Add/Drop, Teacher Swap, Let’s Go on a Class Shop

There’s nothing more disrupting in the first week of school than the age-old tradition of Add/Drop. This is the brief period of time where
students can drop a registered class and replace it with a new one.


This frenzied game of musical chairs plays out like a swap meet where the only merchandise traded is a syllabus and a desk.


“What will you give me for three in-class exams, a paper and a final?”


“No oral report?”




“I got two seats in a 101 class with a group project and a ….”


“Whoa! Deal is off. I don’t do group.”


“Bro, what do I need to do to put you in this class today?”


“Gimme lowest grade dropped and we got a 3 credit deal.”


I’m not immune to this educational auction that pits the rigors of one course against another. In college, I had a clinical fear of oral
reports. On the first day of class, I’d run in, scan the syllabus and zoom out if the course required me to stand at a podium and emote. How I became a teacher is still up for grabs.


Fast-forward 30 years and my biggest dilemma as a teacher, is whether or not to actually teach something on the first day. Why? Because I
know Add/Drop is going to make a mockery of my roster and I’ll be repeating the same lecture the next week to a new set of faces.


I do teach on the first day for one reason. Inevitably, 10 minutes into the first lecture at least one student’s face contorts followed by
paper shuffling and bodily discomfort.


“Wait – this isn’t  Medieval Papal History 1293-1392?”

“No, but I’ll give you an on-line midterm and 2 pop quizzes if you stay.”










On Behalf of College Students, A Professor Appeals to Psychic Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Dear Theresa,


An urgent matter is at hand requiring your unprecedented connection to the spirit world.


For years, I’ve tracked the passing rate of grandmothers during an academic semester. And by passing rate, I don’t mean grade distribution. Based on my data, the rate at which grandmothers exit this world spikes dramatically in mid October and early December.


As a parent of college age children yourself, you can imagine the emotional stress caused by this statistical aberration that I’ve coined the ‘Granny Graph’.  Numbers, like spirit, do not lie – grandmothers’ deaths are perfectly correlated with college midterms and finals. This in turn causes an avalanche of late papers, missed tests and weeks of absences.


I realize that despite your VIP pass to the spirit world, there’s nothing you can do to prevent these tragic events. (I imagine you’d be mobbed by swarm of tearful grandfathers if you could!)


However, I was hoping that before the semester starts you could offer college students around the world a mass scale reading. A one-size fits all pope-like message from grandmothers passed. I’m sure their comforting words would go something like this:


“If you dare to lie about my passing in order to get out of a test, midterm, final or paper, I will personally pay you a visit in the middle of the night. I’ll wait for a rainy, thundering night and I’ll make sure to bring your crazy Uncle ________.”



Thank you for considering this request. And thank you for connecting with my own grandmother at the Tarrytown Music Hall in 2012! Say hi to Larry and the kids.


Your Biggest Fan,

Professor Deirdre Verne

Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater? Is Cheating a Way of Life?

A recent research study by Marshall University highlighted the statistical difference between cheating in a live class and cheating in an
on-line class
. According to the study, the perception is that cheating is far more prevalent in an on-line class. The results, however, showed that:


  •   32.1 % cheated in a live class
  •  32.7% cheated in an on-line class


The lack of variability in these numbers makes me wonder. Is it the same group of students cheating regardless of the forum? Is the conclusion that 32% of students are just cheaters in general? Furthermore, is college just the first of many venues for cheaters to strut their stuff?


I wonder if there is a long-term profile of the college cheater.  Taxes, spouses, sports, games – these are all outlets for unscrupulous cheating behavior.

Worse – is this possibly the same group of people on the express supermarket lane with 3 items more than the maximum? If so, I’m always the lunatic behind them furiously counting shoppers’ items while I stew in silence over the injustice of ignored supermarket etiquette.


Or, is college merely a pressure cooker situation that brings out the worst of students? With final exams crammed into a week, helicopter
parents swarming, the temptation of parties and the penalty of failure, it’s enough to break the most honest students.


Please contribute your opinion.


Option 1 – Once a college cheater,
always a cheater?

Option 2 – Caught in the crossfire
of high pressure college life?






 Marshall University Study