as jockeys in a quality race have have a good chance of winning (if the horse is good enough).

Two weeks are over. Did you fall off the bicycle? Did you stay on the horse but have more to learn? Can we enter you in the fifth race at the Fairgrounds?

Here are the major problems encountered in the first round of Blog Post Assignments:

Fell off bicycle with major scratches and bruises:

1. A student with a blog for which the URL does not work. Even worse a student who does not have a blog.
(2 - 1%) The problem is we can't tell the difference. We think we have located all of these students and we have notified them by email. If we notified you by email that we can't find your blog, respond immediately with your Blog URL. We may have messed up the link or you may have messed up the naming or there may be another explanation. The cause of the problem is irrelevant (except to try and avoid making the same mistake again). The objective is to get a working blog with a working URL as soon as possible.

2. A student with a working URL (we get to a blog) but there is no post for Blog Assignment #1. (14 - 10%) This is a VERY BAD WAY to start the semester unless there is a good explanation. This includes students who have been in EDM310 before. ALL POSTS must be done THIS SEMESTER. Do NOT use your work from before. Leave it on your blog, but do all posts from scratch for this semester!

3. A student who did only part of the Blog Post #1 Assignment. (8 - 6%) Typically the part about Time Management was skipped by these students.

4. A student who did both parts of the assignment for Blog Post #1 but who separated the assignment into separate posts. (14 - 10%) Here were the instructions to be followed (from page 6 of The Blog Post Assignments Instruction Manual. I also discussed this in class.):
3. Each Blog Assignments must be in a single post unless you are instructed otherwise. You must make ONE post which covers ALL of the assignments for every week. Where it makes sense, combine into one set of paragraphs. When the topics differ, separate them with headings in bold within the post. See the instructional movie if you have questions. Or contact any member of the teaching staff.
5. A student who did not meet Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade writing standards. (7 - 5%)

There were also a lot of students who fell off the bicycle but had no scratches and bruises.

1. These students did not answer the question "Do you know anything else about Dr. Pausch?" (70 - 51%) which was part of the assignment. Now I realize that I should have said "Answer this question (and if you don't know anything about Dr. Pausch, do a Google search". But I still expected an answer. Why? Because it helps our understanding a lot when listening, reading or watching if we know something about the person involved. I would hope that your curiosity would spur you to investigate on your own. After 47 years of teaching I now know that curiosity (about school work) has largely been killed by the 5th or 6th grade. I keep hoping, but I am usually disappointed. I sure hope I discover sometime how to get curiosity started again. It is obvious that my question did not work and I failed again.

So for those of us (including me) who fell off, what do we do?

We get up, dust ourselves off, get some iodine (shows my age) and bandages, and get back on to ride again. In other words, we examine our mistakes, correct those that can be corrected, and make every effort not to make the same mistakes again. If we do that, we will be OK. If we continue to fall off, we need more help.

For the successful riders: Carry On!

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