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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Add/drop makes me grumpy

Last week, ProfHacker asked 'how do you handle add/drop?' and I meant to leave a comment but then got busy. When I went back to look at how others responded, I had to laugh at Courtney's comment, which starts out, "Add/drop makes me extremely grumpy." I agree completely. In my 500-seater, I've been giving out add codes to anyone who asks because the class was severely under-enrolled (I started the semester with only 297 registered) and my department as a whole is under-target for our FTEs. I warn students that they can't make up any assignments they've missed (though I drop a few clicker scores at the end of the semester so as long as they don't miss anymore, it won't really matter) but although I think what I cover in the first few weeks is the most important stuff we do all semester (since it's really hammering home the core principles), the reality is that if students miss these first few weeks, it's probably not that big a deal.

However, add/drop has been a major pain for my upper-division writing class. Students work on several assignments collaboratively over the semester and for various reasons, I assign them to their teams. I spent a lot of time over the weekend figuring out what the teams would be for each assignment for the rest of the semester (I get kind of obsessive about matching students up and not having them work with the same partner more than once), only to find out Monday morning that one of the students had dropped the class over the weekend. Not only does this mess up some of the assignments I had already made, it also means that the class now has an odd number of students (and all my team assignments were either pairs or groups of four). Even if I contacted the next person on the crash list, it's really too late to let someone add the class, so now I have to figure out how to make threesomes for some of the assignments. I probably should have thought to check my roster before spending all that time on the group assignments but I don't actually even know when the student dropped (other than it was sometime between Friday afternoon and Monday morning) so other than waiting until after the drop deadline entirely, the problem could still have come up. Definitely makes me grumpy..


  1. Extended add periods drive me crazy, because of the message they send to students: "The first x meetings of any class are unimportant." I understand the need for some time for people to add a class late, but when people start wanting in after the first week (or two! or three!), I get testy. They've missed classes, they're two to three chapters behind on the reading, they've missed assignments. And they almost always do poorly in the class.

    I just hate it.

  2. Maybe for you or any of your students: I have just added a Reference List to my economics blog with economic data series, history, bibliographies etc. for students & researchers. Currently over 200 meta sources, it will in the next days grow to over a thousand. Check it out and if you miss something, feel free to leave a comment.


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