When you teach a face-to-face class you’re there for your students. You’ll be there during class hours and during your office hours. But if you teach a class that has a web presence (whether that’s fully online, hybrid, web-enhanced or ecorrespondence) – students have the (unreasonable?) expectation that you’ll be there for them 365 – 24/7.
Here’s an easy solution – tell your students when you’re available! This includes not only obvious things like office hours but
- how often will you answer emails?
- how often will you respond to discussion forum posts?
- how soon will you get homework graded?
- how soon will you have tests finalized (perhaps you have to hand-grade a portion of them)?
- and ohhhh – do you have a virtual office hour using Elluminate? Very cool if you do!
Now this is not to say that you have to be Super Lance. You do not have to be at your students’ beck and call over holidays, weekends, etc. Just let them know when you *are* available. Will you answer emails within 24 hours, not including weekends/holidays? Will you get homework turned back within 3 working days? Of course, you’ll want to be reasonable AND responsive. Not answering emails for a week is probably not too good… but sometimes it will take a week to return a pile of lengthy essays.
It’s easy – Just Tell Them!