Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: snowdragon on January 28, 2013, 01:15:05 PM

Title: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: snowdragon on January 28, 2013, 01:15:05 PM
I am in graduate school, one of my courses is online and we were given a series of 12 questions to answer about ourselves. One woman outright refused to answer several of them ( as in she typed in "refused to answer" next to them) and then proceeded to tell us all about her children and their activities, ending with because" my kids are my first commitment, I am going to need help from all of you to complete assignments and with group  deadlines. I expect that all of my class mates will be willing to chip in and help me out when things get tight" in a grad course.
   Honestly I want to believe she's pulling our legs, but experience tells me otherwise. I would really like to email the prof and request not to be placed in a group with her. I am not sure how, or even if this is a good course of action, but I also don't want to have to do her work for her ( or loose grade points because she does not do what she needs to).  The class email tree is going fast and furious and I have received emails from about 2/3s of the class already about how to handle this - none of us have the time or inclination to do her work for her.
    Just to give perspective - this class opened last week, all of the rest of class has completed all of the work due today at 4pmEST, except for this woman who has only just done her intro - there are 5 other assignments due at the same time, so she is starting out behind the 8 ball already.
 
   Should we approach the student, teacher or just leave it be and let the chips fall ( and know that someone is going to end up doing her groupwork for her) and if we should approach the teacher about it.

   
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: audrey1962 on January 28, 2013, 01:25:54 PM
Is it possible the instructor knows about this and is addressing it privately with the student?
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: SamiHami on January 28, 2013, 01:28:13 PM
If she is that far behind already she will probably be out of the class pretty quickly. I would not say anything to the instructor yet, but if she does actually try to dump for work on you then I would definitely let the instructor know.

 Has anyone actually responded to her comment about her expectations? I would be sorely tempted to message her back and let her know that she has no right to make demands upon her classmates and that she is expected to manage her time adequately in order to succeed in the class.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: WillyNilly on January 28, 2013, 01:28:45 PM
Well what are you hoping to get out of going to grad school?

What I mean by that is, school is part of the "real world" - so if you are there for career advancement, remember just like there are student's like this woman, so too are there colleagues like her.  How would you handle this at work?  You'd probably do your best work while documenting, documenting, documenting, right?  So you do the same thing now.  If you are in a group project with her, you CYA while doing your best for the project and then you present your work, and the documentation of how the workload was divided, to your boss teacher and let the chips fall where they may.  Learning to work with and deal with slackers is just as valuable a skill as academic knowledge you will pick up in school.

If you are in grad school not for career advancement, but simply for the love of learning and knowledge, then just push forward yourself and let her figure out she's a slacker that no one wants to carry the load for.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: MrTango on January 28, 2013, 01:28:50 PM
At this point, since she isn't doing anything that would affect your grade in the course, I'd say nothing and let the instructor deal with her.

Did the instructor see her refusal to answer the introduction questions?  If so, that along with her tardiness with assignments should clue the instructor in that she isn't serious about the course.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Zilla on January 28, 2013, 01:32:25 PM
I think she is a very SS or in lala land, I can't see anyone writing that let alone expecting it.  If you are assigned to a group with her, then I would email the professor a copy of her entire email and asking to be moved to another group or if isn't possible due to the size of the class.  Ask the professor if you can "assign" a standalone portion of the group project to her only and let you and others work on the rest and not be penalized for her portion if unfinished. 
Other than that, drop the class and get away from her. Far away.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Amara on January 28, 2013, 01:37:10 PM
I'm way past grad school, but I would "Reply All" (since I assume that is how she sent her message) and say, "SS, everyone here has responsibilities outside the classroom; we each need to take care of our own. I/We cannot assist you in any way with yours."

The reason for the "I/We" in the second sentence is if many of your fellow students feel the same and have expressed that in emails. If so, maybe get an agreement that enough of you agree that using "we" is appropriate. Otherwise, go with "I."
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: JeanFromBNA on January 28, 2013, 02:16:32 PM
Dear SSS:

I would be glad to tutor you.  My rate is $$ per hour, payable in advance.

Signed,

Snowdragon

IRL, if you want someone to do your work for you, you pay for it.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: magician5 on January 28, 2013, 02:27:27 PM
Wouldn't you rather KNOW she won't do her part of group assignments, or would you rather (as my college-age sons have reported often) find yourself by surprise in a group project that most of the others promise to handle various parts but fail to deliver?
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Dalek on January 28, 2013, 03:24:05 PM

   Honestly I want to believe she's pulling our legs, but experience tells me otherwise.
 

OP,
Could you please clarify? Experience with this woman or with parents?
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 28, 2013, 03:32:45 PM
Unless the answers to the "getting to know you" questions were hidden from the professor (I have never encountered this kind of assignment in grad school), it seems obvious to me that s/he already knows what this woman said, and thus what the people assigned to a group with her would be dealing with.

