Why I want to drop my class


I just emailed my adviser to see if I can withdraw from this class without talking to my professor (it could get ugly if she asks why I want to withdraw from a class I have an A in). I just can’t take her anymore. Her complete lack of interest in actually teaching the class is pissing me off more than I thought possible

  1. It’s an online class. If we have a question, she wants us to email 3 other classmates for help BEFORE we bother her. So, I email other classmates and they take their time getting back to me. Before you know it, the week is nearly over and there’s no time to get an answer from her because she doesn’t check her email during the weekend. I’m sorry but that just doesn’t work for me. Many of your students take online classes because they DON’T FUCKING HAVE TIME FOR THIS KIND OF SHIT. I have 7 god damn classes that need to get done every week. I don’t have time to waste hoping one of my classmates has the time in their busy schedule do DO YOUR JOB! If this were a real live class setting, I’d ask you, not them. I’m not going to do it any differently because you feel like taking the easy way out. Besides, after reading what some of them have written, how am I supposed to feel confident that they’ll give me the correct answer?

  2. Does she not understand the concept of a discussion board? Reading plagiarized “summaries” from my classmates every week and having to respond to 2 of them is particularly painful. My response of choice would be to direct most of them to the academic honesty section of the school handbook. But, I try to not be a bitch and if she cared, she’d say something to them. So, I try to come up with a response. When I, of all people, have trouble coming up with a response, you should know that the summaries are crap. I have resorted to the “nice article, nice summary”** response that so many of my classmates use, for the simple fact that I can’t bother wasting the brain run-time for better. I do my best to find an article that is relevant to the assigned subject while still being different from the stuff everyone else chooses. I try to write summaries that are well thought out and don’t just restate exactly what the article said. Discussion boards are supposed to be for discussions. Saying “good article, good summary” every week is NOT a discussion and frankly, if that’s all I’m going to get, what’s the point in even bothering to find and write about an article? I never thought that I would miss the Plato discussions from my intro to liberal arts class last semester. At least that professor actually made an attempt to get full sentences from her students.

** No, I don’t really do that. But compared to what I’m used to writing on a discussion board, I may as well because that’s what it feels like I’m writing.

  1. I asked you a question 2 months ago. Are you going to answer it? Have you even looked at the boards this semester?

  2. We’re supposed to have chats twice a month. People said they couldn’t get the chat room to work. So, instead of finding out what the problem was and getting help from the expensive IT people who are sitting around specifically to help out with problems with the online class system, you cancel the chats and now I have no hope of ever getting clarification on anything. Did it ever occur to you that maybe their chat rooms DO work but it’s an excuse to get out of attending the chats?

  3. Ambiguity is not a good thing in a multiple choice test question. There has been at least 1 question on every quiz you’ve given that could have had 3 or 4 different answers - sometimes none of which were any of the supplied answers. So, I end up having to guess which answer you were thinking of. Please stop asking us about typical this and typical that. The textbook has said many times that there is no such thing as typical. You have a graduate degree in your subject. How did you get that far without learning to write a question that can be understood?

  4. (this is what pushed me over the edge today) You assigned a quiz like you do every week. I got a question wrong. I emailed you for an explanation of why I was wrong. I supplied a defense for my answer. Your response was to direct me to the page (wrong), paragraph (wrong) and section (right) that has the answer. Problem is I ALREADY READ THE FUCKING BOOK! I saw that sentence the first 4 times I read it. It does NOT SAY WHAT YOU THINK IT SAYS! If I am supposed to be interpreting it a certain way, you need to explain why. Don’t just direct me to the book I already read. The fact that I have an A in your fucking class should clue you in to the fact that I am reading the god damn book. The fact that I have gotten 100s on every assignment you have given EXCEPT your god damn ambiguous quizzes, should indicate to you that I am actually learning something. Don’t give me wishy washy answers. TELL ME WHY I AM FUCKING WRONG! I am not scrounging for points. I am ok with having a 90 on the quiz. I just want to understand what I am misunderstanding.

