I teach online classes for University of Phoenix Online (aka The Apollo Group, a publicly traded company, something you can’t say about most schools!) and each time I teach a class it’s a different ballgame entirely. Some classes are full of enthused, “type A” students, and other classes seem to be slacker central.
Currently I’m teaching an Introduction to the Unix Operating System class and am finding it rather surprising how lazy the students are when compared to previous groups that have taken this same class. 50% of their grade is based on submitting a Q&A assignment each week, by Wednesday night at midnight. But it’s Thursday morning and only two people have turned in their assignments for this week, out of six in the class total.
Worse, there are two “learning teams” and the first learning team assignment was also due last night, yet only one of the two teams has submitted their work. As they say in the world of instant messaging, WTF?
I suppose it’s interesting because it so clearly demonstrates one of the challenges of adult education: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. With K12 education at least the students have the vague pressure of wanting to graduate, but with adult education, if the students aren’t motivated there’s nothing external that can motivate them, so…
I just hope to see some more submissions in the next few hours because, deserved or not, there’s nothing so joyless as handing out poor grades for assignments.