"Some plants," said the teacher, "have the prefix 'dog'. For instance, there is the dogrose, the dogwood, the dogviolet. Now who can name another plant prefixed by 'dog'?" "I can," shouted a student. "cauliflower!"
In Class Assignment at SMU
Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?" Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern Methodist University:
In-class Assignment for Wednesday:
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his other immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached. The following was actually turned in by two of my English students, Rebecca and Gary. "
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.
He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully. Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Au'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow'em out of the sky!" This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent. Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.
The dean of women at an exclusive girl's college was lecturing her students on sexual morality. "In moments of temptation," said the speaker to the class, "ask yourself just one question: Is an hour of pleasure worth a lifetime of shame?" A sweet young thing in the back of the room rose to ask: "How do you make it last an hour?"
When I was in college, my roommates would have sex with anything that moved. I never felt the need to limit myself that much.
The Unofficial Manual for Graduate Teaching Assistants
The Unofficial Manual for Graduate Teaching Assistants
Teaching Introductory Computer Science Courses for Non-majors:
LATE HOMEWORK - When a student turns in his/her project two weeks late and asks for full credit, accept the late work and tell them that it will be awarded full credit. However, do inform them that you will not have time to grade it until after you complete your Ph.D.
DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS -
- If students will not stop talking when the class period begins, announce that there will be a quiz the following day on today's lecture. Then leave.
- If your students are prone to reading the school paper in class, try taking out a full page ad in the paper informing them that they are going to flunk your class.
- In the event that you are unprepared for a lecture, be sure to use the class time to stress to the class the importance of keeping up with the readings. In fact, spend most of the class time stressing this.
- When the time comes to lecture on a subject you know nothing about, the art of controlled digression is invaluable. Here, you try to incite unrelated questions from the class which you answer at length. Then at the end of class scold them for digressing and tell them they'll just have to get the material from the book.
- Always use a fire engine red felt-tip marker with a 1/2 inch tip to grade papers. Position your comments strategically so that they spell "DUMB" when seen from a distance.
- You may grade assignments however you like. Here is a guide to quick and easy grading: 20 % Name 20 % Penmanship 50 % Homework is stapled together 10 % The work itself Warning: Be prepared for a 60% class average.
GRADING ERRORS - If student A approaches you complaining that an answer on their exam was marked incorrect but was marked correct on student B's exam, promptly mark student B's answer incorrect as well. This will redirect the heat from you onto student A.
EXTRA CREDIT -
- If students request extra credit to make up for the homework they didn't turn in, be sure to make the opportunity available to them. Some good extra credit problems are: Solve the dining philosopher's problem, using semaphores. Write a C compiler for the Commodore 64. Translate Moby Dick into ASCII-8 code with a leftmost odd parity bit. Design a replacement for the 80486 chip. Build a File Allocation Table (FAT) out of balsa wood.
- You may also wish to tell the student that they can do extra credit work while you decide whether to accept it. When the student turns in the work, decide against it.
- When it is obvious to you that several people have copied each other's homework, grade one person's work on a separate sheet of paper, then photocopy your comments onto everyone else's homework.
- Should you have very skilled cheaters in your class, try giving incorrect information during your lectures. This should result in incorrect answers on exams. Examples that have proven effective include:
- The three components of a computer system are Larry, Moe and Curly.
- The only possible digits in the binary system are 0, 1, and 2.
- The three components of the CPU are the ALU, REGISTERS and cheap bathroom lighting fixtures.
- The microphone is an output device.
- "Booting" the computer involves waving a large magnet over your hard drive for 60 seconds.
- MS-DOS is the operating system for the CRAY Y-MP.
- When preparing to purchase a new computer system running Windows, you should make sure it has at least 128,000 bytes of main memory.
- Protocols include saluting your computer and calling the mouse "sir".
- CPU stands for Ceramic Public Urinal.
- Structured Programming says that you can write any computer program using only three basic control structures: Sequence, Selection and Guessing.
LAB - You are expected to spend at least 4 hours each week in the lab to assist with student's questions. Students have been known to come up with some real beauties:
- "Why should I save it? I wasn't done yet."
- "My disk erased itself!"
- " Hurry up, I need help. This was due last week."
- "Directory? What's that?"
- "What do I need my textbook for? I'm using a computer."
Here are the solutions to the most common problems:
- P: "The screen is blank - I can't see what I'm doing" S: Turn on the monitor
- P: "How do I get into Windows?" S: Stare at it long enough and it will start to look like candy.
- P: "I can't get this computer to do anything." S: Have them move to a computer that has a keyboard.
- P: "The stupid printer printed the wrong file." S: Reprimand the printer.
- P: "WordPerfect didn't do what I told it to do." S: Tell them they have to earn its respect first.