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WWYD re: School Issue

Sorry it's a tad long.

At my school, only 1 instructor teaches pathophysiology and she's the associate dept. head. Our grades are based on chapter quizzes and unit tests. The chapter quizzes are online, and set up so that you may only see 1 question at a time, you must complete the quiz in one sitting and you cannot review the questions/answers at the end, you only receive a grade. They're an extremely unhelpful tool as far as I'm concerned but that's beside the point.

Up til now, my quiz grades have been in the A-B range. I made a 66 on one yesterday and thought it was strange, I felt more confident about my answers than that.  I decided to ask my friend at school how she did, to see if I really just needed to study the material better or if there was perhaps an issue w/ the online grading. I find out that 1) There IS an issue with the online grading 2) Our instructor is AWARE of this issue and 3) The instructor said to another student that "If people don't care enough about their grades to come to office hours and discuss it with me, then I don't care enough about it to change them." I am friends w/ the third student and spoke with her directly to see if my friend had misunderstood her. No, she confirmed that our instructor did say that to her.

So NOW, I'm thinking what.the.fuuck. Our teacher has admitted to a computer grading error but won't change our grades unless we specifically go to office hours? I'm sorry, but that's equivalent to making office hours mandatory which you just cannot/should not do. Please grade my assignments fairly and lets all move on.

How would your proceed? I have emailed her and asked if I needed an appointment to come to office hours to discuss my grade but I did not mention anything about knowing it was a computer grading issue. I honestly feel like dropping the class now because I don't know if I trust her to grade my assignments fairly in the future and I really don't have the time to go to office hours to review every single quiz.  My cousin who is also in the nursing program is taking the same class online at a different school and says it's cake. I believe the class will be offered online at the other school again this summer so I could probably take it then.

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Re: WWYD re: School Issue

  • Okay. I've asked fellow students and staff in the tutoring center with me, and here's our consensus:

    1) Even if they're your friends, it's heresay. That, and they're probably having an emotional reaction - same as you - and may be overexaggerating the situation.

    2) Lots of professors require office hours/personal meetings. There's nothing that says they can't. If the office hours are impacting you negatively (missing class, work, etc.), then tell the instructor that during your meeting. Explain that you care about your grade and are concerned, but that attending office hours weekly doesn't work and see if she'll make other accomadations.

    3) There's no reason to assume she'll be unfair. Maybe she doesn't know HOW to fix the computer program (and if she did, maybe there's nothing she can do -- why should she take time/energy to fix it if students don't care and are just going to be complacent? It sucks pedagogically and I would never do it, but there's no reason to assume it's going to be common practice).

    If you think the online class is easier, then drop it. But I wouldn't discredit the course/instructor until you meet with her and find out more firsthand.

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  • 1. I understand that until I hear it for myself that you're right, it's heresay. I have an appointment with her myself and will sort it out then. At this point however, I trust the information I have been given. I will be polite and tactful with my instructor and I have not mentioned my conversation with anyone else.

    2. While some professors may require office hours, I don't see how that is at all fair to do when it's not expressly stated in the syllabus that it is a requirement. I've taken many humanities classes that did require visiting office hours but it was stated in the syllabus as such. Many students in our class are unaware of the issue at all and may not know to ask about their grade, or may be too timid to do so. What about them? I honestly thought I had really messed up at first until I asked my friend how she did on the test and I heard about the grading issue. I still believe it is entirely unfair to admit there is a computer error  to one student but then decide not tell the entire class about it.

    3. She created the online quizzes. She knows how to edit them. 

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  • Re 2: True. Everyone I know who requires them puts it in the syllabus. Otherwise, they're just "strongly encouraged." As for the ones who "may not know to ask about their grade, or may be too timid to do so. What about them?" -- it's college. If you're not willing to be proactive about your education, then you deserve whatever grade/situation you end up with. This stuff isn't hard to learn. And isn't this an advanced/post-Bachelor's program anyway? At the very least, this isn't the first college course any of them have taken, right? So they really shouldn't need anyone to hold their hand...

    Re 3: I'm not trying to argue that she's a good teacher or even that her behavior is justified. I've had professors in the past who used testing systems given to them by their textbook manufacturers and had NO CLUE how they worked. I was just thinking she may have been old school.

    My final point still stands: if you don't trust her and/or you don't see any benefit in sticking it out, don't. Drop the class. The points I made before were just to offer a different perspective on how/why the professor and the system may be working as such. Trust me, as someone who has been student, staff, and faculty at various universities for over ten years, I'll be the first to say that the whole damn thing is corrupt/in shambles. But I also know good teachers who get put through the ringer by students when they don't deserve it, so I try to offer as many sides as possible.

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  • I appreciate your perspective, truly. I'm upset by the situation so it's hard to be objective. This is actually NOT an advanced degree course - it's an associates degree program. We have people in here who are only 19ish, a year or so out of high school. I think I could have more leniency for the "they should care about their grade" argument IF the quizzes were set up so that you could actually SEE the questions/answers you got wrong at the end. It's not. It only shows you your score and you cannot review the material without going to her office.

    ETA: I think you have a valid point about dropping the course. I no longer have confidence in her to grade my assignments fairly and that's probably a deal breaker for this class. I'm going to her office to make sure I understand the situation correctly, but as it stands I really can't fathom going to her office every week to make sure my grades are correct. I expect an instructor to be able to do this without me needing to consistently intervene on my own behalf. 

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  • It sounds like you made a decision, but I thought I would weigh in as well, for what it's worth.  I teach an online course, where the quizzes are online.  It sounds a little different from your situation, because my students can see what they got wrong, but I agree you should meet with her first and then go from there.

    I also think if you have a lot invested in this course already, it might be worth it to stick it out, though it's a little extra hassle for you to go in for extra meetings.  Maybe you don't have to go weekly, maybe you could go monthly.  Personally, I always thought that professors liked me better and treated me better when I came in for office hours when I was in college.  As a professor myself, I find it annoying (because I teach an online course, they don't give me an office.  Meeting students on campus means I have to haul across the city, pay for parking, then stand around in a hallway somewhere).  My point is, you don't know what her preferences are until you talk to her.

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