school projects

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philba
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school projects

Post by philba » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:55 pm

How do people feel about helping students with projects? I see this in other electronics group and have noticed a couple of requests like this lately.<p>Here's my take on it. If the student identifies themself and a) asks intelligent questions and b) doesn't ask that the project be done for them, then I dont mind helping. Questions that indicate they have already done some work are good. <p>However, I really do object to a student coming here and asking for a completed design. Or completely clueless questions that indicate a total absence of any preparation. <p>Maybe I'm being cranky but I sure wouldn't want to be hooked up to some medical instrument that was designed by some one who didn't do their projects for themselves. Or in a plane with instruments designed by them. <p>What is REALLY sad is when some clown comes asking for a design and a quick google shows at least one perfect match right on the first page of results. Gawd, they can't even cheat competently.

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Re: school projects

Post by dyarker » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:54 pm

Here, here, seconded!<p>----------------------------
And in some cases it appears teachers are handing out/requesting projects before even teaching Ohm's Law. What's THAT all about?????<p>[ February 03, 2005: Message edited by: Dale Y ]</p>
Dale Y

Bernius1
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Re: school projects

Post by Bernius1 » Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:28 am

Agreed.
Can't we end all posts with a comical quip?

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Re: school projects

Post by jimandy » Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:13 am

How's this for an about face.<p>The teacher monitors this forum, selects one or more challenging topics, and, as homework, assigns the student to write a post on the subject. Then we (heh heh) will give the student a grade!
"if it's not another it's one thing."

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philba
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Re: school projects

Post by philba » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:32 am

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by jimandy:
How's this for an about face.<p>The teacher monitors this forum, selects one or more challenging topics, and, as homework, assigns the student to write a post on the subject. Then we (heh heh) will give the student a grade!<hr></blockquote><p>Lol, I love that idea.

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haklesup
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Re: school projects

Post by haklesup » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:01 am

This hypothetically unprepared student would learn the valuable lesson about not seeking help before one has done the minimum everyone knows you CAN do by yourself.<p>This student might also learn quickly that slackers are easier to spot than they thought and noone likes to help out a slacker.<p>They might also learn an incomplete question spawns more questions than answers.<p>Hmm, there is much to be learned doing things the easy way, just not about what you ask.<p>[ February 04, 2005: Message edited by: haklesup ]</p>

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philba
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Re: school projects

Post by philba » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:16 am

yup Hackles, I think its valuable to learn that you show up prepared. Lookin like an idiot isn't going to advance one's cause in life.

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Re: school projects

Post by josmith » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:40 am

A big part of a good education is knowing where to get information. If this is the right place then they have done their homework already.

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Re: school projects

Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:51 am

Careful there, fellow hobbyists. I am a slacker and I have no problem looking like just as much an idiot as I am, but won't cover my *ss to look less nor let someone make me look more. Further, some of my best questions are incomplete. That's half of what drives me to learn more.

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philba
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Re: school projects

Post by philba » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:25 pm

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by josmith:
A big part of a good education is knowing where to get information. If this is the right place then they have done their homework already.<hr></blockquote><p>I assume you don't mean that's all they need to do.<p>The library is a great place to find out about lots of stuff. Despite what Woody Allen says, just showing up doesn't mean one has done much. Ad Absurdum - knowing where to buy a term paper on line doesn't constitute research.<p>I like to think that homework entails more than finding out where you can get the answer. Like having a basic clue about what you are asking. Asking "I need a circuit for X" doesn't cut it with me. Sometimes I actaully see what looks like the class assignment, verbatim. If they had said, "I'd like to get pointers to understand how I can do X". That's a different thing and ok, IMHO.

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Re: school projects

Post by Dean Huster » Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:17 pm

"A big part of a good education is knowing where to get information. If this is the right place then they have done their homework already." <p>OK. I'm the teacher who has 20+ years in the profession (vocational electronics). Enter the slacking students with lousy grades (the typical student is in my class because he heard that vo-tech is an easy "A" -- WRONG in my class) and don't want to bring the "F" and "D" home to Mommy and Daddy. They want you to give them an extra credit assignment at the eleventh hour to bring their grade up. I give them a choice: (a) do some AM broadcast band DXing and fill out two log sheets supplied by the teacher (about 30 stations, no big deal) with all the pertinent information such as call sign, date, time, frequency, program material, etc. or (b) do the same but SW DXing or (c) write a 10-page paper on the history of radio.<p>In the case of (a), the students complain that "AM sucks, it's all talk" and won't do it, not understanding the fun and excitement of receiving clear channel stations from all over at night and loads of regional stations during the day. The one or two that attempt it are caught in the lie, receiving the clear channel stations during the daytime from 1000 miles away or the regional stations at night, also from 1000 miles away.<p>In the case of (b) SW is nothing but confusion for them because the SW receiver you loaned him has more than two knobs, no 15 channel equilizer and an analog display.<p>In the case of (c), the one that really gets me p-oed, the student gets on the internet and does a Google search (that's the "knowing where to get the information" part) and cuts and pastes plagiarized material from five sources into his paper in whatever haphazard order falls out and hands it in. Takes him all of 30 minutes at home for this paper and he probably didn't even read any of the material that was included.<p>
"The library is a great place to find out about lots of stuff."<p>Yeah, a little about a lot and a lot about very little. You have to hit the library in a major city to do you any good or the library on an engineering college campus. Under "Electronics" in our library, I can find out how to do electrical wiring and fix computers. There's not even a Radio Amateur's Handbook on the shelf which used to be a staple in any city library. At the nearest B&N or Hastings bookstores, I never could find copies of Poptronics or Nuts & Volts and their technical book sections are sorely limited. They have plenty of stuff about every computer program or system in the world but nothing on Ohms' Law.<p>BUT HERE'S MY REAL POINT (the other was just my typical bitching): If you see a kid on the forum with any kind of curiosity at all, help him out, even if it does seem like you're just answering the test questions for him. Maybe you'll pique his interest and he'll come back on an avocational hunt vs. a scholastic hunt ... or both. Kids aren't interested in electronics these days because it's dull. Electronics doesn't have loud music or exciting adventures as do the stereos and video games. I'm excited when I can build a working 4-20ma current loop from discrete components but that's nothing but boredom to the uninitiated kid who doesn't see the application. Let's hook 'em in any way we can.<p>Dean<p>[ February 04, 2005: Message edited by: Dean Huster ]</p>
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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Dave Dixon
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Re: school projects

Post by Dave Dixon » Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:27 pm

Dean,
I try not to reply when I have nothing additional to contribute. In this case I have to reply. Thanks for the very well written post that echoes my sentiments exactly! Kudos,
Dave (9 minutes 'till quitting time on a Friday!!!) 5PM Central...Despite the time shown above!!!<p>[ February 04, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Dixon ]</p>

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haklesup
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Re: school projects

Post by haklesup » Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:27 pm

If doing things the easiest way makes you a slacker than so am I but don't worry Daniel, a lack of knowledge or diction to state a question is not what is at issue here. To me, and in this context, a slacker is one who sacrifices true learning in favor of finishing quickly with little effort.<p>For those who have read my posts, you know I often answer with 10X the text of the question in an effort to cover bases maybe not stated. I also try to answer more completely than is necessary because there are probably many readers who never post. (That's just me, the rest of you carry on as usual)<p>For the teachers, I might recommend you embrace plagiarism. Assign a 20pp report made up of articles edited from at least 25 sources in print or on the web. The student must organize and edit the parts together to make a point and write the intro, connecting paragraphs and conclusion themselves. They learn the subject, editing skills and how to footnote references. Not for English class though, they still need to learn write complete ideas there but it seems appropriate for science class etc. If the report is submitted in HTML, it is real easy for the teacher to check references and cross ref to other students work.<p>I know there is nothing new about a research paper, but I went to school before the internet and this assignment would have meant long hours in a library flipping through books and transcribing text. Now it can be done in a couple hours at home. Back then it would have been easier to make up references or use too few now it is completely the opposite, it's easier to use the references than it is to write your own.

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Re: school projects

Post by bridgen » Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:18 pm

Vis-à-vis Dean's (c):<p>I taught South American army techs our (Racal) radios for a few years.
During the exams I allowed them to have the equipment technical manuals, reasoning that they couldn't be expected to remember everything and that they would have them while trouble shooting anyway. <p>I did, however, explain to them that the object of the exams was to convince me, through their answers, that they understood the equipment.<p>Nevertheless there was always a minority who copied, word for word, whole paragraphs from a manual and sunbmitted these. <p>They didn't seem to understand why I wouldn't give them a decent, never mind full, score.
And this despite asking how they would feel as the patient of a surgeon who had achieved his position by cheating. <p>Regarding Dean's REAL POINT: <p>Yes; but. <p>If you have reasonable grounds for thinking that he's cheating, say so. <p>Otherwise a commendable standpoint.

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Re: school projects

Post by Dean Huster » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:34 pm

Eeehhhhhh, I have a hard time embracing plagiarism just like I have a hard time embracing copyright infringement. They're not too much different. In my example of the kid's "research paper" (and it was an actual event), he didn't write a danged thing. He rearranged the work of others. At least in the old days of ibid. and op. cit., the kid would at least absorb a little bit just by retyping the material and gain even more by manually finding the material at the library and hand-copying it (no copiers back then), plagiarism or not. As wonderful as computers are for some applications, they've allowed honest students to develop some really great papers and dishonest students to output the required number of pages of BS by sacrificing a half-hour's worth of salivating over Laura's Craft's [Note 1] cartoon body parts.<p>When we get on the subject of education, my hackles rise, for I feel that our educational system is letting us down. Trouble is, you can't point the finger at any one thing. Government, parents, technology, students, teacher education, teachers, sports, administration, computers, curriculum .... and that's just a partial list .... it's all to blame. And it's at every level from preschool/daycare, all the way through graduate school. And you can throw all the money at the problem that you want and it'll have not one bit of effect. But I can fix me. I've found that I have literally no control on the rest. Best I can do with students in influence them in a positive way.<p>Dean<p>Note 1: If I misspelled her name, it's because I have virtually no knowledge of video games developed since Pong and Pacman.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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