# Academic Poll: On the First Day...

While I'm still trying not to think about the new academic term that starts in two weeks (yes, the first day of class is Labor Day, grumble mutter grump), it's beginning to impinge on my consciousness. Thus, this poll on a frequent and annoying phenomenon that recurs with every new academic term:

You can choose one and only one answer in this poll. Attempts to submit multiple answers will be given a failing grade, and reported to the Dean as a violation of the Academic Honesty policy.

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What a bunch of softies. If they were dropped, and had to go to the trouble of adding the class, or take their third or 18th choice, they'd be a lot more certain to attend, unless of course they demonstrate a combination of no less than 3 broken limbs.

Depends on how massive the demand is for the class. I recall one class of 60 where the wait-list was longer than the class roster; the professor emailed everyone beforehand to warn that anyone not at the first three classes would be force-dropped for the benefit of any member of the wait-list had made all three, and that final course grade would be multiplied by percentage attendance.

For another, in a class of 20 with a nominal section capacity of 30, he simply made a point of directing every question intended for the class in general first to the perpetrator... until another student's cell phone went off halfway through to provide him a fresher victim.

Every time I "came down hard" on a student, I ended up feeling awful....

Me: You missed the first class !!!!
Student: I was having chemo

Me: You missed the final !!!
Student, after bursting into tears: My wife had a baby and it has something wrong with it. Students rushes out never to be seen again.

Me: You missed the first class !!!
Student: I emailed you in May. I had to go to Prince Rupert. My son is on trial for importing cocaine.

Me: You missed the first class !!!
Student: I was in emerg, my son beat me up (He did too)

and to top it all, I missed the first class once (only once in nearly forty years)I got the time mixed up. I actually walked past the students who were waiting outside the lab. I went for a walk to clear my head.

By killinchy (not verified) on 23 Aug 2010 #permalink

You go to the first day of a course, realize on the basis of the intro lecture that there's another course that's a better fit for you, and on the second day of the semester start going to that one, instead. As a result of your finding the better fit, everyone wins -- student, both instructors, and both sets of classmates. But, yeah, depending on the outcome of the survey above, you might get "mocked on the internet" by the professor in the second course. I say it's still the right thing to do.

By Eric Cornell (not verified) on 23 Aug 2010 #permalink

Do small liberal arts colleges not have a drop-add week?

I voted for the second choice, but "congratulated for their initiative in getting a jump on getting behind" and public flogging are tempting alternatives.

Isn't the first class all about "course shopping"? Sometimes I had conflict in the course schedule for two classes, either of which I would "likely" take but not "definitely" take (i.e, not definite enough to request instructors about schedule change). I would usually go to one for the first class and the other for the next class to decide.

So, I don't understand this coming down hard for missing the first class.

I had a student email me in mid-August asking if it was ok if he missed the first four (4!) weeks of the Fall semester as his company was sending him for training. Yep.