Monday, July 30, 2007

Too Stupid to Cheat

Last Thursday was my last summer class. There is supposed to be a class scheduled for Tuesday, but instead of an in-class exam, I gave my students a take-home final with the option of emailing me the exam as an attachment.

Convenient for everyone involved.


I was already looking forward to my whole month "off" without having to teach. Of course, there is the whole issue of grading the exams that I was avoiding. Now if the students just do what they need to do, the whole process could be nearly painless.

The first exam trickled into my in-box today and with it my dreams for a quick start to my abbreviated summer break quickly disappeared. The essays in the exam contain blatant plagiarism. Now there are sophisticated programs I can use to check for academic dishonesty, but this exam only required me to open the document to see the damning evidence.

MS Word has the annoying tendency to lift links and insert them into documents when you clip and paste from websites. In this case, however, it immediately flagged the irregularity and led me straight to the wikipedia page where from it was lifted.

Common people - if you are going to cheat, do a better job of covering your tracks! How can you submit an electronic document with the hyperlinks to the site still in it? That is laziness and ineptitude to the greatest degree!

Better yet, read the syllabus and know that cheating is NOT an option and it will result in a lot of problems for you:
Students are expected to read and understand ______ College’s academic integrity policy, which can be found in the ______ College Catalog. Members of the _____ College community are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors. All the written assignments must reflect a student’s own work. If you use the material from other books, articles, and/or online sources, you must indicate it in footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations. If you have questions about how to do this, let me know. Failure to make the distinction between your own thoughts and the insights of someone else constitutes plagiarism. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be subject to the College’s disciplinary procedures.
Moreover it irritates me because now I need to become involved in a bureaucratic process when I was looking forward to my brief month off.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Home Alone

Sara left for Mexico yesterday. She is doing an intensive Spanish program for two weeks - ya era hora!

I will be going down in about ten days to see my father and she will meet up with me. We will probably do some 'splorin' for a couple of days before coming back.

Things were really hectic around here before she left. I had the last days of my summer class, she was getting ready to go, and we had a minor dog emergency. Then two days before Sara was to leave, she got a call from DC. She had applied for a job there and she had an on-campus interview in June. The call was to offer her the position.

Talk about stress.

After much (and very quick) deliberation, she turned the position down. It was difficult for her because the job was good (although not yet tenure-track).

So I am alone now - with two needy dogs. They get that way when travel occurs - by anyone. It is hot and extremely steamy. I don't like this weather.

More to say, but I am just not really in the mood.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

We joined a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) Farm this year after Sara had finished reading Michael Pollans' Omnivore's Dilemma. We had been thinking of doing it before, but we had just never lived in one place long enough to actually do it.

The way it works is that you buy a share of the farm's seasonal production. Every week you go to the farm (some have collection sites away from the farm) and pick up that week's harvest. Our share started producing in mid-June and hopefully it will go long into the fall (probably mid- to end of October). After our first share, we realized the two of us could not consume everything we got in a week, so we split the share with a fellow anthropologist from the college where I work.

So far we have gotten a lot of lettuce and greens, a few peas (the fields got flooded in May and most of the planted peas got washed away), cucumbers, radishes, beets, basil, cilantro, parsley, carrots, and beans. It is fun seeing how the produce changes each week.

It is also nice chatting with the farmers and hearing what is doing well and what some of their struggles are.

For the most part, the veggies also taste great. There were a couple of radishes that where just to sharp and bitter for my liking.

Unfortunately, we are still very much tied into the large food production network. But I like mangos, avocados, coffee, spices, cheeses etc. too much to give up on it completely. I do try to get milk and yogurt from grass-fed and hormone/antibiotic-free cows. I think it is important to just be aware of where your food comes from, even if you can't or do not want to consume local, organic, and ethically produced food.

There have been omens about the breakdown or the poisoning of the food network recently. Sometime soon there will probably be a bigger emergency. I hope it doesn't come down my path.

With that I am off to munch on something that came from the field in the picture above.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Zephyr!

Thanks for putting up with us, giving us affection, and being a great all around dog.

[She turns 6 today - buffalo (as in the animal, not the style or the place - and yes, I do know it really is a bison) burgers to celebrate!]

Monday, July 09, 2007


Bleh, Phew, & Ugh...

Sorry, folks...