[Smt-talk] McGamut query

David K Feurzeig mozojo at gmail.com
Tue Oct 6 08:37:14 PDT 2009

Just a quick take on the security/integrity question.

While I have no reason to doubt the robustness of MacG's encryption,  
there is ALWAYS a way to cheat: encryption can't prevent a students  
from working on each others' .mgs files.

But a balanced course design renders the integrity issue nearly moot.  
Over the years, I have incorporated MacG in a variety of ways, from a  
purely extracurricular aid to level targets that are counted in the  
course grade. However, I never weight the MacG portion of the grade  
more than 20%, and any skill that MacG builds is also tested via in- 
class dictations.

Frequent dictation quizzes provide a reality check for instructors and  
a disincentive for students to cheat. Any sizable discrepancy between  
a student's stats and his or her performance on quizzes prompts a  
meeting, which can reveal all sorts of interesting issues--by no means  
limited to cheating: also involved are perception issues (samples vs.  
live sounds) and test-taking skills.

David Feurzeig
University of Vermont

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