How do I fail the class?

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More than a few students ask how to get an A on an assignment… and I’ve answered that elsewhere… but, I also see more than a few students fail every semester — so, here’s the basic way to do that (i.e. DO NOT DO THESE THINGS, duh 🙂 ).

  • Get behind on the work — procrastinate doing the reading until the Sunday the Summarize the Readings post is due, then find out it’s more difficult than you thought.  Then, put off posting until 11:58 and have internet problems etc…
  • Don’t have a firm grasp on the pattern of work in the class — this will let you always be surprised by what’s due… and miss assignments  your classmates knew were coming.  Look at the Class Schedule and see that there are assignments due every week, and keep track of what’s due when.
  • Post the wrong stuff in a discussion / write on the wrong paper prompt etc — this is a variation of not having a firm grasp on what you’re supposed to be doing.  Keep track of the KIND of assignment required, and where you should post it.  These details are important.
  • Don’t follow the directions — that’s a variation of the last one… but it applies particularly to papers when you have a paper prompt (read and respond question, or mid-term and final papers) — don’t answer the whole thing, don’t write something that answers the question — or don’t really take time to understand the question and you’ll be well on your way to a bad grade.
  • Plagiarize, cheat, copy the ideas of another person — this is the fastest and most effective way to fail.  If I see you directly copying something from the internet, you’ll fail.  Period — if you use the ideas of someone else without somehow giving them credit, your grade will suck…

I should warn you, the most common place this second kind of cheating happens is when students plagiarize ME.  It usually happens in Ethics when they are writing about the ethics of warfare, and they’re answering a question about the readings I wrote… and they present the ideas as if they came up with them — when, I know I did… and I know I’m the first person to write that stuff because part of my research was aimed at reading other peoples’ answers… don’t do it.

Generally, if you avoid this stuff — you’ll get a decent grade…


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