Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season

To whine about grading.  Of course, the best way to improve a painful experience, like an endless graduation ceremony, department meetings, or attending a bris, is to invent a drinking game.  Inspired by some friends' facebook updates (H/T to Beth and Pete), here are some basic rules:
  1. Small sips--unless it is a seminar, you are going to need to pace yourself.
  2. Likewise, pick something relatively low in alcoholic content (whatever you do, do not drink Tactical Nuclear Penguin while you grade) or else you will be making a mess of the papers/exams when you dance on them.
  3. Perhaps work collaboratively, so that you don't drink every time one of the key drinking rules are invoked.
Ok, so what are the drinking triggers?  Drink whenever a paper or exam does one of the following:
  • Basics first: did they put their name on the paper?  No?  Drink.
  • Misspells a central concept that changes the meaning of the sentence/paragraph/argument.  For instance: gorilla instead of guerrilla.
  • Uses wikipedia as a primary source (thanks, Dan D.)
  • Paper is mis-stapled so the pages are out of order.  Drink twice if you cannot easily assemble the pages in the correct order.*
  • No thesis statement?  No drinking or else the game will become akin to the events of my bachelor party--not a good thing. But if the thesis appears only as a conclusion, then drink.
  • Drink if you spill some beer on the papers (the Wayne Norman rule). 
  • Don't drink if you cannot make sense of the ordering of the paragraphs.  That will just cause more confusion.
  • Misquotes you.  Drink twice.
  • Plagiarizes you.  Finish the bottle.
  • Applies Chomsky when Chomsky was never used in any of the class readings (used to be Marx, but now some undergrads become smitten with Chomsky and see his applicability everywhere).  
Ok, that is a decent start.  I have not done as much grading lately (the primary benefit of teaching big lecture classes), so remind me of the things that will drive you to drink.

*  Students seem run out of staples when papers are due.  I hate the plastic binder thingy's since papers slip out.  Same for paper clips and same for the students who create a paper staple by ripping creatively.  I miss a doo-hickey we had all over the Joint Staff that put nice tight little blinder clips on to documents but could be removed easily.  Never saw them before or since.


Rodger said...

Misuses its or it's. Drink. If student writes "its'" drink twice.

Plagiarizes any work so blatantly that the offense is found on Google in less than a minute. Drink.

Paper does not include required bibliography or notes. Drink.

Bibliography is attached, but includes many unused citations and is typed in a different font. Drink twice.

Steve Saideman said...

Good ones. Opens up the whole field of not following directions such as fonts, page/word limits, topics, etc.

Anonymous said...


To be fair, a 'bibliography' is meant to include all works read, not just those referenced in the paper.

I'll add: Works cited incorrectly, following neither APA nor MLA (nor any other accepted format). Though that alone might get ya hammered.

Chip G said...

@Rodger, I thought of that one (its/it's), but it's way too easy, sounds like just an excuse to drink, a lot!

How about a drink for every time a cited author's name is misspelled -- especially if it's one that was an assigned reading in the course, then, two shots!

Anonymous said...

I misspelled my own name once. Go buy another crate.

Ora said...

Page-long paragraphs -- drink. Misspells your name on the cover page -- drink.
Lists the wrong professor's name on the cover page -- drink twice.
References Ayn Rand -- finish the bottle while weeping for the future of our civilization.

Beth said...

I just came up with a plan that I'm seriously considering implementing. I'll have a donation jar to an NGO related to the topic of the course. If students come in and ask to borrow a stapler as they are trying to turn the paper in, I'll let them use mine if they put a donation in the jar.