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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
RadioSerenade Offline
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Do Universities Want Students to Fail? - November 2nd 2016, 10:52 PM

I have gotten an excrutiating radio silence from my Unit Coordinator after I e-mailed him about my final exam. I explicitly remember him telling me that were were allowed to get extra booklets if we ran out of room. Someone did not tell the supervisors, and when I asked for more paper, I was denied. I was told to write in the back of the booklet, but that ran out fast, and I had to submit an unfinished exam, complete with weird overlappings, having to complete questions on other pages, and so on. I have to 62% or more in the final exam to pass the unit, and I feel I would have done that, or gotten close enough to get reviewed over the line.

There is no way, in the workforce, that a manager would say 'nah, we're cost cutting, no more paper'.

Another incident happened a couple of weeks ago, when I was asked to complete an online pop quiz, between Friday 8PM and Saturday 10:00AM. They gave student FOURTEEN HOURS to complete the quiz, and I could not do it. I had work between 8PM and 1AM, and had no internet, for weeks before the quiz. They made it completely and utterly inaccessible.

I told my lecturer before the date was even set, that I was not going to be able to do it, but he continued with that stupid, completely brainless time frame, and has not responded to my e-mails. There is a requirement that students complete every unit of assessment, and to be honest, it is 50-50.

I am sick and tired of failing this way. This is not kindergarten. We should be, in the second year of University, WAY beyond being given mandatory participation requirements and attendances. It seems that teachers revel in high failure rates, so they have a story to tell, and a notoreity to enforce at Lecture 1. Practically every first lecture I have gone to, teachers have mentioned last semester's failure rate.

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Celyn Offline
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Re: Do Universities Want Students to Fail? - November 3rd 2016, 07:52 PM

Hey there,

I'm sorry to hear that the supervisor didn't give you another booklet, forcing you to submit a half finished essay. It doesn't help with not receiving a response from your Unit Coordinator either. Perhaps when you get the grade back, if you're not happy with it, you could complain and state that you were denied more paper, when you had been told otherwise?

As for the quiz, that's slightly different. While it is unfair to host an assessment as an online quiz, when not everyone has access to the internet, at the same time, there is a good chance that assessment dates are planned in advance and have been submitted to examining bodies beforehand, meaning it would be difficult to change the dates. Were you told of the quiz date in enough time? If not, you could complain about that. I'm wondering if you would've been able to get an extension at all given the lack of internet? At the same time, the lecturer could argue that given you didn't have the internet for weeks beforehand, you could've made it a priority to get internet access by making use of libraries etc. It also sounds like work takes up some time....is it possible to re-think whether your work gets in the way of your studies, and if so, if it's worth it?

Even though you are in the second year of university, I think the mandatory participation requirements and attendances are there to help all students pass. If there were none of these things in place, I'm guessing not many students would attend or participate, meaning more people are more likely to fail...in my experience anyway

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Re: Do Universities Want Students to Fail? - November 4th 2016, 05:10 PM

The exam proctor / supervisor person should've given you more paper; it's unfair that you were forced to do less on an exam because of something like a lack of paper. If the professor expected shorter responses and didn't provide extra paper accordingly, then that should've been made abundantly clear to students before hand and paper should've been provided just in case, especailly since some students have larger writing and stuff so people shouldn't just assume that everyone will need the same amount of paper ofr the same amount of wrtiing etc etc. So I am sorry that that happened to you

Now, I don't want to sound like an asshole, but with your test, well, it's not really your professors problem if you don't have internet and/or have a job. It's not that they want you to fail, but it is just sort of the harsh truth of being in university; you're expected to meet deadlines, no ifs ands or buts. If you didn't have internet, you should have gone to a library or consulted with some kind of university department (e.g. a testing department, accessible learning or other group that deals with academics or even your department, whether its biology or sociology or whatever) and let them know you need internet access for a test and ask them if there is a computer you can use. Plus, you could have / should have told your boss that you had an exam that day and couldn't work. It's your responsibility to make sure that things like that are taken care of. Like you said, you're not in kindergarten and dealing with internet access and work schedules to meet deadlines are your responsibility and your professor has no obligation to rearrange deadlines for a student. Like I said, I don't want to sound like an asshole, but that's just the reality of how most universities tend to work. You should probably get internet if you haven't already; that's kind of a basic requirement for university in terms of conducting research and submitting work.

One thing I really agree on is attendance in university. Some of my profs made attendance worth 5% or 10% of our grade. While I totally respect that showing up to class and that professors have to make students accountable and I was never chronically missing classes, it was also just suuuuuper annoying when profs were condescending about it. It must be frustrating to be a prof and have to deal with students who can't be bothered to show up, it probably feels pretty disrespectful, but at the end of the day that's the students problem and if they can't be bothered to take their courses seriously and actually show up to lectures then that's their problem.

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Re: Do Universities Want Students to Fail? - November 7th 2016, 12:24 AM

When I was a student it was common word on the ground that a) some classes, particularly the big ones in earlier years, are intended to weed people out and b) professors are expected to keep their class averages within a certain amount. Not too low, but not too high either. To what extent were they actually true, who knows, but to students it was pretty much seen as common sense to assume that.

At my uni there was a complaint escalation process for when you believe you've received an unfair grade, thankfully I've never needed to go through it so I don't really know how it would work, other than that the chain of escalation goes quite high up so if your department won't help then someone out there still can. If that final grade is very important to you then I would go for it. I've never once seen an instance where a student was denied extra paper. That is unrelated to assessing learning and can well be argued to be discriminatory.

But yeah, the stuff about short time frames isn't that uncommon. Every prof acts as if their class is the only one (well okay, not ALL, but those that go out of their way to be nice are extremely rare, and tend to be those teaching obscure classes) and expect you to have 0 life whatsoever outside of it. Why, I have no idea. Maybe they take it personally when some students don't seem to love their subject as much as they do. Maybe they just enjoy having a power trip. Maybe teaching classes is something they "have to do" as a part of their professorship but they really actually hate it.

At least you can take comfort in the fact that most other full time students feel just as frustrated as you do.

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Re: Do Universities Want Students to Fail? - November 8th 2016, 03:08 AM

You should not have been denied more paper and that's not right. I've never seen anyone denied more paper/booklets ever (even in high school/AP exams) so I'm sorry that happened. You should be able to talk to someone in your university about that. Something like an appeal committee? Was it just you denied paper or a bunch of people? If others were denied paper they can help with the appeal.

Regarding the online quiz, that seems fair. I mean, I don't want to seem rude but giving tests (or quizzes) that are online with a time frame is common. They don't want students cheating or asking other students what was on the exam. Where I go to university, it's also expected that we watch our school email address daily because updates will be sent and if we miss something, it's on us. If you didn't have internet you could of gone to a local library or even your university library or testing departments. You should of talked to your boss when you first got the course syllabus (which lists all exams/quizzes/due dates/ect) and made sure you booked off the dates of which you have exams or quizzes. Again, I don't want to seem rude but the professor is teaching more than one course most likely and it's not his job to reschedule an exam for one student.

I totally feel the attendance issue though. Some of my classes have attendance/participation marks and others don't. It depends on the professor and the course. I have had labs/lectures where you can only miss a maximum of three classes otherwise you won't pass. I've also had professors say that we're adults and paying for the course and if we don't want to come it's on us. It's annoying the have attendance mandatory because if you're sick or have something come up last minute (like your car not working or something) it can be a pain but I'm sure it's super annoying for a professor to have students missing classes as well.
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