The Waiting Room

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Problem Solver

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I am frustrated with one of my adjunct instructors. She's a great instructor and the students like her for the most part. But, the students are complaining that it is almost the end of the term and they have no clue what their grade is in the course.

We use an online grade book which allows students to access their grades 24/7. I like it because I don't have to hear "What is my grade" over and over from students (Of course, I keep a back up of my grade book on Excel, just in case). So, there is no reason why students should be so clueless at this point in the term.

Another problem for students is that she does not return emails. I get that she is working full time as an attorney. I did the full-time attorney/adjunct gig for a few years. But students are no different than clients. They need to to be heard, or at minimum, that you are at least working on the issue.

So, I am going to have to break the solace of my morning at home and go into work early today so that I can talk to her about what's going on and get her side of the story. Maybe she is confused about how to do grades. That was the case with another adjunct.

I think part of the problem is the training that adjuncts receive before the term. The College sets up a new instructor orientation before the beginning of each term. They are supposed to learn all the ins and outs of the college. But, I think with the number of new instructors, perhaps some feel lost. So, I've been working on a new instructor orientation for my department. That way, it's tailored to my program and on a smaller scale.

But for now, I have to deal with this problem. Sigh.


Arbitrista said...

I have to admit I was surprised when you said there was a 24/7 online gradebook. I can't decide whether that's more work or not! When I taught I always gave my students the weighting of each assignment and told them that if they wanted to know what their grade was all they had to do was keep track of the scores they received.

Sherlock said...

I love the online gradebooks because my students get a current weighted total to date after every assignment. Course some don't bother to see that they current percentage grade is going down so they need to work harder! It's good you're doing a more thorough orientation for your department adjuncts. Sorry you had to give up some free time to deal with it. What happened when you talked to her?

Just curious - what's the turnaround time for emails? And is it different for online and traditional faculty?

Some of my schools require 24 hour responses, others 48. And those don't count holidays or weekends. If a student emails me anytime Fri-Sun after I check emails on Friday morning, he or she can expect a response some time on Monday.