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What's with the ads?

#1 regentrude

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:06 PM

In case you can't guess from the title, this is a major vent.

Colleges have gone to lots of online resources students are required to access. Entire online courses, homework is due online, mandatory materials have to be downloaded online.

So if there is no wifi on campus for three days, that's a major problem. They can't even go "home" to use the internet because they are required to live on campus. 

I swore I would never turn into "that" mom, but I am really pissed: my DS was unable to access the pre-lab materials, so the TA gave him a zero and did not allow him to participate in lab. (DS used his phone data to complete mandatory work for an online class whose instructor has not made any accommodations)

This is one angry mom.

 


Edited by regentrude, 13 September 2017 - 05:07 PM.

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#2 Mabelen

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 06:09 PM

😳 Yes, that is bad!

#3 Arch At Home

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:18 PM

I am with you!

#4 Pawz4me

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:47 AM

I don't blame you for being mad!

 

ETA: Not that this helps or excuses, but DH has always insisted the boys have an ethernet cable with them. His fear has always been slow wifi, though. Not no wifi.


Edited by Pawz4me, 14 September 2017 - 04:06 AM.

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#5 elroisees

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 02:01 AM

I so agree with your title.  Also, wow, that situation really stinks!  I wonder if they will fix the grading, if enough students complain?



#6 Heigh Ho

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:10 AM

Yep.  wait till you get a tornado/hurricane with resulting power outage.  My son's high school teacher decided since it was the weekend before the Monday the paper was due, too bad, so sad, you aren't a perfectionist polishing, but a procrastinator deserving of punishment.  Words escaped me.  I felt so bad for the poor kids who normally do their work at the public library computers in their city...they had no power and no means to get to power.  I did drive my kid half an hour to a relative's home that was restored earlier than we were once the FD had removed the downed trees and opened the roads so he could polish and print (had to haul the printer too).   One of his classmates decided to take the opportunity and started selling solar chargers out of his backpack at school the next week so the next power outage wouldn't be so bad.

 

Agree with ethernet cable; its on the supply list at both my sons' colleges.

 

Apparently these people think all have data plans on the phone to cover these contingencies, as well as generators.

 

 

Also think you are going to find the teaching quality at your college isn't replicated at others.   

 

 


Edited by Heigh Ho, 14 September 2017 - 07:36 AM.

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#7 Kassia

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:28 AM

Grrr.  I'd be really mad, too.  



#8 Nan in Mass

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:16 AM

And this is why they still teach young mariners how to use a sextant and make them buy really expensive hardback textbooks that actually have trig tables in the back.

 

Ug.

 

I would be furious, too.

 

Nan


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#9 Nan in Mass

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

When I was growing up, way back when we used paper tape with holes punched in it to save our computer programs, the one computer in the lab was out most of the semester.  The teacher gave all but 2 students F's for the first term.  The two students had done their work someplace else.  They got A's.  We were all honour students.  There was a huge kerfluffle with a lot of angry parents.  The teacher held firm.  Second term, the parents who were engineers for the big tech company in town brought home terminals at night so their children could do their homework and we got A's so our average for the semester long Basic 1 course was a C.  The few students in class who didn't have parents to rescue them flunked and were kicked out the honour society.  That is not a good lesson for a public school to teach, in my opinion.

 

I hope something can be worked out, Regentrude.

 

Nan


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#10 JanetC

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:59 PM

OK, but if your son was the only one who didn't do the lab, there must have been workarounds:

 

1. Pay the phone data plan overage fee

2. Go hang out in a public library or coffee shop with wifi

3. Buy an ethernet cable

4. Use a school computer lab

5. Ask prof or labby or university help desk for assistance before showing up to lab unprepared

 

 



#11 jdahlquist

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:44 PM

That stinks.  Was it just wifi that was done?  Or was the entire computer network down?  

 

At my university, we moved to temporary office space at the beginning of August while a construction project was going on.  It took days to get all of the computers set up (the conference room and some other items still are not set up).  The day after things were up and running, the construction crew drilled through a cable causing the entire network to go done.  That didn't just mean we had not internet, it meant we did not have any phones or any access to anything on the network.  Even Microsoft Word is on the network rather than on individual computers so, basically we could get no work done.  We are working in tiny cubicles that do not even have a bookcase--before we moved we were told to transfer as much paperwork to electronic files; throw out books and use online books, etc.  



#12 Bluegoat

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:43 AM

Did everyone get a 0?

 

Anyway - I'll tell you, I am not actually convinced that a lot of the online access of this stuff is actually more convenient, or makes for better learning. 


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#13 katilac

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:32 PM

OK, but if your son was the only one who didn't do the lab, there must have been workarounds:

 

1. Pay the phone data plan overage fee

2. Go hang out in a public library or coffee shop with wifi

3. Buy an ethernet cable

4. Use a school computer lab

5. Ask prof or labby or university help desk for assistance before showing up to lab unprepared

 

1 & 3 require money which not all students have. 

 

2 is a good solution for students who are able to get to one of these locations. I would think the vast majority of students could do this, but I am sure there are some who don't have one within walking distance and who can't find a ride. 

 

4 seems like a good solution, I don't know of any schools that don't have computers for students to use, either in a lab or a library or both. You might have to wait if your lab doesn't do time reservations, but it would work. 

 

5, I don't think the help desk could help if wi fi was out campus wide, but I do think it's always a good idea to talk to the teacher or at least leave them a note letting them know what problems you are having, rather than showing up without the work and trying to explain then. 

 

Heigh Ho, I actually kind of agree with the prof's reasoning, particularly if the assignment was given the week prior or longer. If you had something to turn in, even handwritten, even just notes, I bet she would have gone easier on the grading or allowed you to finish. It sounds like this was a paper they were meant to be working on over a period of time. 

 

The internet goes out much too often at the school where youngest is DE. Not just wi fi, they lose complete internet access, so the school computers are of zero help. Lots of professors have the rule that no school internet is not an acceptable excuse for late work. They do make this clear up front, though, and there are fast food places with free access within walking distance.



#14 regentrude

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:43 PM

yes, hindsight is 20-20. Of course if you know the wifi will be out for three days, you can go and find alternatives. Most people, however, would expect this not to take so long and might wait for an outage to be fixed "any minute now". Lesson learned. It seems to be an unrealistic expectation.

 

Honestly, with no network outage have I ever felt the urge to go someplace else to find internet; I have always been expecting an outage to be of short duration and just waited until service was restored to do what I needed to do; I start my work in plenty of time for this to suffice under normal circumstances. But then, it normally does not take three days to fix a problem. 


Edited by regentrude, 16 September 2017 - 12:45 PM.

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#15 regentrude

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:47 PM

Anyway - I'll tell you, I am not actually convinced that a lot of the online access of this stuff is actually more convenient, or makes for better learning. 

 

It is convenient for the school, and it is a gold mine for the publisher. In my experience, it does not improve student learning.

Which is why I am not using any of this stuff in my classes. Our assignments are graded by actual humans who can evaluate a context rich, complex problem in its entirety as opposed to checking whether a final number happens to be correct.


Edited by regentrude, 16 September 2017 - 12:48 PM.

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#16 katilac

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:28 PM

 

Honestly, with no network outage have I ever felt the urge to go someplace else to find internet; I have always been expecting an outage to be of short duration  

 

True, but by Day 2, it is obviously not a problem of short duration. 

 

In my experience, it does not improve student learning.

 

For the most part, I agree, particularly the homework aspect that is overly simplified so a computer can grade it. 

 

My youngest does like Top Hat, which has a lot of interactive features that are used in class. Very handy for increasing participation with 70+ students. The teacher can also ask a question and have the entire class answer, and he quickly knows whether the majority of them understand the concept - much more accurate than just asking the entire group, "everybody got that?" Because sometimes they have no idea that they don't got that, they think they understand or they nod anyway so they don't look stupid. 

 

He can also quickly direct them to a certain video clip or simulation based on what's happening in class, rather than having to decide on one ahead of time. 

