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Can any university teacher advise dd?

(15 Posts)
MrsWobble3 Tue 22-Nov-16 08:22:47

Hi, I think there are quite a few uni lecturers and teachers on this site so I hope one of you (or more) can help.

Dd had to give a presentation yesterday in one of her classes as part of the coursework. The format was 7 min presentation followed by 7 min q&a and feedback. Dd was last to go and because earlier people had overrun she did not get enough time and only got 1 question and the feedback was limited to telling her she'd got it wrong. And this took place in front of her class as they packed up and the next class who were already coming in due to the late running.

Dd feels humiliated by the way in which this happened and, more importantly is worried that she doesn't know where and in what way she went wrong as she didn't get any useful feedback.

I think she probably needs to get over the humiliation, and have suggested she emails the lecturer to arrange a time to go through her presentation and get proper feedback. She sent an email last night and I assume will get a reply so that aspect will get dealt with.

The aspect that bothers me, but has not yet occurred to dd, is that this was an assessed presentation and I don't see how she can have had a fair assessment given she got 5 mins and 1 question compared to the 20 mins and multiple questions the other students had. She was not given any chance to explain her thinking or correct anything in the same way the others did and it seems to me very unfair if this is going to cost her marks towards her final degree grade.

How would you recommend she approach this? Is it worth asking for a rerun of the exercise and if so who should she ask?

And any other advice I can pass on would be greatly appreciated - she is feeling very down about the whole thing at the moment. Thanks for your help.

user7214743615 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:24:37

It is unlikely there could be a rerun of the exercise - universities are working flat out, with no space in the timetable for extra classes to be scheduled. And having seen others' presentations your DD would be at an unfair advantage, having a second shot at hers.

I find it hard to believe that one presentation could be worth more a small fraction of marks for one module. Final degree classifications are based typically on 16 modules. The difference between a 2:2, 2:i and a First mark for a presentation would almost certainly make a difference of far less than 0.5% of the overall final classification, so the most important part is feedback to improve next time. She should discuss with the lecturer directly for feedback, but she should also have learnt from the feedback given to other students in the session. That's the point of all students attending all presentations.

I do agree that the presentation session was poorly handled, if some students were given more time than others. This should not have happened and she should complain about this directly to the lecturer and in the module evaluation. Asking for a rerun seems over the top unless her score was substantially affected and the score contributes significantly to the marks for this module.

(BTW there's no such thing as a university "teacher". Academics facilitate independent learning rather than teach.)

MrsWobble3 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:55:50

Thank you user. I agree that the most important part is getting the feedback to improve. Re the differential time - there doesn't seem any point complaining if it's not going to make any difference - she's loathe to cause a problem with someone who may be lecturing/examining her later this year. But it does seem unfair if this has the potential to impact her grades. I guess she should wait and see what the feedback is and take it from there.

Apologies if the reference to 'teacher' upset anyone - I don't know whether it was a lecturer or a postgrad and hoped that 'teacher' would be a generic as advice from anyone with experience of this situation is welcomed.

user7214743615 Tue 22-Nov-16 11:53:08

She should complain about the time. If she really doesn't want to complain directly to the lecturer, then she should mention it in the anonymous module evaluation surveys. But she would be better to talk about it directly to the lecturer - it won't cause a problem for examining or for future modules.

(BTW university examinations are anonymous, lecturers can't see whose scripts they are marking, and in any case it would be incredibly unprofessional to hold a grudge against somebody in any way for making a complaint. Indeed it would be impossible to mark somebody down with no reason, given that second and external examiners view and moderate exam scripts.)

MrsWobble3 Tue 22-Nov-16 12:03:57

Thanks again. I'll pass that advice on. Hopefully she can have a good and constructive meeting and cover the timing point then as well.

CustardShoes Wed 23-Nov-16 08:58:39

If she wants to raise an issue about the timing (and I agree it was badly handled - I run my presentations like a Sergeant Major as students will rarely take responsibility for their own discipline in these matters sadly) , she needs to do it before she gets any marks.

And she should definitely ask for further feedback. Tutors should have office hours and/or availability for an individual tutorial

I think she really needs to pull back from an anticipated complaint about her mark - the mark is not the feedback . And as a poster has already said, one mark from one presentation is unlikely to alter the overall pattern of her degree results: sometimes students fixate on the one assessment a tutor gets "wrong" as the reason for them not getting the overall mark they really want, in the face of evidence of their general run of marks.

It's generally not helpful for students to fixate on marks - far better for your DD to seek the more extended feedback the others received, pretty much straight away. A polite email also asking about the disparity of time allotted would also be sensible - but now not after marks are given out.

And something I always ask students who want to see me about their marks or feedback: "Would you be coming to see me if you'd received a First?"

MrsWobble3 Wed 23-Nov-16 12:17:15

Thanks custard, I'm quite sure she would not be upset if she got a first! But that is not a likely scenario. Her position is that she is going to be very borderline for a 2.1 and as graduate job offers seem majorly dependent on that she is in a position where every mark counts. I take the point about keeping a sense of proportion though - undue focus on a past presentation at the expense of getting on with future work would not be sensible.

So far she has not had a response to her email requesting feedback and I think she was going to raise the timing point during the meeting assuming she gets one and see what he says. Hopefully that will be sufficient for her to feel she has been fairly marked.

FatherJemimaRacktool Wed 23-Nov-16 17:55:32

And something I always ask students who want to see me about their marks or feedback: "Would you be coming to see me if you'd received a First?"

I've had students do this because they thought their 1sts should have been higher. hmm

OP, as others have said, it's important that she raise the timing point in writing before she gets her mark. Best to avoid making it sound like an accusation, though.

MrsWobble3 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:30:06

I spoke to her this evening and passed on all the helpful advice. She has had a constructive email exchange and arranged to meet the lecturer in his next office hour. He has asked her to send the questions she wants to discuss in advance so she is going to add a comment on the timing to that message so it will then be down in writing. She is a lot happier than she was on Monday so I think all will be well. Thanks for the advice - it's difficult to know how to help her and she does have to sort this out for herself. But as a parent it's hard not to want to fix it for her.

AddictedtoLove Thu 24-Nov-16 18:49:24

That's good to hear about a constructive conversation with her lecturer.

MrsWobble3 Sat 26-Nov-16 11:39:00

An update: dd phoned last night. She had a very helpful feedback conversation with the lecturer and he also provided her with a page of written comments explaining exactly where she had gone wrong and what she needs to do to fix it. She has also got her mark which, whilst below her target is a long way from the disaster she feared and, most importantly, she thinks is fair.

So all in all an extremely good outcome (provided she takes the feedback on board and deals with it which I think she will).

Thanks again to those who offered advice - it has helped me enormously.

Haggisfish Sat 26-Nov-16 11:41:49

Hurray! Glad she got a good outcome and managed it herself with support from you.

AddictedtoLove Sat 26-Nov-16 13:48:16

Wonderful, and thank you for coming back to tell us <nosy>

Also, I think this story shows that sometimes students fixate on some technicality as the cause of a disaster. And that generally staff can see and evaluate the work on its own terms, in spite of what the student perceives as a deleterious set of conditions, IYSWIM.

A page of written feedback is really excellent.

quietlycrazy Tue 29-Nov-16 12:05:05

So glad to hear that it all turned out so well -- and also, unless your DD is planning a career in academia, learning how to have a difficult conversation is probably as useful to her future life and career as anything she learns from her studies. Hope the rest of the year goes well.

Leeds2 Tue 29-Nov-16 17:35:55

Sounds like a good result, and well done to your daughter for seeing it through.

Will she be able to do the presentation again?

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