Sunday, January 17, 2010

Engaged Learners

I don't have a label for students? Well, I do now. (I'm not going to file it under peeves because it doesn't peeve me.)

Regular readers know that Rudbeckia Hirta is the wind beneath my wings at the start of most semesters. Like today, where she tells me her university has FOUR different kinds of "undecided" majors, going all the way down to "completely undecided". I smile just thinking of that student wandering aimlessly through academia.

But I digress. This post is about starting your homework, well, a bit late.

You see, I have some quasi-administrative duties that put me in charge of dealing with student problems with a homework system during times our college doesn't have anyone handling user support. So what do I see in my inbox this weekend, which is the second weekend of the semester, but 3 (count them, three) problems getting into the system. Haven't gotten one of those for days, and now three of them.

Does this sound like either this problem or this one from RH? Well, it would if we had started class this week, but we didn't. We started the week before, so it takes a special level of engagement to wait until the Sunday before the homework is due to see if you know how to get in.

Disengaged engagement, I would say.

Reading those e-mails after reading RH's blog was like deja vu all over again.

My students, of course, have homework due right away (like RH, on the Friday of the first week of class for a Wednesday start). I find that if you coddle them with a late start, they don't start. And I make sure the slackers know that the vast majority of their fellow students have done the problems the day before they are due. The instructor for one of the classes involved takes the opposite approach. Not a good idea, but it was useful to see the flaw in that plan confirmed once again. But I do need to talk to him about that.

Like I said up above, I'm not peeved. I'm just an amused spectator like when I read RYS. I'm gambling that these students will never make it to my physics class, but they will get quite a wake-up call on the first day if they do make it there.

Or on the third day, but that is a different story.

No comments: