Do you want me to fail? College Life

Hello everyone:

Today’s college-related post is based on what a student asked me recently, “Do you want me to fail? ” My short answer is “no.”

The person in question is one of my online-only students; I will never met him. Still, it is not my wish to fail the individual. It is my goal to teach him how to write.

He wrote a paper recently that received a 49 out of 100 points, so it certainly seems as if I wish him ill, but let me explain how he went so far astray. First, he did not follow the directions, so his format was totally off base (he had been given an example paper to follow, but he chose to ignore it). Next, he took his research references (he used the absolute  minimum required) and dumped the information into his paper. This lead to almost page-long paragraphs, which are dreadful on the eyes. Next, he made no effort to analyze the information, which was required. The paper had no introduction and no conclusion. Finally, what was supposed to be a APA-formatted Reference page was just a bunch of website addresses, with no format at all.

Was I making him fail? No, he was doing pretty good at that all by himself.

Discussion board postings were another issue. The requirement was for two five-sentence paragraphs as a minimum for both initial threads and replies. I was lucky to get two to three sentences out of him, one of which was usually “good post.” Every one of his postings got feedback from me; none of them were changed, even though I gave him 24 hours per posting to fix them.

Do I sit up at night, working on ways to make him fail? Nope. I would love it if he passed with flying colors. The ball, however,  is in his court.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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