It never ceases to amaze me how easily students give up if something is even the tiniest bit hard. I just started an accelerated online class in modern British hamster novels. I have lost three students already for the following reasons:
1. Plagiarizing Petra did her first post on French literature, forgetting which class she was taking. Petra is one of those famous international students we were just talking about. Her sentences with nearly incoherent structure were interspersed with perfectly formed ideas not on the the assigned topic. Dr. Google and I readily located her sources, so I told her she was getting a zero on the first assignment and needed to do her own work and follow directions. She then proceeded to redo the assignment, tell me she "miss understood" what she was supposed to do, and begged me to give her another chance. I told her she'd already gotten a break because by my school's standards, I could have given her an F and filed an academic dishonesty report. Instead of sucking it up, taking responsibility for her actions, and getting on with the class, she dropped. I'm sure she's out on The Site that Shall Not Be Named now looking for the proffie who's "international student friendly."
2. Whiny Wendell was having trouble with the first assignment, which was due two days before he emailed me to tell me so. He decided to inform me of this on a Friday night at 8:00 p.m. Even proffies have a life and sometimes go out on weekend nights. When I checked my mail this afternoon, Wendell had flounced because a whole 16 hours had passed and I hadn't responded. Buh-bye, Wendell.
3. Sullen Stacy informed the class in her introduction that she's here because she has to be even though I specifically told students to think about the question "Why are you enrolled in this class?" in terms of what benefit it might bring to them personally, professionally, or educationally and they should NOT say "I'm only here because I have to be." I don't care if they are lying through their teeth; I want them to at least demonstrate that they're capable of thinking about why a course might be required so they have a chance of getting something out of it. Stacy also hates to read and sees no reason why she as a business major would ever use English. She had no problem denigrating my field and my class on our discussion board. When I publicly but politely told Stacy she should look for the positive since we have nine more weeks together and it would be much easier if she tried to look for the benefits of having the opportunity to improve her reading, writing, and analytical skills, she sent me a note saying I had "humiliated" her in front of the class, so she was leaving. I'd hate to see what happens the first time one of Stacy's customers is unhappy.
Those are just the three I have confirmed. Tonight I emailed four more who have yet to do one lick of work for the course. If they don't turn in something by Monday, I'll get rid of them myself as I refuse to lie to the state about their attendance in my class. At least one will then tell me how unfair I am, threaten to file a complaint, or outright insult me. The nerve of me to have course requirements and expect students to meet them--what am I thinking? The administration will back me up in terms of keeping them out of class but won't do a thing about the disrespect.
I'm so glad I have two other sections of mostly good students who seem happy to be there and are really trying even if they're not always succeeding. But for the others who gave up before they even had a chance to get started, the big L above is for you. It's the one thing you earned.