Asaf Bartov (ijon) wrote,
Asaf Bartov

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The Gimmes

The semester ends next week, and exam season is upon us once more, and with it, the gimmes: Again and again people approach me after class and ask me to e-mail them my class notes. I use a portable computer in class, and my class notes are all in computer documents (except for Greek), so it's no bother at all to do so. I guess that's at least part of the reason they turn to me in the first place.

But I usually refuse: it seems to me that most of these people have just not bothered to take notes in class, or to read the assigned reading, and want my notes as a shortcut to passing the exam. I hate to take part in that, so I don't cooperate.

Some of them just cheerfully ask for the notes, some are apologetic and offer mumbled explanations, some plainly and obviously lie (e.g. a person who told me she lost her notebook and all her notes, when I know for a fact that she never took notes in this class).

I do like helping people, and I gladly e-mail people class notes for specific lessons they had missed, but I also believe in the important of individual academic work. If these people are not serious about this course, there's a good chance they're not serious about other courses, and helping them get away with it is helping to promote bad scholarship. I want no part of that.

I hate having to refuse, though. It's unpleasant. Obviously the refused may like me less, but that's not the main issue -- I'm willing to lose popularity for my ideals; it just feels unpleasant to refuse a plea for help, however justifiably. I wish they'd just stop.
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