Thursday, February 19, 2009

Education Notes

Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes
There is an interesting article on the NY Times site today (thanks to David O'Hara for the Facebook heads up) on students expectation for their grades. The article suggests that students feel a sense of entitlement to an A or B for simply completing the basic course work. Different folks have different theories on the reasons why from either teaching for test results in the previous education or parental pressure. I think this sense of entitlement extends far beyond the classroom...but that is another story. While I am not teaching at this time, I have heard from a number of GTA's here at the Univ. of ND that students have similar expectations. But then again, I have heard students say that in some courses that all students begin with an A and its their grade to lose. Here, that philosophy would seem to be feeding into a sense of entitlement with an A being given rather than earned. Anyway...interesting thoughts.

Transparent Boycott Target
Campuses across the country are wrestling with what it means to be green, some with great success. had an interesting article today on Washington University in St. Louis and their "Ban the Bottle" campaign to ban plastic bottles from campus. Part of the struggle is retraining our habits and what we have been "sold" in bottled water marketing.

"“Ban the bottle” has a certain ring to it. But at a number of campuses, activists aren’t focused on restricting the sale of bottled water – citing student choice – but instead have mounted educational campaigns and are distributing reusable bottles, fixing broken water fountains, making filters available, and otherwise acting to make tap water a more convenient and palatable option."

I thought this paragraph was particularly interesting.
"Industry executives, by contrast, say, first of all, that bottled water and tap aren’t the same, and that bottled water shouldn’t be singled out for protest — especially given obesity rates and the possibility that a student will reach for a Coca-Cola instead. “I’m a little confused by Washington University because all of the beverages that they sell on campus are in plastic bottles and contain mostly water, whether it’s a soda or even a beer. It seems unreasonable and short-sighted to single out bottled water, the healthiest beverage a student can buy,” said Tom Lauria, vice president of communications for the International Bottled Water Association."

Yes, soda is not as healthy as water. But Tom, why should a student have to buy water at all? These are acts of stewardship in terms of ecology, but also our personal finances.