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Old 02-15-06, 03:47 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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Question for teachers or those who think like one

If you were teaching a chemistry class, or any laboratory science class that requires frequent lab reports (one for every lab).....

Would you mind students e-mailing you the lab?
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Old 02-15-06, 03:50 PM   #2
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ive always complained about not being able to email labs/assignments/essays etc. to my profs, but when i thought about it, it would be a pain in the ass sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end. It would be so much nicer to sit at a coffee shop/pub marking stuff. Plus, its a hell of a lot easier to make corrections with a red pen on paper, than it is on a computer.
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Old 02-15-06, 04:25 PM   #3
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Yes.

Email does not always go through. As a teacher I would not want to have to deal with the 'But I emailed it' complaints. Email would also make it easier to copy others labs. And no doubt some computer savy students could even send email that looks like it was sent on time when it really was sent days late.

Nope I would want to keep just what got handed in under my control.

Also part of real labs is making lab notes during the lab, real records of what happened when it happened, not prettied up reports written later.
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Old 02-15-06, 04:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99


not prettied up reports written later.
Heh, thats exactly what your labs are. Typed up documents, supposed to be pretty. They arte to follow a set form. We have all of the lab papers uploaded onto a web service called Edline, saved in MS word Document format. We download them, fill in the charts, and answer the questions at the end.
Since the teacher gets more or less the same lab, i thought i would email them to him. He says he is computer savvy, i did not think it would be a problem. And now, the 6 or 7th lab i email to him, he makes a big scene in the class
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Old 02-15-06, 04:45 PM   #5
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My chemistry teacher expects us to hand the lab reports in by paper. Certain things are allowed to be typed up for extra credit but thats about it. I'm sure most teachers don't go crazy about reading lots of emails everyday. Then again... everyone usually sends a progress report home every Friday.
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Old 02-15-06, 05:51 PM   #6
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Disclaimer: I'm not a teacher. I am a chemist, though, with potential academic aspirations. I have TA'd for graduate courses.

It depends. If a proper lab report can be done just on a computer, then I don't really care as long as the class size is very small. I'd probably insist on a standard file format, most likely PDF. In a larger class, there's just too much for me to have to keep track of. A class of about twenty is borderline in this regard. For our graduate courses, we do routinely accept e-mailed work when it's appropriate to do so.

However, many lab writeups, to be properly done, should include original work. Things like writing up observations in non-erasable ink, not scribbling over stuff that needs correction (a single line through erroneous stuff is fine), and being neat and organized along the way do matter. Calculations can be done in a secondary process not subject to these requirements. If I need such work, nothing short of the originals will do. (Extenuating circumstances, such as the originals being flooded by sprinklers in a fire--happened to me before--can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.)
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Old 02-15-06, 08:32 PM   #7
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Back when I was a TA, a lot of student handwriting was illegible. I would gladly have taken typed reports sent by email.
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Old 02-15-06, 08:36 PM   #8
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One of the biggest annoyances with me and why I refuse to pursue any thing in college is the fact that almost all of the professors I've met, professors who have taught for universities and the Armed Forces discriminate against you if you use any piece of technological device that they think is unfair. This may range from a simple add/subtract calculator - to a graphic calculator - to a laptop.
They will hate yoou and they will do everything to make your life a living hell hole. This world is so far behind it's not even funny. It would be nice to be able to take a laptop to class to take notes and be able to do everything on it and not have to worry about all of the discrimination and all of the hassle of dealing with a world that is computer illiterate and thinks that MS word deletes their stuff and that their email client eats their emails
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Old 02-15-06, 08:37 PM   #9
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None of my classes whether chemistry or physics allow forms of electronic distribution to the professors. All our reports are done on the computer right during the lab period, but data is collected by hand. It is the policy that lab notebooks must be turned in for varification and signing (to make sure the students do not leave early). Laberatory is designed to build good lab skills, and it is to easy to "fudge" the data. In my opinion I would rather see you did the whole lab and wrote up the report vs. knowing how to fudge data to get the "best' result.

There are too many problems with email to make it reliable and easy for me to use to grade papers. There is something about providing written feedback with papers submitted online anyway, and in my class that will not happen. The only things I can see submitting in written form are essays and reports. BTW, sitting in front of the computer screen is not better or worse than grading a handheld paper.

