Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Distance Education And Unrealistic Expectations.

Regarding the recent post about signed evaluations, those of us who teach online already receive signed evaluations from our students on a fairly regular basis. While I'm thrilled when I receive emails from students telling me that I taught them something useful or even offering constructive criticism about how I could do something better, I've also seen an ugly side of human nature I didn't realize was so prevalent.

My worst to date was the student who began his email with "You bitch" and went downhill from there. He ended up being expelled, and I spent the rest of the semester with an escort to and from my car.

I've had students tell me that I don't know what I'm doing, that I should give special deadline considerations to people in an already flexible class, and that I should be online 24/7/365 to respond to their concerns instantly. The instantaneous quality of the Internet has created an entirely new set of expectations that correspond with a strong sense of entitlement in some students.

They have no problem signing their names because they think the keyboard and the distance mask who they "really" are.

Overall I think the benefits of teaching and learning online far outweigh the drawbacks, but if anyone thinks that having to sign a name to an evaluation automatically conveys more constructive criticism or decorum, that person is mistaken.


Today's image is an edited version of an image from an article on stress.