Friday, April 27, 2012

Life Is Meaningless without Direction(s)

One of the most desperate times of the year has come for us in Proffie Land: the last couple of weeks of class. For students, this is the time of magical thinking.  Those who haven't been paying attention all term suddenly realize they must become serious students if they have any hope of passing. Some of them actually think they can earn an A at this point.  Most of them could eke out a C if they would just do what they should have been doing all term long: read the damn directions!

Here are a few gems I've received this week alone:

Am I actually supposed to turn in the assignment in the place labeled "Assignments"?

I don't understand how to do the research project. Where are the directions? (This after having received instructions about exactly where the directions are and what to click on as well as an email recap of what to do and regular contact about the project.)

I just figured out how to do the research project. Can I turn in the six assignments that were already due so you can grade them this weekend? (A seventh is also due this weekend.)

How do I know when anything is due? (All assignments have due dates on them, and the dates are also listed on the course calendar and in the learning modules with links to the assignments. Whenever they log in, the LMS immediately gives them a to-do list for the week which links directly to the assignments.)

All of these are questions that should have been asked weeks ago, and not a single one of them really needed to be asked. They would know the answers if they would just read the directions. I encourage specific questions if they don't understand something, but not saying anything at all until it's too late or just saying "I don't understand" is about as helpful as saying, "Here is a duck who is friends with a hamster."

P.S. When I went looking for images about directions, Hiram's pic came up as one of the top ten!


  1. I remember earlier someone coined the term "disunderstanding" where students disrespectfully understand something. Basically, "I don't understand" seems to translate to: "Please do this for me."

    1. Or "I don't want to do this, you are expecting too much from me. Please revise"

  2. Hamster and duck are friends. . . aww!

    And yes, they should follow directions, but they don't, even though today's LMSs seem to have us putting essentially the same information in 6 different places. Or maybe that's part of the problem? If the information is available everywhere, they don't pay attention to it anywhere? I'm seriously thinking about ways to reduce repetition in my course materials. It would help if our LMS allowed easier linking between parts of a course site, but it doesn't. For anyone who knows even a modicum of html (or has built a simple web page using a wysiwyg program such as Dreamweaver), it's incredibly frustrating.

  3. Dora Dumbass "But I didn't know we were to read anything. You didn't tell us!"

    SB "Do you have a class outline?"

    DD "Yes."

    SB "The readings are on that."

    DD "But I wasn't here on the first day of class!"

    SB "So....?"

    DD "Nobody told me I had to read it!"

  4. My extremely ugly evaluations this semester included a comment that said - " I know you put the directions for x project up from the beginning of the semester, but my classmates didn't realize. Perhaps if you sent out weekly reminders about it, it would be better". Really? Are they truly going to admit they couldn't look at the computer system and see the big heading that said "x project"?

    1. I got slaughtered in evaluations for pointing out that students should use the information GIVEN TO THEM (i.e. the outline, lectures, tutorials, readings) if they want to do well on the assignments.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I have a simple "I count your best two out of three tests" policy so they can miss/drop one test because I give no alternate tests, early tests, late tests or makeup tests- this is carefully explained in the syllabus, in my first lecture (slides and lecture recording provided online), re-explained in person, print, and online before test 1, 2 and 3, and STILL, they plaintively email to ask: "do I have to take the third test?" "I have to miss the 2nd test-do I have to take two tests the week of the third test?", "how can I avoid the third test?", "can I have a early/late/makeup test?", "what can I do because I have a clash with the second test". The last straw - today's newpaper headlines screamed "University students expect to make six figure salaries after graduating!" Are you F$%#ing KIDDING me? Snowflakes- after you graduate, you're going to get hired and then fired from Burger King because you cant take orders correctly!!!

  7. Now you know why at the beginning of every class, I announce all homework, labs, etc. for the next week. If some child complains about it being "ripitive," then so be it.

    Some of these comments, though, make me want to haul off and SLAP them.

  8. I'm getting these kinds of ridiculous e-mails:

    "I just realized I took your class already two years ago! Can you give me a 'no work submitted' grade instead of an F?"

    "Even though it's two weeks past the deadline for the first part of a scaffolded assignment and one day after the deadline for the second part, can you still set me up to do the second part?"

    "Can you tell me how to do the second assignment [this after a detailed prompt, two in-class explanations of the prompt, 2 weeks of office hours, and a "do you have any questions" section in each of 5 classes]"

    I. Want. To. SCREAM. At. Them.

    1. And then it's, "Oh, my gawwwwd,' what's Professor Froad's problem?"

    2. Succinctly, it's this: every year, our college-age students (18 and older, legally adults) get more, and MORE, AND MORE IMMATURE. Have a look at the comments in the post: are they not worthy of, oh, FIRST graders?

      And of course, we the faculty are expected to do more, and MORE, AND MORE about it. Moreover, much of what's expected is addle-brained rubbish. What we're supposed to be doing, educating our students, isn't magic: it takes effort and responsibility, especially from our so-called students.

    3. Frankly also: if I'd attempted any of the excuses in the post above when I was even in first grade, and certainly by 4th grade, my teachers would have slapped me, without hesitation, because I really would richly have deserved it. God almighty in heaven above help the future, if any.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.