The year winds down

As an academic, my year runs from late August to mid May.  We’re in the last full week of classes, and Monday will be our last day.  The students have been disconnected from serious academics since Spring Break.  But with just a few days left, semester projects are due in many classes, and an undercurrent of tension, anxiety, and impatience fills the air.

One of my classes has its project due Monday.  It’s a team project, with teams of two students working on a single project.  During lab session where the bulk of the work is being done, the prevailing attitude seems to be, “Let’s just finish.”  One student complained today that his team was finished, but his partner wanted to make some changes that would delay turning it in until Monday.

He’ll probably come out ahead.  The three projects turned in early had all the earmarks of rush jobs.  Despite my advice about how to structure the project, they put it together their own way.  The results were generally mediocre, and downright poor in one case.

Because the class is using software that’s new to most of them, I told them I would impose no penalties if they turned the projects in after the Monday due date–as long as they’re in sometime during next week.  I want to have them all graded before the final exam a week from Monday.

Watch this space in about 10 days to see what kind of reaction I get to the project grades.

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