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Distance Learning

July 7, 2011

Remember back in June when I said that I would have so much time to write during the summer?  Well, I wasn’t lying; it’s just not blog writing.  You see, I underestimated just how much writing my newest activity would be.  What activity?  An online class on the Underlying Principles of Literacy Instruction and Research.  Sounds pretty official.  And it’s not all that great.

Having done my undergrad and Master’s degrees back to back, I am no stranger to working hard on school work in the summer.  Yeah, working on my laptop inside while I would rather be outside getting a tan does suck, but that’s not a big deal.  It’s the facilitator who is the problem.  Now, before it starts to sound like I am one of those grade-grubbers who hates anyone who doesn’t see perfection in her work, let me stop you.  I fully understand that I make mistakes just like everyone else.  Not everyone is going to like how I write and how I relate to a prompt.  I don’t understand, though, how a facilitator can be so unprofessional in her emails.

After the first week, I eagerly logged into my class to check my grades.  In full disclosure, I am a perfectionist, especially when it comes to grades.  I was third in my class in high school, earned a 3.98 in college, and high marks in grad school.  I know how to work and I work really hard.  I take studying, writing, and reading very seriously.  For these reasons, along with the course being affordable and during the summer, I decided to try an online class.  The facilitator seemed nice through her mass emails at first, but when I emailed her about a grading question after the first week, it all changed.  She had given me a 40 out of 100 on my journal entries and wrote “two prompts seem to be missing” next to it.  Confused since I had triple checked that all of them were clearly marked and submitted, I emailed her to ask what she meant.  She responded the next day with an email that was short in tone and stature.  She refused to answer my questions because “it would be unfair to [my] classmates who didn’t need this kind of help.”  She also told me that helping me and even telling me that she couldn’t find two was a “risk” because I could become dependent on her help.  Um… excuse me?  I honestly had no idea what I needed to do to fix the situation, so I emailed again and politely stated that I didn’t mean to come across as asking for special treatment, I just wanted to understand.

The next email got worse.  It started with a very condescending “Oh E…”  Since when are we besties?  She went on to write that she expects that I read a lot closer because the note on the side of the grade said that “two prompts were missing,” not “two entries were missing.”  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  Yeah, she could see that I had uploaded them, but she couldn’t seem to find my answers.  What?  How on earth does that make sense?  She then went on to say that if I was happy with what I had written she would grade it as is.  Wait, I thought you didn’t have it?  {Source}

I emailed her one last time to let her know that I had reuploaded the documents, put them all together in one document, and bolded AND italicized the prompts.  If she was going to miss them with all of that, then there was nothing else I could do to make her understand.  Her email back told me that I needed to let it go and move on.

What bugs me the most is that this course is for educators.  We are supposed to be teaching students Literacy to make them better communicators and better people, so why is it okay for her to behave so badly?  She also deducts points off from our discussion grades if we post too many times to the discussion boards.  When people ask me questions about my posts, isn’t it professional to answer their questions?  Isn’t discussion a good thing?  Isn’t that how we are going to learn from each other?

The assignments take a lot of time to do at my best ability.  My alternative project 1 ended up being 11 pages long.  There are three alternative projects.  That could be 33 pages.  We also have to do journal entries, discussion board posting, at least nine readings, and other assignments.  See why I haven’t been able to write a lot?

But I’ll work on it.  At least you guys don’t send nasty emails when I post something or post too much.  Thanks for that!

Anyone else taken an online class?

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