Occasionally online students will present special problems. Some challenges you may experience include:
- Discussion domination
- Student may seem to be completely unprepared f
or the level of work required
- Academic dishonesty
- Disappearing group members
- Belligerent and opinionated students
- Additional scenarios of difficult online students
- Be clear and explicit in your expectations in the syllabus.
- Model expected online behavior.
- Be clear and concise on how students are graded (rubrics, final grade, etc.).
- Address issues individually with the student. Document conversations and explanations via email; use the phone when appropriate.
- Set a tolerant tone in the class: explain that all opinions will be respected in the forums.
- Withdraw the student from the discussion forum and do individual journals if necessary
- Intervene quickly and supportively
Several options are in place to assist you with serving challenging students.
- Your department chair and dean
- The School of Distance Education Director of Student Services
- The Student Success department
- The associate dean for online higher education
- University instructional designer
Additional resources and strategies can be found at these two websites:
- Butler, K. (2003). How to manage “difficult” students online. Australian Flexible Learning Community.
- Newman, L. V., Schroeder, R. (n.d.) Suggestions for responding to challenging behaviors of students online. University of Illinois at Springfield.
Reflect. How do you deal with difficult students in your face-to-face teaching? What principles and strategies can guide you in your work in online teaching?
This post is Day 13 of the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses.