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I'm a second year student of University of Sydney.
Currently I'm doing a subject called 'Collaborative Virtual Environments'.
And posting some writeup on E2 is one of our assessment.
Unfortunately half of the class must fail this assessments due to the unfair scoring system.
There is around 30 students in our lab, but only 15 can pass this task according to the marking criteria.
We are supposed to post 3 write-ups per students, and the top 6 can get full marks, the next 6 get 80% of the marks, then the next 6 after that get 60%, and then, the rest are all FAIL with 40%~0% of the marks.A direct quote from the tutor is 'this is a competition'.
The most ridiculous thing is, our write-ups are marked by the number of C! we gain! And I just searched for some write-ups under 'Cool Writeups' and 'Editors Selections', the one with most C! is 8C!
And according to the Voting/Experience System of E2, C! is so rare that only 4th level users can get one C! per day. Who will waste their time and C! on some university assessments..?

Note: Although I have editorial privs on this site, the following is purely my opinion and not 'official site policy' or even anything I've run past anyone else.

To whomever gave this 'assignment' to defenseless uni students, a few comments.

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Well, okay, I live in the United States and survived the Bush administration, so no, not the most ridiculous, but still. Let's see, you're trying to be a lazy shit by offloading grading work onto the collective judgement of a bunch of anonymous people on the Internet? Great thinking, Sherlock. Furthermore, it's incredibly insulting to us as a community. We (we would like to think) have some basic standards required for content and writing that is submitted to Everything2. We act to discourage the submission of materials that don't make the grade, or at the very least to encourage the revision and reworking of said materials until they pass muster. What we don't do is operate according to a predictable or even concisely explainable indicator of 'quality.' We're more like an eccentric magazine - you can submit to us, but what we'll think of your work may be random, and may not be to your liking.

So you've just told your students that in order to get decent grades, they have to please not a professor or TA with whom they can clearly discuss grading standards, but a weird headless death cult of writer apostles somewhere in the Wired. That's sure to make them happy with you.

From our point of view, why would you do this? We're always happy to get new users. We're very, very happy to see students encouraged to log on, poke around, and join our community. What will be a net loss for everyone, however, is if those students are held to an unrealistic standard for their interactions here, causing them to become frustrated and bitter - and if those students are told they must submit content into our sometimes-brutal mill, causing them to become frustrated and bitter with us. Look, not everyone is a writer. People lurk here happily for years. Others become valued members of the community through the site's interactive features alone. Some of our best writers lurked for years before starting to node. But you're telling them they have to jump into the deep end, with time pressure, and submit themselves up to the cauldron - and win, in essence, to pass your course. You're sending us new users - and we love that - but you're doing it in a way guaranteed to provide at least half of them (according to the user above) will end up bitter and angry about it, and possibly blaming our community. Listen, making people bitter and angry is something we already know how to do; we don't need you stacking the game.

Finally, did you even bother researching what you were asking them to do? As the poor student above me notes, Cools are not precisely normal indicators of quality. They are intended to be reserved for postings that the userbase considers to be of exceptional quality, even for E2. In order to encourage that, we make them a scarce resource for users; even the highest-level users here get no more than two cools per day to spend, total. It would be bad enough if you asked them to achieve a particular writeup reputation, but to demand Cools? That's so stupid I don't even know what else to say.

Students: You might get some 'pity' Cools. That's because despite the general appearance to the contrary, there are lots of generally nice people on E2, of which I am not one. You might also get genuine Cools, indicating that users here really do like your work and consider it worthy of special notice. The problem is that you won't be able to tell the difference without asking, which reduces our site's 'special spotlight' to nothing more than a game mechanic. This will tend to piss off the more bitter and angry users (like me). Don't take this personally. It's not your fault. This writeup is intended to assure you that while you may run into bitter and angry users here, some of us are coming up with this vitriol for whoever assigned this - and may simply be undisciplined enough to pour some on you for being handy.

I will ask the following, in a heartfelt tone. When you think of E2, try to separate the fairly irrelevant game that you've been set to play from the actual mechanics of the site. Lurk if you'd prefer. Read, always; read as much as you can. Ask for help - there are places to go and people to ask, even if that might not work within your grading timeframe.

But don't judge our website by how we react to the task to which you've been set. We think people should contribute content because they want to, not because they've been told to.

To whoever had this wonderful idea: Treat E2 as a source of data; treat it as a sample community, treat it as an experiment. All those are perfectly sensible uses for the website. But please, don't treat us as a clockwork maze you can set your students to in order to 'measure performance.' That's unfair to them, unfair to us, and just plain lazy.

