Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This will be fun to grade

For the most part, I'm not one to complain about or, well, ridicule students. However. . .

My material culture students have papers due tomorrow. We practiced addressing the essay prompt in my sections, but the paper is a bit more complex than students may be used to writing, so the questions are pouring in via e-mail. By this point, most of their questions are honed and intelligent, so I'm happy to help.

That said, one e-mail did stick out.

The paper requires students to analyze a cultural artifact.

One student just informed me he's writing his paper on an egg.

As in the kind from a chicken.

And he added that his paper is progressing just fine, thankyouverymuch. He was just a little bit concerned that he wouldn't be able to address the material design issue, since eggs aren't, um, cultural artifacts.


Mon said...

Sigh. Poor kid--hope he works that material thingy out.

Too funny!!!

ArticulateDad said...

aaaaah! My first couple terms as a lecturer at a community college, teaching a core introduction to... course for non-majors, I assigned a term paper. After several incidents of blatant plagiarism (I mean, if it took me 12 seconds of searching online, to find the exact text, they're not working hard enough!), and just as discouraging really bad papers, I accepted the advice of one of my colleagues that it just wasn't necessary.

I hate to say it though, it's not my area, but if this kid is really bright, I'm sure he could make a case for the egg as cultural artifact. I mean, many cultures use the shells as a vessel for their artwork. And... food is certainly cultural in its preparation and consumption. Who knows. Just thinking outside the box, or shell, as the case may be.

Be glad he's at least thinking about it enough to email you his concerns.

Breena Ronan said...

Oh please! I'm so tired of students sleeping through lecture and then claiming that the instructions were confusing. A whole paper about an egg? Its not a biology paper!

Leslie M-B said...

articulatedad, you're right--an egg can be considered a cultural artifact, especially if it's one of those large Grade AA white chicken eggs nestled with 11 uniform others of its kind in a cardboard or styrofoam container. And super especially if it's date-stamped. But I'm afraid I can't yet give this student that much credit. He instead wrote an essay on compact discs in which his big cultural insight was that "our culture values using new technologies as a way to fit in with society." *sigh*