It could be that the "canceled all the Thursday classes" thing is some sort of effort to run a hybrid course. I have a colleague who sometimes does this. If the class is scheduled to meet twice a week, she will have the students come one day a week, and then do online stuff for the other half of each week's work. The students love it because it means less time in the classroom.I'm really amazed at how many profs cancel class in the first week. This semester, with a Monday/Wednesday teaching schedule, I will lose one Monday for Labor Day, and a Wednesday for Veterans Day. With the amount of material I need to get through, I can't afford to lose any more class meetings. No doubt many of my students will, in early November, begin asking me if we have class on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The answer to that question is "Yes."
I wonder how much of this is over-representation - people don't tweet "My history prof never cancels class, even on Fridays" - and how much of the really egregious stuff is even true: not everyone on twitter is a reliable reporter, and students often mishear, misunderstand, garble in transmission to colleagues, and misrepresent for comic effect...
from Kimmie:I appreciate that notion, Jonathan, I really do. I'd be more inclined to think you may be right but I have a couple of colleagues who do the same thing fairly regularly. I even have a colleague who turned his 50 minute MWF class into a 50 minute MW class, with Fridays being designated "special consultation days." He stays home, turns his webcam on, and offers "consultation" at 5 in the afternoon for an hour. He has told me that in a semester he might get 2 calls in 16 weeks.And, I see the Class cancelled notices on doors of even colleagues I like. It irks me, obviously, because I've gone Tweeter-Crazy about the topic, because I just think it's a flat out cheat of the students and the university. I have cancelled class! I have been terribly ill. I had a car break down. But I see it happen so often at my quite decent city university way more than is statistically possible for the size of my department and division.
Yeah, it's true that too many of our colleagues get too comfortable with the students' "less class means more fun!" attitudes, self-defeating as they are. The disjunction between "Our tuition pays your salary" and "Hooray, class is canceled!" explains a lot about our current predicament.
The other downside to this is that at some point accreditation agencies and/or legislatures are going to get wind of the issue, and then all of us will have to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops every time we want to take the class to the library, or cancel a reasonable number of classes to allow for conferences (which take a much larger amount of time, in total, than the canceled classes, but some students can only come during class time), let alone every time we actually get sick, or encounter a major car/traffic issue on the way to school, or whatever.
Well said. I am already treated like a baby by my bosses. If I were to skip or cancel a class, a wild flurry of activity begins. There'd be meetings, I tell you, MEETINGS! I'd be reminded that I'm required by the State, by God, by someone, that I was SUPPOSED to have class at 9 am, and when I didn't the whole of Ohio went off its axis.I don't cancel or miss class. But if I had to, I know I'd wish I hadn't.
Hiram, I teach at a similar place. Over a decade here and I haven't taken a sick day, because CLASSES MUST BE COVERED AND CANNOT BE CANCELLED. Which means tracking down one of my over-loaded colleagues and dumping my work on them. Regardless of whether that is actually in the interests of student learning. Oh, and remember that the institution is ONE BIG FAMILY. Maybe I need to take some of that fatigue training!