It seems like right now what this woman does has no effect on you. I wouldn't worry about it unless you're actually assigned to a group with her. If this happens, I would immediately email the professor a copy of her previous statement and asked to be reassigned/given your own project. If the professor refuses, then as others have said, do your own best work and document everything the woman fails to do, and turn that in at the end.

But really that's a lot of ifs. The woman's statement is definitely eyeroll-worthy, but right now it has nothing to do with you, and it may never, so I wouldn't give it much more thought.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Alpacas on January 28, 2013, 03:46:51 PM
Should she get assigned to your group talk to the instructor /Professor  that you get transfered to another group.
Either that or keep the Instructor in the loop on how your workload is coming along.
And make sure to tell her that you (the group) will not take over her work.
It was her desicion to go to gradschool so the responsibility of passing gradschool is solely on her shoulders.

Last semester i was in a Project where i had to share Design-work with 2 other designers. One of them didn't do anything.
We didn't tell on him and push him under the bus, but we didn't pretend that everything was rosy either.
When the professor asked who was doing what in our group we were honest and said
" Harry is doing X,Y and Z, and I'm doing A,B,C, and take care of D. Alex is building the Prototype"
At the end of the Semester when the presentation was due, we had to tell him that we had no Prototype. He was well aware who's fault it was.

Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Deetee on January 28, 2013, 05:00:16 PM
My advice is to ignore 90% of what she says. Do not participate in skewering her or gasping over her. She is ridiculous and that is obvious.

If it were me, I would contact the prof about the only thing that matters and that is if you are assigned to a group with her. You can let the prof know you are concerned about the students stated work ethic and hope that others will pick up the slack and you would greatly appreciate if the prof would allow you some way of not having this person's work reflect poorly on you. (I can think of several ways. An option to not work in a group, an open sharing platform with ALL communications included and group work judged by final project and student contributions, an option to drop group project grade if lower, a group project worth 10% and paper on your part of group project worth 40%. I have participated on the last one and I really liked it because it meant that all the extra work you did for the group could go to paper so it didn't feel wasted.)

It's true that you have to work with slackers in the real world. But it's also true that you can often control that group to some extent and report back to a boss.

edit to add: I didn't mention it at first because I think it's obvious that her kids are a feeble excuse of feebleness, but the kids thing is meaningless. I have one kid, am 8 months pregnant and in law school. I am currently involved in a group project (pass/fail) and despite the fact my kid is sick today have put in a tonne of work (at least 8-10 hours over the last 2 days alone). I did this by lightening my course load, budgeting my time and only committing to what I know I can get done. I tried to front load my work as much as possible so even though I have to go to an unscheduled ultrasound tommorrow, my group should be OK.

Everyone has something in their life. That doesn't let you dump on other people. (The only "accomadation" I wanted was to choose the tasks that would not require last minute work, as I cannot guarentee my availability. However, the rest of my group is so organised, it isn't an issue at all)
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: poundcake on January 28, 2013, 05:08:39 PM
I'm way past grad school, but I would "Reply All" (since I assume that is how she sent her message) and say, "SS, everyone here has responsibilities outside the classroom; we each need to take care of our own. I/We cannot assist you in any way with yours."

The reason for the "I/We" in the second sentence is if many of your fellow students feel the same and have expressed that in emails. If so, maybe get an agreement that enough of you agree that using "we" is appropriate. Otherwise, go with "I."

I have to admit, I would be tempted to do this, too. Of course, I would be likely to say "Lady, I don't give a monkey's about your kids, and I don't want them affecting my classwork. If you can't participate fully in this class, don't take it." Stuff like this really chaps my hide.

Don't talk to the professor just yet, but at the first sign of SS not pulling her weight in the classroom or on assignments, contact the professor IMMEDIATELY. Likely s/he is already waiting for a good reason to bounce the woman. And then she won't have to worry about taking time away from her precious kids which are more important than her own identity.  :-\ :o
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: snowdragon on January 28, 2013, 08:51:22 PM

   Honestly I want to believe she's pulling our legs, but experience tells me otherwise.
 

OP,
Could you please clarify? Experience with this woman or with parents?

This student.  She's been in two of my classes before - and it's not been a good thing for the folks forced to work with her.  She is either late or does not do any of the group work at all.  For my museums class she "had better things to do" and did not make the posters she was supposed to for a class project and it left us finding out that we did not have them, when she did not show up to the tour we were doing. When we called her to see if we could come get them we were informed she never made them! For the grant writing course, she did nothing in terms of critiquing other folks papers ( these scores comprised 20% of our final grade both critiquee and critique-er) and whine about how unfair it was of us to make corrections on her paper.  In neither class did she go so over the top in class introductions about her kids - we have their activity schedules posted this time!
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: katycoo on January 28, 2013, 09:29:08 PM
So, how is she passing if she's not turning in her work?
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: snowdragon on January 28, 2013, 09:37:55 PM
for the group work, people have covered her, because they didn't want her lackings do destroy their grades.  One can complain all they want, but no one is going to not do  the work and fail because of it. For the individual work - I have no idea.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: jedikaiti on January 28, 2013, 09:48:26 PM
In this class, will groups be assigned or do you get to pick who you work with?

