Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"I'm sorry but I'm your professor, not your friend" via @globeandmail

Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail in an article by Janni Aragon, published an article on September 9th last entitled I'm sorry but I'm your professor, not your friend. First, I am not a "Professor" - I am a Lecturer, but if I worked in the same role in America I would be called Professor O'Loughlin (I like the sound of that!). I have heard from a colleague about research that getting to know your professor/lecturer could be worth up to 15% more on your grades, however, when challenged he could not remember the source of this research. 

I have wondered myself if it makes any difference when grading assignments and exams, if I know the student well. Many of my classes are small, so I do get to know the students quite well. I certainly believe that I am fair, and in 11 years in this job I have never had a grade queried by second markers or external examiners. In that time, some students have requested reviews of their grades, but so far none have been altered after review.

It does make it a little easier to decide on borderline cases if you do know a student well - these are the ones who turn up for class/tutorials, participate in class, submit assignments on time, and generally behave well in an academic environment. In many cases I can't put a face on a name, and also when students are absent it is almost impossible to know them, and how much effort they have put into their studies.

It is a serious matter to us as a profession if the level of acquaintance with a student affects marks in any way. Therefore we have to continue to put aside any personal relationships in dealing with students and retain a strict code to not let this interfere with grading or give precedence to any student.

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