Category Archives: The view from the front of the room

Turning down student requests for deadline extensions

A story in Inside Higher Ed (“McGill professor manages to turn down student request and gain popularity“) looks like a great example of turning the plea for extending a deadline a fun and teachable moment.

There is something worse than forgetting to attach the attachment

Yesterday, I found that I had typo on an online review sheet that led some students to read an extra chapter before an exam. Reading that an Iowa TA accidentally sent nude photos of herself to her class made me feel better about my mistake.

The Socrastic Method


From PHD Comics: The Socrastic Method.


Did we cover anything important?


Here’s a strip (PHD Comics: Is that in the book?) that some of my faculty friends might want for your door. This is the kind of conversation I think about when I hear state legislators talk about “accountability” in higher education. Sometimes it’s not the schools fault when a student doesn’t graduate. In fact, it’s simply faculty doing their part to protect employers.

Why faculty don’t provide more input

I was recently asked to serve on another committee. I declined. This Non Sequitur comic sums explains my reluctance.




It’s in the syllabus.

If you’re not already reading PhD Comics  you should take a look. Here’s their perfect end-of-semester strip on the fragile role of the syllabus in the ecosystem of students.


It would be tempting to make this a mandatory part of every syllabus

Calvin says it all


I think this Calvin and Hobbs strip effectively summarizes the anxieties that professors and public school teachers have about seeing their salaries tied to standardized test scores or student course evaluations.

Protesting a C

Calvin and Hobbes could be very insightful. ch130327-1

What, me work?

Today’s Doonesbury Strip reminded me of the kind of magical thinking some of  my students engage in. They don’t work at their education because they don’t think it will be needed when they have that brilliant idea that catapults them ahead of all their classmates. I hear similar complaints from employers.

I don’t know what to say to convince them that even the brightest ideas take a lot of work to refine and implement. It’s good to have Doonesbury on your side. Still, I doubt the message will get through in a comic strip that take so long to read.


Ready to start class


I think we’ve all seen this. Students ready to start class but not doing so well on follow up.

Jim’s Journal Comic Strip, September 10, 2012 on