Author Topic: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.  (Read 6667 times)

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snowdragon

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Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« on: January 28, 2013, 02:15:05 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.

   

audrey1962

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 02:25:54 PM »
Is it possible the instructor knows about this and is addressing it privately with the student?

SamiHami

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 02:28:13 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.

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WillyNilly

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 02:28:45 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.

MrTango

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 02:28:50 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.

Zilla

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 02:32:25 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.

Amara

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 02:37:10 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."

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 03:16:32 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.

magician5

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 03:27:27 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?
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Dalek

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 04:24:05 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?
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Lynn2000

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 04:32:45 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.
~Lynn2000

Alpacas

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 04:46:51 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.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 10:47:56 AM by Alpacas »

Deetee

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 06:00:16 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)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 07:07:54 PM by Deetee »

poundcake

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 06:08:39 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

snowdragon

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Re: Student Introductions/setting expecations for the course.
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 09:51:22 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!