Running this course out of the Deans’ office, my thoughts get responses from serious, thoughtful people.  Take this dialog of yesterday.

My initial comment:  “For your infotainment, I had had some students actually threaten to give the course bad scores because my tests forced them to think.  That experience makes me really question the point of SRTEs – my sense is that giving them easy tests, and entertaining them a bit, is the route to great scores.  Many students seem to simply want the highest score for the least amount of effort. That’s been a real shock to me, given how so many families ulcerate to get their children to a school like this.  The major teaching challenge seems to be to get them to think without them noticing.  Still, the good ones are a real joy.”
Responses from some very high-level people in the university:
“I guess what we have to content ourselves with is that virtue is its own reward.”
“I have seen many studies that insist that easy grading does not result in better student evaluations of teaching or courses.  And I’ve heard many colleagues argue otherwise.  I don’t know which is accurate.  Call me an optimist, but I would sure like to think that we too often hear from the minority of students who are slackers, while the majority of our students respect and appreciate courses in which they are challenged to really learn something”

“I’m in agreement  — I’ve read research claiming that students in fact appreciate tougher and more substantive instructors.”

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