This link will take you to an entire page from RYS in 2007. The top three articles covero ne of the central exchanges of that blog's life, usually called the "Gumdrop Unicorn" debate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Signs of (Dis)Engagement

I seem to be getting a lot more "I don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing; please explain" emails from the students in my two traditionally-scheduled sections than in my two hybrid ones.  While a substantial number of students in each set of sections are paying less attention than I'd like (really, things are explained quite clearly in multiple places, and the majority of students seem to be following the detailed directions with no problem at all, expressing confusion only about substantive matters), I can't figure out which students are paying less attention: the ones who (usually) sit in class for 75 minutes twice a week, or the ones who (sometimes) show up for 75 minutes once a week, and (theoretically) accomplish the rest of their work online.  

P.S.  This conundrum strikes me as pointing to the possible truth of the statement in the current CM banner, which I love.  Since most of the readers here are presumably proffies, it probably isn't true that we have "3 million pageviews. . .and still nobody reading." But if our main audience were the current generation of students, I'm not so sure.  If our LMS's tracking software is any guide, some students seem to log on to the site, discover that they can't figure everything out within 5 seconds of loading the entry page, and default to emailing me for instructions.

12 comments :

  1. In my own student experience, the more often a class physically met, the more often I thought about it, so I would not be surprised if some of the mixed format students only think about the class once a week or so. On the flip side, the mixed format students are probably better trained to RTFWebsite. Clulessness is not restricted to a particular class format, alas.

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  2. I would think, based on what I see in my students in general, that students that are used to, or at least supposed to be looking for information in written form online will find it and read it, whereas if they aren't, you get the problem of them not hearing anything we say (already a given) plus they aren't used to looking for the information, so they ask you. I direct most of my questions to blackboard, and I'm amazed at how many questions I get that are answered there, but they want to ask me. Oh, no, snowflake. I don't repeat. You can read, and I'm going to prove it.

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    1. EXACTLY. I tell them that I DO repeat, but pretty much on MY terms. It's a one-way street, and if they miss the fucking bus, that's THEIR PROBLEM. Why? Because if I repeat everything over and over, I will go absolutely insane.

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  3. I am just marking a bunch of assignments from a class that is 50/50 online, and a good number of them misread key parts of the assignment, including skipping parts of questions, thinking that question 2 was still part of question 1, and in a couple of spectacular instances, misreading a web page that was "ANALYSIS OF WOMEN'S MAGAZINE" as "ACTUAL LINK TO WOMEN'S MAGAZINE WEBSITE".

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    1. They mistook analysis for a women's magazine? I... I have no words for that...

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  4. I recently had an assignment that I discussed with the students at length in class. This only required the students to read a document, which was posted on Sakai, and show up for the activity. I discussed this at length with them in class with a funny (to me) picture on the projector (I recently have received several comments telling me that they know how to read, so don't tell them what is on the screen- okay, I can do that). The day before the activity, I received several emails saying that I never told them what to do. There are written instructions on Sakai, and the extensive discussion I had with them about it, but all they can reference is the PowerPoint with the picture and no words. Apparently no words on the PowerPoint means I told them nothing. It couldn't be that they weren't paying attention, I MUST have just stood there saying nothing as there were no words on the slide.

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  5. Most students at my CC are fucking idiots, but that's what you get when you let ANYONE ENROLL. Seriously. I can totally relate to Contingent Cassandra. Just tonight, this fuckhole of a student in my Basic Writing for Hamsters class asked YET AGAIN another fucking question that was FULLY EXPLAINED MORE THAN ONCE in class and that is ALSO EXPLAINED IN THE SYLLABUS.

    He always does this, and he shows up late about 80% of the time. I can tell he smokes "weed" as they love to call it, and he snowboards, so you know the type. Fucking FUCKHOLE of an idiot playing "college student" on the taxpayers' Pell Grant dime until he flakes out and leaves to work at Checker Auto Parts or something!

    So yes, I want to beat his ass, and he can't withdraw soon enough to please me.

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    1. My sympathies, NC. The sad part is that some of these people emailing me are community college graduates -- yes, that's right, they've got AA or AS degrees. To be fair, I think they may actually pay more attention in the classes for their majors, but my class -- one more core class with an "English" prefix and a writing-in-the-disciplines focus that they've got to take even though they thought they were all done with gen ed requirements -- takes them by surprise, because by now they think they know what English and/or writing classes are all about, and I'm asking them to do -- gasp! -- new and different things that will be useful to them in the next two years of college (and beyond). Most of them will eventually buckle down and do what I'm asking, but apparently we have to go several rounds of "can't I just do what I did for freshman comp/AP English/my 8th-grade capstone project?" before we get to that point.

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  6. In the end, college is about FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS. If they can't do that, they're fucked, and should be fucked, because I don't want a bunch of half-witted shitheads with degrees in my society. So don't feel any compunction about weeding out the slackers--IT'S PART OF YOUR JOB.

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  7. I just did quarterly averages for Ancient Hamster Literary Masterpieces. The class average worked out to a C; that's because on the one end are my stars, who read the directions and my comments on their work, and on the other end are my students who would have issues with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish due to there being too many adjectives. I build in redundancies so they get the same information in different formats and in different places, and STILL about 25% of my class doesn't read. We're talking averages in the 20-50% range. Some of them are furious. One (my famous student with the shift key phobia) even emailed me this gem (paraphrased, of course): "i read what you said and started doing things different. i see my grades are getting better. i am NOT [notice sudden ability to locate the shift key, or at least caps lock] happy with my grade, i want an A [again, magically locating the capital letter]."

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  8. Nice student! Mail him / her an image of a Scrabble tile?

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  9. Dear God, for the sake of our own sanity, we need to figure out how to get our email to pick just the right form letter so that we don't actually have to answer with something that will get us fired:

    ie) "I don't know what goes on when YOU leave class, so can you please explain the confusion? I mean, I wasn't there when the lines were getting snorted."

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