Graduate class frustrations...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kcjo13, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Mar 26, 2012

    I have recently started classes for my Masters in admin. My first class has, thus far, been horrible. It's a research class, which I knew wasn't going to be a barrel of fun, but I still expected to learn something. There is virtually NO discussion, no feedback, no actual learning going on. I know in an online class, it is different, but these are things that are bothering me:

    1. The professor rarely checks in on the discussion board. NEVER sends emails. Grades are posted as a number-no feedback.

    2. The discussion board is set so that everyone is anonymous. You have no idea who you are replying to, or who stated what. My posts look something like "I'm replying to the third reply in the second thread, to the poster who said...". I asked for this to be changed, and got no reply. A few other students did chime in and say this bothered them, but nothing was done about it.

    3. There is one required text, and every week, a set of Powerpoint notes is posted. The notes seemingly have very little to do with the actual reading. The notes that supposedly corresponded with the last quiz I took had 4 slides about 4 different kinds of variables, and a page and a half in the book. There were 14 questions on the quiz, and not ONE related to any of the required reading. I tried googling, I read several times, I highlighted, and I still missed nearly half of them. The prof did reply to someone's question about this--his reply was that this is a grad class, and as reading gets harder, so do quizzes.

    So today I log on, and in response to numerous complaints, he posted a message that he would drop the lowest 2 quiz grades. Um, ok, but I still haven't learned anything! Argh!!! This class is costing me $1100, and I feel like it is a waste. Please tell me this isn't how all grad programs are.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sounds like a class taught by someone who prefers not to take online learning seriously, or perhaps someone who's new to the game. My condolences.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Just as not all students will succeed in taking an online class, not all teachers will succeed in teaching an online class. This may just not be the professor's forte, so you might have to suffer through it.
    On the discussion board, can you suggest that everyone sign their own post? If they don't want to share their real name, they can use a pseudonym.

    In all of my graduate classes, I took maybe one quiz. Tell your professor that this is a graduate course... use a different form of assessment. Maybe do it anonymously on the end of the semester feedback if he offers it.
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Wow. So sorry.

    I took one of my grad classes online and while I still preferred a classroom experience, it was nothing like you are describing. I learned a lot and the professor was engaging. So, there is hope!

    I'm in my 5th grad class for English and am currently in a wasteful class. It is irritating because there are 100 different things I could be doing.

    Is your entire degree online? If so, I suspect you will eventually get a professor that knows how to be an effective online instructor.
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I was very lucky to have a good online grad program, but I've heard horror stories similar to the one you describe. I don't blame you for being upset.

    Here's what graduate school taught me: SPEAK. Tell the professor what you're thinking/feeling and what you expect. Let the department chair know what's going on. Don't passively accept it. In many cases, these instructors are your peers (at least in the aspect that you could work with them as an equal in a school setting). Don't be afraid to express your displeasure.
     
  7. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2012

    Not all grad programs are like that; I'm sorry you have a horrible professor.

    I've taken a few classes online, but I've taken the majority of my classes in-person for my graduate work.

    It really comes down to the professor and their knowledge of how "online" teaching works. Some of them are wonderful and some of them are horrid.

    One class I've completed was just like yours. Limited to no feedback. However that class was run by an adjunct who I think was way more concerned with her full time job as a teacher than she was with her side job for cash at the university.

    On the other hand I've had professors that have given pages upon pages of feedback. They've recorded lectures, had mandatory online live lectures, left wonderful study guides for any tests, and would meet with you via skype, email or if you were close enough - in person - to discuss the class.

    Don't let this bad apple ruin your appetite. Either withdraw or make your sentiment known via evaluations at the end of the semester. I have seen more than my fair share of crappy professors let go when their evaluations come in.

    Good luck. ;(
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Someone in the class posted later this morning that this was his (or her) second to last class, and that this was the worst by far. He (or she) said that all of the other classes he's taken have been much better, so not to get discouraged. So that makes me feel better. Still angry, but I suppose since I'm half way finished with it, I'll suffer through. It has NOTHING to do with my program, so at least I'm not missing out on something that would make me a bad administrator someday. You can bet I'll be writing a LOT on the evaluation.

    I wish I had the option to do an in-person program, but I just don't. The prof said he'd be so glad to meet anyone for Sunday morning coffee and chat about questions. Um, no.

    Thanks for commiserating!
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oh, and I did suggest that people post their names, and a couple people agreed, but no one does it (except for me).
     
  10. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    I just completed an online class for my graduate program. I didn't know what to expect because I'd never done it before, but it really wasn't bad. I learned a lot and fortunately, because of the way our program is structured, I'd met all the participants in person before, save for the instructor. The only drawback was that the professor made it clear at the beginning that he was in another country teaching a full course load and so feedback could be pretty slow and towards the end, you had to ask a direction question about the assignment to get any sort of feedback. But I learned a lot and I aced the class, so I can't complain too much.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Wow. That's horrible. The majority of my bachelor's program was online, and 100% of my master's and Rank I were online. I had a couple duds both online and face to face, but this is bad and certainly not how my online programs were managed. Sounds just awful. Have you been able to discuss your feelings with anyone else in the class?
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Teaching an advanced course, or advanced students, is no excuse for poor teaching.

