The mid-term exam that i ran yesterday during the college-level Flash course i’m teaching was an absolute slaughter. Limbs flying, computers exploding, babies endangered … just an action-packed mess. It served as the perfect rationale for my recent articles on What’s Wrong with Ontario Colleges (Part 1 and Part 2).
These are the notes for the mid-term that the students followed. They had to build this game:
[SWF]http://www.untoldentertainment.com/blog/files/midTerm/test1_sampleGame.swf, 550, 400[/SWF]
To date, the students have received 20 classes (60 hours) of Flash instruction. i’ve taught 6 of those classes. i haven’t marked the assignments yet, but i have the distinct feeling that very few of the 30+ students, if any, finished with a working “game”.
An End to the No-Fail Generation
i mentioned in another post that these students are the No-Fail Generation. They have been given breaks and second chances left and right. Since they were completely inept at emailing files, at least one teacher took pity on them and would pass around a keydrive for them to upload their finished exams. i decried this as so much spoon-feeding. i was bound and determined to require the students to email me. Here were their instructions:
HANDING IN YOUR MID-TERM EXAM:
Add ALL of your files to a zip archive file. This includes your fla, your swf, your .as files, and your FlashDevelop .as3proj file if you have one. Name the zip file using your first inital and last name.
My name is Ryan Creighton, so i would name the zip file rcreighton.zip.
Use your own name. DO NOT send me a file called rcreighton.zip.
email the file to profryan ~at~ untoldentertainment ~dot~ com. (i had the actual address available – obscuring it here to foil the spiders.) If you want to be sure it reaches me, add your own email address to the cc (carbon copy) line. If you receive the email, I’ll receive the email.
Failure to email your properly-named zip file to me by the end of class at 6PM will result in a zero grade – no exceptions, no extensions.
Read that last part carefully for me. i wanted a properly-named zip file. That’s all i asked. One simple thing. And screwing that one simple thing up would result in an Insta-Fail, and a loss of 20% of the final class mark.
So! What did i receive in my inbox? A number of students sent me zip files that were called “monsterGame.zip” or “midTermExam.zip”. Those students, i’m resolved to fail. i have to. i will mark their exams and show them the grade they could have earned. But despite the instructions being clearly stated, and despite having spent 20 minutes on how to zip, name, and attach a file to an email in the previous class, i still got monsterGame.zip from some students. If that’s not a fail, i don’t know what is.
Oh – So You’re a Hard-Ass?
No, i’m not a hard-ass. i’m a realist. i want these students to succeed. And if the most careless students want to waste their time and tuition money learning how to follow a simple instruction and send an email attachment, and that’s the ONLY skill they possess when they emerge from college, then at least i’ll have taught those students something.
The LAST thing i want is for these students to embarrass themselves in the workplace by being completely useless, telling everyone “Ryan Creighton taught me Flash!”
Your Opinion Required
My dilemma is what to do with a student like Bob Smith, who emailed me a file called bsmith_monstergame.zip. Technically, Bob Smith did not follow the instructions. i did not receive a file with ONLY his first initial and last name. i got a file with his first initial, last name, an underscore, and some other nonsense that he thought might be helpful.
i haven’t checked all of the files, but i know there are at least three Bob Smiths in the class who messed this up in a similar way. So i open the floor to you, dear readers: knowing that i am going to award a zero grade to students who did not follow the naming convention, what do i do with the students who named the file properly, but appended some extra jazz to the end?
Take the poll and let me know!
And if you’re one of my students and you decide to vote, please identify yourself in the comments! :)