Most of the time I’m happy to report that my interactions with my students are very positive. Sadly, this quarter I’m having a problem I don’t understand. In one of my classes it’s frequently the case that students don’t use the examples I provide in class when completing their assignment, even when I explicitly say that the example will be useful on a particular assignment. It’s been puzzling me why students would disregard code that has been identified as useful by the instructor.

One of the theories I developed was that the students weren’t looking at the examples. So I ran a test this week. I posted a document with the title “Read before November 7th.” In the document I said that everyone submitting their favorite meme by the start of class on November 7th would get two points extra credit on the next assignment. I wanted to see if not reading posted materials was part of the problem.

Sadly, I only had three students respond. Their submitted memes are below:

In retrospect I can’t decide whether that means only three people read the document or that only three people felt printing a meme was worth getting two points of extra credit. I hate it when I don’t think through my experiments …