Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's Alive!

Yep, I'm still alive and kickin'. Why has it been so long? Suffice it to say that I'm a bit busy these days.

This semester I'm taking a 4-credit research methods course for Psych, which is really interesting and I'm learning a lot, but it is time-consuming to boot. Thank goodness that it's what I want to do with my life and that I really do want to learn the material, or else it would be reaaaaaaaaally boring.

In addition to that, I'm taking a history of rock and roll class, which I thought would be a less intensive class to pair with psych. I was wrong. <rant> This class is tedious and annoying. The grading is not only entirely subjective (on papers, anyway), but we are graded against one another. Seriously. Here's an excerpt from an email our instructor sent:

"[Your papers] are read and graded subjectively based on the stated expectations listed in the Syllabus. INART instructors are not obligated to furnish graded papers, which would be nearly impossible given the time constraints. 

Additionally, your writing is graded on its own quality along with how it stacks up compared to others in this section. You may write a perfectly acceptable paper on Chuck Berry. Many other students might write one on that same subject. The better versions will get the higher grades. There are not a lot of A+ papers. They have to be REALLY GOOD and I know them when I read them. The median grade is usually B-/B+ for acceptable, but not especially memorable papers. Those papers make their case but may not offer especially interesting or thought provoking support. I usually hear from students that tell me they put effort into the writing, answered the question, and followed my instructions. That may be true, but it does not necessarily guarantee the highest grades. Someone may have said the same thing better."

So, I don't get any feedback on my paper (I can ask for a "quick recap" of why he graded the way he did), and I'm graded against everyone else. So if there happens to be another paper that chose a similar argument to make (these are primarily position papers) and our instructor likes that paper better, I get a lower score, even though I followed all instructions and met all criteria. Grand.

Oh, and how could I possibly forget that some of the quiz questions are subjective, too? I got a True/False question wrong on my first quiz. The question read something along the lines of "Rock and roll is clearly the combination of blah, blah..." I marked it True, because our book said that several music historians and experts believed that it was a combo of whatever. It was supposed to be False, apparently, because it wasn't "clear" enough. Really? Pretty sure that's subjective, and if a bunch of experts in the field believe it to be true, that's "clear" enough for me. But hey, that's cool. Feel free to completely brush me off when I write an email about this and asking whether or not future questions would also be subjective.

OK, OK. I know I'm being a whiny bitch. But I was really looking forward to this class. Don't get me wrong... I do enjoy the music we get to listen to and I love learning the history behind certain songs or musicians, but I don't feel like the quizzes (2/3 of my final grade, BTW) really measure what I've learned, or that the papers (the other 1/3 of my grade) are graded to reflect my understanding of the topic and material. This isn't a writing class; the syllabus specifically says that. And yet... Ugh. </rant>

Anywhoozles, any "free" time I have that doesn't involve work or school has pretty much been taken up with Uncharted 3 (a game on the PS3), reading (I'm on the third book of the Game of Thrones series aka "A Song of Ice and Fire" series) or sleeping. I've gotten out to do a few fun things. Like last weekend we went to the Pet Expo and I got to meet Wallace the Pitbull. And later this week we're going to a hockey game. And before the semester started, Hubby, Maxine and I went up to Door County for a long weekend (you can see/vote for some of my pictures from that trip at Capture Door County).

Spring break is in 3 weeks, and while we're not doing anything so exciting as last year's Disney trip, it will be so nice to have a whole week without homework. Hubby and I are even taking a day off of work together. Partly because we're getting a new fridge delivered (YAY!), but mostly because my weekends are pretty full of homework, so we need a day together to just relax. Can. Not. Wait.

Well, I suppose I should get back to my busy life.