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DD is 16 and is taking her first DE classes this semester.  She has three, two live at our local university and one online at our regional CC.  The live classes are going great and she has handled everything about them by herself.  The online class, not so much.  

It is a World History class which I was already disappointed about her taking.  After 10 years, we had the step off the third 4-year TWTM cycle for history this year for reasons I won't bother to go into.  The result was that I still wanted her to take the third and final swipe through 1400+ World History, even if it was reduced to a single semester and not done the way we do have done it at home.  This was the best solution we could come up with.

It is halfway through week 3.  So far, the only assigned work for the class has been to read one chapter of the textbook, post four original discussion board posts, and eight responses to others.  The prompt for the discussion posts have been nebulous things like, "why do you think history is important?" or "How does studying history help you make decisions in your current life?"  Nothing that has anything to do with the scant content they were to read.  Her entries have been graded and she got 100% on all of them with no feedback other than score.  This is a 4 credit course.  There is no syllabus and no indication on the learning platform of what the expectations are for the semester, if there will be exams/projects, no rubrics.  Nothing.  The only contact for the teacher is an email address.

DD sent an email during the first week inquiring about a syllabus.  This went unanswered.  She sent another one this past Monday again asking where to find the syllabus and asking more detailed questions about if there will be exams or projects.  Again, no answer.  There is no general posting space on the discussion board, only the four prompts, so no good way to query other students to see if they know something she doesn't.  The region this CC covers is very rural and large, covering an area that is roughly the size of Vermont.  Dd does not know any of the other students personally.  I have scoured the site and teaching platform to see if she is missing anything.  I taught university classes for 13 years and we have dealt with countless different platforms between that and all the online classes dd has taken.  While this one is admittedly the clunkiest we have ever encountered (which is saying A LOT), I am confident we have not left any stone unturned.

I am generally of the opinion that dd should handle her own classes as though she were a regular college student.  However, she is reluctant to go to someone at the college to complain.  She is afraid the teacher will retaliate.  Even if her name is left off a complaint, her emails asking about the same information is sure to identify her as the complainant.  She also does not really have the words to explain the issue.  Words like, "do you have an institution-wide policy for providing a syllabus for each class?"  While dd is happy this class is taking up almost none of her time, she and I are both distressed that she is not getting a single thing out of a class that was not cheap.  And, she still wants to take another walk through this period of history.

Do I, as a parent, go up the chain of command at the CC against dd's wishes?  And if so, what is the first stop?  This is a very small CC so there are no department chairs.  My options are VP of Academic Services or VP of Student Services.  Or is it too early?  Do I wait a bit?  

 

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If you or your daughter are not satisfied with the class, I think the best thing to do would be to officially withdraw by the indicated date for your CC.   I don't really think you have a valid complaint about the class, with the exception of the teacher not e-mailing back.   I have found syllabi or the lack thereof to vary greatly at the community college.  My older son, for instance, just missed an assignment in his statistics class because he didn't realize there were two online assignments due in one day, rather than the one assignment that he did.  He said to me, "But it's not on the syllabus!"  Well, none of the assignments are on the syllabus.  The syllabus only lists the chapters and topics they are covering.  The online assignments are added a couple weeks at a time, and the student just has to check regularly to see what is due.  Lesson learned.  But it doesn't sound like your daughter has missed any assignments.  Often these days instructors will just load assignments as they go, and I would expect this more for an online class.   My younger son is also taking a totally online class at the CC, and he is always worried about missing something, too, especially if he has a deadline to respond to another person's forum post and then all the other students wait until the last minute, so he can't complete his assignment in a timely manner.  I guess that's just the way it is now.   One thing you might consider is, with your daughter's permission, going onto her online account and looking through it with a fine-tooth needle to see if there is something she is missing.  I've had to do this a time or two, especially when my boys were newly dual-enrolled.   After a semester or two, they understand better how to look for things themselves.  Quite often important information is buried in a sub-folder that is not specifically pointed out. 

ETA:  Does your daughter not have an advisor?  In my state, all the dual-enrolled students have an advisor.  Maybe she could explain the problem to her advisor who could possibly help her out. 

