Thursday, December 23, 2010

In today's connected world, disconnecting yourself earns you no points

"I busted my butt. I did all my course work on my own. All my work was done on time. I had no one help me post or write a thing.I was a complete beginner at this computer course and online wikki posting. I even helped my colleagues who leaned on me for many hours and many phone calls per week and each and every weekend."
This is an excerpt of an email from a teacher in graduate school furious about the grade she received from a professor friend of mine who shared this email with me to get my insight. My take is that I’m concerned that there are teachers like this in our schools.

First, when this teacher shares that she did all the work on her time, I wonder, “What other time is there???” but the bigger issue, is that she is complaining about and even celebrating the fact that she worked in isolation. Now, maybe she has no idea that there’s a whole world out there waiting to be of help if she just tapped them on the shoulder, but, even if she has no idea that there are resources on places like Facebook, Twitter, Classroom 2.0 etc. etc. etc., what about her physical personal learning network? I wonder why on earth would a professor value the fact that she didn’t bother tapping into other resources and more importantly I’m concerned that she is likely forcing her own students to work in isolation.

In today’s connected world, disconnecting yourself earns no points.

The student really, really wants her professor to get that point that no one helped her. She goes on to make her case sharing this.

"I did more than the minimum. And again...ALL ON MY OWN. No family, husband or friends helped me post any of that work. I did it all on my own and I assisted others who couldn't even post or link on the wikki. Not to mention how sick I was the weekend all of this crap was due."
My jaw just drops when I read this. First, it’s just unprofessional and disrespectful to call course work crap. I wonder if her students feel the work she has them do is crap. Next, I find it odd that a teacher is sharing that to complete her course work she had no family, husband or friends for support her. This is EXACTLY why she shouldn’t be working in isolation and instead be connecting and collaborating. Ironically, the class professor is a single mother who aside from having a high level administrator job also teaches classes at nights and has other work on weekends. I doubt the student got many sympathy points for trying to play that card.

Next, added to all her problems, the student throws in that she was sick too! Admittedly I have no idea what was wrong with the student, but sick times are often the best times to get to work with online platforms. No distractions. Lots of time. In fact, being super sick with a 102 fever lead to the launch of The Innovative Educator blog. Side note
, someone should tell this student it's a "Wiki" not a "wikki."

She continues to plea her case saying this...
"You have no clue what I've been through then throw in the stress of the countless hours of nonsense of online technology that I'm never going to use and that I was forced to teach myself how to do! I figured out how to put it all together with out asking other staff members or staff technology personnel for help."
Whoa...so now embedding technology into instruction is nonsense and she’s shared that it’s something she’ll never use. Then, again, she makes the case that she didn’t tap in to any resources or ask for help.

But, in the end, it’s rather shocking when you find out this student’s final grade when she says...
A- is not a bad grade, it's better than a C+ or B- which would get other grant scholars kicked out of the program since we have to maintain a B in every course. But considering carrying 2 other people plus myself, and having zero assistance with the assignments, I should have gotten an A.
She goes on to strengthen her case explaining,
"We're not a bunch of twenty somethings in Graduate school for the very first time with no work experience or employment. This was a horrendous for us to revisit our graduate days of long ago with hours and hours of course work and the constant reminder of how "this is graduate school...a minimum of 30 hours of course work is required." I already did my time once and I'm not in graduate school, I am a part of a Grant Scholarship program. This experience was stressful and the course work was ridiculous. I know I'm certainly not the first, nor the last participant who feels this way. Thank you for all the unnecessary aggravation."
I’m sure she is not, and with a teacher who acts this way as a student, I fear what she looks like in the classroom as a teacher. I’m left wondering why someone would even be in the program. If your wondering what program it is...well that would be a degree and license in Math, Science and Technology. Guess she didn’t get the cake walk she expected.

What’s your advice for this student and professor?
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