I wanna talk for a moment about higher education. I go to school online. I chose to go to school online because when I started my bachelor’s program we had just PCS’d (permanent change of station) to San Antonio and we’re only supposed to be here for a year. I didn’t want to start going to a ground campus and have to change schools in 10 months when we move again. I chose University of Phoenix for a few reasons: Husband used to work there as an enrollment councilor for their Military Division, so I knew what I was getting into; They would transfer in the most credits from my AARTS (military) transcripts, basically cutting my degree time in half; It’s all asynchronous communication and I’m crap in real time but I’m pretty epic and witty on the internet (when I have time to edit/think out my responses). As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am kind of a snarky, sarcastic and often just plain mean girl. Not having to respond in real time makes it easier for me to stop myself from making the wrong kind of enemies. Because there’s nothing I love more than explaining to ignorant people why they’re idiots. The forum environments where we have our “class discussions” allows me to craft responses to these knuckleheads that are usually so well worded that they don’t know I’m taking the piss.
It is my goal to graduate with a 4.0 GPA, as it will make getting into my master’s program of choice so much easier. So far, I’m doing great. I think, however, that this block may change everything. I’m having an issue with one of my instructors. For the sake on anonymity and to prove that I’m unbiased we’ll refer to her as “Instructor Lady”.
Let me give you some background: Within the UoP eCampus, you have several discussion forums, including one “individual” forum. Within the individual forum, the only people who have access are you and your instructor for that class. So if you have a question or whatever that you don’t want the whole class to see, you post it in the individual forum. You also have an “assignments tab”, where you upload all of your assignments. I am, generally, a very logical person with a shitload of common sense. I know that assignments are supposed to be uploaded through the assignments tab and not through the individual forum. And herein lies the problem.
We had a group of assignments due, 7 to be exact, that were all “take this quiz online and post your scores”. The FIRST thing in the assignment description was “Review this tutorial and then complete the quizzes”. The tutorial specifically instructed us to upload our quiz results as a new post in the individual forum. So I’m looking at this and going “But I thought assignments were all supposed to be submitted through the assignment tab? But, the instructions in the tutorial say to upload them in the individual forum, so I’ll do that. I’ll follow the most recent set of instructions, even though they conflict with the previous instructions”. Because that’s what the US Army teaches you to do: If you receive two sets of conflicting orders from people of equal rank, follow the most recent set. If you receive two sets of conflicting orders from people of different rank, follow the higher ranking (if they’re in your chain of command). So I completed the quizzes and uploaded them all as new posts in the individual forums. And thus, the following email conversation took place*:
Posted: 2/4/12 12:29 PM, by: Instructor Lady
As I posted in Week 1, ALL assignments are to be posted in the Assignment tab, not your Individual Forum. They are not officially submitted until they are in the Assignment tab. Please repost this week’s assignment in the Assignments tab. Thanks!
Now, perhaps I should have let it go at this, but the wording of that first sentence irked me. “As I posted in Week 1…” Like I wasn’t paying attention or something. Like this confusion is my fault. So I write her back:
Posted: 2/4/12 4:30 PM, by: Kalypso Inconsequential
Just an FYI, you should probably have someone examine the tutorial, as it specifically it states we should submit the quiz scores through the individual forum. I’ll resubmit them through the assignment tab tonight, but as I was following the instructions from the tutorial, I don’t think the assignment should count as late.
And she wasn’t having any of that. Oh no, not her. She wouldn’t even acknowledge the conflicting instructions and again tried to conclude that I wasn’t paying attention when she told us to post everything in the assignments tab:
Posted: 2/5/12 7:43 AM, by: Instructor Lady
On January 24th, I posted the following:
The Help Desk and I have finally been able to work out the glitch with the Assignment Tab. Please DO NOT submit this week’s (and every weeks) Checkpoint and Assignment in your Individual Forum. Instead please submit it in your ASSIGNMENTS TAB. Thanks and sorry for the confusion!
If you notice, it states that every week’s assignment should be posted in the Assignments Tab. However, if you have any questions about how to post something, you are welcome to post it either in the Individual Forum or the Question Thread that is posted in the Main Forum. I apologize for not clarifying. This is part of the curriculum that is copied and pasted directly from UOP Course Guide Design, but also I did not receive a question from any student, so I did not know there was an issue.
However, I do understand that mistakes do happen. This is why I did not mention losing points for incorrect submission. Keep in mind though that all future assignments should be posted in your Assignments tab and if you have a question, please let me know before the assignment is due. Thanks.
At this point, I’m pissed. Don’t ignore what I’m saying and keep repeating yourself. LISTEN (or in this case, actually read) what I am saying. So I might have crossed the line in this last one, but we’ll see what she has to say if/when she writes be back…
Posted: 2/6/12 10:42 AM, by: Kalypso Inconsequential
Yes, I understand that, what I am saying is now that you are aware that there are two conflicting sets of instructions for this assignment, you have a responsibility as the instructor to review the processes that are in place. If the tutorial gives conflicting instructions on how to turn in the assignment, then the tutorial should be reviewed. And you, as the instructor, are the one bearing the responsibility to bring it to the attention of the “powers that be” at the university. They may not change anything, but whoever is responsible for the content present in the tutorial needs to be made aware of the conflict. I’m not trying to set blame for the conflicting instructions, it’s highly possible that no one has noticed the conflict. I am just trying to bring it to your attention. Being a veteran of the military, I am very much in the habit of “If you receive two sets of conflicting instructions, follow the most recent”. Because that’s what the army teaches us.
(I promise, I’m really not trying to be contrary just for the sake of being contrary, but I am a fairly logical person with a boatload of common sense. If I was confused by the conflicting instructions it’s highly likely that someone else will be as well.)
I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be penalized for a vague set of instructions.
Now, I know that I probably shouldn’t have sent that last email, but for fuck’s sake, this is a “Critical Thinking” course. Critical thinking involves reviewing and weighing all sides and facets of an argument or issue before making a judgement. Which is exactly what I did. I saw that there were two sets of conflicting instructions and based on my life experience, choose to obey the most recent.
So we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.
*Disclaimer: These emails have been edited, but only so far as to replace my real name, my instructor lady’s name and both of our email addresses. Everything else is verbatim.