  5. I took this class because it looked like a fun respite from all the boring humanities classes that I am required to take. Instead this class has turned out to be even more torturous than Psychology. I have to read every chapter to my boyfriend (poor man) because it’s the only way I can keep from screaming every time I turn the page. My blood pressure rises every time I look at your name. I procrastinate doing your classwork because I hate it so much so every weekend is spent in a mad dash to get it done before the deadline because I realize on Sunday morning that I hate getting bad grades even more than I hate you.

  6. I realize that anyone can make typos. I probably have a couple in this rant. But, when your constant typos make it harder to figure out what the hell you’re asking, there’s something wrong and it needs to be addressed. That first sentence on the assignment we had due yesterday didn’t say what you thought it meant. It was only through some creative brainstorming that I figured out what the hell you meant to ask. I’m not always lucky enough to guess wisely.

Ok, I feel a bit better now.

My only question to you is, are you so far in that it’s better to tough it out and finish it than drop it? If so, tough it out and finish it. :slight_smile:

No joke. It’s online- it’s not like you have to sit and class and watch her bumble around.


I don’t need it for my credit requirements. I don’t need it for my degree requirements. I don’t need it for my UCONN transfer application to look better.

If I stick it out, I will have an A- or an A so grades aren’t an issue unless dropping it hurts my GPA.

If I quit, there’s a pretty good chance that my reflux will settle down. This class has me so irrationally pissed off that it’s actually interferring with the classes I HAVE to take so dropping it might actually be better for me.

Another issue is that I’m struggling very much with something that worries me. I have always had issues with concentration and procrastination but lately I’m acting so much like my mother and sister that it has me worried that I have ADD too (I always assumed that I was just lazy). I strongly suspect that the stress from this class is making me much worse than I usually am. I want to get back to my normal absentminded procrastinator before I see my doctor in a few weeks because I want to know what’s really wrong with me, not what’s caused by stress.

I say finish the class and then tear the professor a new one when you do your evaluation of her at the end of the class.

I’m not sure I’m completely following.

This is a class that you don’t have to take, you don’t want to take, it adds nothing to your academic resume, nor does it detract from it, no one cares if you take it or not, it sucks, the professer is a poopy head and if you just didn’t logon for the class anymore nobody would probably figure it out anyway.

What’s the burning decision you’re trying to make again?

Dump the fucking thing. At least that way there may be a few electrons left here for the rest of us.

Jack Batty: I’m not trying to make a burning decision. I already made the burning decision. I struggled with it for the first half of the semester because I don’t like quitting and because I actually do enjoy the subject. I just can’t take it any more which is why I emailed my adviser to find out if dropping this class will in any way hurt my GPA. If he says no, I’m gone. I have the textbook and access to the publisher’s resources so if I still want to continue the subject, I can.

I’m just still irrationally pissed off and needed to rant about it. This has been building for weeks and there’s no one here for me to complain to so you guys lucked out. :smiley: It is amazing how cathartic venting online can be.

Lord Ashtar: Oh my, that is so tempting. But, I don’t know what kind of professor she is in person and that’s how all her other classes are taught. It seems unfair to rate her based on my opinion of this one class when she might actually be a really good professor. Dammit, I really need to work on being mean. I suck at this.

What Jack Batty said, I guess. What would be the best- and worst-case scenarios if you were to stop logging on until the final exam?

Or, if you were to log on, and switch windows so you’re doing something more worthy of your time?

ETA: If it turns out you can’t drop without hurting your GPA, can you enlist three confederates to be your “three classmates to email”? That way you could show her that you did what she wanted, and you’re now entitled to ask her directly.

Logging on doesn’t do anything for me. I have to actually do the work. If I don’t do the work, my grade will drop and my GPA with it. That’s what I’m trying to avoid. As long as I’m in the class, I wont stop doing the work because I wont willingly hurt my grades just to avoid her.

Okey dokey - fingers crossed for you that you can dump the crappy class and not have it affect the rest of your schooling. :slight_smile:

Who cares how she is in her other classes? You’re rating her based on how she performed in the class that you paid for and in which you are working your ass off for an A. Maybe she’s been doing it too long and is getting lazy, and a poor review is just what she needs to get back on the ball.

