Saturday, June 03, 2006

Herding invisible cats

Most of the students in the online class have been in touch and are keeping up. Their voices come through in the e-mails they send me and their discussion board postings, though their pattern of addressing me varies widely:

Dear Dr. Lastname
Hi Undine
Ms. Lastname

and, like a telegram:


Some never write a message of any kind; they just send attachments and a blank message.

But there are a few who, after conscientiously posting to the discussion board and turning in assignments, have vanished into cyberspace. I've tried writing to them but haven't heard back from them, nor have they turned up for office hours. (Well, it is an online class; I don't really expect many visitors during office hours.)

So for these invisible ones I'm borrowing a page from Profgrrrrl, who sometimes writes secret messages to students and others:

C'mon, check in and catch up with the class. There are only a few more weeks, and you've worked really hard up to this point. If you've dropped, send a message (even HEY UNDINE will work) and let me know. Thanks.


Deb said...

I didn't realize you were teaching online. Is it a comp class? Lit? Something else?

That whole thing about how students address us in email is interesting to me too!

undine said...

It's a writing class; I usually teach lit classes online, so this is something different. The name thing interests me because students at this school are prone to calling professors by their first names. Since there's no face-to-face first day of class, they seem to make it up as they go along.