Online instructor doesn’t show, students given “A” and refund

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The Chronicle of Higher Education published an interesting article on November 9 about a class that received a full refund and grades of “A” at The George Washington University School of Medicine. The reason:  the instructor was a no-show.

But it was a great blog post at eCollege that drew my attention to the rather curious nature of this case.  The instructor taught a series of three one-credit courses.  The first was to be in-person, and the second and third were to be taught online.

She appeared in person for the first course, a face-to-face class. 

But the instructor never appeared for the online courses.

Nevertheless, she gave the students grades of “A”. 

Students eventually did complain about the no-shows, and officials with the university have agreed to issue refunds, yet allow students to retain the class and grade in their transcripts as though completed.

It raises a question of academic accountability and oversight.  In a university setting, where students and instructors gather physically in a single area, oversight is a bit more easy to maintain than in the online world. 

Is this a sign of things to come?  Or perhaps a bit of insight into an existing problem?  Or is this an anomaly? 

What if the instructor had failed to show to a face-to-face class?  Would students be given transcripts showing completed coursework and grades of “A”?

Or would the problem have been identified and resolved immediately – on Day One?

How many students are being granted grades and transcripts showing completed classes they never actually took?

Time will tell.  



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