Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have a few students enrolled in my class from a local commuter college. One of them was (until recently) under the impression that we grade on a 90%= A, 80% = B, etc. scale here. As a result, his work in my class has amazed me. Beyond that, he comes to my office hours, corner's me after class to ask interesting questions on material that is related to, but often beyond the scope of the class. In short, he's the type of student everyone wants in their class.

He's interested in taking more classes at my university, or at least auditing them, if not taking them for credit. The problem is that the exchange program that got these students into my class is ad hoc, poorly implemented, and seems to have upset a few people in my department. Asking to audit more classes may not go over well, even for a very good student, who clearly benefits from the greater depth of coverage offered in the courses here.

My general suggestion for people who want to seriously sit in on a course is that no professor minds seeing an extra engaged student sitting in their class or in their office hours. Asking the professor or the TA to grade homeworks and/or exams may not be fair, and one should talk to the TA/professor before doing so. I want to advise my student to just come and attend without getting any credit or recognition. The experience of seeing the lectures and doing the homeworks and checking the answers will give him a leg up on coursework in graduate school. I'm just worried about advising this type of guerrilla education in this case because of the politics surrounding these students. Its a stupid thing to stand in the way of knowledge.

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