I want to assume that you were just enthusiastic about getting an actual web community or publication into your course, and I also want you to know that despite my rant here I am flattered that E2 was the one chosen. I also want you to know that I submit rants like this to long-time site members (who I like) all the time; in this case, though, because I don't know your identity I am forced to use this venue.

I should also consider the possibility that the above was, in reality, just an expert trolling. If so, then bravo! Well done.

Greets all

Random griping about the vagaries of education are not interesting.
There are more useful places to post concerns about academic processes.

Setting E2 as a university project does not bother me in itself. I can imagine a lecturer like Michael Wesch doing something similar for his Digital Ethnography subject. He has previously sent people into the wilds of YouTube and asked them to come forth with wisdoms. He also pitted them against each other in a fabricated world economy and watched a goodly percentage of them die a virtual death. Both projects have resulted in some interesting thinking by the students and some interesting media for the internet at large. I guess I am expecting that this kind of exploration of digital community space might become more common as the kinds of spaces available become big enough to yield interesting results. One day there will be thousands of students lost to the synaptic morass that is percolating on Simulacron3's scratchpads. I doubt "The Project" will be a soft target.

In higher levels of university learning it is common to submit a paper for a peer-reviewed publication. Only a set number of those submissions get in. Perhaps you could consider this your first opportunity to develop a live profile on the issues you are interested in.

FTW: My feeling as a fellow Australian on E2 is that I would like to welcome the students here, but to ask them to pull their collective and individual fingers out of their derrières and to do us proud. While in E2, forget that the class is there and write something you feel strongly about. Node the best surf beach, node a band, node some of our wondrous marsupials, or deranged eccentrics, something you care about, collaborative communities perhaps, or an animation studio, aesthetic and cost differences between stop-frame and digital animation?

Link the sucker: Do a search for a collection of three or four words in your writeup (while you still have it brewing in your scratchpad) and look for interesting nodes to link through to. The things you link to in E2 give your writing an additional dimension for wit, clarity, and irony. Enjoy that depth of literature and personality under your writeup and give it some decent roots into the nodegel.

I just wanted to clarify one point about Collaborative Virtual Environment's students and our "griping". Our course is a small, rather specialized design degree. This particular course (Collaborative Virtual Environments) sounded promising in the overview. However this subject's content is rather redundant to us, and it seems that (this may be rather cynical), like a another subject we took last year, it is being run simply to justify research money . I won't go into specifics, but most of the technologies we're learning about are 5+ years old and many of us use quite prolifically, for example, we spent a whole week on the different functions of msn messenger, which i personally have been using since i was 10! This seems redundant as our degree is basically about learning new design technologies. This sort of thing has left me and the rest of my class feeling rather disillusioned with Collaborative Virtual Environments.

The incident that ycha5217 described was the proverbial last straw for many of us. Up until this point we had whined and complained about the subject amongst ourselves, but just got on with it. However as we're approaching the last 4 weeks of semester and assessments are starting to pile up (many of us are doing animation, important to many of our career goals, where a lot of time is needed), to have a tutor stand up in front of the class and tell us that we had to put so much time and effort in to something that half of us wouldn't even pass was... well that was it.

So just to clarify. The DesComp students studying Collaborative Virtual Environments have been rather good sports about it (especially since we're paying $900 to do this subject, others more, I moved from North Queensland to do this degree), until now, where we have been intentionally pitted against each other to secure marks for this pointless subject.

For anyone following this story, we'd like to inform you that our lecturer/tutor for Collaborative Virtual Environments have changed the assessment criteria after our "griping". Here's an excerpt from the email we got this morning:

"In response to the concern of some students regarding the marking criteria for the tutorial activity yesterday (13th May 2009), we realize the current one might induce certain unfair competition among students. Thus, we decide to change the marking criteria as follows:

If you write your own three write-ups and successfully post them before 23rd May, you get 5 points. However, if they are deleted (e2 does not allow copy&pasted articles and other non-original writings) before 30th May (due date), you will lose 1/3 of the marks. The number of clicks and "c!" on your
write-ups will NOT be considered as part of your marking."

So I would like to thank our fellow griping students for their logical arguments against unfair lazy assessments and the E2 community for its support. I look forward to lurking for a while before posting my three write-ups (as I love writing I will attempt to make them as interesting as possible!) and trying to get the most out of this opportunity.

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