Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Random bullets of It's Leap Year! Take a Leap!

  • Those of you who are Frasier fans may recognize in my title one of the all-time great episodes, "Look Before You Leap." I will not tell you one single thing about it lest I spoil something, but one phrase may suffice as the crowning glory of the episode: "Buttons and Bows."
  • It's a mercy to have one more day until March begins.
  • Another thing I'm doing differently in my old-school style classes is to assign some minor points to daily class activities, the way I used to do In Days Of Yore. You show up, do the activity, and get full points. The points are almost inconsequential, and one assignment can be dropped to account for illnesses, but . . . they add up.
  •  I just received my first paper (not in an in-person class) that seemed off--word-salad-y, generalizations, etc., almost as if--as if it hadn't been written by a person but by AI (confirmed by GPTZero, which I had never used before). Did I confront the student about it? Readers, I did not, because detection sites can be wrong. Instead, I took a very close, painstaking look at it and graded it rigorously as if it were a regular paper. 
  • In the comments to the previous post, xykademiqz mentioned that students seem done with things being done online and Julie said that they don't seem to want to attend, maybe in part because the lectures are online, which is demoralizing. I think you're both right. There's a sizable proportion of the class (maybe 1/5?) who don't seem to show up, though they seem agreeable enough when they do. My attempts at lecture capture for them in case they're ill have been kind of dismal, because I can't stand at the podium and just talk but must walk around and use the board. This makes for hilarious but unhelpful captions that are worse because somehow the Zoom screen share always captures something other than the PowerPoint or document camera. 
  • Are the rest of you being inundated with emails about How To Do Things with AI/GPT? "It can generate ideas! Write a first draft! Take your dog for a walk!" etc. The only thing that sounds more like the 7th circle of hell than grading AI papers would be grading AI papers knowing that your students had been told to use AI and then expend more of their labor making the first draft somehow better. I feel bad for them. They have ideas of their own, and that's what I want to see them working on.

     Anyway, happy Leap Day!

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