Blogs > Cliopatria > Why I'm So Glad You're Grading Student Essays These Days ...

Oct 11, 2004 3:31 am

Why I'm So Glad You're Grading Student Essays These Days ...

We all know about fraternity filing cabinets (so 1950s) and term papers for sale on the net (so 1990s), but this internet trick takes the cake. You go to Essay Generator and type in any subject. It instantly generates a 400 word essay, including a chart and three endnotes. It is created from a template and a barrel of cliches. I thought that I might stump the generator with the word"Cliopatria". Not a chance. If I didn't like its first offering, I could repeat the process again and again until it yielded a more acceptable product. Try it out, with any key word or words you like. The essays are cliche ridden and often non-sensical, but I've graded worse that I'm sure were generated by a sensate human being. If you are grading student work in an environment in which the assumption is that anything submitted that cannot be proven to be a fraud gets a passing grade, my heart goes out to you.

Beyond the remarkable technology of this bloody thing, however, I found its sponsorship even more interesting. I learned of Essay Generator from H-Scholar's Diane Calabrese who referred to an article about it in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette for 10 October and to this web address: Calabrese and, apparently, the reporter for the Post-Gazette didn't pursue the matter beyond the remarkable technology. If you click on that address, you are referred to: If you look around the site, it becomes clear that Essay Generator comes to you by the grace of Campus Crusade for Christ. Try their Random Person Generator. You'll be invited to compare yourself with a computer generated"person" and, if you follow the links, you'll eventually be assured that, unlike RPG, you have a unique place in the order of creation. So, the picture I get is of some poor freshman schlemiel, like I once was, desperate to fulfill a class requirement. The desperation and curiosity eventually leads to a gospel message. Don't get me wrong. I'm an evangelical and I believe in evangelism, but if you'll pardon the expression, this is a crock ...

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Jonathan Dresner - 10/10/2004

...what they are thinking. The essays are laughably bad, but when I think about how much time I've spent trying to make constructive comments on ...stuff like this, it's not as funny anymore. Are they hoping that students will realize, through the negative feedback provided by teachers, that honesty is the best policy and Christ is the answer? What are they thinking?

Their random proverb generator took 'history' and gave me "A history is worth a thousand words." No more, no less. I'll remember that when I'm working out my assignments next semester.