Saturday, July 12, 2008

In the Kiel Canal ....

At 0800 this morning, we entered the Kiel Canal, which is the European version of the Panama canal and is equally as integral to their economy. It bridges the Baltic Sea with the North Sea, and since the late 1880s has connected Eastern Germany with the Baltic region. We saved around 280 nautical miles in gas and time. Though it cost around $12,000 for us to transit it would've cost around the same in gas had we gone around the Jutland peninsula instead.

This is all a rather joyous backdrop for the current sentiment on the ship. It was rather disconcerting to come back from Denmark, the land of the mirthful --- where their version of public pay parking works on the honor system without fail -- to an obvious lack of personal virtue amongst many of our students. Global Studies (formerly CORE) is the one large class on the ship that everyone attends and is the academic backbone of our society. We've been trying new ground this semester by splitting it into two sessions, having four TAs and assigning papers versus scantron tests. In addition to the sheer lack of smartness in these papers -- to the point of near mental retardation which I hope to soon share with some anonymous highlights -- the amount of plagiarism is astounding. As it stands, with only half of the papers graded, there are over 50 serious honor code violations including the literal cutting and pasting of irrelevant passages straight from wikipedia (of all things) without a single edit or source cited. We have two of the most prominent figures on board from UVA right now --- professor Allen Lynch and academic dean Karen Ryan. The students have the option of making a personal confession of guilt before action is taken. We'll see how many do the honorable thing, ex post facto, that is.

1 comment:

freddy funk said...

kids these days are morons!!!