Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dr. Popularity

If you're teaching a course required for graduation, and you're teaching it online (as I am this summer), chances are that you've never felt so popular in your life.

The class has been filled for a few weeks now. Since it's a writing class, I can't add anyone unless I'm willing to look like St. Sebastian. (Overloading a writing class not only makes bad sense pedagogically but also encourages administrative types to wonder whether EVERYONE shouldn't have an overload--not a popular idea.) I have to tell everyone who contacts me to (1) call the department and ask to be put on the waiting list, if there is one and (2) check the online registration to pick up a space if someone drops.

Although I have to give this same advice to everyone, I'm getting a variety of appeals:

  • "Hi. I have a full slate of courses in the fall and can't take this class then. I need to graduate in the fall, so can you let me in?" I forbear from suggesting that this person might have thought about taking the course before being a graduating senior.
  • "I need this course because I have to stay home this summer and take care of an ailing family member." Sorry--I wish I could, but I can't. It'll be offered again this fall, though.
  • "Hey there. Can you let me into this course? [Complex registration story follows.] I know it means more work for you, but it would be better for me." Yes, I'm sure it would. No, I can't let you in.

    I've heard back from at least one who was able to pick up the course when a spot opened up. I wish I could be happier about this, but sometimes that just means that someone's been dropped because of fees/a registration hold/tuition nonpayment, which means I'll get another message in a week or so:
  • "Hi. I was enrolled in your class, but I got disenrolled because of [insert bureaucratic foulup here]. Can you let me back in?"

    And the answer again will have to be "sorry--no."
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