 

It was also not very expensive - the interactive text was about $50, and the actual Top Hat access was $26 for the semester. There are a lot of books that I've had to pay way more than that for. 



#17 WoolySocks

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 03:46 PM

I'd be fuming and be contacting administration.  That is ridiculous. 



#18 Momto2Ns

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 06:36 PM

I feel your pain Regentrude.

 

Ds had outages the first two weekends in his apartment (college owned) including Labor Day weekend. Not just briefly, but the whole weekend. He is in an online class with Sunday deadlines and it was a major pain. The library wasn't open, and there was no place he could go on campus Sunday to get WIFI and upload his stuff because of the holiday. He ended up going off campus. The 24/7 support has been almost completely unresponsive on weekends. I have not been at all happy. Other than the WiFi situation he loves his apartment and he is handling the difficulties, but it has been hugely frustrating!



#19 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:21 PM

My junior year in college we had repeated power outages.  Student housing was one contiguous building with eight wings in two parallel set ups.  It was not unusual for 1/4 of the building to lose power.  Sometimes it would be for an hour.  Sometimes it was for the rest of the night.  It was not unusual to see students walking from one end of the building to another to find a wing that still had power on.  

 

One night we were walking back from a required evening lecture when we saw our half of the dorm building go dark.  At 8pm during the mid term exam period with a major exam the next morning.  We were walking past the Superintendent's house (College President equivalent) and he and his wife were on the porch. They had lights.  I quick dashed up and asked if we could study on their front porch, pointing to the dark building ahead of us.  

 

They said yes.  Four of us studied there for a couple hours.  The Supe's wife brought us hot chocolate.  Eventually the lights came back on.  That was also one of the last times power went out.  (Not sure if the Supe had some pointed conversations the next day.)

 

Our work around was humorous, but it was a real frustration to deal with for the semester.  You never knew when it would go out and how long it would be out for.  You had to decide if it was worth packing everything up to go in search of a better study area.  I studied often by flashlight that year.

 

 


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#20 daijobu

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:36 PM

Wow.  First no wi-fi or tech support, and now no electricity?  I would love to see some college names attached to some of these complaints for future reference.  I don't want to write a huge check in return for no infrastructure.  

 

I agree with the strategy to knock on the door of some convenient dean or university president asking them for light and internet.  



#21 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 07:44 AM

Wow. First no wi-fi or tech support, and now no electricity? I would love to see some college names attached to some of these complaints for future reference. I don't want to write a huge check in return for no infrastructure.

I agree with the strategy to knock on the door of some convenient dean or university president asking them for light and internet.


The no electricity was in the early 1990s. Long since fixed. IIRC part of the issue was actually that they were bringing up a system that hadn't been upgraded for 20-40 years prior. At the time I attended computers were just being required for student personal use. So the dorm went from pretty much lights and radios only to adding computers and many printers.
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#22 katilac

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:01 PM

dh and I have both been in sales, and we tell our kids to treat their professors like a client: do they really care why they don't have the product in their hands on time? No, they do not. Sometimes your company or your college does stupid stuff that makes life very inconvenient for you, but the client really doesn't want to hear your backstory, they just want their product on time. Sometimes dh has to drive for hours to pick up an order that should have been delivered. It's not his fault, but it is his responsibility. 

 

And, of course, you look hella good if you are one of the few students to turn an assignment in on time! 


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#23 Arcadia

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:13 PM

We have wifi outages here too. I have Comcast for home use and McDonalds and Starbucks tend to run on AT&T. We are in a suburban high density population area so a Starbucks store or McDonald's is usually a walk away.

It is harder for more rural areas to get wifi even on smartphones. We had stop at McDonalds on road trips just to use their wifi to confirm details, of course eating there at the same time.

Wow. First no wi-fi or tech support, and now no electricity? I would love to see some college names attached to some of these complaints for future reference.