Edited by Serenade
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15 minutes ago, Serenade said:

If you or your daughter are not satisfied with the class, I think the best thing to do would be to officially withdraw by the indicated date for your CC.   I don't really think you have a valid complaint about the class, with the exception of the teacher not e-mailing back.   I have found syllabi or the lack thereof to vary greatly at the community college.  My son, for instance, just missed an assignment in his statistics class because he didn't realize there were two online assignments due in one day, rather than the one assignment that he did.  He said to me, "But it's not on the syllabus!"  Well, none of the assignments are on the syllabus.  The syllabus only lists the chapters and topics they are covering.  The online assignments are added a couple weeks at a time, and the student just has to check regularly to see what is due.  Lesson learned.   But it doesn't sound like your daughter has missed any assignments.  Often these days instructors will just load assignments as they go, and I would expect this more for an online class.   My younger son is also taking a totally online class at the CC, and he is always worried about missing something, too, especially if he has a deadline to respond to another person's forum post and then all the other students wait until the last minute, so he can't complete his assignment in a timely manner.  I guess that's just the way it is now.   One thing you might consider is, with your daughter's permission, going onto her online account and looking through it with a fine-tooth needle to see if there is something she is missing.  I've had to do this a time or two, especially when my boys were newly dual enrolled.   After a semester or two, they understand better how to look for things themselves.  Quite often important information is buried in a sub-folder that is not specifically pointed out. 

 

Thanks for the feedback.  That is what I am looking for, opinions on whether there is something to complain about.  Just to clarify a few things:

1.  I have gone though the class platform myself, with a fine tooth comb.  Three times actually.

2.  I do not expect a list of future assignments.  Getting them assigned as they are is not the problem.  The problem is not having any idea what the course grade will be based on.  What I expect from a syllabus is basic info like what percentage of the grade comes from exams vs homework vs class participation and what the grading scale is.  As in, dd does not want to find out the last week of class that her grade will be 80% based on a final exam she had no idea was coming.  Even topics/chapters covered would be more than I would be looking for.  

3.  We are already past the withdrawal period.

4.  My complaint would be that the instructor does not respond to emails and that there is no information available about what the student will be assessed on.  The fact that my dd has learned nothing from this class so far aside from a chapter she could have just read on her own is irritating but not what my complaint is about.

Edited by skimomma
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Well,  I'll just say I feel your pain!  We are also disappointed in a few of the inline classes- shes got 4 and honestly there isn't ONE that I would say is good.  Her history is online.  Each week there are 2 multiple choice quizzes and a short answer question.  She has 4 written assignments- make up a fictional character that lives in a specific time and place and tell about their life- 200 words.  She does this 4 times.  No essays, no research paper, no actual response That requires thought.   The online text is a joke- it's like Cliff Notes!  

Psychology is the same, you have to post a reply to the weeks question and respond to 2 other students.  Online quizzes 1x per week.  No depth here at all.  

All I can figure out is that the purpose of these classes are to check boxes.  That's what we are doing.  DD regularly says my classes were much more in depth, and my assignments much harder.

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12 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

Well,  I'll just say I feel your pain!  We are also disappointed in a few of the inline classes- shes got 4 and honestly there isn't ONE that I would say is good.  Her history is online.  Each week there are 2 multiple choice quizzes and a short answer question.  She has 4 written assignments- make up a fictional character that lives in a specific time and place and tell about their life- 200 words.  She does this 4 times.  No essays, no research paper, no actual response That requires thought.   The online text is a joke- it's like Cliff Notes!  

Psychology is the same, you have to post a reply to the weeks question and respond to 2 other students.  Online quizzes 1x per week.  No depth here at all.  

All I can figure out is that the purpose of these classes are to check boxes.  That's what we are doing.  DD regularly says my classes were much more in depth, and my assignments much harder.

 

Ugh!  It is disheartening to know this is common.  While it is not what I would complain about, I am certainly flabbergasted at the lack of effort this "4 credit" college class is demanding.  The effort she has spent for this class so far for this entire semester is less that what is expected of her for a single DAY in her live university freshman-level classes.  The textbook is high school level, if not middle school, IMO.  

