The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Distance instructors don’t need to be distant

When it comes to distance learning instructors, there are the good, the bad and the lazy.

The good news is most distance learning instructors are good.

The good have a clear course policy the very first day of class. The course syllabi in these classes are straightforward and brief, and the instructors communicate regularly with their students as needed. Every one of the good distance learning instructors I’ve had let students know when and how to reach them and were available when and how they said they would be. I even had one instructor who responded to emails within 24 hours without fail.

Good distance learning instructors also grade assignments and tests within a timely manner. Some get grades back to their students within 24 hours, and some post grades within the week. Either way, the grading is consistent, and the instructors let students know when the grades will be posted, so there’s no guesswork or waiting.

Bad distance learning instructors simply don’t stick to their plans. They usually have ridiculously long syllabi and a million links to different components of the course that leave their students on a scavenger hunt every time they go to the course page. They’ll give you their contact information — usually their email address, and they’ll even tell you how to contact them — but they’ll be damned before they reply back to you.

Ever.

If you have a question about an assignment or a grade, good luck to you. You’ll have to appeal to the head of the department before the instructor gives you a half-baked explanation as to why he/she couldn’t find time in a three-week period to reply to you.

Which leads me to the downright lazy distance learning instructors.  They tell you up front in their course descriptions that they’re “busy,” and, therefore, not to expect to hear from them quickly. I had an instructor whine about how he has more than 100 students and to email him only as a last resort.

Maybe it’s just me, but if an instructor signs on to teach a class — be it distance or otherwise — then he/she needs to be available to the students who paid $165 to take the course.

Lazy instructors have odd office hours but are never available when you call them during those times. Their contribution to your education is posting multiple choice tests online and getting your grades back to you at some point or other.

Spring registration is right around the corner, and distance learning classes fill up quickly. You may get a good instructor, or you may even get one of the rare bad ones. But if you get one of the lazy ones, be a bug up their … well, you know.

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