Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No good answer

Question: what are you meant to do when you get to class and you can see--because it's right there on the table--that one of your students has printed out a Wikipedia summary of one of the stories that you assigned? First, your mind boggles slightly at the sheer laziness involved here. This story ("Blue Tigers") is nine pages long, which is a bit on the lengthy side for a Borges story, but which still couldn't possibly take even a very slow reader more than a half hour to get through. Then, you realize there's really not much you can do--you could make a snide remark vis-à-vis the printout, but what will that accomplish? She would probably conceal them more effectively in the future, and that's about all. You could make everyone take a quiz on the story, but that would involve reading the summary yourself and formulating questions that the summary does not touch on, which would probably necessarily involve getting so obscure that even people who did read the story itself would have difficulty, and besides which, would seem awfully paranoid, and in any case, it's just a lousy composition class, fergawdsake; making sure that my students don't cheat themselves out of the education that their parents are paying for is well above my pay grade.

Still, I do wish they'd make an honest effort.


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