Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The First Drop Date

Allow me just a few brief hours to revel in the passing of the first drop date. Today (well, yesterday now technically) is the day when all students who haven't logged in and completed the first set of course requirements get the boot. My class size becomes manageable, I have a set of students who are more likely to do OK since they've shown basic commitment, and I get about 24 hours with a minimum of stupid questions.

Now that my momentary high is over, we can start taking bets on which dropped student will harass me first:

1. Overextended Oliver--He took part of the orientation, missed the deadline for doing work in the course, and put up two half-assed posts 12 hours late so he could say he "did something" for the class. He claims to be taking 27 hours this term so he can graduate in May. I checked and discovered he is indeed taking 19 of them with my college, so the rest must be through some online school or one of the local private schools. Our state schools cross-check registration for tuition purposes, so no one would let him take that many at once.

2. Probationary Patty, Paul, Peggy, and/or Patrick--All these students were either on "enforced withdrawal" (meaning their grades were so abysmal that even our CC said they should take a break from studies) or "progress probation" (meaning they'd dropped too many classes). Every single one of these people visited our lovely counseling department and got waivers to take an accelerated online class.

3. "But I did the introduction!" Betty and Bob--These two did complete the orientation requirements and did the fun "Tell us about yourself" posts but then turned in no assignments. In an online class, no assignments = no participation = no attendance = being dropped. I tell them this repeatedly.

4. Never Logged In Nancy, Ned, Norbert, Nelly, and Natalie--I never heard a peep from any of these people. They may have popped into the course shell for 10 or 15 minutes, or they may have never even come near it. They didn't respond to my emails telling them what to do after they registered, offering them help if they needed it, or warning them that they had to do something or else they'd be dropped.

I can guarantee you that someone from among these four categories will be complaining with 48 hours. So who do you think will be first? My money is on Oliver, but I could be surprised!


  1. My money is on the never-logged ins. They will have some whoppers to tell you.

  2. I'll put my bet on one of the probationers. They actually had to put in (administrative) effort to get into the class, so they likely feel they have a special right to stay enrolled.

  3. I'd also put it on the never-logged-ins with odds of 5 to 6. To a first approximation, the quality of a student excuse has no correlation with the willingness of that student to try to complain or beg their way out of it.

  4. If I drop a student I never let them back in. Wait until next term sunshine! This is what we call a "consequence"!

  5. I'm betting on the never logins b/c they'll want to know why they're flunking if they didn't do anything. You have to DO something to fail, don't you know?

  6. Reg wins since he was first with the correct answer. In the past 24 hours, I've gotten two complaints. The first was from a "never logged in" who claimed her "Internet was broken all week." She comes to campus for classes also, and we have labs everywhere. Contestant #2 is a "but I did the introduction" student who says I am unfair because I require the students to demonstrate commitment to the class by doing one assignment (out of four due that week). She claimed she didn't realize anything was due and "couldn't see" the assignment in the course shell. How convenient that neither tech support nor I was notified about this terrible glitch. She hadn't even attempted to log into the course since Saturday and emailed me very late tonight when she decided to try to log in again, discovered she was no longer enrolled, and then checked her college email to find my "you're dropped" message.

    @FML, I never let them back in unless I made a clerical mistake in dropping them, which has happened only twice in 12 years of online teaching. I once reinstated a student in a campus class and paid for it not only with her poor performance but also with the loss of respect and student evaluation points from some students who said (rightly) that I didn't uphold my policy.

  7. I sent a detailed, documented explanation to the "But I did the intro" student. She has emailed me back. The email is sitting unread in my box. I am debating as to whether I will open it tomorrow with great potential for further College Misery or simply delete said message since she's no longer my student and I have real students who have actually read the syllabus and submitted work I need to be grading. My explanation to her is not up for debate or further commentary, so I don't know why she felt the need to respond.


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