If the latter, problem solved - you never have to work with her.

If the former, I just might drop a quick note to the prof and state that you and/or people you know have done group projects with her in previous classes, and you would be most appreciative if he didn't assign you to the same group as her.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: CatFanatic on January 28, 2013, 09:51:08 PM
I teach at university. If one of my students pulled this crap, I would want to know about it pronto, so I could yank them into line. This is totally unacceptable.

Send an e-mail (preferably with screenshot), noting that this student has a history of this behaviour (examples, please), and if possible have the names of other class members who are willing to support you on this.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: JoyinVirginia on January 29, 2013, 12:22:38 AM
I think it it's reasonable to ask the professor to not have any group projects. If there must be group projects, request that you be able to form your own groups. And no one pick her.
I am adjunct faculty for one course in my specialty.  I have no problem telling students that have not competed work by a certain timeframe that I doubt they will be able to finish the class, and I suggest they take an incomplete instead of failing, and then cut back drastically on course load the next semester. I even had one student take a year of from the program after I gave a very honest critique of their effort and chances of passing if they did not cut back on other obligations and focus on school.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: sweetonsno on January 29, 2013, 12:26:41 AM

Ugh, vomit. I teach online and that is not the type of student I want. I'm flexible about due dates for the first week or two, as the texts for my class are often on backorder at most retailers.

As for the introductory assignment, I vote for saying nothing about her refusal to answer some questions. I assume that the instructor didn't ask anything inappropriate or overly personal, so she's just reflecting badly on herself. The prattling on about her kids is annoying but harmless. You are right to be worried about her sense of entitlement and your previous experience, though.

Here are my thoughts on her expectation that you'll all pick up slack for her:
1. She's wrong and she's out of line. Both her classmates and her instructor have noticed.
2. The instructor may have addressed it privately, but if not, I wouldn't be too explicit in telling her "oh HAIL no" on the discussion board. If you are really in a dither about not saying anything, then you can post her a reminder of the late work policy. (Your university probably has a policy in place about how to request extensions, right?)
3. If you can decide who is on your team (or make requests), I vote for framing it in the most positive way possible. Instead of saying, "Not her," ask for specific other students. Cite tangible reasons (similar schedules, you live nearby, you've worked together before successfully, you have complimentary strengths, you have the same interest/major).
4. If you get paired with her anyway, set a schedule that has a bit of wiggle room (don't have each component "due" the day before the project needs to be handed in). If she is late, email her asking when you can expect her portion. If she is late again (or directly asks you to do her part), forward it to the instructor.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: blarg314 on January 29, 2013, 12:48:06 AM
If your course does involve group work with assigned groups, I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask the professor what the policy is for group members who refuse to participate or do the assigned work, from a marking and organizational perspective.

Once you know that, given your history with this person, if you are assigned to a group with her, I think it would then be reasonable to approach the professor and explain that you've worked with her in two separate group assignments, and encountered significant practical problems (not showing up, not doing work without warning the rest of the group).

If that doesn't work, and you're forced into a group with her, then I'd talk to the other students (ideally verbally rather than via email) and come up with a plan to split her work among the rest of you, if her lack of participation will affect your own grades.

If this woman is able to make it through a graduate program by not participating and getting her groups to cover her work, then that doesn't put the graduate program in a very good light.

I also agree with PPs that although you get slackers in real-life work situations, school group work and real world group work tends to be very different in how it's handled. For one thing, in a job situation employers tend not to like hiring and paying dead weight, and disciplining or getting rid of an employee who isn't doing their job is in their best interest. For another, employers generally require that their employees show up at work regularly, so it's a lot harder to skip out on meetings or completely vanish from contact during a project.

If I worked for someone, and went to my supervisor with concerns over a coworker who was not doing work that directly affect my ability to do my job and my employer said, in essence "Tough. It's your problem to figure it out and make them do it, and if your work suffers as a result of their lack of effort, you'll be disciplined/fired,"  I'd probably start looking for another job with a sane boss.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Raintree on January 29, 2013, 03:38:34 AM
I also agree with PPs that although you get slackers in real-life work situations, school group work and real world group work tends to be very different in how it's handled. For one thing, in a job situation employers tend not to like hiring and paying dead weight, and disciplining or getting rid of an employee who isn't doing their job is in their best interest. For another, employers generally require that their employees show up at work regularly, so it's a lot harder to skip out on meetings or completely vanish from contact during a project.

