March 16, 2007

Yes you do have to do the prerequisite...

What is it about students wanting to take a course for which not only don't they have the prerequisite, they don't even have the prerequisite to the prerequisite?

Student T tried to enrol late on a particular advanced programming course (late enrolling students can be refused entry). Noticing that not only has he not passed the prerequisite programming course, he hasn't even passed the prerequisite for the prerequisite, I refused him entry. Next thing I know, he's made the same request again, this time accompanied by a wheedling email saying he does have a bit of programming experience and won't let me down. He says he'd talked to his adviser of studies, and his adviser was ok with it.

Hmm, what do I smell? The smell of unentitlement, betrayed by the "But my adviser said it would be ok...." prefix. I check T's record again. His record reveals that not only is there no evidence that he can program, but there is definite evidence to suggest he can't program, because he took the easiest programming course twice and failed it both times!

As for the adviser, no he had not ok-ed it and was perfectly happy that I refuse the student entry on a course for which he had not got the prerequisites. Why do students try and play us off against each other? Do they think we don't talk to each other?

Another student N, had tried the advanced programming course before, when he'd attempted to plagiarise his way through it, and then failed. Surprise. He tried to enrol again for the course, but this time he tried to enrol late. So I check his record and find out he hasn't got the prerequisite programming course, nor the prerequisite of the prerequisite (in other words he hasn't passed either of the two easier programming courses he needs in order to do the advanced course). So I reject the request, politely and carefully outlining why he isn't being enrolled, and suggesting he go and enrol for a basic programming module instead.

A few days later, along comes N with a form for me to sign to enrol him on the advanced programming course. He looked utterly astonished when I refused to sign it.


At 1:47 pm, Blogger James said...

Dear UniSpeak,

As you may know already I have an interest in blogs about work.

I started to look at such blogs two years, but for reasons I won’t bore you with, prevented me from developing the project beyond a questionnaire exercise.

I am now, finally, at a stage where I can spend enough time researching a phenomenon I find very interesting and expect others to do so when I get around to telling them!

So, why I am telling you this?

Well, I’m looking for some input into a research project that investigates work-related blogs – something that hardly anyone has written about before.

I have no intention of ‘outing’, or indicating in any way, any blogger.

The paper is not about sensationalising blogs.

It’s more to do with exploring the significance of a wider emerging trend of ‘ordinary’ people exploiting the web for any number of reasons.

At this stage I would like to first of all request your permission to use excerpts from your blog for my paper.

If you do allow me to do this I promise to consult with you on what I intend to use and how I intend to use it.

Any other feedback or direction from you would be welcomed.

To be more specific, and based on what several sources have said out such blogs in the past (newspapers, trade journals and academics), I’m looking for blog entries that cover the following themes:

1) Postings that would be viewed by your employer, or any other employer, as some sort of nuisance to them.

2) Postings that you believe could lead to disciplinary action if your employer knew about what you were doing (especially if you post anonymously).

3) Postings that offer an ‘honest’ review of how you are expected to work (e.g. outlining ridiculous practices or expectations from management, etc.).

4) Postings that could be viewed as being news from the workplace or ‘spilling the beans’ on a certain work-related matter that you feel should be in the public domain.

5) Postings that you feel could shape public opinion about what you do or how your job has an impact on others, even if your blog is read by a small number of people.

6) Postings that are about you, whether you intended at the onset to do it or not, revealing aspects of your job that others could learn from, i.e. tricks of the trade or tacit knowledge.

7) Postings that reflect the possibility of loneliness at work, i.e. writing in a manner that indicates you wish you had more support or chance to discuss matters with others at work.

8) Postings that are clearly about trying to get one over on management, i.e. resistance.

Some of these requests may appear similar or vague and it’s unlikely that you will be able to provide examples of all of the above, but any examples of any category will be appreciated.

Like I said I before, posting can (and will be) changed in a manner that protects your or anyone else’s identity.

I should also say while I’m at it that I am looking for bloggers to make a contribution to another project that I intend to get started on very soon.

It would be an edited book (many contributors) that would a) cover research on work-related blogs, b) allow bloggers to tell their story of what blogging about work has done for them.

For bloggers this could mean anything and I mean anything. For example, if blogging has won you an audience and adulation then write about that. If blogging has helped you meet people who have helped you in some way that would be excellent too. If blogging just ended up being a burden that has brought no advantages then write about that.

Again, I’m not sure how I want this to go and would appreciate any ideas from you. For example, you could write this all yourself or I could interview you and take it from there.

Anyway, these are my ideas and I’d really appreciated any input from yourself.

Please free to contact me about this.

We can speak on the telephone if this would help.

In total confidence and sincerity.

James Richards
Lecturer in HRM
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, UK.


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