Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The "50 pointless questions" assignment

UNISA have compulsory assignments that you have to submit before certain dates in order for you to gain admission to write the exams. They count for 10% of your final mark.

All the modules I've taken always have 2 compulsory assignments and a few non-compulsory self-check exercises. Psychology, however, had 3 compulsory assignments, the last being due today. It was a 50 question compulsory assignment on how much you liked or disliked the module.

Unfortunately, there was no room for commentary, which most of us would've liked as the questions were rather obscure and the grammar was awful making their English rather difficult to understand. I suspect that having no space for commentary was to avoid having to read through many, many, many disgruntled student's spelling corrections and swearing and insults, etc.

We had 50 multiple choice questions and each number represented an answer. So 1 was "Strongly disagree" 2 was "Disagree", etc up to 5 which was "Strongly agree"
My answers formed a perfect zigzag pattern! Maybe it was all a trick and it was like those tutor systems where you have to get the answers right and then it forms a picture or pattern! You have no clue what a tutor system is, do you? Um, it's a little thingie of blocks and one side has an answer on it and the other has a colour. So you select the correct answer and put it in it's correct space and when you're done, you flip it over and the colour blocks form a picture or pattern. Magic!

Why do they waste our time like this? If they wanted us to draw zigzags for them, why not just say so?

UNISA Psych department, if you're really not sure if you did a good job presenting the module, maybe that in itself is a good indication; And ask the English department to help you out next time. Yes, yes, I make typos, I know but they're typos, not confusion or ignorance.

We have all since received the "results" of our 3rd assignment along with a copy of the "correct" answers. Most of us, myself included, failed the assignment dismally. I got 33%. Why? Because the "correct" answers were all "Super easy!". There was a huge uproar on the UNISA discussion forum regarding this assignment as we were penalised for our opinions. We weren't really, it didn't count for anything, but it was very funny at how their method of marking was totally contradictory to the way they were trying to get us to think in.

UNISA, you teach us to see past our biases, pre-conceived ideas and to open our minds, take things in context and acknowledge that ideas and opinions form for reasons and then you take our opinions, which you asked us for, and mark them all as wrong because they did not reflect what your biases did. You did not take our opinions in context nor did you acknowledge the reasoning behind the opinions. Your "argument" therefore was invalid. FAIL!