I have already decided that I cannot ethically record this as a full credit on dd's transcript as I would for any other 4 credit college class.  If the class continues this way, I even feel unethical giving her a half credit unless I supplement.  I paid for this course because I do not have the bandwidth to cover the content myself right now so I am mad mad MAD.  Lesson learned, dd will not be taking any more courses from this institution.  

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We stepped in one time. The teacher wasn't showing up to class on the scheduled time. I'm not talking she was late, no she just never showed up. My husband made a call to the department head. The class was dropped to a blended course. The teacher didn't know it was him who complained because we didn't give our students name.

 

I would track down the teachers office hours and phone number to deal with her personally. You can go to advising or the dean of the department w/o your daughter to get this information.

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6 minutes ago, Miguelsmom said:

I would track down the teachers office hours and phone number to deal with her personally. You can go to advising or the dean of the department w/o your daughter to get this information.

 

There are no office hours or physical office.  No phone number either.  These are the kinds of things that would be on a syllabus!  The CC faculty/staff directory does not list this instructor.  I am not at all surprised as this CC only has a handful of traditional faculty.  Most are part-time adjuncts on a contract basis who likely never set foot on the physical campus....may not even know where it is!  I have learned several disturbing things about this school while trying to figure out what to do about this class.

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I think that your daughter should definitely complain after the class is over.  If she decides to complain before the class is over, she should have just a few very specific complaints, such as the lack of a syllabus and a lack of response from the instructor.  Unfortunately, it would seem that the lack of "rigor" is par for the course at many colleges these days.

On another note, if you are giving her a full credit (or half credit, or whatever) for other classes she is taking at the CC, I would give it to her for this one too.  Otherwise you throw all of her credits from the CC into question.

And on yet another note--if the rumor is that there will be a final worth 80% of the grade, if I were her, starting now I'd be going over the book with a fine toothed comb.  If she does this, she will be in a good position for whatever is on the final (presumably) *and* you can feel better about giving her credit for the course.

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I'm sorry this class is a bomb for you. I wouldn't complain although I would be disappointed. However, it takes alot for my to complain. I'm one who just goes along generally.

I don't think this is uncommon and also why I don't agree when people tout de being a way to "verify" homeschool grades or show aptitude for college coursework. I don't think anyone with experience in higher education is going to be surprised that courses like this exist. 

That saying, de has been great for my kids and has held many advantages. But there are alot of bad classes out there. 

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24 minutes ago, Miguelsmom said:

Is anything listed in her  grade book?

Only entries for the discussion board posts that were already assigned and graded.  I know when I taught, my platform grade book had the option to show what various components were worth (e.g. 50% exams, 20% homework, 30% semester project) but there is nothing like that on hers....which either means the platform doesn't support it or the instructor did not enter that data.

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2 hours ago, skimomma said:

... 3.  We are already past the withdrawal period...


Are you sure about being past the withdrawal period?

Usually there is a 1-2 week period at the very start of the semester where you can drop the class AND GET YOUR MONEY REFUNDED. At our local community college, that is called the "Drop/Refund/Audit" deadline -- so it is the deadline to drop and get your money back, or switch from credit to audit with nothing showing up on your transcript. 

And then after that there is a period of time that extends further into the semester where you can withdraw from the class -- you get NO money back, and the class WILL show up on the transcript, BUT, it only shows up as a "W" (for withdrawal) -- there is NO grade or GPA associated with the class. The deadline to do this is usually at least 6-8 weeks into the semester. At our local community college it is called the "Withdrawal Deadline", and is 12 weeks into the semester.

If that is the case -- you have passed the drop/refund deadline (so no money refunded), but still have not reached the withdrawal deadline (so you can withdraw with no hit to the GPA) -- yes, that stinks to loose your money for a class and have to figure out a replacement, but at least it wouldn't be a waste of your DD's time. She could actually learn something at home with whatever you guys decide to set up and use, like a Teaching Company lecture series from the library, and do independent reading and discussion together.

