A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine

Background provided by Instructor: I teach an online class. The last exam was open for one week.  A reminder was sent out the day it opened, again mid-week, and then the day before it was due.  The exam closed at midnight on the last day.  At 11:00pm on the last day – with only one hour left – I emailed three students who had yet to take the class.  One of these students wrote back to me at 11:55pm (5 minutes before midnight when the exam and class were to close), after taking the exam in the final hour, to ask if I could reopen it for her to try again because she had not done well….. here is her email explaining her reasoning.  [I replied that I was not willing to reopen her exam.]

Student’s email: When taking the test on campus, I had an extremely difficult time staying focused on my exam due to a lot of noise being caused by a group of students coming in… resulting in my lowest prelim grade by far. I was wondering if it would be possible to retake it? I understand if it is not possible, but I’m sure you understand my frustration with at the situation. Thank you for all of your help.

* * * ½   9 votes
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You mean I can’t do my online class on my phone?

Background provided by Instructor: I received this email shortly before the midpoint of a fully online course. This “student” had been emailing me with excuses for not completing assignments that ranged from not having the textbook to not understanding the syllabus. Finally, I learned the real reason she was not doing her work:


* * * * * 3 votes
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Do I have to do the entire assignment?

Background provided by Instructor: One of the assignments for my online class involves answering a series of questions for each lesson. Each assignment is worth 5% of the final grade. I have rarely had this kind of email from a student:

Hello Sir,

Do we need to write in all 25 discussions for the 5 points? If not, what is the minimum number we need to discuss on lessons?


* * * *   10 votes
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I get to tell you how to teach online – even if I don’t do anything

Background provided by Instructor: I teach an online course and the requirements for log-on time, my office hours, office location, phone number, etc. are all in the syllabus in several other places, such as in the Start Here link or in the Instructor Information.
Here is what one of my students who had been logged on for 2 hours 35 minutes in week 10 of the term emailed me:

How can you expect us to login for 4 hours a week when all we do is play matching games and answer a 5 question quiz? the matching games we play give us no credit nor does the journaling or the discussions. I didn’t ask you for a report on when I login in I dont need to be logged into the system when doing essays do I?? I have spent alot of time and effort and you just hand out bad grades. Just as you can evaluate, I too can evaluate. This is the worst class I have taken and your teaching style has really brought me down. I have had no feedback or help from you. Im sure you know what my feedback was on your evaluation. I will do my best to dry and catch up but I feel as if I should just re-take this class with a much more involved instructor. Im not here to be criticized and as a teacher and instructor you should be here to help instead of just passing me on to someone else. As I know this is not all your fault as most of it is mine due to unforseen circumstances I will be taking this to the Dean of students. As you can see I have almost no feedback or teaching from you. Yes this is an online course but you are also employed to teach online or not you should be involved with your students.

* * * *   11 votes
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I know how to grade

Background provided by Instructor: The students were assigned a computer project, which was posted two weeks before the deadline with a grading scheme. They were required to send a milestone to us after a week to receive some points; there was no partial credit for this section.

Email subject: This lab is very hard. You guys should try do it yourself.

Email body: Hi,

I’m not very happy. Why is task 1-3 no partial credit. Please send in some feedback because we need this for part 1-7 and if this is not right and we have no way of correcting this we are getting a zero. It is a very bad way to grade homework like this according to me. I have been correcting this thing for a long time. I admit i’m very stupid please help us by sending some feedback.

We talked to the TAs and they said they cannot see errors in my function.

* * ½     5 votes
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Feminist = You hate men

Background provided by the Instructor: I just wanted to share how stunning it is that some students continue to equate “feminist” with “hates men.” I happen to teach a class where we discuss gender issues, including violence against women. Here is one of my course evaluations from a male in the class:

I took this class as an elective. It is obvious that our teacher is a feminist and hates men since she talked about issues like domestic violence being a problem and how rape is also an issue for girls. It is clear she hates men …. why else would she bring these up in a class on gender roles. As a guy I was really uncomfortable hearing her tell us about the studies.

* * * * ½ 17 votes
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You have to let me take the test

Background provided by Instructor: I teach an online class. The syllabus and calendar are emailed to each student and are also posted online. Each week I send reminder emails about what is due. Since the prelim is open over the course of several days, I also send daily email reminders. For this exam, one student had not completed it by the deadline, so I extended the due date and emailed the student. It appears this student has not been checking email or his Calendar and forgot. The day after the prelim closed, I received this email:
Dear Professor:
I don’t know how, but somehow I completely missed prelim 2. I’ve been keeping extremely close track of the calender, but somehow that test completely slipped by me. I’m panicking right now. Professor, is there anything you can do for me? I don’t want to fail this class. You know I try really hard in it. This was just a brain lapse on my part, and I really don’t feel I deserve to lose out so much over it…I also didn’t see the email you sent about leaving prelim 2 open until the end of Sunday until 4:20 AM today. I didn’t think to check my email because I thought I had my entire schedule covered, and I thought Prelim 2 would be next week… I’m so very sorry. I really hope you’re willing to work with me on this…

* * * * ½ 15 votes
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Can we discuss a solution?

Background provided by Instructor: After an exam, I post the answers for students to review. A student emailed me later in the day asking to meet with me. She said she had misunderstood the question and now that she has seen the correct answer, she would like to come to my office to meet with me to discuss a solution for missing the question.  All I could think as I read her email was: Really?

For one of the questions on the test, it asked for the most common change for xxxx and I thought it was therefore asking for simply the biggest change as in one answer and so I chose the biggest change, although all of them were changes from the past. I guess I misunderstood the wording of the question and was curious if maybe we could discuss a solution to my misunderstanding.

* * *     16 votes
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If it’s so hard to believe…..

Background provided by Instructor: In my large class of several hundred, I require weekly online quizzes over the textbook readings that count 30% of a student’s grade. In announcements at the start of class, I always remind students to be sure to log in to do their chapter quizzes and emphasize how important they are in terms of being factored into their final grade.  Four weeks into the semester, I wrote to the students who were missing any or all quizzes to remind them to take their quizzes before the deadline.  After the first four weeks of quizzes closed, I wrote again to any students who missed taking quizzes – in case there were technical or personal issues. Here is one email exchange with one student.

Dear (Student) –
I see you did not take three of the four required chapter quizzes by the due date. These quizzes have been open since the first day or class. Reminders were announced in class and I also sent you emails two weeks ago and then again last week before the quizzes closed. Can you let me know why you only took the first chapter quiz? – Professor x

Student reply: Well I did the first one, and I was talking to someone else from the class about how I did pretty well on it, and they said it doesn’t matter how well you do on them because they were just for check, not for a grade. I didn’t know the quizzes were mandatory. But you’re informing me otherwise right now. Does this mean I’m going to fail the semester even if I do the quizzes from now on and do well on them?

My reply: This is so hard for me to believe after all the in-class announcements and reminder emails. When you read over the syllabus you can also see that quizzes are worth one-third of your grade. please talk to your friend as well and set them straight so they know these count toward your final grade. – Professor x

Student reply: If it’s so hard to believe, then don’t believe it. I’ve withdrawn from my courses anyway and am returning next semester for a fresh start. Have a great rest of the semester.


* * * *   16 votes
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How dare you accuse me

Background provided by Instructor: I am always amazed by the emails from students…how brazen and entitled they are…. and their tone. In this example of an email reply from a student, I had given the student only partial credit (a gift) for a paper because when I screened the paper for originality, a significant portion of it matched to other book review websites. The paper did not follow my specific directions for what to discuss. When I wrote to the student about their paper, I said that it made me wonder if they had read the instructions or the book.

I see that I only recieved half credit for my paper. I completely understand your comments but I did read the book from start to finish. I am upset about your accusations that I did not read it because that is just not true and very unfair. I hope to get the credit on my paper that I earned.

* * * *   16 votes
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