Study Guides

Do you, folks, give students study guides before exams? I always do and students love them.

My study guides look exactly the same as my final exams, and we dedicate the last day of class to doing them together. I like to have a variety of activities on my finals. For instance, the most recent one had questions with short 1-2 sentence answers, an essay-type question, definitions, and true and false. (The latter being invariably the hardest activity of all).

When I create the final, I open two windows side by side and make two identical-looking exams, one of which is a study guide. I do this for every exam and in every course, even those with 65+ students. (Everybody else does multiple choice but I’m like that German POW in the probably apocryphal Soviet story who was asked why he works so hard in a Soviet prison camp when he isn’t getting paid and he said, “It’s because I want to remain a German”).

I don’t believe in final exams and only hold them when the university regulations force me to (which is in 90% of all the courses I teach.) But if I have to hold them, I make an effort to turn them into useful activities with minimal stress.

It’s funny because I don’t give a crap about teaching (i.e. the kind of teaching that I’m forced to do) but I don’t cut corners unlike people who do nothing but teach.

Dreaming of Corporatization

And by the way, all of the talk about the corporatization of higher ed is such a lie. I’m desperate for corporatization, but where is it?

No business would survive if it consistently refused to give paying customers what they want and excused it with “this is how things have always been.” No business would reward a worker for attracting zero customers (students) to his product (course.) No business would ban branding.

Predatory Journals and Incels

Folks, until you make a mega-name for yourself in your field, nobody will reach out to ask you to submit articles to their journal. If you are 15 minutes into your tenure track and you get asked to submit, it’s a scam.

And by the way, I find it very hard to believe that at the University of Florida in Homestead there is an “immense pressure to publish.” Of course, I might simply be jealous because even a very gentle pressure to publish is absent at my school. I’d give a lot for somebody to pressure me to publish. I’m like an incel who is driven nuts by women’s complaints about sexual harassment. “Why isn’t anybody harassing me? I’d be in paradise,” he moans.

Surveillance in Action

After connecting his smartphone, N was stunned to discover that his phone knows he’s planning to travel to Canada.

“The phone knows more about you than you do yourself,” I said. “But it doesn’t love you nearly as much as I do!”

By the way, I went to a grocery store this morning to get ingredients for N’s okroshka (a nasty dish he loves for some weird reason) and was spooked in the aisle by a robot that creeped up on me from behind and was clearly tracking what I did. Once I noticed it, the robot slunk away. It was a big thing, almost my height. I sent a written complaint to the management.

Abortion Hypocrisy

The Alabama lawmakers don’t believe that life begins at conception. If they did, they wouldn’t make an exception for discarded IVF embryos.

As I keep saying, I can respect any honest, coherent set of beliefs. I won’t necessarily share them but I can respect them. But hypocrisy is something I can’t stand. If life begins at conception, it does so for everybody and not for everybody except people who are rich enough to pay for IVFs. If you want to punish doctors who destroy embryos, punish all of them and not just those who destroy them for reasons you dislike.

Smartphone Virgin

N finally decided to get a smartphone. He spent a week researching smartphones online, and then announced that the cheapest one he could find costs $560 on Amazon, and then you have to unblock it and connect it to your carrier.

“There is very little time left!” he fretted. “I need to have it before our trip to Montreal on the 29th!”

“Do you want to get one for free within the hour?” I asked.

After a long struggle to get him to suspend his disbelief, I took him to the AT&T store, and we walked out with a free smartphone. We also got free HBO as a bonus for the purchase.

It’s so funny that N still feels like he’s in Russia and needs to pay for these things.

Grieving Snowflakes

A great article on the Australian election in Spiked. I wonder how long it will take the grieving snowflakes to start blaming Putin. Because accepting that there might be anything wrong with your ideas is, of course, impossible.

The way the article describes the Australian snowflakes, they seem pretty mild compared to ours.

Rhythm of the Summer

Tombers writes on his blog:

The rhythm of the summer is beginning to reveal itself.

That’s such a great way of putting it. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for somebody to put it this way.

Every summer does have a rhythm of its own. And there doesn’t seem to be much one can do to change it. You just wait for it to be revealed.