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"An Aside": The Misdefinition

Oh, look at me, I'm inventing words now. It does make sense though, doesn't it? To misdefine something would be to define it incorrectly, therefore a misdefintion would be an erroneous definition. I present the following email I just sent to our teacher as context. Pay close attention to the beginning of the third paragraph, and the length of the same in relation to the rest:

On the assumption that it's not too late to make one more suggestion as per question four of the five you had us answer tonight ("How do you think [the course] could have been improved?"), here's one that I thought of on the way home: avoid using questions on quizzes / tests / exams that expect the student to remember specific examples given in class. For example, on the midterm, you asked a question that went something like "If you said he should not steal the drug to save his wife, because to do so would violate a moral contract, what type of morality would you have?" This is too specific. Giving the same example covered in the lecture might help to jog the memory of the person writing the test, granted, but it could just as easily be generalized as such: "If you believe a person should not steal a drug that would save their husband / wife, because doing so would violate a moral contract, what type of morality would you have?" It retains the same idea as before (stealing a drug to help one's spouse), but eliminates the need to ask oneself "Who is 'he', again?"

Also, while clips from movies are an excellent way to give "real" examples of concepts covered in class, which I do not dispute in any way, I feel expecting the student to remember the content of each clip in case it should come up on a test is unreasonable. If I remember correctly, one such question that you asked on the midterm had to do with Black Swan, and the answer was "Borderline Personality Disorder", again, if my memory serves. For the record, I hadn't ever heard of the movie before the first night it was brought up, and still haven't given any thought to finding and watching the whole thing, as it didn't seem very remarkable, so instead of asking "This movie clip showed which of the following?", say "This disorder is characterized by symptoms that include black and white thinking, difficulty maintaining friendships, loss of identity, and a marked tendency toward impulsiveness (hint: Black Swan)". Somewhat longer, but that way it's not based on any specific clip, and yet the hint is there for anybody who does remember what it showed.

Lastly, just as an aside, because this could very well be something that only I had a problem with, you'll notice that I also suggested allotting more time to complete in-class assignments for anybody who needs it. I can't remember which week it was, but one of the questions you had us answer is how we, as a parent, would respond to our child who identified with the gender opposite their own. Unless you were only looking for "I would support them" or "I wouldn't support them" with no explanation as to why, five to ten minutes isn't nearly enough to adequately answer that. I personally would support them until they were old enough to think for themselves, but still encourage them to engage in activities and wear clothes (etc.) that match their biological gender. Once they reached that age of relative self-dependency, however, I would hover between offering and not offering support. On one hand, they're old enough to make those decisions for themselves, and sooner or or later will have to take responsibility for their decisions as well, but on the other, they would still be my child, and if they needed support (emotional, definitely - financially, depending on various factors at that point), I would be there for them. The problem with giving that answer it it's nigh-on impossible to both think of and write the entire thing down in ten minutes at most, but that's why I say it may just be me. I need to think through a question, and thus can't give snap answers, but for all I know, other people would be able to without issue. Further to the above as well, I know they were only worth 10% of our total mark, but it would be nice if in-class assignments were given back the following week. I know I didn't do terribly great on the one about operant and classical conditioning, but that's because you gave it back so we could go over the correct answers. Where the rest are concerned, however, I can only assume that because you haven't given any of them back, I did well on all of them, and I imagine one or two other people might feel that way too.

At any rate, these aren't meant as criticisms. Well, they're constructive criticism at worst, but I hope you understand all the same. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, and otherwise, I look forward to hearing from you regarding assignment #3~

Notice anything... off? At first I was going to end that paragraph by saying that it might just be me, because I have a tendency to be long-winded, as that email itself demonstrated, but I didn't, and just now noticed what I'd done. Aside from the paragraph lengths though, I do genuinely feel that those are good suggestions. The suggested changes to test questions are almost zen-like in their simplicity, and having more time to complete our in-class assignments has been a concern for me since the first night. If I know that my answers as given still get me good marks, then I won't worry so much about giving an incomplete answer, but when they aren't given back, and the teacher doesn't tell us how we did on them, the concern remains that I won't get as good a mark as I could, because I don't have enough time to fully answer. I accept that there has to be some time limit, but if anybody goes over, take that into consideration when calculating their mark. That, or make it so that answers to in-class assignments should be a couple paragraphs at most, but anybody who takes that work home should be expected to write a full page. One way or the other, offer a second option to people who need more time to answer.

Aside from that, our review night that was originally scheduled for next week is tentatively canceled now. We were informed tonight that she (the teacher) was expected to have administered the final exam by the 16th at latest, but she's trying to appeal that, so we're all supposed to wait until tomorrow night at latest to hear from her. I hope it can still be held, because I would like that one last night to actually make note of anything that still eludes me, to then look into at home, as trying to retrieve old information to answer questions while encoding new information (there - I've learned one thing, and to prove it, the second stage is storage, which in this context is synonymous with retention) is really difficult. Also, I would be unable to share cookies with everybody if we go directly into the exam, and I really want to do that. Then again though, it's not like having the exam next week, and being done thereafter would be a terrible thing. The extra time off would allow me to fully clear my mind before going to London, and I might have neatly ruined my four days off in a row next week while at work yesterday night. I was looking over the schedules for the next two weeks while waiting for Laura to clean a piece of equipment, and noticed that on Wednesday the 18th, Manoah was scheduled to close all by himself. Clearly an oversight on Mary's part, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if she intended for me to close then, because Tom closes Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday surrounding it. I'll probably find out tomorrow, as Mary is there until 6, and I start at 5.

On that note, I have good reason to get to bed now, but there are three quick things to mention first. Number one is that according to our teacher, both the definition she provided, and my interpretation of reverse discrimination are correct. I'm fine with that, but still hold to the belief that her definition is another phenomenon by the incorrect name, which I can't remember the correct term for. Secondly, since I haven't seen Manoah in a good four days now, I tried applying toner to my hair on my own last night. It now has what I would call white highlights (under light, it appears to have a white glimmer), but is still blonde. I'm going to give it another try in a couple days, but until then, it's also neat that I can shampoo my hair but not condition it, leaving it all rough-feeling, but once dry, will return to feeling generally soft, and maybe just a slight bit rough. Third and final, it's taken nearly three years, but I've finally discovered a way to play Avernum 2 (and other old (pre-Avernum 6 and Geneforge 5) Spiderweb Software games) in a window: run them in a virtual machine. I did think of the idea several times before, but always thought the OS within an OS would be too resource-intensive to have the game run at a decent speed. I was mistaken, however, and now I have something different to do, which is good, because Geneforge 5 was becoming quickly annoying. I don't want to choose between factions. All I want is to explore, collect various treasures and artifacts, and complete quests for more of the same. Avernum 2 may not entirely allow that, but working to find a way to clear barriers blocking access to the rest of the "world" (for right now) is better than having to take an active part in the politics of said world. And now I go to bed, because apparently I'm starting to over-think games~