Don't Accept it! Remote Instruction does not mean teach yourself!
One of my greater frustrations as the chair of an academic department is the reluctance on the part of students to question what may be happening in a given class. I am certainly not talking about complaining because a class is hard or a teacher is challenging. Those are good things. I am talking about poor instruction, for example professors reading from a textbook while seated behind a desk.
I cannot vouch for every professor, but I know many who are working very hard to teach in creative interactive ways despite the COVID19 crisis. Sadly, however, I am hearing some disturbing information.
Now more than ever, students MUST advocate for themselves if their remote instruction is weak, non-existent or inconsistent.
YOUR PROFESSORS ARE GETTING PAID. The fact that they may feel uncomfortable with technology is not your problem as a student. High quality remote instruction can take place with what most would consider "low-tech" options. The key is INSTRUCTION.
Professors can make themselves available for office hours, even if it is just on the phone.
You can request an appointment on ZOOM. Tutoring centers are open and offering ZOOM sessions or sessions on Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Teams.
DO NOT SETTLE. Remote instruction does not mean having chapters assigned and writing paper after paper.
Every professor should be providing notes, powerpoints, narration and video. It just isn't that hard to do! At the very least, they should be calling those students who are struggling.
If you aren't getting answers to your emails and if you feel you have been left to teach yourself, take these steps:
- First, you have to have an honest email conversation with your professor. Always start there and explain what your issues are and ask for what you need. Be respectful.
- If the professor is non-responsive, you look up who the chair of their department is on the college website and you contact them with very specific examples of the problems you are experiencing. Write a professional email with the appropriate subject line.
- NO PROFESSOR CAN RETALIATE AGAINST YOU. If they do, they can be terminated.
- Administrators cannot help if we do not know what is taking place.
If nothing changes, DO NOT LET IT GO.
Continue to contact the Chair, and if the chair doesn't respond, contact the Dean above the Chair. Take it as far as you need to go.