Nivi was taking an English literature course that required reading six novels. She was a slow reader and found it difficult to keep up. By the end of the semester, she was so far behind in her reading that she knew she would not be able to catch up. The final exam required an analysis and comparison of the plots of the six novels. One day as she was leaving class she overhead a group of students laughing about the class and saying that they couldn't imagine reading such boring books and wondering how they would ever manage without Cliff Notes.
August 2007 Archives
Cyrus is in a large lecture class and is sitting next to a student who keeps looking at his exam and copying answers from his scantron sheet. He tries to shift his paper to make it more difficult for the student to look at his exam, but the chairs are too close together to do this effectively. After the second test and the same behavior by his seat mate, Cyrus talks to his Professor about the problem and asks if he could "prove" the cheating by writing down all the wrong answers on the next exam and then arranging to retake the test right after class for his grade.
Charlie was working for the history department fifteen hours a week as a work study student to help cover his expenses. He was also taking a large lecture history class that involved an in-class final exam worth 50% of the grade. Two weeks before finals, the instructor handed out a list of fifteen study questions, explaining that the two final questions would be selected from that list. Charlie was taking a full load of classes, plus his job, and had gotten behind in a couple of his classes. He knew that his grades were going to suffer because there just wasn't enough time in the day to get caught up. One day he was asked to make copies of some papers on the history department xerox machine. When he opened the lid of the copy machine, he discovered that someone had left a copy of the final for his history class in the machine, and he saw which questions would be on the final.
Mei and Chloe have been good friends since they met in 7th grade. They are now sophomores at Penn State. Chloe has a scholarship that requires that she keep a 3.0 average to retain the scholarship support. Chloe has been having a rough semester and is barely earning B's in her classes. Mei and Chloe are both taking a difficult statistics course. Although Mei is doing well in the course, Chloe is panicked because she really doesn't understand the material. Since the final project for the class is worth 60% of her grade, Chloe knows that if she doesn't earn at least a B on the project, she will lose her scholarship. Although the instructor made it clear that all work on the final project was to be done independently, Chloe begs Mei to help her. Mei is sympathetic but reminds Chloe that the professor said that they must work independently. Chloe cries and tells Mei that if she loses her scholarship she will be forced to leave Penn State and again begs her to help her.
Andrei is a premed major and a senior. Although he has an academic scholarship that covers his out-of-state tuition, he also has to work twenty hours a week to cover other expenses. He's taking a full load of classes and is finding them to be much more difficult this semester than in the past. On top of everything, he has to start applying to medical schools. Although he works hard, he is at risk of getting a D in one of his required 400-level chemistry classes. If he doesn't get at least a C in the chemistry class, it won't count toward graduation and he would have to make it up in the summer. He doesn't have enough money to retake the class and is worried that a bad grade would ruin his chances of going to medical school. He's been working on a lab problem for the class that he just can't get to work properly. He's run the experiment two times, but keeps getting strange results. He thinks that either he's misunderstood how to do the experiment or he has a contamination problem with his lab materials. He has spent so much time on this lab experiment that his other class work is suffering. His best friend is in the class and is worried about him. His friend has offered to share his lab results with him so Andrei can finish the lab report and get caught up in his other classes.
Ming is taking a senior level class that is being run as a seminar and class participation is 30% of the grade. Although there are only 15 students in the class, she is finding it difficult to participate in the discussion. There are a few students who talk a lot and who frequently interrupt the flow of the discussion to get their point into the dialogue. Ming comes to class well prepared and often has a set of questions and issues she would like to have addressed in the conversation, but she leaves class most days frustrated because she spent most of the class session listening to others talk and didn't have the issues that mattered to her sufficiently addressed.
Marcos is taking a sociology class that requires a final term paper. He took the class because it covered a topic that interested him and that he knew a bit about because he had taken a history class on a related topic in the fall semester. It dawned on him that he had written a term paper for the history class that would, with only a little bit of revision, be quite appropriate for the sociology term paper.
Jena is a freshman who is having a difficult time with her transition to Penn State. The classes are more difficult than she expected and she got caught up in a lot of social events and didn't do a good job of keeping up with her studies. She is now facing her first semester of finals. There is a big final in her chemistry class that is scheduled on the same day as her history final. She talks with her history professor about her concern that if she takes two finals on the same day, she will bomb them both. The professor is sympathetic and agrees to let Jena take the final for the history class later in the week. Jena dutifully studies for the chemistry exam and does pretty well, but she is exhausted and still has to make up the history final. Then she realizes that she knows people in the class who have already taken the exam and can ask them what questions were on the final so she can focus her studies.
Yvonne's design class involves a group project that is worth 55% of the grade. Yvonne just started dating and is really caught up in the excitement of a new infatuation. On top of that she has to work 20 hours a week to help pay her rent. She is frustrated at having to make time to meet with the group. She goes to the first meeting and after the first hour feels that the group isn't making much progress, so she suggests that they divide up the tasks and then meet in a week leaving them a day to "paste" all the parts together into the final project. The group agrees to the plan. The only problem is that Yvonne doesn't feel like doing her part of the project so she keeps putting it off. The night before the final group meeting, Yvonne still hasn't started her part of the assignment.
Siobhan is worried about his grade in geosciences. The instructor has already explained that the exam will be graded on a curve and although Siobhan has been studying all semester, there are so many bright students in the class, his grades are always in the middle of the curve. He know he needs an advantage. Two weeks before the exam, the professor announces that there are three texts that she will put on reserve in the library and explains that students who are interested in earning extra credit should read those three texts and then answer the extra credit questions on the exam. She explains that no one is required to do the extra credit. but those do so will have the points they earn added into their point count for the final. Siobhan goes to the library to check out the texts, which have been placed on two hour reserve. It dawns on him that he can get the edge that he needs on the grading curve if he is the only one who answers the extra credit. He decides not to return the texts to the library.
Theo is in a large lecture history class. The professor for the class gives a weekly 10 point multiple choice quiz. The professor always reviews the correct answers after returning the graded exams and tells students to let him know if there were grading errors. Theo had caught a grading error three weeks ago where a problem was mistakenly marked incorrect. He showed the professor and immediately got his grade adjusted from 8 points to 9 points. When the exams are returned this week, Theo is delighted with a perfect score of 10, but his pleasure is short-lived for as the instructor reviews the exams, Theo notices another error, but this time the error is in his favor. He actually got a question wrong but the instructor didn't mark it down.
Selena is taking Freshman Composition during her first semester at Penn State and she is having a lot of trouble with style issues. Although the instructor says that her ideas are interesting, she keep getting grades of C and below on her papers because of grammatical and spelling errors. She had straight A's in high school and just can't figure out what's wrong with her work. As her papers come in with red marks all over them, she is getting more and more depressed and is thinking that she might not be Penn State material.