Dear Students… choose your grades – Professor
We all know how stressful college life could be especially if you are in engineering school. The students are loaded with academic requirements, and on top of that the subject matter is not so easy to learn. To put simply, being an engineering student is equal to experiencing stress all semester round.
That is also the case among business students who get to experience a lot of stress. When Rick Watson, an instructor of data management at Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, realized this, he proposed what he calls as the Stress Reduction Policy. And it is an interesting – and controversial – one.
Watson essentially wants the students’ stressors out of the learning equation. The policy, posted in the online syllabus, mentioned that ’emotional reactions to stressful situations can have profound consequences for all involved.’
As a solution, Watson wrote unconventional rules which include taking tests and exams with an open book, open notes, and open laptop.
Whoa there! A dream come true for many. Engineering students will love it if their professors would adapt the same policy.
But it gets better.
Among the six rules written by Watson is this controversial one, which talks about letting the students choose their grades: “If you feel unduly stressed by a grade for any assessable material or the overall course, you can email the instructor indicating what grade you think is appropriate, and it will be so changed.
“No explanation is required, but it is requested that you consider waiting 24 hours before emailing the instructor,” Watson wrote.
All right! If this was an engineering school, many of our readers would be transferring.
Watson further said, “While this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material, ultimately these are your responsibility. I will provide every opportunity for you to gain high level mastery.”
The Stress Reduction Policy broke the Internet, of course. It got flak from the CSC Media Group, the first to report about the matter, which called it a “stunning but not-to-surprising example of the deteriorating quality of education and discipline in America’s universities.”
I verified the information written by CSC Media Group but did not see the said policy in the online syllabus. With which the CSC Media Group defended that Watson had edited the website.
There is only one way to prove this: a web cache. And it was indeed there, as evidenced by this screenshot. It was revised on August 7.
Watson might have realized that something is wrong with his Stress Reduction Policy and decided to retract it. It is still unsure, however, if he will apply the policy to his class in real life.
If so, his students in data management are most likely to be disappointed right now.