Professor dump happens near the end of the semester when a professor assigns a major paper or project. It’s all in the timing. A major assignment might strike with the force of a whining mosquito if made at the beginning of a semester. However, if the assignment is made with time running out, students can feel as if they are down in the toilet bowl looking up.
How you feel about professor dump depends on whether you are the dumpee or dumper.
I have mixed thoughts about professor dump. I feel obliged to enrich and legitimize my courses by adding papers and projects. There are two reasons for feeing obliged. First, I know that students learn more deeply by doing papers and projects instead of taking tests. Second, I don’t want other professors to view me as a wimpy wuss. And they might if my classes are too basic, only containing tests.
On the other hand, I wonder if I’m only checking off a box. By the end of a semester, students are tired from the long haul. How much can they learn from a project or paper if they are physically, mentally and emotionally stressed? Students compound their misery by burning the candle at both ends in an attempt to add time to the working day. In turn, they become more tired and less able to learn.
The one thing professors need to remember is that every paper or project assigned to students will come back and require copious amounts of grading (aka grading jail). This grading comes at a time when the professor is exhausted, and will take longer as a result (aka grading disaster).
– – David Albrecht