Truth in Society

November 8, 1994

Prompt #36

Acknowledging colleagues; reflecting on learning

It's time, as everyone continues to work toward telling other people about what we're learning, to start paying some attention ourselves to what you've learned and where you learned it. And it's time to get some sense of how much your own view of how much you've learned, how much you've worked, and how much you've contributed to other people's learning, matches that of the rest of us. Equally important, it's time to make it clear how what was said about evaluation and marks in the course introduction actually works.

So, over the next few days (before the end of the weekend) we're asking you to do three things, and then to write about them. The three things:

It's important that we make as clear as we can here what we mean by "learning" in this situation. In order to reflect on that, you might ask yourself some of the following questions:

It is our experience that the more specific you can be about what you have learned, the more useful it will be to everyone. General statements of good will are fine and dandy, but not much use when we are creating an evaluation, nor when someone's trying to figure out what they did well. If someone helped in the library or the computer lab, please tell us how; if someone helped with your research, please give details; if someone had "some good ideas about something or other," please say specifically what the ideas were and what they were about, and where they were expressed. It's particularly important, wherever possible, to quote exactly from, or cite specifically, a piece of writing from which you learned something.

(The writing you do, by the way, will have different audiences and purposes, and it's worth thinking a minute about them. The comments on colleagues who helped you learn will be read by Thom, John and Russ, edited where necessary, and passed on -- anonymously -- to the people you acknowledge. The comment on your own learning will be read only by Thom, John, and Russ. The comments on the course will be edited by the secretary to remove indications of authorship, and then read by Thom, John, and Russ.).

We will use these acknowledgements to raise the minimum marks of others in the class. To begin with, we will rate them according to how concrete they are (when someone is simply named and some learning specified, it will count half as much as when someone's named and the learning described in concrete detail; when a passage of writing or specific document is quoted, it'll count twice as much). So it's important, if you want to make sure someone's work is acknowledged, to be as concrete as possible.


Here's some help in accomplishing these three tasks. We've set up computer files which will, we think, be helpful to you and to those whose work you're acknowledging.

In the main Q: directory you'll find three files, called, respectively, ACKNOWLG, LEARNING, and PGRMEVAL. (Attached to this are reduced examples of what these sheets will look like.) There are two ways to deal with them.

One would be to print each out and use it as a form for reporting, in writing, your acknowledgements, your statement about your own learning, and your comments on the program. If you do it this way you need to give the first two forms to Thom, John or Russ, and deliver the third one to Susan Parsons, one of the faculty secretaries, in EC 302.

The deadline if you opt for this method is 5:00 pm on Thursday.

The other -- easier for everyone, we think -- is for you to copy the files to your H: directory, fill them out by typing in responses to the questions, and sending the results, by email, to TRUTHFAC.

The deadline if you opt for this method is noon on Monday, November 14.

In each case, the directions for giving the rest of us the information we need are in the relevant files. Please plan on spending at least two or three hours with this; everyone's mark, and everyone's understanding of the how the course is going for them, depends on the quality of the information we receive.

Basic instructions for acknowledging colleagues via email

To submit your acknowledgements via email, you will need to get to, copy to your home directory, and then write in, the three files listed above: ACKNOWLG, LEARNING, and PGRMEVAL. What you should do is go into drive Q: as usual, highlight the first file, press 8 for copy (see the menu at the bottom of the Word Perfect screen), and type just H: (you don't need the filename) for the location to copy the file to.

When you've copied all three, you can log out of Q: and back to your home directory. The most direct way to do this is to press for a directory, then =H:. Now, you can retrieve each file by highlighting it and pressing {1} (not {enter}, as you may already have discovered; {enter} lets you "look" at the file, but not edit it.

Follow the directions on the file. When you've finished the file, save it. Then exit from Word Perfect and go into PMail.

At the opening Pmail menu, select F for "send a File." Type TRUTHFAC in the To: slot if you're going to send either the ACKNOWLG or LEARNING files; SPARSONS if you're sending PRGRMEVAL.

For a "Subject:" line, put in either "Colleague Acknowledgement," "Learning," or "Program Evaluation." When you've done this a window will open up asking for "attachment information." Press {insert} and you'll be asked for a filename. Enter the name of whichever of the files you're sending (you don't need the H: if you're logged to your home directory, so just ACKNOWLG, for instance, should do it. If it does, the next line will automatically say that the "File type:" is "WordPerfect." Press {tab} twice to accept that and let Pmail decide how to encode it (if you press {enter} at this point you'll get a list of alternatives; you can either select WordPerfect again or press {esc} to get back out of the list).

Beyond this, press {ctrl}{enter} to send the file as usual; you'll be asked a couple of times whether you want to "Accept and continue?" Tell it Y.

Do the same thing with the LEARNING file; and with the PRGRMEVAL file, do the same thing except send it to SPARSONS rather than TRUTHFAC.

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