Shame Your Unit: PICT311 – Cyber-security in practice

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You know your heart drops when you hear it’s the first time your lecturer is convening this unit. Not only that, but it’s the first time he’s EVER convened a unit…at least you go in expecting that tutorials will be a massive WASTE OF TIME and the lectures will be so disjointed and unstructured that you don’t really have to listen. Yep. CONFIRMED. Not only were there issues with the convenor/lecturer/tutor (CLT) himself, but the requirements were so vague that no one had a damn clue what they were doing! We were given examples and basically just rewrote our assignments off of these; changing it up to fit our respective topics.

The MAIN assessments for the unit include the seminal article critique and the major essay. Firstly, what the actual fuck is a seminal article critique? Seminal…semin-al…semen? Ew. I’m lost…even trusty old Google can’t tell me definitively what the hell it is! Then when you think you understand, the CLT decides that he wants it done a different way, to the point where the other tutors have no idea what he’s talking about. Ten references for 1,000 words? Every 100 words needs a reference? WELL THAT’S A JOKE AND A HALF! What are we meant to reference when all we are meant to be doing is discussing ONE seminal article? Furthermore, another assignment was 2,500 words and required 25 references…how are we meant to argue our points and be creative when every 250 words must be a quote? It doesn’t allow for a flowing essay. It’s safe to say that the Turnitin similarity percentage was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!

Do you need clarification on assessments? Well that’s a shame; the CLT will take the day off at the most critical of times, thus cancelling lectures and tutes but will respond to forum questions saying “there’s no specific way to do it”.
Think you can make up marks in the quizzes? I would advise doing quizzes at the last possible moment as the CLT took the quiz offline to make “changes”, even though people had already completed it. Those marks were never fixed or amended, only a “reattempt” was permitted. So for his mistake, more effort was required on our behalf. As uni students, in no way should we have to check up on the “professionals’” work, we already have enough on our plates as it is! Similarly, changing requirements of an assessment a few days before the assessment is due just reiterates my point. CLT even changed the rubrik around bibliographies, but forgot to inform the other tutors of this lading to people getting marked down

Some students were so fed up with the marking they took it to the converor’s boss, we recieved feedback such as “write more” when there’s only a 1,000 word limit, “proofreading yes”, what the actual fuck does that mean? Getting an HD in the referencing section of the rubric, but the feedback reflects “improve referencing”…It got to the point where some students were meeting with other tutors to ask for feedback. With the referencing comment above, two additional tutors stated that they were confused as according to the rubric, this particular student received a perfect mark in that area. Most markers didn’t even know what referencing style is supposed to be used in the PICT department which, in turn, lead to marks being deducted for “mistakes” we had no idea of.

Massive discrepancies between different markers became apparent with one student failing two sections, however somehow receiving a great overall mark, then another student passing all sections, but attaining a terrible mark overall. How does that work? Lots of us failed our introductions as we “didn’t follow the normal structure of an introduction”, when in fact we followed the structure EXACTLY as the examples on iLearn exemplified. The CLT admitted that he fucked up the first assignment but said he couldn’t change the marks. Soooooo all of our marks were brought down due to his sheer incompetence…fantastic! The more pressing issue that reared its ugly head was that the tutors of this unit do not mark our assignments and that separate markers were brought in to tackle the task. Yet another tute where the CLT was “sick”, saw a substitute tutor come in and tell us she was the marker for most of our papers.

Apparently each paper is set on a 20 minute marking limit. Meaning one paper must be fully marked in 20 minutes. She said that she attempts to write as much feedback as she can. Isn’t the entire purpose of marking to help the student by providing constructive feedback on how to implement improvements for next time? By setting a time limit, that diminishes the whole point. An argument arose between a student and the marker about the process. The marker admitted that she had over 70 papers to mark. That’s ridiculous. IF YOU CAN’T MARK PROPERLY, THEN THE WORKLOAD IS OBVIOUSLY TOO MUCH. Think about all of the potential marks students have lost due to the stupid 20 minute time limit running out. Furthermore, if you had done really shit in a section that weighed a tonne, but you did super good work in another section that weighed less, markers will take marks from your good section and tack it onto the crap section that was worth more marks. Thus, you end up with a better mark. And whilst that sounds great…if you did really badly, how would you know? It defeats the purpose of the marking and feedback process completely! The one thing that I cannot get over is the fact that the CLT didn’t even like one of the markers. He MADE IT KNOWN to us that he didn’t like her. How is this professional?

Even more clusterfucks ensued – empty promises to get back to students’ emails and questions were not met in a timely manner, tutorials were a snooze fest consisting of “tasks” to complete which realistically only took 5 minutes to complete, however being given half an hour to achieve. How is sitting in a corner playing on your phone and talking to students about your life, being a good tutor?
Pick another unit. ASAP. EUGH!

[Grapeshot has contacted the convenor of this unit and no comment has been provided]