Lazy students, a rant

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.

4 comments on “Lazy students, a rant

  1. Dave:
    Maybe you should make it a requirement that each student install a desktop news reader so that you could directly ping all desktops with real-time reminders? Maybe you already have that… just a thought.

  2. As a UoP alumni – I would have to agree with your synopsis and also add that I learned quite early that along with many other things in life, the effort you put into it, is in direct relation to what you get out of it.

  3. Hi, Dave,
    As a former UoP online student, I have to disagree that “there’s nothing so joyless as handing out poor grades for assignments.” One thing more joyless is working on an online “learning team” where only two out of six people actually do the work.
    As far as I could tell, the teams were for the benefit of the teachers not the students. Given the quality of writing by the majority of fellow classmates, I can definitely understand why a sane teacher will do anything to reduce the amount of drivel he/she needs to read.
    Here is a suggestion that may improve the team experience: give the students an opportunity to get o know each other and comment on individual writing assignments. Then, give the students an opportunity to work individually or in a team of their choosing. Granting this same option for each subsequent assignment will be very revealing.
    – Sean

  4. hellloo people.
    i am a trainee english teacher and i am having problems with my students. i do my best to keep them busy but they just do not answer posetively to my teachings. what can i do?

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