Student Bloopers #4

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Tue May 23 07:45:03 CDT 2000

At 08:19 PM 5/22/00 -0700, Ken Kinman wrote:

>     If such reminders make anyone uncomfortable, they are clearly marked
> in the subject line and can be readily deleted.  A little humor once a
> week shouldn't be a burden to anyone, so I see no great problem with it,
> and if it brightens someone's mood a little, it's served a purpose. And
> knowing how students might misperceive something might even sometimes
> help teachers counter such misperceptions in some cases.

I'll offer one comment.  Some of the bloopers are truly funny, eliciting a
loud guffaw when you read/hear them.  I can't quite articulate what quality
these submissions possess (humor is always difficult to define), but you
know it when you see it.  But others that have been posted are just
sad.  They don't trigger a burst of laughter, more of an, "Aw, geez
...."  They're wrong, but not in a humorous way.  It's a fine line between
the two.  Perhaps the former are mostly lapsus calami, Freudian slips,
transpositions of related concepts, or other simple goofs -- the sort of
slips any of us could make if we're stressed and harried, and so we can
laugh at them.   The latter are the result of a student not studying hard
enough, and that's sad, and so it seems cruel to spotlight their
failings.  I guess it's analagous to Lou Costello or Curly Howard taking a
pratfall  versus your grandma falling down the steps.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:                     lammers at
phone (office):         920-424-7085
phone (herbarium):  920-424-1002
fax:                         920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                 -- Anonymous

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