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Online Quiz Times Given Last Minute

Course Queries Syllabus Queries
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Brian Burl


( 5 months ago )


I am an Engineering undergraduate student at a Canadian University and have had trouble in a course with regards to time to complete online quizzes. The course syllabus says there are 4 quizzes worth 4% each throughout the semester and gives the weeks that they will be conducted on, but does not give the date or time of the quiz. The quizzes are online using our university teaching website that all courses use.

The first issue arose after the very first lecture. During the first lecture nothing was mentioned about the first quiz. The Saturday following the lecture the professor emailed us and said that the first quiz would open Monday morning at 8am and be due at midnight. He also said all further communication would be through the teaching website we all use. (The syllabus also says all communication should be through the website). I planned to do the quiz (it's only a 10 minute 5 question quiz) Monday after my other classes in the evening around 9pm. I go to do the quiz only to realize it is closed. I check my email and apparently the professor emailed Sunday evening at around 7:30pm saying that the quiz will be closed at 8pm on Monday. I don't check my email every single day as it has never been a form of important communication for any class I have ever taken. I do, however, check the class website daily and there was not a single notification about the quiz. Every other course I have taken has given notifications on the website. I felt like this was unfair as the professor has said clearly on the syllabus and in his earlier email that all communication would be through the website. He then proceeded to change the quiz time (which is not on the syllabus) the day before on a Sunday evening through an email. I emailed showing him the discrepancy in a very professional manner and he simply replied with "check your email, things may change".

I found this last minute change to be very unprofessional and was upset at losing 4% of my mark. I have never missed a single assignment or test in all my 4 years of university and I attend every single lecture.

I would have taken my complaint further but in class the professor said that since some students were not enrolled in the class yet since it was only the first lecture that the lowest marked quiz would have its mark replaced with the average of the other three. Although not a direct remedy to my problem and not exactly fair I let it slide since it was good enough and I don't like complaining.

Now 4 weeks into the course the same thing happened. I check my email Tuesday morning to find that the professor emailed again on a Sunday (two days prior) saying quiz 2 is now open until Monday at midnight. I missed the quiz again. I checked the class website all throughout the weekend and Monday, no notifications were given. This is the second quiz I have now missed because I don't check my email every day and there is no remedy in place for missing it, it will be a zero. I have not yet contacted the professor or anyone else yet as I don't really know what to do except maybe talk to the department chair.

I feel like these last minute quizzes are not professional and should be announced in the lectures ahead of time or at least have their dates and times on the syllabus and if things change a notification on the class website is the bare minimum that should be done to communicate this.

Am I wrong to suggest that the professor is being unreasonable with the way he is communicating the quiz times? Should they not be set ahead of time or at least communicated in class and on the class website as opposed to email one day before? Do I have a case if I talk to the department chair?

Liza Sain


( 5 months ago )

The professor has been jerking you around (whether intentionally or not).

For now at least, you will need to check your email more often during the target dates.

It is fine to present your concerns to the department. (In my view, being a good citizen of one's university includes providing constructive criticism that will help improve students' educational experience.) I recommend presenting your concern in a calm way.

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