Foothill community college has power outages. They have a generator but it might be just enough to power all the emergency exit lights. The wifi was unstable when we were at the satellite campus for a summer camp on the same day as the power outage on main campus. Below quoted is a recent power outage caused by a bird :lol:

"LOS ALTOS HILLS, CA -- A bird flew into a transformer and caused a power outage Thursday morning in Los Altos Hills, a PG&E spokeswoman said. According to Mayra Tostado of PG&E, the outage occurred at 8:35 a.m. and affected 2,130 residences and businesses."
https://patch.com/ca...ltos-hills-area

Edited by Arcadia, 18 September 2017 - 02:26 PM.

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#24 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:21 PM

I guess this fits into the broader question of, how do you treat tech failures with regards to class requirements.

 

I know when I was a student, they weren't accepted on an individual basis.  If you went to print your essay and your disk had accidentally been wiped, you had a grade reduction - the policy assumed that you'd be done enough ahead to account for this.

 

Was that realistic - I don't know, many people fell afoul of it.  But, I can also see good reason to do it that way.

 

I am not sure that there is a significant difference in the kind of situation described here.  Three days does seem a bit long, but maybe not.  How far ahead should students plan to have work ready in case of tech (or other) issues?



#25 regentrude

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:43 PM

  How far ahead should students plan to have work ready in case of tech (or other) issues?

 

As a college professor, I do not consider it realistic or feasible for students to complete their routine work several days in advance. The volume of assignments is such that they are working constantly to keep up with the work load. The way instruction and assignments are synchronized does not prepare a student to complete his homework several days early. Some instructor do not release online materials in advance. In the introductory courses in our department, the twice weekly homework is based on the lecture material from the previous day, respectively; it would not make sense to expect students to complete routine homework before they covered the material in class.

Note the word "routine". For long term projects, planning ahead to complete work a bit before the deadline makes sense. Also, for planned absences I would expect students to work ahead. 

 

But for homework due on Wednesday morning, I do not find it realistic to expect students to have completed this work on Sunday when I cover the necessary material in Tuesday's class and then run five hours of help sessions to assist with that homework assignment. Planning with time to spare, to me, would be having the homework done Tuesday night before going to sleep. (Note that for my classes, tech is not an issue for homework, since I am opting out of the access code insanity for the benefit of my students' wallets and learning experience)

 

Nor do I find it realistic for students to download all materials they may need in the upcoming week over the weekend. The expectation to have daily access to the online resources is a reasonable one.

 

ETA: As for tech, I would draw a distinction between personal tech failure and institutional tech failure. I would expect students to save their work, make backup copies, have a working laptop etc. (ETA: Like jdahlquist, I accommodate persona issues by dropping lowest quiz and hw scores) I would, however, extend quiz deadlines if the institution run Learning Management System was inaccessible, or we had campus network outages. I would not expect students to anticipate that the college cannot manage to run its technology in a reliable manner.


Edited by regentrude, 18 September 2017 - 03:00 PM.

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#26 jdahlquist

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:43 PM

I guess this fits into the broader question of, how do you treat tech failures with regards to class requirements.

 

When I have used online resources, I have had a policy of two assignments are dropped at the end of the semester--this should cover any illness, electricity problem, adding the course late, etc.  Those are not two "free" drops with more added for problems.  I would make an exception if a student was hospitalized for an extended period of time or something similar.  

 

I tried to stick to this policy as much as possible.  But, there were a few times when I did move deadlines--a hurricane knocked power out for an extended period of time and for safety reasons I did not want students out trying to find a place where they could get electricity.  Another time the university computer system kicked all students out of the class on Friday of a three day weekend and could not restore the class until Tuesday (an hour before an assignment was due).


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#27 jdahlquist

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

Providing students with reasonable access to complete assignments is important.  DS took a math class last year; on a number of occasions, the class covered material on Monday and an online assignment on the material was due before class on Wednesday.  However, the professor would not make the assignment available until sometime on Tuesday, giving students less than 24 hours to complete it.   If a student had an athletic competition, a test to study for, or a job interview on Tuesday it was difficult to complete the homework and there was no opportunity to work ahead.  

 

I like for students to have a week to complete an assignment and to have a class meeting before the assignment is due so that they can ask questions.