If I worked for someone, and went to my supervisor with concerns over a coworker who was not doing work that directly affect my ability to do my job and my employer said, in essence "Tough. It's your problem to figure it out and make them do it, and if your work suffers as a result of their lack of effort, you'll be disciplined/fired,"  I'd probably start looking for another job with a sane boss.

Well put. I've always felt that the argument, "You have to deal with people like this in the real world" is weak, but I've never been able to say why. I've never, ever dealt with anything in the real world that remotely resembles the nightmare of a college/university group project and MIA group members.

As for this woman, I think her message deserves an immediate response: "Sorry, SS, but we ALL have obligations outside of our coursework and will be unable to take on extra coursework on your behalf." Then, if she tries anything, do take it to the prof.

I can't believe her audacity. It was HER decision to take on grad school and children simultaneously, not yours.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: SeptGurl on January 29, 2013, 07:45:59 AM

Ugh, vomit. I teach online and that is not the type of student I want. I'm flexible about due dates for the first week or two, as the texts for my class are often on backorder at most retailers.

As for the introductory assignment, I vote for saying nothing about her refusal to answer some questions. I assume that the instructor didn't ask anything inappropriate or overly personal, so she's just reflecting badly on herself. The prattling on about her kids is annoying but harmless. You are right to be worried about her sense of entitlement and your previous experience, though.

Here are my thoughts on her expectation that you'll all pick up slack for her:
1. She's wrong and she's out of line. Both her classmates and her instructor have noticed.
2. The instructor may have addressed it privately, but if not, I wouldn't be too explicit in telling her "oh HAIL no" on the discussion board. If you are really in a dither about not saying anything, then you can post her a reminder of the late work policy. (Your university probably has a policy in place about how to request extensions, right?)
3. If you can decide who is on your team (or make requests), I vote for framing it in the most positive way possible. Instead of saying, "Not her," ask for specific other students. Cite tangible reasons (similar schedules, you live nearby, you've worked together before successfully, you have complimentary strengths, you have the same interest/major).
4. If you get paired with her anyway, set a schedule that has a bit of wiggle room (don't have each component "due" the day before the project needs to be handed in). If she is late, email her asking when you can expect her portion. If she is late again (or directly asks you to do her part), forward it to the instructor.

POD to all of this. I'm also an online instructor and would recommend the same.

If you are paired with this SS, I think Alpacas had a great suggestion on how to deal with it.  I don't like the idea of covering for your classmate as you've done in the past. By doing that, your SS classmate is allowed to slide by and her classmates feel resentful. Assign specific tasks to specific group members and communicate that to the instructor. When the project deadline arrives, the instructor will know who dropped the ball.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2013, 09:45:03 AM
I would outright ask her if she knew what plagiarism was.

Then I would do as PPs have suggested and not say anything to the professor until it actually affects you. (That's assuming the professor has been reading the introductions and thus saw the post for himself).
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: TootsNYC on January 29, 2013, 09:47:46 AM
I also agree with PPs that although you get slackers in real-life work situations, school group work and real world group work tends to be very different in how it's handled. For one thing, in a job situation employers tend not to like hiring and paying dead weight, and disciplining or getting rid of an employee who isn't doing their job is in their best interest. For another, employers generally require that their employees show up at work regularly, so it's a lot harder to skip out on meetings or completely vanish from contact during a project.

If I worked for someone, and went to my supervisor with concerns over a coworker who was not doing work that directly affect my ability to do my job and my employer said, in essence "Tough. It's your problem to figure it out and make them do it, and if your work suffers as a result of their lack of effort, you'll be disciplined/fired,"  I'd probably start looking for another job with a sane boss.

Well put. I've always felt that the argument, "You have to deal with people like this in the real world" is weak, but I've never been able to say why. I've never, ever dealt with anything in the real world that remotely resembles the nightmare of a college/university group project and MIA group members.

As for this woman, I think her message deserves an immediate response: "Sorry, SS, but we ALL have obligations outside of our coursework and will be unable to take on extra coursework on your behalf." Then, if she tries anything, do take it to the prof.


