Teaching In The Margins

So much of teaching online happens in the margins that I thought I’d like to start thinking in public about it and so am posting the following exchange for distillation purposes. What do you think works well? What do you think could be done differently?

Dear Professor,

I have tried, and can’t seem to get a response from my teammates on the mid-term. I know that patience is a virtue, apparently I am not virtuous. I have spent years telling my children to “think ahead”. So I try to practice what I preach.

I am just curious if I am not looking in the right place for comments and responses? I would hate to not ask and find out at the last minute that everyone is waiting for a response from me.

Thank you for your time,

Dear Student,

Your team discussions were occurring in the right place but it looks as if things slowed to a crawl about the 8th – until your prompt for action yesterday. All team members are still actively engaged in class (judging from login timestamps). I suggest you select which item on the checklist you’ll be responsible for and let other do what they will or won’t. The website is 20% of the grade and you can earn 10% of that alone posting only your part if others fail to do theirs. That way nothing stands between you and an A given the remaining 80% of the grade that depends on you alone. I think patience, among other virtues, is often over-rated. Don’t ding yourself for preferring goal achievement over collaboration. It’s something you’ll face in the wide world so whatever lessons you take from this exercise will serve you beyond our virtual borders.
You’re right on track – despite feelings to the contrary 😉
Dr. Laing


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