College students are often great at using apps, but struggle with basic computer tasks

Today’s college students may be very good at using apps, but even power users of social media often struggle with basic computer tasks.

Four final projects in a row have been published as private files that I can’t access, or they were uploaded in some proprietary format using a tool my school-issued MacBook doesn’t recognize. This is a problem with letting students submit their final multimedia projects online rather than having them present them during the final exam slot.

A few days ago CS major linked to java files that were on the student’s hard drive (not published anywhere I can access). Based on the folder name I managed to find the student’s GitHub account, but the project was not published there either, so I had to give a partial grade based on the screenshot of the running program and a single screenshot of the source code.

From the assignment instructions:

If you make a sculpture, photograph it from several angles; if you organize a flashmob or create a Skyrim mod, document your work appropriately, so that [our learning management tool] contains all the information I’ll need in order to experience your project. (You won’t be presenting it live in class, but there may be a peer review activity.)

Also in the instructions:

If you are using a third-party site (like YouTube or SoundCloud or Google Drive), make sure to adjust the privacy settings so that your classmates and I can see all the components you upload — without having to know your password, create an account, or download special tools.

Final grades are due tomorrow, the day after that I start a winter term course, and then not long after that the university’s offices close for the holiday. I am telling the students I will re-evaluate their work if they submit it in a format I can access.

I guess I’m going to have to go back to having students present their projects during the final exam slot. (I was teaching 2 sections of the same course, and one section had the very first exam slot, the morning after the last day of classes, and the other had almost the last exam slot… it seemed unfair to give one section almost another week to revise their project, so I made them all due online at the later date.)

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