A New Low.


I know, I have been complaining all semester about the students in my online writing class. They are the laziest students I have ever had. Earlier in the semester I had it out with them about how my class was “too much work”. Because, you see, we only meet once a week, and then I give them online tasks to do to make up the other class time. These onerous tasks, this week, include watching a 15 minute TED talk, and reading some posts on Icanhascheezburger. These things, I am informed “take too much time”. When I asked for clarification, saying “So you’re telling me that you are spending more than 5 hours a week doing this stuff?” the room went strangely quiet.

Their research papers SUCKED; they were under-researched (in some cases non-researched), and in most cases lacked any kind of argument, discussion, thought or spelling.

Since this is a course in online communication, I designed a group assignment for them to do that involved trying to get content to an audience using the internet. They were allowed to design their own message and figure out how to get it to their audience using any number of methods, as long as some of the things they did used the internet or social media. The idea was to get them learning by doing, since so many snowflakes, and this group in particular, have so much trouble learning by reading information.

It felt a bit like kindergarten, the online equivalent of asking for plasticine sculptures, but it’s a Gen Ed class, and I am supposed to be experimenting with different learning methods. Plus, as I said, LAZY ASSHOLES.

So, they had 3 weeks to get their shit together, and I even gave them class time to work on it. A couple of groups had decent ideas, and worked to implement them, and actually got reasonable audiences given the time frame, although no one had anything like a stunning success.

The other part of the assignment, naturally, was for them to write a report on what they learned from the experience. I gave them guideline questions, but left a fair amount of the decisions about HOW they wrote it up to them.

So, this was worth 15% of their grade for the course, and at least 3 groups handed in reports that said, “We asked 20 people we knew on Facebook to join our group and 6 joined, so we think this is a success.”

That was it. I shit you not.

I am thinking about buying a cattle prod.

2 thoughts on “A New Low.

  1. Orli

    I am actually sad for the first time in ages that I’m no longer in school. This class sounds like fun and incorporates stuff I do ANYWAY (icanhascheezburger, hours lost on Facecrack, etc.) so I would totally ace it. And write way more than I have been, even if it’s not on my own selfish works 🙂

    I was wondering how I would approach this assignment myself, since while I do follow a lot of social media I’m not one who usually instigates anything through it; I don’t post videos for people to share or make tons of groups that “everyone should join right now!”

    I came up with that old chestnut about writing what you know, a little morphed into utilizing what you’ve got. I’d use my boyfriend. He’s got a huge following on YouTube for his flash game video walkthroughs and moderates a forum for fans of a rhythm-based flash game. I would totally barge in and proclaim my awesomeness as his other half and demand people watch or read or participate in my project. I bet I would get several hundred if not several thousand people to comply–his views are in the millions and his fans are some of the most rabid fanboys I’ve ever seen.

    I’m just curious if this would have been accepted as part of the project. And now I want to do something anyway that they can all participate in…maybe I’ll have him start up another scavenger hunt.

  2. fillyjonk

    *sigh* I watch TED talks on my own, for edification and entertainment.

    I don’t know. Sometimes I get students where I want to grab them and shake them and go “Does ANYTHING interest you? Do you care about ANYTHING?!?!” because I get the feeling that they are just dead from the neck up and nothing makes them care – nothing makes them angry or happy or want to work on stuff or whatever.

    It’s like, why are you in college if you don’t want to do anything?


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