Mention how she didn’t answer your questions, the typos in her presentations, the utter vagueness of it all. Don’t be mean, just be honest.

Actually in her case, I don’t think she has been doing it long enough. I don’t know if a bad review will have any effect on her online class mentality.

Oh well, you’re right. When it comes time to review her, I will mention what I liked (if I can come up with anything) and what I had a problem with. I hate when I read reviews from students who complain that the professor expects them to be on time and turn in their assignments when due so I’ll make sure all my complaints are valid and not just based on my personal preferences. It’s up to them what they do with the information.

Yep. As a college instructor, i agree completely.

Much of the stuff described in the OP is simply unacceptable. I’m especially annoyed by the fact that she tells you to consult with other students before asking her a question. It’s her job to help you. My only requirement is that my students check the syllabus before asking me a question. I refuse to deal with emails asking when my office hours are or what day the research paper is due when that information has been clearly posted on the course website since the first day of class.

Also, both professors and department chairs can tell the difference between whiny students who complain about too much reading or about how the professor expects work to be submitted on time and students who have genuine and well-articulated complaints about specific aspects of the instructor’s performance.

The best way to have people pay attention to your course evaluation is to offer clear explanations of what the problems were, and how they affected the class. The first evaluations to get tossed aside are usually the ones that say stuff like “This class was the worst ever,” or “Boring!” If a student can’t be bothered to actually explain what was wrong, both teachers and administrators probably won’t spend too much time agonizing over the evaluation. But reviews that offer constructive criticism are paid much closer attention.

I should add that your comments are also confirming my own dislike for the idea of online courses. I’ve been offered the opportunity to teach some classes online instead of in the classroom, and there is some demand for this type of instruction in one of the required courses that i teach, but i’ve so far stuck with face-to-face courses.

This is partly because i like the in-class aspect of teaching. I like having conversation about the readings with my students, and i like giving lectures. I’m sure some students find my lectures boring at times, but i know that the material i’m presenting is relevant, and i do my best to be enthusiastic and to illustrate my lectures with interesting images etc.

But my reluctance to teach online also comes from a feeling that it might result in inferior education for the students and a shitty experience for me as the instructor. While i like messing around here on the SDMB, i’m not sure i’d enjoy an online discussion with my students in the same way, and i don’t think it would be as interesting or productive as a classroom discussion. I’ve seen other teachers’ online discussion boards and comment sections, and they had a lot of what you describe: short, meaningless comments that in no way constitute a conversation.

While plenty of your teacher’s habit and practices are very problematic, and i agree that she seems very unprofessional, there is one area where i can’t get on board with your rant. It’s this:

Now, i know that this was in the context of her requirement that you ask your classmates before you ask her a question, which i think is a ridiculous rule, but this also exemplifies another reason that i don’t want to teach online classes.

I know people who teach such classes, and they all say that, because it’s an online class, many students expect them to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’ll get emails at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and then a follow-up at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning wondering why they haven’t responded yet. It seems to surprise some of these students that teachers have a life, and that they might spend Saturday evening and Sunday morning going out and then sleeping in. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for any teacher, whether in a face-to-face or an online class, to say that they won’t check email over the weekend. This is especially true because many students don’t seek help in plenty of time, and then assume that the problem caused by their own procrastination should translate into the teacher’s top priority.

Anyway, how far into your semester are you?

At my university, if you wanted to drop a class right now (we’re about half-way through the semester), you would need a very good reason (major illness, etc.) in order to be allowed to withdraw with no effect on your GPA.

We’re down to the last 5 or 6 weeks (I can’t remember exactly when it ends). We’re past the halfway point.

I have no problem at all with my online professors being unavailable on weekends. I don’t even mind if they don’t get back to me at night. But if I ask a question at 8AM on a Wednesday and I don’t get an answer until 8PM on Friday, when I know they wont be available over the weekend for clarification - that’s when I get pissed. I’m also annoyed when they don’t respond to emails in a timely fashion but tell us that it’s their preferred method of communication.

