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Who else has suddenly got non-attending students wanting to 'catch up'?

(23 Posts)
Viewofhedges Thu 01-Dec-16 15:02:19

So who else now has a queue of students who haven't turned up to lectures all term, despite being chased by personal tutors etc (we really do try and keep tabs on them in case there's a genuine problem) but now all want personal catchups so that they can still do their assignment?

I'm new to this lark and could cry at how many of them now expect me to come in early / stay late / have no lunch break just because it only suits them NOW to learn.

The genuine cases I've happily caught up.

But the others, ye gods... (rant rant).

How do you all deal with them?

iveburntthetoast Thu 01-Dec-16 15:16:16

To be honest, I've only had 3 or 4 students do this in 14 years of teaching--and they were cases where they had genuine reasons for absence. Maybe it's a disciplinary thing? I'm in the humanities.

It's a difficult problem to handle because you risk being deemed 'inaccessible' by students (which is currently being seen as a big deal in my department.)

AddictedtoLove Thu 01-Dec-16 15:29:51

ha ha ha ha, yes! I had one who breeezily informed me she couldn't make an introductory lecture (going over important work they do next term, which they need to start over the Christmas vacation) and could I send her an email with all the main points?

I resisted the temptation to tell her that if she wanted a personal secretary I was not it as she couldn't afford my rates, and referred her to our VLE, where my lecture slides, the module outline, and all due dates & assessments are posted.

I think you can give them short shrift if they've not attended, and have no mitigating circumstances for their absences.

If they contact you by email, refer them to the VLE.
If they come to your office hours, give 'em a 10 minute grilling about why they chose not to attend, followed by pointing out to them that by choosing not to attend, they have chosen to miss out on the work, and that that is the consequence of not attending, and that they are technically adults, and so need to learn to cope with the consequences of their choices.

They can choose not to attend. As long as they accept the consequences of their choices.

AddictedtoLove Thu 01-Dec-16 15:43:35

The kind of thing you outline OP is the height of the kind of entitled behaviour that drives me crazy. And it doesn't do them any favours to give in to it - no employer will see behaving like this as remotely acceptable.

Viewofhedges Thu 01-Dec-16 17:11:37

Thanks for your responses all

Addicted I like your style. Yes, I will have to get tougher. I've had about 4 so far this term whose excuses really aren't good enough....

(goes back to read Addicted's words above and to memorise them)

Sonnet Thu 01-Dec-16 17:14:27

From the other side of the fence - my Dd is incredibly frustrated at the amount of lectures that are cancelled out of her 11 hours contact time each week. 0nly had 2 out of 6 hours worth today!

AddictedtoLove Thu 01-Dec-16 17:29:26

Lecturers get ill too, you know, Sonnet. Generally, it's such a hassle to miss classes & have to rearrange them (we're not really in the game of temporary "cover" at universities) that even if I'm quite ill, I tend to try to work through it & collapse into bed for the weekend after the end of term. But maybe your DD has more sensible lecturers who actually take time out when they need to.

Although my diary is now filling up with meetings once teaching's stopped, as there's no time to fit them in at the moment. I"m still catching up from a week of working in the office/classrooms 10am to 10pm, overseeing student practical exams.

user7214743615 Fri 02-Dec-16 00:36:55

Like Addicted, I refer them to VLE materials.

I also find it is helpful to schedule slots to help with specific questions. If my office hours are 2 hours, for example, I schedule each of them one after another and give them (only) 15 mins/30 mins each to answer specific questions on material they have already read/studied. Otherwise, they expect me to sit there all afternoon going through the lectures they missed on a one-to-one basis.

The advent of TEF may well mean that we cannot be so harsh, but currently my department would be supportive of this approach for students who clearly have not attended lectures/tutorials and submitted assignments all term.

ThatGingerOne Fri 02-Dec-16 00:40:32

I worry about this - I've missed a lot of lectures this semester but I do have genuine reasons (anxiety, depression). Even so I worry about going to learning support hours incase they think the worse of me, I don't want to tell them all my personal circumstances including GP appointments for my problems but I feel like I have to justify myself so personally. sad

HappyGoLuckyGirl Fri 02-Dec-16 01:01:39

I'm a uni student, part time. I also have a full time job in what, this year has been, a very demanding field. I'm also a single mother.

My attendance at university this year has been about 50%.

This is mainly due to the fact that I struggle immensely with learning by someone talking at me. I try to concentrate but can leave lectures and struggle to remember anything as my brain switches off.

I've also struggled with depression and anxiety this year, mainly due to my job becoming extremely demanding very abruptly.

On saying that though, I don't expect my tutors to take time out to tutor me privately over lecture materials I have missed. I just learn and research my own way, as this is what works for me. I sympathise with you in that respect.

<sits on fence>

user7214743615 Fri 02-Dec-16 02:55:46

This thread is not about people who are attending part-time and juggling other commitments. It is not about students who are parents. It is not about students who have anxiety or depression issues.

It's about students who are really not attending almost any classes and not turning in any assignments. It's about students who have not looked at the materials at all and yet expect lecturers to explain everything to them one-to-one, and help them get good marks without studying at all.

I would say that academics are very good at picking up on genuine reasons for not attending, and at pointing students towards support and help. And it's completely different for a student to come along in office hours with questions about what they have been studying/writing than a student coming who has clearly not looked at the study materials much at all. Academics will do our best to help students in difficult circumstances (but as most of us are already working 12 hour days it's not always possible to give a lot of one-to-one help).