This is funny, mainly because I am having a simular problem again today with a class I am in right now. I submitted a paper via email and the inbox was full. I submitted again but apparently the professor did not get it (for the second time). I am getting late mark on the paper and have to deal with her tomarrow... great fun!

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Old 02-15-06, 08:45 PM   #10
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Thanks Mandy for reminding me once again why I abhor the institutionalized education system. I could not in any way tolerate taking a late mark because some facility i paid 500+ bucks a month to could not handle technology that was invented 20 years ago and has been in use for at least a decade.
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Old 02-15-06, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
None of my classes whether chemistry or physics allow forms of electronic distribution to the professors. All our reports are done on the computer right during the lab period, but data is collected by hand. It is the policy that lab notebooks must be turned in for varification and signing (to make sure the students do not leave early). Laberatory is designed to build good lab skills, and it is to easy to "fudge" the data. In my opinion I would rather see you did the whole lab and wrote up the report vs. knowing how to fudge data to get the "best' result.
There are also secondary reasons for this. The legal status of "electronic notebooks" in science (even with proper timestamping and what not) is still debatable. One purpose of these labs is to train people for the respective fields. The fact remains that the only entries certain to hold up in a court of law in the event of a patent dispute are the hand-written ones. Even the companies that write the software are generally unwilling to claim that their implementation (even if they implement the entire system, including hardware) will stand up in court. And no company dares be the guinea pig when patents can be worth billions per year. Indeed, I've helped before on a multi-billion dollar patent case where recordkeeping standards were a major issue of contention. And we're talking about non-computerized records.

Let's face it. If you know the format of the e-notebook, you can conceivably forge anything. There's legitimate reasons to swap old hard drives for new hard drives, so you simply make a new database exactly the way you want it on new hard drives, and you can conceal all evidence. (In my industry, old hard drives are shredded through big shredders. Literally.) You can with paper, too, but the trail of forensic evidence is better. And any questionable trail is taken as a sign of tampering.
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Old 02-15-06, 09:05 PM   #12
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That's weird. I've never heard of anyone having a problem like you mentioned, TexasGuy, at the college I went to. In Bio lab classes usually our reports were due in lab next week and were typed. In Chem, a professor would look through our lab notebooks from time to time just to make sure we were taking notes correctly, and our lab reports were due in lab next week, also typed. There were quite a few students that took notes on their laptops.... uh, but that was only during lectures, not labs. And that was pretty much the first couple of years. Junior and Senior year it was mostly independent projects with the professors trying to make you more and more self-sufficient.
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Old 02-15-06, 09:15 PM   #13
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^^^Agreed. I've never seen the problem TexasGuy describes, either. Depends on the prof, admittedly, but in my experience, the use of technology was always encouraged as long as it did not interfere with learning concepts and there was no really good reason to ban it. One chemistry professor bans calculators on all his exams, but that was because being able to work with ballpark values was a major point of the class. And yes, some questions involved calculations, including logs and exponents. But if you really understood the concepts, none of the calculations would take much more than 10 seconds to estimate in one's head. (For example, 10^3.5 would simply be 3000 in my mind.) But outside of exams, the use of any and all aids that weren't blatant cheating (plagiarizing, paying someone else to do the work, etc) was fair game.

My ex-girlfriend's med school program requires students to bring their laptops to class all the time. It's a major means of transferring information and work, though of course, students who prefer to take notes on paper continue to do so. (I would take some notes on paper in that situation since it's far easier to sketch on paper than to sketch on a computer. But my text notes would be typed.) I don't see what's so backward there.
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Old 02-15-06, 09:30 PM   #14
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I think if i was a teacher, i would much prefer papers and whatnot sent electronically. However i think to avoid that "Oh yea I sent it, it didn't arrive?" BS, i would say to either print a receipt or simply upload the file onto a reliable server. That is one good thing about Blackboard learning systems, as much as I hate the whole VHS system.
I would think it would help avoid the clutter of papers. There is no more chance of losing papers, its all in one place. My chemistry teacher was wanting to keep all of our lab reports for record, but stopped after 1 month because he said he had bins and bins full of lab reports, taking over his living quarters.
It shocks me how little computers are actually used in my learning, I know way the hell more than most of the "core academic" teachers in regards to the computer. We simply dont use them, ever. Only in my engineering class do i ever touch a computer, which is everyday. But most people in the school are not taking that class
Where for me, its to the point where I can type much much faster than i can hand write. So i think for my english final, i will be bringing in a laptop to type it and send it off.
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