277 votes
Accepted

How to deal with students who submit their homework as an attachment to a completely blank e-mail?

I don't really think this is odd: they have been asked to send the assignment by email and they did. There isn't really a need to say anything further and they didn't. Maybe it would be slightly ...
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174 votes

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

Use placeholders You can use a sign or an indication that you would never use in any other circumstances (red cross, three question marks, etc.), a short sentence ("No Answer Given", "I'm sure you ...
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  • 3,499
165 votes
Accepted

A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework: Go easy on them, or make them "pay the price?"

As an instructor, when I find myself in this situation, I invite the student to make an appointment to speak with me privately in my office. During that private meeting, I will discuss his/her ...
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  • 107k
165 votes

How can I prevent students from writing answers on an assignment, then claiming I didn't see their answer?

I scan my student's assignments. There is a big printer with scanning function in our department where you can just put in the papers and it scans all of them at once. Moreover, I do warn them ...
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  • 1,247
151 votes
Accepted

How to handle students who try to negotiate away penalties for late submission of coursework?

Adhere to the guidelines and syllabus you posted. If students can get around consequences of late submission by arguing, you have set a precedent, and they (and future generations of students) will ...
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127 votes

Should a teacher be able to solve all the assignments they give their students themselves?

In general, yes, a teacher should know how to do any assignment and, in some cases, should have actually done it. In teaching programming, for example, it is usually a mistake to assign a problem that ...
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  • 264k
118 votes
Accepted

Accidentally leaked the solution to an assignment, what to do now? (I'm the prof)

Very simple actually. Abandon the assignment. Apologize for the error, but not for wasting people's time. Those who didn't find the solution and worked on it certainly learned something. Those who ...
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  • 264k
116 votes

First year Math PhD student; My problem solving skill has been completely atrophied and continues to decline

I think it’s not a coincidence that the timing of this decline matches up with the pandemic. A lot of people are really struggling right now, I feel like I can’t do math as well as I could a year ago....
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  • 30.3k
113 votes
Accepted

Students using the same flawed online solution sheet as the grading TA

If the online sheet is incorrect and you suffered because of it, and if you have proof that the TA used that sheet, then you should point out to the professor of the course what has happened. But, ...
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  • 264k
110 votes

How to deal with students who lose their digital work?

You should deal with them in the same way that you deal with students who claim to have lost non-digital work. Here are two reasons: This is not really any different from when students complained ...
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103 votes

What to do with students coming to office hours asking to check their homework?

Answering from the point of view of a physical scientist, and in keeping with my personal take on what kinds of help are appropriate or inappropriate. (I haven't been a TA for a long time, but I ...
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102 votes

What should I do if I did someone else's homework a few years ago?

Assuming this was several years ago and not a continuing pattern, the fact that you raise the question suggests you have learned something in the interim. You should do precisely nothing about the old ...
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  • 264k
96 votes

Instructor listening in secretly in simulated intake assignment -- allowed? Ethical?

I have to side with your professor here. You did not have a private phone conversation. You had a simulated conversation with a person you knew to be a fake client with the purpose of evaluating your ...
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  • 3,927
96 votes

Is it considered plagiarism when you modify your professor's proof when solving a problem in a homework assignment?

No, this bears no resemblance whatsoever to the concept of plagiarism. The goal of homework is to get you to review what you learned in class and demonstrate that you can apply it. That is exactly ...
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  • 169k
93 votes

How to handle a student who will not accept that he is wrong?

Should I just tell him to talk to the instructor, and that my job is just marking? Yes. There's no point in getting into an extended argument with this student. The student thought his answers were ...
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91 votes

Should I prepare new homework exercises each year, 20% of the final grade is homework?

The main dilemma is that the homework is part of the grades, therefore you should prepare a new one each semester. I solved this for my programming course in a radical way (after struggling with a ...
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  • 13k
90 votes

A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework: Go easy on them, or make them "pay the price?"

I strongly recommend you start with whatever the policy is in your syllabus. Most syllabi contain details about grading, points allocation, etc. By starting here, you can avoid any claims of "unique ...
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  • 47.8k
87 votes

How to deal with students who submit their homework as an attachment to a completely blank e-mail?

When teaching large classes or multiple classes, it can be very helpful if the email, or even better the subject line, contains the key information about the class, section, group and assignment (and ...
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  • 103k
86 votes
Accepted

Nice vs. ugly numbers in homework and tests

I think I'm going to be fundamentally disagreeing with a lot of the answers here. Nice numbers definitely make problems easier, and I make a habit of using them when first introducing a concept; they ...
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85 votes

Accidentally leaked the solution to an assignment, what to do now? (I'm the prof)

Leave the solution visible. Comment on it to everyone (so it is fair). Still require everyone to turn in a solution, but cannot be verbatim copy (but they can copy the algorithm/ideas/etc). Then, ...
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  • 803
83 votes

Is it ethical to assign problem sets and not tell students which subset of problems will be graded?

While it may average out to be alright, it is very important to look at the other side and consider how a student perceives this grading practice. Students don't tend to look at the average but on the ...
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  • 1,132
79 votes
Accepted

Why are exercises in US university classes graded?

Exercises are graded because if they were not graded, many students would not do them. You are quite correct however in perceiving that this is bad. It creates an unhealthy confusion between formative ...
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  • 169k
74 votes

First year Math PhD student; My problem solving skill has been completely atrophied and continues to decline

I experienced a similar deterioration in those skills during my time as a Ph.D. student. A key element in enabling me to recover those problem-solving skills was TAing (working as a teaching ...
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68 votes

Is a professor required to provide homework solutions?

No. The professor gets to decide if it would be more beneficial for students' learning to provide full solutions, partial solutions, or no solutions to homework problems.
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  • 8,354
67 votes

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

First of all, I think the distribution that you're seeing is not very unusual, and indeed looks very similar to the distribution of times that I see coming from mature scientists submitting conference ...
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  • 181k
65 votes
Accepted

I’m being asked to research maths for my Python module. Is this right?

I’m being asked to research maths for my Python module No, you are not. It sounds like you're being asked to do some elementary data analysis or data science. "Researching math" is a ...
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  • 51.9k
60 votes

Can I request for a change of a musical piece assigned to me due to physical discomfort?

would it be wrong of me to ask my tutor if I could do another piece of his music like Lacrimosa/Requiem or the 9th Symphony for one half of my assignment? No, it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask and ...
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  • 264k
58 votes

Professor does not care about cheating, what should TA do?

I realize that the following advice may be very unsatisfying. But you may need to hear it, just to save yourself from grief. I hope it helps. It may be that you have done all that you can do without ...
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  • 264k
56 votes

How do textbook authors and professors cook up homework/assignment questions?

You missed scenario f, which I suspect is the most common: The professor has been teaching this class and refining the textbook/notes for years, and developed homework questions out of problems that ...
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  • 107k
56 votes

What to do about a student who missed multiple assignments and claims illness?

First, there may very well be policies in place to handle this, so I would check those first, in case your hands are tied in some way. Generally speaking however, I'm fairly permissive with medical ...
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