Cluelessly Boring Educators

I feel like an undercover agent. But I am not paid to be one. And yet, I endure the pain of uncovering the worst online instructors academia has to offer. I have had the best and then there is the rest. I also teach online, and I love teaching online. I try to inspire my students to THINK, and to DISCUSS and to SHARE and to LEARN. Too bad many of the online professors I have had are not so savvy and open minded.

I received a degree in Liberal arts at the graduate level in 1999 and have been a college instructor now for 12 years. I am fortunate to have wonderful teaching opportunities and kind and compassionate people to work for. I know how lucky I am because I have worked all over the country and have had some great positions and some that were barely tolerable.The life of an adjunct professor is challenging, but it provides me with doing work that I love. I would never ever want to NOT be doing it.

As to the courses of study I have been involved in, I have found that while taking classes online at three different institutions of higher learning in various parts of the country, I have had the misfortune of having some real yahoos who have been given positions of professors and/or tenure that are so entirely clueless that it makes the experience not only intolerable, but very painful.

Case in point. In my masters program I took online in 2009 I had a poetry professor who introduced himself to the class as a poet, who was a teacher. I understood his position. He did not like or want to teach, he wanted to write poems. I have many colleagues who would rather be writers than instructors. I introduced myself as a teacher who also wrote. He was insulted. WTF? He believed I was being a wise ass. OK, like I wanted to start off on the wrong foot?! I was honest....teaching is my "thing"...I am not a starving poet...

This term I started two new classes in interdisciplinary studies at a college online. When I got the book list I knew I was in for a rough time of it, because it was going to be difficult not to argue intensely with the information I knew would be entailed in the text. But, I love a challenge. My prof posted his syllabus online and it consisted of 2 pages with no real sense of what was due and when. He did not post an area for us to introduce ourselves to others in the course, so I wrote him asking for such a place if possible. He refused to answer me. This tipped me off that he was a non-communicator. I cannot stand people who will not reply within a reasonable amount of time to a question for which I pay good money. I posted my responses to his questions like a good interactive online student and then proceeded to comment on the others posts, like any "normal" online course requires.I wrote to him and cc:d the others in the class apologizing for commenting when he clearly did not wish us to. He replied in an email to me: OK. That was it. Nothing more. Talk about being strange?

Yesterday, in a fully seperate post, I notice his "rules". They were never included in the syllabus and were quite curt and seemingly made to make his job one of ease. Please do not respond except in one post per question. This is not a chat room.Ok, what about learnign from each other? What about finding commonalities and new ideas embedded in the conversations between students? Guess that idea is foolish, eh?

It is no wonder online college classes get a bad reputation. I love teaching them, but cannot say I feel as enamored taking them. Where the heck are people who have some of the same ideas I do? Why can't these people take classes in how to teach? Don't they realize the really stink at what they do? I'm paying big money to keep my expertise intact. Where is my money's worth?

It is going to be a long semester.

Have you ever taken an online course and how did you like it:?

  • Yes, it was awesome.
  • Yes, and I was lost.
  • Yes, and the professor was never available or did not return emails.
  • No, I have a hard enough time in face to face courses.
  • Not yet....
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Comments 7 comments

StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 5 years ago from New Jersey

Aley, interesting hub. Before I get into my comment, I just have to say, it is great to see someone from Tacoma, I lived there for 10 years and miss it dearly.

Your hub brings up some perennial issues in online instruction. I am also an online instructor that is earning a degree online at the same time. The biggest issue I have run across is professor's not responding to e-mails or questions at all. They put at the end of assignments (as a standard) to contact them if there are any questions. However, I emailed the instructor before the start of the course because there was a discrepancy between the book listed on the syllabus and the actual isbn. He still has not responded to my email and the class will be over in a week.

I agree we and our instructors should be fostering critical thinking and inquiry. But your experience with the poetry professor is crazy. To limit people to one post is maddening.

Good luck with the rest of your studies!


LearnFromMe profile image

LearnFromMe 5 years ago

I had the experience of several online instructors who were unavailable at all times and very vague in their expectations, but at the same time, I have had instructors who encouraged learning from each other and answered questions at all hours of the day and night. I guess it's really the luck of the draw when it comes to online instructors.

Great hub! Voted up. :)


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thank you Stephanie! My students tell me ALL the time that I am the only online prof who returns emails and responds to questions....! WHY? I wish these others would move over and allow those of us who love to teach to do so! LOL! I am a recent Tacoma resident, moving from the east coast and do enjoy Washington state!!! What a paradise it is. Best of luck to you in all of your endeavors!

Learnfrom: thanks for commenting too...you are right...it must be the luck of the draw...but my luck seems to be a short straw of late! thank you for your support!

Best to both!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

I too am a teacher (elementary), and I have no experience with on-line courses. But you know, there are lots of folks out there that just don't respond to e-mails. It is rude, and in your situation unthinkable -- since it is your only method of couumincation. How many days left in the school year? Ha!


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Sally...the term just started...so 4 more months...ugh


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Ha! I have a great class this year (4th grade), but my teaching partners -- not so lucky. I send them the How-many-days-left question several days a week. Just to rub it in.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

:) LOL

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