Author Bio

A Little TMI about a Vacation

posted: 7.29.14 by Traci Gardner

Last week, a student emailed me to explain that he was leaving Friday for a vacation and would be out of the country this week. He wanted to let me know that he should have Internet access, but if something went wrong, his work might be late. He didn’t say where he was going, but I assume he will be frolicking in some tropical beach resort like that in this photo.

This student has done exactly what I asked him to do—and I genuinely wish he hadn’t. I have a simple late policy that gives students leeway if a personal issue comes up. The course moves at a fast pace during the summer, so students have a 24-hour grace period rather than a full week.

I stress that students should let me know before an event or issue arises if the 24-hour grace period will not be adequate. I meant for this qualification to cover things like a religious event that lasts more than one day or an extended illness. It was never meant for vacations (whether tropical or not), but the student applied the policy exactly as he should have.

The summer course he is enrolled in takes place entirely online. The student will not miss any class meetings. There are daily forum posts and occasional email messages along with a weekly peer review activity and a weekly due date for a project assignment. These tasks can all be completed wherever the student happens to be. If the student gets the work done, I don’t need to know it is completed while he is vacationing in another country.

Ultimately, the student has given me information that I didn’t need to know and that I honestly wish I could unlearn. I feel as if I led the student to give me information that undermined his position. Part of me questions his scholarly goals if he is taking a vacation in the middle of a term. I realize though that he did what I asked, and so far, he has not done anything wrong. The vacation only becomes a problem if he fails to get all this work submitted in a timely manner.

In the end, I replied to the student by thanking him for letting me know and wishing him a happy holiday. If something does go wrong, we’ll deal with it when it happens. What would you have done? How would you handle the situation? I’d love to hear some advice. Please leave me a comment below, or drop by my page on Facebook or Google+.

[Photo: The view from our deck by mcclouds, on Flickr]

Tags: , , ,


Categories: Traci Gardner
You might also like: The Classroom Film Festival Assignment
Read All Traci Gardner

Comments are closed.