In fraternity, here’s an email conversation between a professor and his student:

Email no. 1:

Professor Name,

I was looking over my grades throughout the semester, and I was concerned because I saw that I have a 60% for my overall grade. I thought I was doing well in the class because I had been keeping up with the readings, doing well on the quizzes, making a blog post every week, and I did well on the midterm. I was surprised to see that I was failing the course when I had been keeping up with all the required work, and I was just wondering if you could take a look at my grades to see if there was an error in calculating my final grade. I do not think there is anything inaccurate about the individual quiz grades, but I just could not figure out why I ended up with a 60% as my overall grade when looking at my individual grades because they all seem to be considerably higher than 60%. If you could shoot me an e-mail back about my grade, I would really appreciate it because my grade took me by surprise when I first saw it this morning. Thank you.

Sincerely, Student

Email no. 2:

Hi, Student,

Do you have a 60% because you haven’t completed the final exam and because we haven’t entered grades for the final blog comment?  I’m guessing that’s so.

Professor Name

Email no. 3:

Professor Name,

I’m not sure, I hope so but the Final Exam has a dash in the boxes where the scores should go. Do those grades still impact the final grade or are they exempt from the total scoring calculation?


Email no. 4:


I am trying to tell you that the final exam and final comment grades are included in the final grade calculation, yes.  Since you have earned no points for them, your grade reflects this.

Professor Name

Email no. 5:

Professor Name,
Thank you. Just to make sure I currently have a 60% but that’s with
two zeros as scores for the final blog post and the final exam, and
they will change once the scores are entered at the conclusion of the

Email no. 6:




Magical gif found here.



Filed under Uncategorized

11 responses to “Snapshot

  1. I don’t blame the student in this situation. I actually stopped posting course grades online because there was no way to calculate a student’s grade “to date,” leaving out future assignments. Instead, I give each student a snapshot of his or her current grade after major exams or papers and calculate current grades by request at other times.

  2. Jenn Lena

    You don’t blame the student? I agree it would have been more helpful if the professor had computed a running average but I think it was abundantly evident the grade was not that. After all “the dash in the boxes” was always there, as was the final grade column. Changing ever so much each time a new grade was entered.

    In any event, I posted this more out of sympathy for all the faculty who are answering stupid and already-answered questions written by panicked students heading into exams unprepared or disengaged.

  3. proxifying

    This raises an interesting question…Has anyone ever seen the other side of Paris’s face?

  4. Samuel

    John, I don’t think it was about “blaming” the student… there questions were just unbelievably dumb, and funny for that reason.

  5. While the student’s continued e-mails suggest that he or she is not particularly bright, it also seems that the professor could have prevented the student’s second and third e-mails if the initial response had been a straightforward answer rather than a “clever” rhetorical question.

  6. Jenn Lena

    John: I agree. But that’s part of what makes it funny to me. With 95% of my students, I could respond with the clever rhetorical question and it would function positively in the relationship. And then there’s that other 5%. I keep thinking of that Monty Python skit where the guy goes to buy an insult…

  7. Gah. The .gif makes my head hurt.

  8. Jenn Lena

    drek: that is kind of the point of it. the whole thing causes my head injury.

  9. Peter

    You think I can submit that gif for Contexts?

  10. Jenn Lena

    Contexts will just ask for a left profile shot.

  11. I am going to have nightmares of Paris flashing in my mind.

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