I'm with Raintree, on both points. School isn't work. And I don't think you should treat them exactly the same. (for one thing, I don't pay money to work!)
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 29, 2013, 09:58:22 AM
Please do forward her response on to your professor if he/she hasn't seen it already (at least the part about picking up her slack) and say something.  If you wait until a group project is assigned, you'll be stuck with her (if you can't get her out of the group) or you'll end up doing the project with one fewer person (if you do manage to get her ejected from your group).  Much better to address the issue upfront so you can avoid it altogether:

"Professor, this student has been clear that she believes her group members in small group projects should cover for her work and she shouldn't have to do as much (or any).  I have personally observed this happen in the two previous classes I've had with her, and her groupmates ended up doing the entire project in her stead because she wouldn't pull her weight.  Now that she's said upfront that she doesn't intend to put in her fair share of work, I'd really like to request that for any future group projects that I not be put in her group.  I do realize that working with people like this is part of the 'real world,' but it also compromises the education that I'm paying for and I want to avoid that situation.  Thank you!"
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: ------ on January 29, 2013, 10:19:22 AM
Evil mrkitty would be tempted to reply: "So, would you like us to pay your tuition for you, too? How about we buy your books for you as well? Maybe pay your rent? Why not your utilities also? Maybe we should also take your children in so you can have more time to relax?"
But....that would be rude, so I don't recommend it. A bit too snarky, I think. (Though not untrue, I'm afraid.)

I would hesitate to say anything upfront to her or the professor. I would be concerned that it could be taken as a personal thing against her. Plus, it hasn't personally affected you in this class - yet. However, if by chance I were assigned to work with her on a project, and she started demanding that *I* or the group cover for her or pick up her slack, I would be direct with her (via email, if possible) and ask her just what she intends to contribute to the project. And if she comes back with her original statement of "I have kids" then you come back and say "We all have obligations and lives outside of class. But if we all did nothing, as you are proposing to do, we would all fail. So, are you telling me that you are willing to make us all fail the project because you refuse to contribute?" Basically, make her confess that she intends to produce NOTHING for the project and is willing to let you all fail OR force you into covering for her if you don't. THEN take that conversation and turn in the the copies of the email with the completed assignment THAT SHE DID NOT WORK ON because the group CUT HER OUT OF THE ASSIGNMENT at that point.

That is what I have done and it works. If a team member chooses not to participate or they drop the ball and you HAVE to cover for them, make sure to document that and notify the professor. I guarantee they won't pull that again - and if they do, it won't be with you, that's for sure.

I hope this helps, Snowdragon. I know it's frustrating. There is no reason in the world anyone should ever have to pull another student's weight like this. I can't tell you how many times I had been used in that regard in college until I figured it out. (People used to come to me frequently to ask me to "help" them with assignments - even if I wasn't in their class! I was SUCH a push over until I put my foot down.)

Document, document, document. And then report - at the appropriate time, of course.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Trogdor on January 29, 2013, 12:05:34 PM
I am an instructor in post secondary education, and the courses I teach involve group work. Nothing chaps my fundament more than instructors who won't address a problem student by using excuses like "you'll have to work with someone like this in the real world". It's nothing more than laziness and passing the buck. Those instructors need to take responsibility for how their classes are conducted. I think it is grossly unfair to penalize an entire group because one person refuses to work or has very bad time management skills.

I would document your interactions with this person and approach the professor about this. They can either place you in a group that does not contain the problem student, or they can get an outline of the group project detailing who is in charge of which part(s) and mark students individually according to participation and quality of their submitted content.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Starr on January 29, 2013, 11:04:01 PM
It looks like you've already gotten some good responses upthread, but one thing I didn't see mentioned - *if* you get placed in a group with this person, make sure to document all communication via e-mail, so you have proof of what your group agreed to as far as divvying up work (for when she expects you to do her share).

I agree that I wouldn't confront her about her posting immediately.  Rather, wait and see if you are in a group with her.  If you are, and she repeats the bit about expecting you to help her (do her work), then I would politely let her know that you, too, have outside responsibilities and cannot do her share of the work as well as your own.

Hopefully, if your instructor saw her post, he or she has privately spoken to the other student and let her know her expectations are out of line and unacceptable.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: snowdragon on January 29, 2013, 11:45:39 PM
In this class, will groups be assigned or do you get to pick who you work with?

If the latter, problem solved - you never have to work with her.

If the former, I just might drop a quick note to the prof and state that you and/or people you know have done group projects with her in previous classes, and you would be most appreciative if he didn't assign you to the same group as her.

 We can request to work with people, but the Prof said he does not necessarily honor them. I have already received an email from this student informing me that she requested me to work with. 

There are two other people that have been in classes with myself and this student. We have all submitted each other's names as a proposed group.  But again, no guarantees there.

 As far as treating this like a work situation, I would not carry someone continually in a job either - I would be handing their work back to them, and if necessary dealing with the boss on it, no one can ( or should) be forever doing someone else's job on top of their own - both jobs suffer like that.
 because of the advice to document all exchanges I have started a file on her, already.  I will keep copies of all interactions with her.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: NyaChan on January 30, 2013, 12:21:44 AM
If the SS student has requested you, email the Professor and say that you would prefer not to be assigned to her merely because of her request.  Reference the post she made and explain that your previous experience with taking classes with her has taught you that this is not idle talk on her part. 
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: rashea on January 30, 2013, 04:35:32 AM
I think that email is the perfect opportunity to go to the professor. Just forward it with a copy of her post and say you would prefer not to be assigned together.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: jeni on January 30, 2013, 06:36:58 AM
Since she has requested to work with you, and you are allowed to nominate your preferences to your professor then I would definitely forward the email to the professor and state the reasons why you do not wish to be placed in a group with this person.

