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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

University rules opposed to examinations, projects assigned during 'dead week'

Mark Twain once said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." \nMost students have found reports of a "dead week" void of school work to be another great exaggeration, as they busily work on final projects and papers in the week before exams. \n"I would characterize it as alive and kicking," sophomore Todd Plugge said. "I've never had a dead week that's actually dead. There's always been multiple exams and papers."\nPlugge's dead week includes two presentations, a report and a final exam.\n"You're supposed to be studying for finals, but instead you're taking tests and doing 20-page reports," he said, "so you can't start studying until the weekend when all you want to do is sit around."\nJournalism professor David Nord said he generally assigns final papers to be turned in the day a final exam is scheduled. \n"But I do think there might be a reason to have a paper due at the end of this week," Nord said.\nHe said grades are supposed to be turned in to the registrar within two days of a scheduled final exam. Thus, a particularly lengthy assignment or a large class can prompt instructors into assigning a dead week due date so they have a full weekend for grading.\nOn the other hand, Nord said he thinks students shouldn't have to worry about taking a test during dead week.\n"I think exams should probably be in exam week," he said. "I don't know what the reasoning would be to have an exam during this week."\nWhile many believe IU prohibits distributing exams during the week before finals, it is not just an urban legend. \nThere is a codicil in Section H of the Dean of Faculties Academic Guide that reads: "The week prior to the exam period shall be free of major or final exams, except for practical tests at the end of lab periods. Papers or projects may be due only if assigned well in advance."\nA syllabus handed out at the beginning of the course can be interpreted as "well in advance." \n"Our sense is that most faculty members outline their courses in a syllabus at the beginning of the semester," said Associate Dean of Faculties Gerald Pugh. "Students expect a syllabus to be distributed on the first day, so even without the dead week policy, students are able to assess whether they've made the right course selection."\nPugh said in his experience, the Department of Student Affairs has yet to receive a formal complaint from any student regarding a test given during dead week.\n"The purpose of the policy is to enable good planning on the behalf of students and faculty that does not throw one into a last-minute crisis," Pugh said. \nPugh said the best option for a student in a similar situation would be to talk to the faculty member ahead of time.\n"You don't want to let it get too far along where you can't get everybody to the table and work it out," Pugh said. "If you come in after the fact, that's not nearly as helpful if someone comes ahead of the fact and avoids the problem that the dead week policy was meant to address: unexpected work in the last lap of the race."\n-- Contact senior writer Alex Hickey at ahickey@indiana.edu.

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