One of the good things about writing an eBook is that you can revise it as often as you need to. And oh boy, have I done that several times already, mainly because of pesky little errors that slipped by me. Now, however, I have an update to add that has nothing to do with boo boos. No, it concerns something else that students need to know, especially those who are teeter tottering between grades or who throw in the proverbial towel when there’s still hope of completing a course successfully.
Last week as I double checked my grades before hitting “Submit,” I couldn’t help but be a little distressed at the number of F’s in one class. It was an online class, and since I don’t see the students face-to-face, communication is not as good as it would be in a traditional “seated” class where students see their teachers on a regular basis and can easily ask questions. Plus, teachers can inform students of their progress and let them know if they’re in danger of being withdrawn. Teachers provide such information in online classes too, but unless students check their emails on a regular basis, they miss these updates.
It’s not unusual for a student in a face-to-face class to stay after class and ask something like, “How am I doing?”or “Do you think I have a chance of passing?” In an online class without immediate access to a teacher, however, some students decide on their own that they just aren’t going to make it and so they simply stop logging on. If these students would write their teachers and ask questions and display an interest in their progress, all of the teachers that I know would help them.
In the class with the several F’s, students take five tests ,and the lowest grade is dropped. If a student has an 85, a 76. and 45, he might panic and just give up. Big mistake. If asked, I would tell him, “Look, just forget that 45. That’s the test you’re dropping, and you have two more tests to take.” I would then remind him of the written component of the course that counts for 20 percent of the course. Although this information is on the syllabus, students don’t always read this document.There have been several students who did so exceptionally well on the written component that they were actually able to go to the next grade level.
On my next book revision, I’m including a reminder to students to stay in touch with their teachers and to ask questions about their progress. Without hounding them to death or saying things like, “I have to get an A to get in the nursing program,” students need to communicate with their teachers instead of simply giving up.