I also dislike the 'real world' excuse/example.  When I was studying as a mature age student, also working full time, I had to do a group project with others most of whom didn't do what they agreed to do, often either not turning up or falling asleep during the group work sessions (not kidding).  There is no way that would be tolerated in the 'real world'.  This was for a core unit which I simply could not afford to repeat from either a financial or time perspective, which of course meant additional work for me to ensure I was able to pass.

The whole unit was run poorly and the lecturer and tutors would not intervene.  The only positive thing was that peer evaluations were required and influenced the individual scores given.

Good luck snowdragon.   I'm glad to hear that you are already documenting all exchanges.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: MindsEye on January 30, 2013, 09:41:24 AM
When I was in grad school I had a professor who liked to assign group projects, because that is how we would be working in the "real world".  In his favor, he allowed teams to deal with shirkers and free riders in the same way that they would be dealt with in the "real world".  If your team felt that you were shirking/free riding they could present their arguments/evidence to the professor, and if he agreed the team was allowed to expel the shirker/free rider.  And if you were the person expelled, you had to either find another team to join, or you had to complete the entire group project by yourself if no other team would accept you. 

Since then I felt that if professors had to assign group work, then this professor's model was the one to follow.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: RingTailedLemur on January 30, 2013, 09:47:24 AM
I agree you need to take this to the professor.

She probably requested you because you've covered for her in the past.

IMO if you allow her to take credit for work she has not done, both she and you (and anyone else involved) could be guilty of academic misconduct.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: TootsNYC on January 30, 2013, 10:49:13 AM
In this class, will groups be assigned or do you get to pick who you work with?

If the latter, problem solved - you never have to work with her.

If the former, I just might drop a quick note to the prof and state that you and/or people you know have done group projects with her in previous classes, and you would be most appreciative if he didn't assign you to the same group as her.

 We can request to work with people, but the Prof said he does not necessarily honor them. I have already received an email from this student informing me that she requested me to work with. 

There are two other people that have been in classes with myself and this student. We have all submitted each other's names as a proposed group.  But again, no guarantees there.

In this case, I would say that you should forward her email [the one about having requested to workwith you] to the professor and say, "I do not ever want to be assigned to work with this student. I've been in groups with her in other classes, and she was not reliable. [I'm not sure if you should give specifics; maybe offer to provide them if asked.] And given her email, which I've pasted below, I have every reason to believe that she will again be a hindrance that makes it difficult for me to learn. Please respect this request."

Keep a copy in your "sent" folder, or bcc yourself.

And if you get assigned to her, forward THAT email to whoever is over your professor's head. Immediately, not when the project is underway.

This is not work. You are PAYING for this education, paying for the opportunity to earn a grade, paying for the opportunity to LEARN about the SUBJECT (not about "life" or "the work world").
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: artk2002 on January 30, 2013, 11:26:17 AM
I agree that since she's requested you as a partner, you should go to the professor and decline the "honor," citing her up front declaration of being a slacker and any past experience you might have had. That said, it's still possible that you'll end up with her on your team. Although I agree with others that school group work shouldn't be about dealing with slackers the way you would in the "real world," the reality is that it is. So, how would you deal with a slacker at your job, whom the boss refuses to fire or reassign? You first make sure that they aren't responsible for any critical item. Posters? Nope. Presentation? Nope. If you have to reduce her to "you can bring the cookies to the team meeting," then that's what you must do. It stinks, I know, but that is the reality. In doing that, by the way, I would let the professor know ahead of time how you plan to manage her and to document *everything*, including all of the meetings where she fails to bring cookies and brings her kid(s) instead.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Morticia on January 30, 2013, 11:29:00 AM
In this class, will groups be assigned or do you get to pick who you work with?

If the latter, problem solved - you never have to work with her.

If the former, I just might drop a quick note to the prof and state that you and/or people you know have done group projects with her in previous classes, and you would be most appreciative if he didn't assign you to the same group as her.

 We can request to work with people, but the Prof said he does not necessarily honor them. I have already received an email from this student informing me that she requested me to work with. 

There are two other people that have been in classes with myself and this student. We have all submitted each other's names as a proposed group.  But again, no guarantees there.

 As far as treating this like a work situation, I would not carry someone continually in a job either - I would be handing their work back to them, and if necessary dealing with the boss on it, no one can ( or should) be forever doing someone else's job on top of their own - both jobs suffer like that.
 because of the advice to document all exchanges I have started a file on her, already.  I will keep copies of all interactions with her.

