Monday, December 10, 2012


I turned in my grades last night, just under the wire as usual. I'd tried something new in my undergraduate course: sick to death of taking roll and trying to enforce attendance policies (please, Professor S, I had to miss class because my car broke down...), I built a huge quiz component into the final grade. I  told them I was giving at least 10 quizzes over the course of the semester; that the quizzes would be more or less mindlessly easy if they'd done the reading for the class; that the quiz would always happen first thing, so they needed to be on time; that I would end up dropping at least one or two of the lowest grades; and that this would constitute 20% of their final grade.

I got generous; I ended up giving not 10 or 11, but 12 quizzes – and averaged them all in, even though that gave them the possibility of getting extra points. I gave quizzes that had more than the normal number questions, but averaged them in as if they were the regular. And some of the students still ended up losing a sold 10 or 11 points off the top of their grades.
The graduate seminar papers were far more pleasant to read than the undergrad grades had been to calculate. I learned some things, as one is supposed to do in a graduate seminar. I miss my seminar already: what will I do with my Wednesday nights, now there's no-one to talk Ruskin to?
Going back and forth between Joan Evans's splendid 1954 biography John Ruskin and Lisa Jarnot's splendid (in very different ways) Robert Duncan: The Ambassador from Venus (2012). Jarnot has done her footwork in ways that I suspect only another biographer can fully appreciate.

1 comment:

mongibeddu said...

Say more about the footwork! I'd like to appreciate in a more knowing way!

Ben F,