Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A question on exams

A question on exams

My friends, please note the time of this post. I have just finished posting my final exams on Blackboard. Finals aren't till next week. They are three-part exams. A take home document analysis, in-class IDs and in-class essay. I was not given document questions on exams when I was an undergraduate. We had basic questions (compare/contrast, causes/effects of X, trace the development of ...)and were expected to refer to documents we had read. I never really had to do document analysis in any depth, even in papers, till I got to grad school. Even then, not so much, except in the context of research papers. So why ask the students to do it? Because it's interesting and they should know how to read and analyze primary sources? Because it's good for them to know how professionals know what they know? I think those are good reasons. And because we work on these things in class, it makes sense to assess what they have learned.

But the other part ... I guess there were profs who gave us lists of IDs to study. Maybe. And sometimes general topic lists. But no one ever gave me the questions in advance. So I give them four questions. Then on the day of the exam, I choose two. The students write on one. But I have to consider this -- the essays aren't all that much better than when I've given the questions blind and on the day. In fact, only a couple are hugely better, and the rest not so much. This was true when I gave both essays as take-homes. The essays were a bit better organized, but not noticeably better written or proofread. So why am I staying up so late, a week before exams, to give them the exam questions in advance?

Does anyone else do this?

And, on another related note -- every time I look at exam questions I might think of pinching from old exams, I think ... hey, maybe I should remember these, and my course would be more focused. Does anyone else do this? If you do, how do you walk the line between crafting a course with several clear content goals and teaching to an exam? BTW, I'm not totally clueless, just very tired. There just aren't that many questions we ask in surveys, anyway -- just multiple creative way of asking them. So it should be easy not to "teach to the test" while still having a clear idea of course content outcomes ...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A whinge for help

A whinge for help

Please help a stressing medievalist! I'm hosting the 11th edition of Carnivalesque on ancient & medieval on 3 December 2005. No one has suggested an entry yet!!

Please help! Find good entries and send them this way!

To submit entries, either:

Email another_damned_medievalist[at]hotmail.com; or

Use this submission form

Also, Don't forget that New Kid will be hosting the next Teaching Carnival on December 15. Please send along any and all nominations of posts related to teaching, teachers, students, grading, etc. etc. etc. (and yes, you can nominate yourself!).
newkidonthehallway at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the Disco Turkey!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Teaching Carnival III

Teaching Carnival Three

Oh. My. Goodness. Teaching Carnival Three is up at Scrivener's place. It's ginormous and jam-packed with goodies. Go and read good things that will renew your love and cynicism about teaching!

History Carnival XX

And, if you have far too much time, or would rather not read about teaching, try History Carnival XX is up at Tigerlily Lounge. It's a generalist's paradise!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Coming soon to a medievalists near you

Coming soon to a medievalist's near you ...

The 11th edition of Carnivalesque will be on ancient & medieval and will be hosted here on 3 December 2005. To submit entries, either:

Email another_damned_medievalist[at]hotmail.com; or

Use this submission form

Thanks to Sharon, Chief Mistress of Carnivals, for the reminder and the code.

And because I'm going to be buried, what with trying to put this together, apply for jobs, and finish my very crazy quarter (not to mention all that other stuff I'm still working on) ... Don't expect a whole bunch o' posts between now and then!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Study Break

Study Break

I blame it on the fact that I've been paying bills ...

Gacked from Alun


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

What Monty Python Character is ADM?

Ahhhh ... this is probably more like it ...

You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others into trouble, even if you have to make up lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!
You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others
into trouble, even if you have to make up
lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

This break is now over. Back to the stupid Second World War.

And BTW, I know I'm late to the party on this, but I highly recommend Plans by Death Cab For Cutie. But I'm a sucker for pop with good lyrics. And I've just realized that they remind me a bit of The Lilac Time.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Memoriam

In Memoriam Posted by Hello

Photo found at http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/ww1-music/flandersfield.htm. They also have a music link.

Friday, November 04, 2005

a la Tiruncula

a la Tiruncula

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, but I'm slightly swamped ...

I need to:

Cross some more stuff off the list!!

  • Be stunning for an observation by my department chair today Not so much, due to the fact that I cleverly pulled my file on the Wars of Religion, leading into Henry IV and the stirrings of Absolutism, and lost the bloody thing so that I had to re-write a lecture in 20 minutes. Riffed the end, tying back what I had been talking about to the last three weeks where we talked about mercantilism, the Reformation, European Dynastic rivalries, etc. Oh, and got teased by my class on a couple of points. And made jokes back. But they answered all my questions with mostly no hints, and liked that I made the "these are the guys in The Three Musketeers" connection ...
  • finish grading some papers
  • Get caught up on reading and class prep OK, for this week at least -- It's ADM's specialty in Class One, Absolutism and woohoo -- a film -- in class two, and a film for Class three, which gives me till Wednesday to organize my thoughts!
  • keep up with a very busy discussion on the listserv, especially as it's been noted at a big history blogIt's petered out till the next one -- thank goodness not like the stuff on Mediev-L lately!
  • Read the book I'm supposed to be reviewing -- short, but in German
  • think about writing said review, which may require more reading
  • Either scan or take notes on the pertinent parts of the Codex Laureshamensis while I have it, because interlibrary loan can't renew it again
  • Find out if Regine Hennebicque is also Regine Le Jan (if anyone knows, please tell me, because otherwise I have to write a complete stranger and ask. And I have to do it in English, because my French is awful these days) Realised I don't have to know this -- I just need to cite it correctly and find out when I can. The only reason it's a problem is that the article is cited under Le Jan, but I've been obsessing about it more because it's an irritating detail in a book I find mostly good, but packed with careless errors
  • Read unpleasantly long article by Regine Hennebicque
  • review what I've got on the Kazoo paper and start piecing it together
  • apply for about 15 jobs by 1 December OK -- sent 9 this week, and have already heard back from one asking for more materials. Breath now 'bated
  • Teach 15 hours a week
  • try to start running again
  • Sleep? Well, I got a few extra hours over the weekend ... that should last a couple of days!
  • Figure out my life, which has become a bit complex lately.
  • Other stuff like that

Thursday, November 03, 2005

History Carnival the Nineteenth

History Carnival the Nineteenth

It's here, at (a)musings of a grad student! It's also really good, and I haven't had a chance to dig in -- so you guys have to! Go and learn cool things!

And don't forget to note your nominations for Cliopatria Awards!