She actually said "work with"? I would be hard pressed not to respond to her with a comment about what a pleasant change that would be.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: CakeBeret on January 30, 2013, 11:40:50 AM
If you have to work with her, I would first of all put everything in writing. And second, assign her a task for each meeting. Document her failures, find someone else to get the work done, and then email the prof with all the documentation.

For example:
2/1: Mrs. Slacker, please bring a one-paragraph summary of OurProject to the meeting.
2/3: Mrs. Slacker, you did not bring the requested summary to the meeting. For our next meeting, please bring the summary plus your plans for a poster outlining X.
2/7: Mrs. Slacker, you did not attend the meeting, and we are missing your work on Paragraph and Poster Plan. Please ensure that you will contribute your part of this project. We are meeting again on 2/8; please attend and bring your components.
2/8: Mrs. Slacker, you again failed to attend the meeting and produce your contributions. If the group does not receive your contribution by the 2/10 meeting, we will address this matter with the Professor.

Also keep copies of all her emails.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: TootsNYC on January 30, 2013, 11:50:16 AM
If you have to work with her, I would first of all put everything in writing. And second, assign her a task for each meeting. Document her failures, find someone else to get the work done, and then email the prof with all the documentation.

For example:
2/1: Mrs. Slacker, please bring a one-paragraph summary of OurProject to the meeting.
2/3: Mrs. Slacker, you did not bring the requested summary to the meeting. For our next meeting, please bring the summary plus your plans for a poster outlining X.
2/7: Mrs. Slacker, you did not attend the meeting, and we are missing your work on Paragraph and Poster Plan. Please ensure that you will contribute your part of this project. We have addressed this matter with the Professor. We are meeting again on 2/8; please attend and bring your components.
2/8: Mrs. Slacker, you again failed to attend the meeting and produce your contributions. If the group does not receive your contribution by the 2/10 meeting, we will address this matter with the Professor.

Also keep copies of all her emails.

And yes, don't let her be in charge of anything important. Even if it means you all get a great grade, even her. Look out for yourself; don't sacrifice your learning or your eventual grade just to achieve justice.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: johelenc1 on January 30, 2013, 12:10:45 PM
I think you should absolutely address this with the student asap.  I liked the email a number of posts back that calls her out on even daring to make the request that everyone cover her bum.  The whole thing is just ridiculous including her "refuse to answer" answers to the PROFESSORS questions.  She clearly has no respect for anyone. 

I would make it very clear that I didn't appreciate her email and would NOT be carrying her slack in any way.  I would also reply all.  She made her request public; there's no reason your reply can't be as well.

I would email the professor asking if he/she saw Slacker's response and state that you don't want to work with her in any way.  You could also add that you felt her "request" to be unethical and insulting - because it is.

I would not let this student get away with this behavior any more.  It's horrific it's been allowed to go on this long.  She has publicly put her self out there for correction and now it's time for someone to stand up and call her out.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: bopper on January 30, 2013, 12:52:27 PM
Not a college thing, but my daughter went to a small international school. There was this annoying boy who would constantly disrupt class and really made it frustrating for her to learn.  For her last year there, I requested that she NOT be placed with this boy (there were two classes per grade) and that if possible she be placed with a particular friend. She did not get her wish of getting her friend in her class, but she did get her wish of not being with this boy. 

I think I would write to the professor and say that Moochette has requested you be in her group, but you will not be in a group with her due to past experiences of having to pick up her slack as well as <quote her post here>.  You do not think her capable of doing graduate level work.  If possbible you would like to be with <the other people you know.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: blarg314 on January 30, 2013, 05:59:43 PM

If she's trying to request you as a partner, you definitely need to email the professor and clearly state that under no circumstances do you want to work with this person, and why (dropping out of contact, refusing to do her work group projects and leaving you in the lurch, not showing up for projects).  Personally, I'd go so far as to get my other requested group members (the ones who have already send emails to the prof asking for you) to also email stating that they don't want to work with her.

Otherwise there's a good chance that the professor will look at her email, assume it's a reasonable request, and add her to your group.


Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: pickles50 on January 30, 2013, 09:27:22 PM
I would go to the Prof ASAP. Grad school is a big majority about how you handle the work environment in the real word. When there is a problem you need to let the prof/boss know asap so they can rectify the situation as fast as possible. Delaying this just causes more problems, no point in dragging on the inevitable. If you speak later who knows she might throw all of you under the bus first...
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: bopper on January 31, 2013, 08:49:40 AM
I would go to the Prof ASAP. Grad school is a big majority about how you handle the work environment in the real word. When there is a problem you need to let the prof/boss know asap so they can rectify the situation as fast as possible. Delaying this just causes more problems, no point in dragging on the inevitable. If you speak later who knows she might throw all of you under the bus first...

