Monday, September 24, 2007

Online University Courses

It never fails to amaze me how much some people will take advantage of a situation without realizing the consequences. My current term at the University of Maryland consists of all web-based courses. I was a bit aprehensive about the unfamiliar format, but it's actually very enjoyable. I have, however, been amazed at the fact that some of my "classmates" either cannot read, or simply don't care about their grades.

One key feature of these online courses is a feature called "conferences." Conferences are simply a spot on the website where the professor can post various topics and assignments, and the students can respond in writing. For my web development course, one of our recent assignments was to install and evaluate a web browser other than Internet Explorer or Netscape. I was eagerly awaiting the posting of the conference, so that I could pounce on Firefox. Firefox has been my browser of choice for a while now, and I am very pleased with it. Well, somebody else beat me to it.

Keep in mind that we were tasked with posting a written evaluation of a web me that would indicate a thorough description of features, pros, cons, etc. The individual that chose Firefox before I was able to posted an "evaluation" that read something like this: "Firefox is great. It's the best browser out there." That might not be verbatim, but it's pretty close. The "evaluation" was indeed two sentences that lacked any usable information. I was a bit irate when I read it. It's one thing to not be able to choose my favorite browser because I was too slow on the draw. It's another thing to lose out to someone that doesn't even provide an evaluation!

I posted a response to that individual's comment that actually consisted of an evaluation of Firefox, and I followed the spirit of the assignment by posting my own evaluation of an entirely different browser (see my last post).

Not only did that one individual ignore the parameters of the assignment, but the majority of my classmates did as well. Instead of everyone evaluating a different browser, most chose to simply post their own evaluation of Firefox...WTF? A couple of people were bold enough to cut and paste the description of the browser from the Mozilla website. I could have sworn that that was plagarism, but I could be wrong.

In a nutshell, these people either do not care about their grades, or can't manage to comprehend verbiage as complex as "each student will evaluate a different browser." Oh well. They're making my performance stand out in a positive way. Perhaps they'll keep it up for the duration of the class, but I hope not (for their sake).

No comments: