A Battery Of Imprecise Descriptions

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 11, 2020

I’m a grad student. We’re researching injury prevention, and we’re assessing a list of patients that we may include in our study based on the manner of injury.

Study Lead: “Okay, everyone, we really need to be precise here. If you look at line 156, someone just wrote ‘bat’ as the cause of injury. Were they bitten by a flying rodent or hit by a baseball implement?”

Grad Student #1: “Well… comments say, ‘Bruising,’ so I’m guessing baseball.”

Grad Student #2: “Oh! That was me. The patient was hit by a thrown battery.”

Study Lead: “Clarity, people! Okay, next line, I see a cause of injury listed as ‘axe.’ [Grad Student #2], if someone was hit in the head with a can of body spray, I’m enrolling you in the study.”

Grad Student #2: “But I haven’t been injured by anything.”

Study Lead: “Not yet!”

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Someone Failed Here, And It Wasn’t The Student

, , , , , | Learning | July 7, 2020

In 2014, I was a mature student in my final year of a part-time Computer Science degree. The final year involved a software development project which ran over two semesters and all students were allocated an individual Project Supervisor, who helped us develop the project and gather requirements, etc. We also had a Project Coordinator, who we were timetabled with once per week, and who was supposed to guide us through managing the project and writing our dissertation.

During the penultimate week of the autumn semester, our Project Coordinator was going to great lengths to prepare us for our first milestone, a presentation showcasing our project and the work we had done to date. She repeatedly emphasised that we must not fail the presentation part of the module; otherwise, we’d fail the whole course.

I suspect this was an embellishment on her part, but still.

We were supposed to upload a copy of our presentation to the Online Learning Environment used by the University no later than the night before the presentation, and then we’d do the presentation during class time the following evening.

That week, I finished off my presentation, and on Sunday evening, I sat down and uploaded it to the Online Learning Environment — OLE. The way the OLE worked, when you uploaded something, you’d get a green icon on the screen with a message that said, “Your document, [Title], has been uploaded,” but for some reason, you wouldn’t get an email confirmation.

I uploaded my document and got the green icon as I usually did, so I closed my browser window and went off to do something else. On Monday night, I did my presentation, which the assessors all said was excellent. They even scored me quite highly in it — above 70% — which I was pleased about.

On Tuesday evening, I got an email from the Project Coordinator. She informed me that she had discovered I “hadn’t uploaded” my presentation, and therefore, she was going to fail me. She informed me that “she had told us several times” not to fail the presentation, and that because uploading the presentation was a mandatory requirement, she was therefore authorised to fail me.

I replied to her email and said that, a,  I had been to class on Monday night, b, I had done my presentation, and, c, I had been given a very good mark for it.

She was uninterested. She kept insisting that “she had to follow procedure” and that she now had to fail me.

I was furious. I told my wife, who was also furious. In tears, I phoned my project supervisor, who was horrified. He said he had never, in all his years supervising projects, heard of anything so petty and ridiculous. He emailed the Head Of School and copied me in. The HOS was as shocked as he was, and said that, in his opinion, if I had done the presentation and been given a mark, there should be no reason to fail me.

His advice? To submit an Extenuating Circumstance claim, which would be reviewed during the Christmas holidays.

I did so, and emailed my Project Coordinator to inform her that this is what I would be doing. Her response was frosty: “Do what you like. I have to follow procedure.”

I submitted my EC claim and went abroad with my wife to stay with her family over Christmas. While away, I got an email from the School of Computing to inform me that “The EC committee had reviewed my claim and determined that I was not at fault and should be awarded the mark for my presentation.”

Relieved, I came back off Christmas break and threw myself into my project again, with one slight difference: from now on, any time I submitted assessed work to the Online Learning Environment, I screenshotted the confirmation message and emailed it to both the Project Coordinator and my Project Supervisor.

I completed my project, graduated, and later went on to complete a PhD! The Project Coordinator never said anything else about her intention to fail me. I’m not sure why she took such a notion, and I doubt I’ll ever find out, nor will I ever find out why my presentation didn’t upload.

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Sounds Like Denial Number Three

, , , , | Learning | July 3, 2020

I work for an online university with a ridiculously high acceptance rate. In the year I’ve worked there, I’ve only had two students ever denied out of the hundreds I have worked with. In order to get accepted, all you have to do is complete an attestation form which confirms that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. 

The form is completely free and takes about two minutes to fill out, but for some reason, many students refuse to complete it. We understand that it can be annoying, especially if someone has transfer credits from another college which proves that they graduated high school, but again, the form is free and they usually spend more time arguing about it than it would take to fill the thing out. Most people are understanding when I explain why we require it… except for this guy.

I get a notification that this student has been reassigned to me, so I go to his profile. I see he hasn’t been contacted by us in over a week, so I check the notes from the last call to see what was discussed. These are the notes from the call, copied and pasted verbatim:

“Wanted to know if he was Accepted. Let him know we’re missing an Attestation form and transcripts on file. 

“Escalated immediately about that we were requesting him to complete an Attestation form. Explained as part of admission requirements, we verify high school diploma or equivalency is completed. Said he spoke to his local congressmen and they said since he is over forty-five years old, he doesn’t have to provide that information to us. 

“Threatening to contact his lawyers to sue us if we need his diploma. Let him know the form only needed his information about where he graduated on there. Still was refusing to complete form; let him know we need that to move forward. 

“Wanted to speak to someone else ‘higher’ about this. Put on hold to try to find a TL. 

Disconnected after putting on hold.”

Basically, this grown man was so angry over having to take two minutes out of his day to complete a very simple form that he called his congressman and threatened to send a lawyer after us.

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Unfiltered Story #198746

, | Unfiltered | June 28, 2020

(I am a current student volunteering at my school’s alumni weekend/reunion. A girl walks in. She is clearly a student from the very casual dress and backpack.)

Girl: What’s going on?
Me: We are having our alumni weekend and reunion!
Girl: What’s that?
Me: (Explains)
Girl: (In a way I can only describe as a “judgmental teenager tone”) Why?
Me: (Trying not to show I’m taken aback) Well alumni like to come back here and see how the school has changed as well as see each other.
Girl: (Incredulously) And people actually come to this? (Quickly before I can respond) Well yeah they would, or you wouldn’t have it.
Me: Actually there 450 people registered, and we will probably also have walk-ins.
Girl: (Floored) Wow. (Leaves)

(All I can think is, why?)

Adject Horror

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2020

I am an upperclassman running the freshman orientation. As an icebreaker, we’ve decided to play the adjective name game, where each person thinks of an adjective that starts with the first letter of their name.

Me: “Everyone think of an adjective that starts with the first letter of your name and share it when it’s your turn!”

Freshman: “What’s an adjective?”

Who knows how she got into college!

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