 

The trend to "bite size" online assignments where there are a few problems due every day or every few days would drive me crazy as a student.  Although it drives me crazy when students don't read the materials I provide, I would not like to be in the position where one professor is sending emails, one is posting on LMS, one puts things on his website, one posts items on Pearson's MyLab, another posts items on Cengage's online problem site, etc...  I think it has become a problem that many students are having to check too many different sites and logging on to too many different systems.    


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#28 regentrude

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:21 PM

Providing students with reasonable access to complete assignments is important.  DS took a math class last year; on a number of occasions, the class covered material on Monday and an online assignment on the material was due before class on Wednesday.  However, the professor would not make the assignment available until sometime on Tuesday, giving students less than 24 hours to complete it.   If a student had an athletic competition, a test to study for, or a job interview on Tuesday it was difficult to complete the homework and there was no opportunity to work ahead.  

 

I like for students to have a week to complete an assignment and to have a class meeting before the assignment is due so that they can ask questions.

 

The trend to "bite size" online assignments where there are a few problems due every day or every few days would drive me crazy as a student.  Although it drives me crazy when students don't read the materials I provide, I would not like to be in the position where one professor is sending emails, one is posting on LMS, one puts things on his website, one posts items on Pearson's MyLab, another posts items on Cengage's online problem site, etc...  I think it has become a problem that many students are having to check too many different sites and logging on to too many different systems.    

 

Yes, this is a pain. That's why I have put all my assignments on the LMS calendar and linked them to my website, even though I keep all content on the course website to be more independent in case of outages.

My DS is using four different programs with access codes for three of his classes, plus one online class through yet another medium. It's a circus.

 

I provide all my assignments for the entire semester at the beginning of the semester, so students who have planned absences can work ahead if they choose. I hate the bite sixes releasing of assignments. Do we need to spoon feed them this much?


Edited by regentrude, 18 September 2017 - 03:21 PM.


#29 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:41 PM

Providing students with reasonable access to complete assignments is important.  DS took a math class last year; on a number of occasions, the class covered material on Monday and an online assignment on the material was due before class on Wednesday.  However, the professor would not make the assignment available until sometime on Tuesday, giving students less than 24 hours to complete it.   If a student had an athletic competition, a test to study for, or a job interview on Tuesday it was difficult to complete the homework and there was no opportunity to work ahead.  

 

I like for students to have a week to complete an assignment and to have a class meeting before the assignment is due so that they can ask questions.

 

The trend to "bite size" online assignments where there are a few problems due every day or every few days would drive me crazy as a student.  Although it drives me crazy when students don't read the materials I provide, I would not like to be in the position where one professor is sending emails, one is posting on LMS, one puts things on his website, one posts items on Pearson's MyLab, another posts items on Cengage's online problem site, etc...  I think it has become a problem that many students are having to check too many different sites and logging on to too many different systems.    

 

Yes, I would hate that too.  

 

It's so different a way of managing things than I remember - for me, the problem was almost the opposite - we generally had an idea of what was needed well ahead and had to make sure we didn't put things aside and forget - it was largely up to us to manage our time.  

 

And of course nothing was online - all your assignments were handed out in class, and if you lost them you had to present yourself to the department secretary or the prof to get new ones - very embarrassing.



#30 MerryAtHope

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:28 PM

The no electricity was in the early 1990s. Long since fixed. IIRC part of the issue was actually that they were bringing up a system that hadn't been upgraded for 20-40 years prior. At the time I attended computers were just being required for student personal use. So the dorm went from pretty much lights and radios only to adding computers and many printers.

 

LOL, your story reminded me of the tech problems we had in the 80's--the computers we used (with green print on black screens) were all on banks of long tables, back to back in the library, with the cords hanging down between the tables. You learned to save early and save often (like the old Chicago voting joke), because if you accidentally kicked the cords you would lose everything you wrote. Oy!


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#31 daijobu

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 12:03 AM

This reminds me of the 1989 earthquake.  Many professors suffered no damage, and were quite unaware that many students were homeless, crashing in their friends' dorms, unable to even retrieve their belongings from their damaged buildings.  Profs continued to expect students to turn in assignments when those students no longer even had access to their textbooks.  What a mess that was.