What to do in GE 103 tomorrow?

Tomorrow in GE 103 I had scheduled to cover an overview of continuous fair division problems. But I am grading the test they took this morning on voting and discrete fair division, and it is an absolute train wreck. The most basic principles and elementary math are being tortured to death. There is no way they are ready, willing, or able as a class to take on something new. So, what should I do? Should I:

  1. Suck it up and teach the continuous fair division stuff anyway?
  2. Work through each problem on the test “live” so they can see how it was supposed to be done?
  3. Let them start reviewing for their final exam (however that is supposed to happen)?
  4. Cancel class and hold open office hours instead?
  5. Play games, like this or this?

If it works out, I’ll just do all my lesson planning via input from the comment section. If it doesn’t, then I have someone else to blame!


Filed under Higher ed, Liberal arts math, Teaching

7 responses to “What to do in GE 103 tomorrow?

  1. dujy

    As a student who just completed a liberal arts math course that was a joke, I would suggest #2–but not *every* problem. Do the ones that were missed the most and get some feedback on where the mistakes were coming from. If there’s time, start reviewing for the final.
    (My instructor got so fed up with the “train-wreck” exams, he ended up giving us a take-home exam as the final. The exam was taken straight from the last 2 chapter tests–the ones with *all* the answers in the back of the book. I guess he wanted to get good evals and no failures.)

  2. virusdoc

    #2. You can’t move on if they are utterly lost. Particularly if they don’t know they are lost. As motivation to pay attention during the “live” test recital, you could offer to let anyone who did poorly retake a nearly identical test.

  3. Doc, that would be about 80% of the class who did poorly, and honestly I am not inclined to allow a retake on a test for which the students simply didn’t prepare. Plus, there’s no time — we’re in the last week of class and the final is a week from today. So I think (with 45 minutes to spare!) I will go with option #2 but allowing a retake is at this point just reinforcing bad behavior for most of the students who didn’t do well. Call me a mean prof, but that’s how I see it.

  4. your ratings on “ratemyprofessor.com” are dropping precipitously even as I type…


  5. Yeah, I can just see all the little chili peppers vanishing from my “hotness” score.

  6. the hotness scale doesn’t go below zero.

  7. You know I’m not exactly a difficult target for that kind of comment, right?