It’s Prisoners’ Dilemma Day!

How exciting! Today is the day we tape Mr. Big Food’s brief lecture to his Business Ethics students on the Prisoners’ Dilemma, and solve some problems.

I did not realize this, but next Wednesday is the last day of (ir)regular classes before finals begin.

Mississippi State has taken what I think is a quite reasonable approach to grades. All students will receive a regular final grade– A, B, C… . Once those are posted, each students will be able to view his or her grade and decide whether or not to keep the letter grade, or opt for Pass / Fail instead. If a student’s GPA is important to him or her, and if for whatever reason, he wasn’t able to keep up and maintain the GPA he wanted or had, his GPA will not be affected by choosing Pass, rather than say the B he got (which would probably been an A under normal circumstances).

I think that sounds quite fair and, frankly, nice. Importantly, it gives students themselves the responsibility of choice.

4 Responses

  1. Hmmm, maybe I’m a bit of a curmudgeon, but that policy seems a little…friendly. Having recently graduated from college, and having taken plenty of online classes, snow days, etc, I’m not sure why it would be harder to keep up your grades with distance learning. But then again, I’m the kind of dullard who’s always carping about lowered expectations and all that.

    Prisoner’s dilemma…trying to remember my Social Ethics class – is that the one where a prisoner gets to decide whether to have his sentence reduced by ratting out another prisoner? (I know, I have an internet, I can look it up, but that takes away your joy in explaining it to me)

    1. LOL. “… takes away your joy in explaining it to me” Or as The Girls say, “Get to the point, Mom!”

      I myself favor academic rigor. But I’m sympathetic for the following reasons. All of Mississippi’s public universities are essentially open enrollment (through they all have various means to discourage kids who really should not be at university). So this means that if you graduated from any high school in the state, you pretty much cannot be turned away. This sets up an interesting state of affairs. In any given classroom, you may have students who a) have no business being in class, b) are the first in their families to go to college, and c) are from socio-economically challenged backgrounds. They are seated next to students who, based on real metrics of academic ability, got into really good schools– especially good in science, engineering, ag– but chose to go to State because they didn’t want to be so far away from Mama and Daddy. I’m sure there are a number of slackers, but it’s also the case that students (at both ends of this spectrum) are working, or doing child care for relatives so others can continue to work, etc. Also, there are places here that really truly do not have high speed internet. AND! It’s spring in Mississippi. Last weekend, 11 people died on account of the storms and tornados. Given all of these considerations, I think friendly was the way to go.

      Mississippi is a different sort of place.

      PD. You are correct, sir! Though is is technically a bit more complicated.

      Prisoners’ Dilemma:

      Set Up:

      Co-ordinating & Double-Crossing:

      A Word about Adam Smith:

      All professionally filmed in The Bunkhouse.

      Filming over the weekend? The way out of the PD. Stay Tuned!

  2. You make excellent points. I’m as guilty as anyone, and often more, of imagining that my particular circumstances apply universally. I suppose your information about the public colleges opens all kinds of pathways to criticism for anyone so inclined, which I am not.

    I like the perfessor’s delivery, and it makes me miss the classroom (some). I loved philosophy, almost minored in it, but I was writing enough papers already with my English major. Minored in Arabic instead. I’m and old-ish guy who went to college more or less for fun, because it was free. Seattle U had some fer realz chalkboards, too. Brown ones in the oldest building on campus. I was really surprised to see them, instead of whiteboards.

    I do miss the thought experiments in class, with live discussions, face to face. Some surprisingly bright ideas come out of those, as well as some predictably ridiculous ones.

    1. I went back somewhere right before I turned 40. Was planning on getting a teaching certificate in biology and decided to get a second degree in philosophy while I was at it. (I had read a book!) Signed up for Honors Intro. Sat in the back. Kept getting into arguments with the prof who thought he knew more biology than I. Heh. Apparently the perfesser liked argumentative women. Why, just yesterday we had a good one about problem 4.

      Never got the second degree or the certificate. For that matter, never got the masters or the Ph.D. Like the history of our chalkboard– and there is a history– a story for another day. (Should be ‘as’ but my ear does not like ‘as’.)

      I miss teaching (some). Which I suppose is why my explanations are so long-winded.

      Enjoy your new greenways!

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