    For what it's worth, could you put the word out on something like rateyourteachers.com? (Does that extend to grad schools? I have no idea.) But you might save someone else the heartache you're currently experiencing.
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I took most of my grad. classes online, and only had great experiences. Our discussions were very valuable. I actually preferred the online classes for several reasons:
    - online classes had about 50 + students, and all had very valuable insights shared on the discussion boards
    - in real classroom settings we only had about 10-15 students
    - online everyone was able to share their ideas, in real classrooms there is never time for this.
    - and of course I could do everything at home, on my own, which works great for me.

    My professors were awesome. Every assignment resulted in a grade and very detailed feedback. Some teachers were very active on discussion boards, others not that much, but overall I was surprised how involved they were. They were also very encouraging to discuss any issues, and they seemed genuinely interested in us succeeding.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My husband did his BA all online, and he had a great experience (different place). I was ready to just give up, but I think I've decided to email my advisor and express my dissatisfaction. It must be the teacher in me, but I have a hard time running the guy down before I really know what's going on. Maybe he did get hammered with classes this session, or his family is having issues, or something. So I will give my best effort, and hope for the best. I will also express my feelings on the evaluation. Last, I will take at least one more class through this university (a well known, reputable one) before I make up my mind. I'm thankful this isn't a core class-it's research only, so I can get through it. I've heard nothing but good things about the program, so I have to give the benefit of the doubt (right?).
     
  15. appleaday180

    appleaday180 Rookie

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    That is awful! I remember my accounting professor in college was the most irresponsible person I have ever met. She would email the class a half an hour before class notifying us that class was canceled. It was the one course that I faced extreme difficulties in and she couldn't do her part of being a teacher. She expected her students to put forth three hours for every hour we were in class and couldn't meet us half way.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    He posted an answer to my question about being anonymous...he said he likes it to be that way because students feel embarrassed to post questions otherwise. Bull.
     
  17. Jinkies

    Jinkies Rookie

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    I'm so sorry :( I've taken a couple online classes that were complete nightmares, but I have had some ones that were okay. I think that it really depends on the professor as well as how good they are with computers.
     
  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Hmm, I'm in a completely online 3-yr MS program right now for communication sci & disorders, which isn't easy stuff...a whole lot harder than when I went to grad school for my MA in special ed (which was all on campus BTW). Including that, I've taken several undergrad & other post-bac online courses in the past for a total of 4 schools where I've taken online courses & none of them were this bad & anonymous.

    For my current program, each of us have the option to put a picture of ourselves as our avatar that's along w/ our 1st & last names. Many of my classes have weekly discussion postings, but we can see WHO posts what & when we want to reply to a certain person, we click so our reply falls right under that other person & is indented.

    Yes, there's been a few classes where the professors don't post much, but overall, they do participate pretty well & there's an announcements section too. We have actual video lectures where you can see the professor's face talking & answering students' questions that they usually type out or can speak in the microphone & they're recorded so you still don't have to be logged on at a certain day & time. Then, there's also an audiotaped lecture of the professor talking along w/ slides of info.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    So academically you're adults, but behaviorally you're children??

    The questions would be math-related right??? The same general type of questions I expect my 16 year old sophomores to ask in person when they don't understand??? And you would be OK with students using an alias to protect their delicate sensibilities, right, just so you could differentiate who was who?? So, for example, if you thought of me as "Alice" but my actual name was "Liz"-- you could live with that, right??

    Yeah.... not seeing a whole lot of validity in his arguments.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    :dizzy:

    That's just crazy. I hate to hear of professors who so poorly execute online courses.
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    My master's degree was all online. It was a great experience! I'm sorry that your professor isn't being more professional about this.
     
  22. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    I was so wondering this!!....and what experiences this professor has along with why they chose this method of "teaching". It seems to me more like a self-guided tour. I wish you great success---because if anything this class will teach you how to be an awesome teacher!


    I'm in the middle of my masters classes right now, and they're all online. I prefer it that way because of my busy/hectic life style---as if adding masters classes wouldn't add to it all???:woot:
     
  23. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I will say that the Research class is sort of like the English 101 of equivalent for your master's. It's the class that everyone has to take and they usually get someone low on the totem pole to teach it. It's probably not indicative of the rest of the program. (Not that I wouldn't be annoyed or complain...).
     
  24. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    That was my thought exactly, silver. I'm trying not to judge the program by this one class. I can get through the next four weeks, and be done with it.
     
  25. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    So it has gotten worse in the last week. NOTHING as far as grades. No feedback. A message from the prof stating that we should "not worry" and "your all doing well" (yes, that is a DIRECT quote). Now I have another review and quiz and worksheet to do, and I have no idea if I did the first review correct, or even which article to pick for the second review.

    I am having a bad Monday morning. And this class just ****** me off even further...here's what I posted on our discussion board:

    Probably won't get anything from it, but I don't care at this point. It's time to sign up for the next class, and I'm not sure what I want to do. Disappointing.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Such a shame. Hopefully others will echo your concerns. Take screenshots if they do...you never know where this may lead.
     
  27. jwteacher

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    I'm proud of you for having the audacity tocall that professor out. I bet you're not the only one...

    People like that should not be teaching anywhere much less at the graduate level.
     
  28. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    It doesn't help that I am having a bad Monday. It has been a heluva day so far. The poor 7th graders are waiting for my head to spin. Just one of those days.
     
  29. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    When I hear about teachers getting a BA online or taking most of their classes that way I have to wonder how impersonal it must be to sit in a room by yourself most of the time while doing college work. I have to take some online stuff soon to get my re-certification but sort of dread it. Then I read where everyone can contribute because you have the time to read it and that sounds good. You also have more time to react to comments.
    It is just hard to reconcile teachers learning to teach online. Teaching is such a social event with all kinds of things going on all the time.
     
  30. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Certain professors that teach online classes think it's easy money & they don't have to do much or anything at all & this happens to be the type of prof you have unfortuantely. Will you have this prof again down the road? Hopefully, as you continue, you won't have any more guys like this. Horrendous!

    At the end of each of my classes, us students get to fill out a questionnaire & give our input. Hopefully, you get to!
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think I would have finished college had I been forced to take traditional courses. I really don't. Being on campus made me anxious...hated it!

    Some classes are very, very indepedent (which can still certainly be great classes) while many of mine included group work, discussion boards, phone conferences, video conferences, and so forth.

    Especially beyond your bachelor's degree, at least in my experiences, the classes are not really teaching a teacher how to teach exactly.
     
  32. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I don't know if I'll have this guy again. I'm just starting out, so everything is new to me. And, still no response or grades posted.
     
  33. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    I am getting my special ed cert through online classes (at St. Joe's), taking my third and fourth classes right now. The first two classes were all right, but one was not related to special education at all and was basically useless to me, as I already have a master's of science in education. Now, I have two classes that are more geared toward the topic. One of these is impossible to do well in, which drives me crazy. Like you, we have quizzes that are only tangentially related to the readings. Worse, they are timed -- we only get 10 minutes to take them. I routinely get 80% because I cannot find the answers...so my grade is suffering. The professor does not answer questions, and grades papers really erratically -- I got a 77% on a paper I'd put a lot of effort into, with the points being taken off for "an awkward sentence" and "a word choice error" (I made neither, in fact)...and then a 100% on a paper I put no effort into and DID NOT EVEN SPELL CHECK (I spelled independent wrong cause I typed too fast...). It's one thing to have a hard grader, but it's another to have an inconsistent grader.

    Anyway, I feel your pain, but I can say that not every class will be like that.
     
  34. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Well, I got a reply today. There was a classwide announcement posted when I logged in that said we would be getting grades for the first review (due 2 weeks ago) by the end of the day, and if after seeing that, we would like to go back and change something, we can by next Friday. Our second review is now due next Friday also, instead of Sunday.

    Great, except for if I didn't know how to do it the first time, seeing my grade isn't really going to help me do it the second time. Sigh.

    Also, we are not allowed to post comments about what we think about the class. Because, we wouldn't want our students to post negative comments about us, right? So, take your opinion and shove it. I guess if it were me, and if my students thought that I was running my class in a way that they weren't learning, I would want to know about it. I can understand about the discussion board (I was very angry when I posted what I did, and should have censored myself), but when you call and email and get no response, you have to communicate some way.

    Bah. I'm just really done with the whole thing.
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Wow. :(
     
  36. swcampbe

    swcampbe Rookie

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    Yeah, I think escalating is the way to go on this one.
     
  37. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    OK, now I'm REALLY IRRITATED!

    First of all, the grades we were promised YESTERDAY have still not shown up.

    Second, some other people posted on the discussion board this morning about not getting any help even when emailing or calling, so...

    THE DISCUSSION BOARD HAS BEEN REMOVED. So now we have absolutely NO WAY to communicate with anyone. I am seriously thinking about asking for a refund.
     
  38. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    This is where I would contact the University and explain the situation. It's simply unacceptable.
     
  39. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Agreed.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I totally agree.
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What?! Absolutely unbelievable! Please, please take this all the way to top if necessary.

    This professor is hurting the credibility of the entire program and school. If they don't care about THE STUDENTS and THEIR EDUCATION, then perhaps they will at least care about their reputation.
     

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