Any problems getting recomendations from distance ed instructors

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mcjon77, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Hey all,

    I was wondering if any of you have had the situation where you need a teacher recomendation (say, for graduate school admissions), but all of your recent teachers have been distance ed. How did you guys handle that situation?

  2. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

    Hi Jon -- I had some bad experiences in that area. Two of my profs seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth when I needed recommendations. They never answered my emails and never returned calls when I left messages at their offices. I heard later from other students that this is just the way they treated everyone -- promised recommendations and then never had time. Fortunately I had some work experience from which I could call on people for references and didn't need the absent profs after all. That taught me a lesson that I never forgot and when I, in turn, became the prof, I was determined I would never treat any of my former students that way.

    As a DL prof, I keep information on all my DL students over the years. I keep all their written work and any URLs of web based work and files of multimedia work. I even keep copies of the most dynamic online discussions during courses. I keep copies of online gradebooks. All written work that my students complete is returned with extensive feedback and I keep copies of all that too. At the end of each course, I just burn a couple of back up CDs and file them away for future reference.

    What happens is that when a student contacts me for a reference, all I need is the university, course, semester and year and then I can locate all the information I have on that student. In many cases that even includes a picture and personal email correspondence.

    This jogs my memory and gives me a complete "picture" of the student's previous work and abilities. From that, I can write an accurate recommendation (or decline as the case may be sometimes).

    I guess that was a long-winded way of saying, it depends on the prof :)

  3. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    This is one area of weakness for most on-line programs. As an instructor I've been asked (and have done) some references for DL students. There are challenges, however.

    First, the lack of face to face contact doesn't help - I'm just not as close to someone I haven't met personally. Second, some DL programs operate with compressed schedules. Hence, I only work with a student for 6 weeks. Further, I have some 8 semesters per year. It really is hard to remember much.

    Finally, as a part-time adjunct that isn't paid a whole lot for DL courses - just how much time and effort do I put into giving references?

    By contrast I am much more confortable giving references for students where I teach full-time and have on-ground courses.

    Regards - Andy


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