- Is there a bit of selection bias in terms of the participants? The desperate and the poorly organized? If so, will these kids be helping each other or actually harming since they might be sharing the best notes?
- Are they just trying to live up to one of the course concepts---the shadow of the future. That is, we discount tomorrow compared to today and two days from now even more and so on, so that the value of the exam is only now being appreciated as a significant event worthy of planning, studying, organizing, etc.
- How severe will the free-riding be? I taught them the problems involved with collective action, so will some folks decide to join the groups but only to take and not to give?
- Is it ironic (apparently I have not been using that word correctly) that their efforts are likely to be unhelpful precisely because previous generations of McGill students pushed me to make my exams more about thinking than memorization? Not ironic just apropos, I suppose. This last minute cramming, where students hope to learn from others who have done the reading, is unlikely to help much when the question asks them to think and make an argument.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Last Minute Heroics?
Some of the students in my big intro to IR class have been organizing study groups today on the course webpage. This is very much last minute as the exam is on Wednesday morning. This has prompted a bunch of questions: