First, a caveat. I have a disability. Not one that ruins my life, but I am epileptic, and that fact has been pretty disruptive. I used the Disability Services in undergrad and grad school to help organize my thoughts when seizure headaches made studying almost impossible. I am grateful to these services and I try my very best to accommodate students who are overcoming depression, schizophrenia, blindness, or any other issues in order to get their degree. So when accommodations get out of hand, I get really pissed off.
OH MY GOD THE MISERY.
For two months now, I have been dealing with an absent student who is taking my course absentee from an institution. He is allowed exactly 10 hours online per week, and he spends 5 hours of that online time "attending" my lectures via Skype and trying to do his homework. (guess how thoroughly one can do a research paper with such restrictions....)
Here are the problems so far:
- The student cannot access the online textbook and had to wait three weeks for a physical textbook to be delivered to his institution. Why three weeks? No one can explain. I gave him an extension and he caught up quickly.
- More often than not, Skype fails to connect adequately (surprising no one). He cannot email just anyone from his institution, so I have to convince volunteers to email me their student notes and then forward said notes to the student.
- Part of my course requires a weekly blog post. Each student chooses a theme and posts academic material, personal thoughts, or creative expressions about that theme to a final blog. They are then responsible for posting on at least 3 classmate blogs every week. Guess what institution blocks these blogs from their location? Yeah, so Special Student cannot access a term-long assignment that is worth 30% of his grade.
- The final assignment of this course is a term paper. Pretty standard. However, the university databases (things like science direct and JSTOR) are blocked from the institution. So are general websites like about.com, wikipedia, and yahoo answers. Not that I would have allowed such things to be used in a paper, but without academic sources OR library visits OR general info websites, how the ever-loving hell is this kid supposed to be able to write a goddamned research paper??????
Guess how the administration reacted to my concerns? Something something student success something something customer service something something deconstruct the paradigm and shoot me in the skull.
There is nothing really to do. I give some grades; no one is satisfied; I avoid failing the kid entirely but the whole thing takes way too much of my time and ends up serving no one.
Unsolicited Advice: Drop the damn course, get better, and go to school later.