It's my least favorite time of year: the start of the second accelerated term. In the course schedule, a note should be added which reads, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Students are allowed to start signing up for this term at the same time as the others, thus guaranteeing that at least a couple will forget they even registered. I email them upon registering to give them the start and end dates for the class. I email them two weeks before the class begins to remind them, tell them how the class works, and give them book info so they can get their texts as inexpensively as possible. I tell them that it's an accelerated term, so they don't have time to mess around. They also get all the requisite information about taking the college orientation ASAP, doing mine sometime between the day before classes start and the due date of the first assignment, and needing to attend class the first week (being online, this means actually doing some work) to stay in the class. The day the class orientation opens, they get a detailed message telling them exactly what to do, including what steps to take if technical issues arise. If the first assignment draws near and I've seen nary a peep, they get another warning. Then I follow through and do what my college requires of me. By the time someone is dropped, that person has heard from me at least four and perhaps as many as six times.
This term, I've learned none of it is enough. Not only am I supposed to tell them repeatedly what to do, but I'm also supposed to have a crystal ball to read their intentions. I'm even supposed to know what they've allegedly done so I can tell them I can't see they've done it in the course. In the past 24 hours, here's some of the flava from the emails I've received. Details are altered slightly to protect the stupid:
Clueless Clara: HOW COULD YOU DROP ME????? I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do for the course. (See redundant detailed info above.) I need this course to graduate!!!!
Pissy Patrick: I don't understand why you dropped me cuz I did the orientation. (Student did no work at all after orientation and never even logged into the portion of the course that had the assignments in it.) I've been checking this course regularly since September (impossible since the materials weren't even posted until the beginning of October). This is your fault. You should have told me that my posts weren't showing up. (Course log says you did no work and didn't even check the work area.) I arranged my entire course schedule around this class. (It's an online class, and all your other classes are on campus. Not buying that one either.) Your a crappy teacher who doesn't care about students.
Transfer Tina: I am a full-time student at Sub-Par Private University. I need this class to graduate. I thought it didn't start till this week. (See all that crap I sent out above.) Could you please reinstate me?
Never Logged In Nathaniel: I see your class isn't on my list of courses anymore. I guess that means you dropped me. Why?
Perhaps this is all just a scheme to replace faculty with employees from the Psychic Friends Network. They would know the students meant to log in, they didn't read any of the course information, they meant to make posts, and above all, they MUST graduate in December. (I didn't even include several of those. I've always wondered how, if a student absolutely needed a course to graduate, that person wouldn't be extra conscientious about that class, contact the instructor before it began, and actually read the freakin' college calendar and course materials. Someone somewhere must be telling them that the magic G word is the ticket which gains re-entry to all courses.)
I'm teaching two of these accelerated classes. Following college policy and state law, I dropped 14 students to avoid being guilty of defrauding the great Southern State of Undervaluing Education's taxpayers (not to mention the rest of you Americans paying into the Pell program). These students have no comprehension of what it would mean to do one month's work on college-level material in one week while taking other classes, working, and doing whatever else is going on in their lives. On the plus side, at least my classes will be manageable and those who stayed have a decent chance of making it.