Elearn and The Cure For The Common Student

Special Guest Blogger, Kathleen Hardy, Adjunct Professor of History

“I lost the syllabus, can I have another one?”

“It’s in the syllabus” is the instructor’s answer to a thousand questions.  The problem with this response is that quite often either one or both of the following happens:

  1. The student no longer has a copy of the syllabus.
  2. You don’t have one either. Because you are an adjunct, you are most likely carrying your office around with you, and who wants to carry around extra copies of stuff?


Man with t-shirt that says "It's in the syllabus!"
Deep down, we are all this man.

One of the best things about elearn is the ability to upload your syllabus to the class website, therefore making it available 24/7. This eliminates the need to constantly resupply students with paper copies while rendering any syllabus related excuse moot.  If you never use the online platform for anything else, this one function of elearn can save you hundreds of stifled sighs and exasperated eye rolls because…wait for it…the answer is usually in the syllabus. If you use elearn, the syllabus will always be available, even when you are not.

“I was absent last__________, what did we cover/can I have the notes?”

sick college student
Glad to have you back! Just, not too close, ok?

While it is usually the student’s responsibility to get missed information, in the age where students often look through their phones rather than talk to their classmates, many students feel more comfortable asking the Instructor for missed information. Elearn provides space to upload outlines, Power Point slides, assignments, and other class handouts that will let students see for themselves what was and will be covered in class.

“Why did I get a zero?” ‘My printer didn’t work!” “I turned it in, I swear!”

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On the other hand, there is always a way…

Projects, homework, labs…we assign them but we also have to grade them.  Who hasn’t stared at a stack of ungraded papers and felt that sinking feeling? Papers can pile up and sometimes even get lost. Occasionally, a student insists he or she turned in work you do not have. Elearn’s drop box allows students to submit papers electronically, thus eliminating printing fees, printer failures, and intimidating paper stacks. The elearn drop box also has time stamp and submission notification functions, allowing the Instructor and the student to verify submitted work.  An instructor can also provide feedback electronically, allowing a student to access feedback before the next class meeting or assignment.

“What is my grade? Am I passing/failing?”

Sheldon from the Big Bang theory meme "This is my exam grading face."

If you have ever been asked “Will this be on the test,” you know students are usually very concerned about grades. The Grades function on elearn allows instructors to post all student grades online, and even easily program a running total of students’ overall class grades. With an elearn grade book, students are consistently aware of their standing grade. Let’s face it, instructors are human. We do occasionally make mistakes when recording grades, and posting grades on elearn allows students to catch mistakes and ask questions. Increasing transparency in the grading process can potentially develop better trust between student and instructor and assist in early intervention to ensure academic success!