And in the real world,  I have worked with many people, but there have been two people over the course of 25 years who I have specifically asked not to work with.  They don't last long in the long run.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 31, 2013, 09:52:42 AM
Not to pile on about contacting the professor, but pickles50's post made me think of something. My friend works at a university as an academic coordinator (sort of recruiter, advisor, teaching assistant, etc. all rolled into one). I would say her number one complaint about students is that some aren't proactive about solving their own problems.

For example, one class she was helping out with had group projects, where each group was supposed to work with a professor to explore a research topic. Sadly, one of the professors was flaky and never got back to the students, even though they tried to contact him several times. However, the students didn't let anyone know they were having this problem. Instead, they turned in a half-baked project at the end and then, when they got a bad grade, reported that the professor refused to make time for them (and showed the emails supporting this). My friend's opinion was--well, that's horrible of the professor and we're going to speak to him about it, but why didn't you tell us this earlier, when we could have done something about it?! So the bad grade stood.

I don't know if students aren't used to showing initiative like that, or if they think they'll just be seen as whining to the teacher, or what. But in the "real" world there are ways to let a higher-up know about problems in a professional way that should not reflect badly on the person having the problem. So, add me to the chorus of people who think the OP should contact the professor with a professional, non-emotional email explaining why she doesn't want to be in a group with Moochette (my fave name for her).

"Professor X: Regarding group project #1, Ann Miller, Joe Brown, Paul Jones, and I would like to form a group. [copied them on email] Another classmate, Betty Smith, has told me she asked you to put her in a group with me. I request that Betty Smith and I not be assigned to any projects together. Based on my previous interactions with her in multiple classes and on her answers to the 'getting to know me' class assignment (see attached), I believe she will be unreliable and not contribute meaningfully to the assignment. I take my coursework seriously and would like to work with others who feel the same way. Sincerely, OP."

Not guaranteed to work, of course, but if they're assigned to a group together anyway, the OP can send another professional email requesting guidance on how to document each group member's contribution.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: NyaChan on January 31, 2013, 09:59:29 AM
I liked that "I take my coursework seriously and would like to work with others who feel the same way" line quite a bit.  I think that emphasizes that it isn't just you not wanting to do extra work, it is about the quality of the education.
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: Lynnv on January 31, 2013, 10:16:22 AM

If she's trying to request you as a partner, you definitely need to email the professor and clearly state that under no circumstances do you want to work with this person, and why (dropping out of contact, refusing to do her work group projects and leaving you in the lurch, not showing up for projects).  Personally, I'd go so far as to get my other requested group members (the ones who have already send emails to the prof asking for you) to also email stating that they don't want to work with her.

Otherwise there's a good chance that the professor will look at her email, assume it's a reasonable request, and add her to your group.

POD.  Normally, I would avoid going to the professor until you got stuck with her.  But, in this case, since she has requested your group, I think going to the professor and making your case for not being forced to work with her is fair.

If I did get stuck with her, I would be sure to bring her little SS note to the professor's attention and ask what mechanisms are in place to ensure that you get the grade you work hard to earn and don't lose points to her unwillingness to do her fair share. 
Title: Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
Post by: ------ on January 31, 2013, 10:34:53 AM

If she's trying to request you as a partner, you definitely need to email the professor and clearly state that under no circumstances do you want to work with this person, and why (dropping out of contact, refusing to do her work group projects and leaving you in the lurch, not showing up for projects).  Personally, I'd go so far as to get my other requested group members (the ones who have already send emails to the prof asking for you) to also email stating that they don't want to work with her.

Otherwise there's a good chance that the professor will look at her email, assume it's a reasonable request, and add her to your group.

POD.  Normally, I would avoid going to the professor until you got stuck with her.  But, in this case, since she has requested your group, I think going to the professor and making your case for not being forced to work with her is fair.

If I did get stuck with her, I would be sure to bring her little SS note to the professor's attention and ask what mechanisms are in place to ensure that you get the grade you work hard to earn and don't lose points to her unwillingness to do her fair share.



I totally agree with Lynnv. This is quite different from a "real world" work situation where delicate office politics and personality dynamics may be involved and thus, require one to tread carefully.

The situation you're in, Snowdragon, is so different. You are paying good money to take a class; you have the right to complete your project without interference from a classmate. And, you are entitled to the grade that you earn - and not to have to cover for someone else. In an earlier post, I suggested not saying anything unless you are assigned to work with this person. But now, having read the advice of others, I have to agree that you should put a stop to this immediately. You are not in this class to teach her, or do her assignments for her, or even how to learn to "work around someone". You are paying for your education. I would urge you to insist you not be assigned to work with her. And, if you are despite your request, and she behaves according to her own precedent and the professor STILL refuses to remedy the situation,  I would escalate the issue all the way up through the department chair to the university provost if I had to.

NO WAY should you have your grade hijacked by a SS.  >:(