A Dialogue With a Stranger

“I was going to hit on you,” a man at the store says conversationally, “but then I saw your wedding ring and decided not to. Of course, there are guys who hit on married women but I don’t want to be one of them.”

“Than you for sharing this story,” I respond.

“Any time,” the man beams at me.

I have a feeling that the heat is melting everybody’s brains. Including mine.

I’ve spent the summer hidden at home and I can’t say I’m looking forward to rejoining the world all that much.

Student Evaluations for the Online Course

Everybody says that student evaluations for online courses are more negative  than the ones for traditional courses. This stands to reason because students don’t get to meet the professor in the online format, can’t establish a personal connection, end up feeling somewhat isolated and lonely.

Still, I just got my online evals and they are beautiful. Here are some quotes:

She was awesome!!

She was very well organized, planned her lectures well, responded to questions quickly, and had homework graded and returned almost immediately. Great online class. Her first hand knowledge of the material was a plus too.

The instructor’s strength was her ability to respond rapidly and deliver the course material in an interesting fashion.

Made the information very easy to understand and interesting.

The instructor offered great insight with questions I may have had and always responded to emails very quickly.

The course couldn’t be improved because it was great just as it was!!

There was just one negative response. It was from the student I blogged about before who used to regale me with the following kind of writing:

It should be taken into consideration that the fact that Latin America is a big and important nation is a crucial fact that is perceived by everybody on a variety of occasions that are frequently discussed, however they might say that it is not true and deny everything. Which I find wrong. Completely.

“But, Clarissa,” you’d say, “if the evaluations are supposed to be anonymous, then how do you know that the negative response came from this particular student?”

Well, my friend, if you’d been exposed to the above-quoted writing style every day for five weeks, do you think you might be able to identify it if you saw it in an evaluation?

On the positive side, the people who will read the evaluations have not received the same extensive training in deciphering the outpourings of this student’s verbal diarrhea. As a result, they will probably never manage to find out what she was trying to say about me in the evaluation.

And if you are wondering what this student criticized about my teaching, then I’ll tell you. It was that I spent too much time teaching basic writing skills to people who already had great writing styles. Curiously, the students who do write well never found it necessary to complain about that part of the course.

India Rules

I profoundly admire these three brave scholars in India:

The tug-of-war between the management of National College and the Association of University Teachers over the former’s scrapping of philosophy as a course of study peaked on Friday as one of the three fasting philosophy professors of the college fainted. The three philosophy professors of the college – Dr T Seshasayee, 56, professor S Gunasekharan, 51, and Dr R Prabhakar, 49 – sat in what they called an indefinite fast three days ago demanding that the college not do away with the aided philosophy courses. . .

Though the condition of the three professors deteriorated on Friday, they refused to accept medical care. The medical team, police and revenue officials were waiting helplessly at the college premises as a solution evaded them. “We want a categorical assurance from the government that the courses will be revived this academic year, or else we have no other option but to continue the agitation,” Pandiyan said.

We could learn a lesson or two from our colleagues in India. While we sit here, batting our eyelashes helplessly as entire departments are being destroyed to feed more football teams and a growing army of bureaucrats, some people show that they truly have the courage to defend their disciplines.