AddictedtoLove Fri 02-Dec-16 08:14:05

I don't want to tell them all my personal circumstances including GP appointments for my problems but I feel like I have to justify myself so personally

I understand that, but the thing is, if you want extra help from your subject/degree tutors in the light of a chronic illness, you need to have documentation of that illness, and an agreed plan about how you will deal with it, which ensures that you're still doing the degree.

If you go about it the right way, you'll receive nothing but assistance & compassion.

allegretto Sat 11-Feb-17 14:54:32

Yes! I have this problem too. I also had one student ask for my phone number because I don't answer student emails at the weekend and she had urgent questions (she didn't).

iveburntthetoast Sat 11-Feb-17 16:04:26

Which disciplines are you all in where students come to talk at length about lectures?

Hardly anybody comes to see myself/my colleagues during office hours--I used to have 2 x 1 hour slots, but I've reduced it to an hour a week because I can't remeber the last time someone turned up. I'm in History, but this is true of colleagues in English, Philosphy, and Politics. When students turn up, it's invariably to explain personal circumstances that are affecting their work. I just about beg my final year students to come and speak to me before preparing their presentations, but less than 50% have bothered.

MaisyPops Sat 11-Feb-17 16:13:51

Ive had a few post 16 students do this. Barely do any work, dont access all the material, dont take me up on the option of tutorials to help and when their final deadline comes round they act like I should drop everything else to help them. Sometimss they just dont get that I'm paid to teach them but they also have to study. Theu are not entitled to a grade and its not my job to ensure theu get a grade regardless of their work.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Sun 12-Feb-17 10:30:09

I wouldn't be putting on any extra hours for them- at the start of the course, I explain that there are lectures, seminars, that I am happy to see students immediately after if I don't have another lecture just for quick questions, then I have office hours twice a week and so on. That totals a huge number of hours contact time in a term, and I do expect them to work on this course with me in those hours. I also explain I won't be available over Christmas or Easter, so that all questions relating to exams/essays need to be done in the office/dedicated hours that term (unless an actual emergency). The course materials are all on VLE and very comprehensive, and I also have lecture recordings, but I don't give those out at the start of term for obvious reasons.

It has taken me years to get it right, one year I was deluged with people wanting revision advice over Christmas who had not attended properly all term, and I thought enough is enough.

I would make an exception for any students with additional needs/special circumstances, but usually they are able to make some of the many hours a week I am available or I chat to them on the phone/review work via email.

This has made it much simpler for students to understand what is appropriate behaviour, and now they all cram in my office hours the week before an assignment is due!

I have also prepared slides/sets of questions about the exam, and email them these proactively, telling them that they need to read these and look through past exam papers first, and then only contact me if the question wasn't answered by those. I also say that I won't answer any speculative 'should I revise this and this and be covered?' questions as it's unfair on other students to go topic fishing.

You would think all this boundary setting and less availability would upset the students, but the opposite is true, the course feedback has got even better and I think it's because they know what is expected of them at all times, including when/when not to email. It's also made my holidays 100% more enjoyable!

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Sun 12-Feb-17 10:32:05

The trick is though to make this stuff clear at the beginning of the course in the first lecture, so that no-one can get to the end and be surprised you are not running a personal essay/exam advice service in your holiday time.

user1487519954 Mon 27-Feb-17 18:46:25

THIS! It's so annoying! I lecture part time but I get a few students emailing me saying things like "I'm sorry I missed your lecture, could I make an appointment with you explain them to me...?"
I've started saying no unless they have a good reason (and we have a lot of contact hours with our students so I generally know if they're genuine)... I point them to the VLE materials (although not every thing I say is there).
I did last week get a bit braver when a student did this, and asked if I had any time available to meet him (they've missed over half my lectures, and emailed me saying things like "sorry I missed your lecture, my alarm didn't go off") and I suggest they came to the timetabled session and then if he had more questions I would arrange extra time with them... needless to say they didn't turn up.

And another thing - emails at all times of day and night? I have students emailing me "urgent questions" (not urgent at all) after midnight, on sundays....

wizzywig Mon 27-Feb-17 18:51:41

I remember doing my bachelors plus masters without vle. Kids these days hey?

lurkingnonparent Mon 27-Feb-17 21:37:08

...and the ones who failed last term through non attendance, who want to resit, then miss the resit sessions. Or any of this term's sessions. Gah!

To the student who commented below, it's not the genuine students who are frustrating but the fact that you spend time planning a session, deliver it, do the VLE work and yet students effectively are still expecting you to do additional hours of work outside what is expected to cover the same ground for the handful that found the original lecture time somehow inconvenient. Especially if you're part time! Because, I don't know, we're human and have lives or something (spoiler alert!).

TheFallenMadonna Mon 27-Feb-17 21:45:59

Are you judged on their results? In school, they do this and teachers respond because we live or die by their exam results. We are setting up these problems for you of course, but it is the way of secondary education.

geekaMaxima Tue 28-Feb-17 15:36:46

Worse, madonna - we're judged by whether they're satisfied at the end of their studies.

Bloody NSS scores. They don't reflect how well students have been taught, just how often students get what they want (be it high grades for mediocre work, extra tutoring at the drop of a hat, etc.)

dimples76 Wed 01-Mar-17 22:40:13

Oh yes, I get loads like this. We have an 'open door policy' and it can be pretty relentless. I tend to advise them to read the lecture notes and recommended reading and then complete the seminar exercises for the sessions they missed, review their work and then come back to me with questions about specific concepts and skills - they don't generally come back!

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