Yea I saw a lot of that too in some online classes. Annoyed the crap out of me. Fortunately in others the teacher let students have it so to speak if they didn’t participate properly.

Needs quoted. Framed, and tattooed to the back of any test writer’s eyelids in glowing ink.

That said, I’d make a point to chat with three of classmates on monday, or the earliest possible day in the week. Via in person or MSN or something. Then you ask them all three any questions you have, and they likewise, and get that red tape out of the way.

If it’s not totally online and she has an office check when she’s there and go visit in person. It’s a huge hassel but it’s a lot harder for her to duck. Plus she’s conveniently located to then [del]argue her bloody mindedness[/del] seek elucidation about some of her more arcanely phrased questions. Preferred doesn’t mean only, unless she doesn’t know what preferred means.

I actually don’t have many questions outside of the ones on her damn quizzes and for those, checking with anyone is not an option. The ones that aren’t on the quiz are just annoying but I can live without answers or with enough google searching I can find them faster than asking anyone in my class. The quiz ones are the difference between an A and no A and generally are just because of her wording. It’s also entirely possible that these are publisher supplied tests and she doesn’t care enough to realize how stupid they are.

My favorite one so far (I got this one right because I guessed):

The diameter of a typical (there’s that word again) funnel cloud would be:
A. 50 meters
B. 2500 meters
C. 1000 meters
D. 4000 meters
E. 200 meters (this is the right answer - according to her)

According to the textbook, the correct answer is that the average tornado has a diameter between 150 and 600 meters (that’s a pretty wide range for “typical”).

The only reason I chose 200 meters is because it was the only one that fell into the very wide range given in the book. I don’t know where the hell she got 200 meters as the definitive diameter for a typical tornado and I’m not going to waste my time asking. I know what the book says and in a life or death situation, I can tell you the average range for tornado diameters.
The one I’m still waiting for an answer on is this one (and I totally wimbled on which to choose because I didn’t know where her mind was when she wrote the quiz):

True or False - A funnel cloud does not make contact with the surface.

The correct answer is true. I put false. My reasoning is this: A funnel cloud that touches the ground is classified as a tornado. This does not make it no longer a funnel cloud. So, funnel clouds DO touch the ground. They just get a spiffy new name when they do. It kind of runs along the scotch/whiskey lines - all tornadoes are funnel clouds but not all funnel clouds are tornadoes. I want her to explain to me why a funnel cloud stops being a funnel cloud just because it touches the ground. Does its shape change? Does it suddenly become a cube?

In response to my question, she directed me to this section in the book:

“Finally, a slender and rapidly spinning vortex emerges from the base of the wall cloud to form a funnel cloud. If the funnel cloud makes contact with the surface, it is then classified as a tornado.” One minute we’re talking about shape and the next we’re talking about classification. Like I already said, the shape didn’t change unless there’s something the book isn’t telling me. Ergo, it’s a fucking funnel cloud.

This kind of question bugs the ever-loving shit out of me - I have trouble thinking like other people to start with, then you throw ambiguous questions like this at me? I would have answered “False,” too - if it turns into a tornado once it touches ground then no, funnel clouds don’t touch the ground. I like my exam questions very literal.

Not only that, but the book actually says: “If the funnel cloud makes contact with the surface…” This is an explicit statement by the textbook that a funnel cloud can, in fact, make contact with the surface.

I should add that this sort of thing is one reason, apart from my belief that they are a poor judge of a student’s abilities in my field, that i don’t give multiple choice tests.

Writing good multiple choice questions is actually a rather difficult thing to do. You need to make sure that one, and only one, of the answers is the correct one, but you also need to make sure that the other options are not so implausible as to be immediately rejected even by someone who doesn’t know the material.

I so much prefer essay questions. If I know the answer, I can write a damn good explaination for why I’m right. And, if I don’t know the answer, it’s really going to show up in an essay. It’s much harder to bullshit with essays.