That would also give her more time to devote to the 2 university dual enrollment courses, rather than perhaps suddenly having to shift everything and make time for assignments for the CC History class as those show up on a week-by-week basis...

Just a thought, that you might double check on those CC deadlines! BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I'm so sorry that you guys ended up with such a dud of a class. When looking over student reviews to pick professors for my DS's DE classes, I have noticed that some of the "worst" (in terms of ratings) professors seem to be the ones with the online courses. Tons of student complaints about lack of responsiveness to emails, unclear expectations regarding workload, etc.

We've never done an online CC course. Our area has plenty of availability with in-person classes, and other parents told me that college admissions look at in-person DE classes taken on campus very differently from online DE classes (we've found this to be true in our admissions experience this year).

Since it sounds like you are stuck with this class and are past the drop deadline, maybe just have your student run with the text that has been assigned and just "homeschool" the class by spacing out readings on her own. I wouldn't cut her credits and affect her graduation stats because the class is a mess, just have her try her best to remedy the lack by going ahead on her own. I would also be okay jumping in myself to see what (if anything) I could do to mitigate the problems with the class. I don't think it means that your 16-year-old isn't managing her DE on her own when you encounter an exceptional situation like this, especially in her very first semester. Work through it together to see if you have any options, and she'll learn by seeing how you try to work with the administration regarding what is essentially an HR issue with this professor (lack of responses to emails for an online course is impossible to work with!).

We became picky after my DS ended up with a disaster of a professor in his first DE math class. She was teaching basic concepts like symmetry and inverses of equations over three class periods, but then the kids were then tested over the actual course material like De Moivre's Theorem and other more advanced trig stuff. Basically, the prof didn't know the material well and lectures did not match exams AT ALL. We ended up "homeschooling" the course by just having my DS go through the book on his own and supplementing with YouTube videos/etc. when he didn't understand a concept. We came out okay in the end (lots of kids weren't self-studying on the side), but learned the importance of checking the ratemyprofessors website before signing up for other DE classes. You won't always have options (maybe this is the only class that you could find and just had to make do with it!), but luckily homeschoolers have an advantage when confronted with a lack of proper teaching!

Best of luck in resolving the problems!

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36 minutes ago, klmama said:

You wrote that she has sent two unanswered emails.  I think she should verify with the college that the email listed for this professor is accurate.

 

The instructor emailed the class list during the first week with the textbook information and a message about how they would not be doing much during the first week due to add/drop possibilities.  That is the same email address that is listed on the course platform and is what dd has used.  She sent both attempts from the her email address that is provided by that school but also sent a duplicate of the second email from her regular email address as well, just in case something wasn't right with it.  She BCC'd me and I received all three.  All that said there is a remote possibility that he never received them or they went to spam.  But given that there is no phone number or office and the "contact me" link on the platform just generates an email to the same address, I'm not sure how else to attempt to contact him.

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32 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


Are you sure about being past the withdrawal period?

Usually there is a 1-2 week period at the very start of the semester where you can withdraw AND GET YOUR MONEY REFUNDED. At our local community college, that is called the "Drop/Refund/Audit" deadline -- so it is the deadline to drop and get your money back, or switch from credit to audit with nothing showing up on your transcript. 

And then after that there is a period of time that extends further into the semester where you can withdraw from the class -- you get NO money back, and the class WILL show up on the transcript, BUT, it only shows up as a "W" (for withdrawal) -- there is NO grade or GPA associated with the class. The deadline to do this is usually at least 6-8 weeks into the semester. At our local community college it is called the "Withdrawal Deadline", and is 12 weeks into the semester.

If that is the case -- you have passed the drop/refund deadline (so no money refunded), but still have not reached the withdrawal deadline (so you can withdraw with no hit to the GPA). Yes, that stinks to loose your money for a class and have to figure out a replacement -- but at least it wouldn't be a waste of your DD's time. She could actually learn something at home with whatever you guys decide to set up and use, like a Teaching Company lecture series and independent reading and discussion together.

Just a thought, that you might double check on those CC deadlines! BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Thanks Lori.  I was a former academic advisor so this is one area I usually can figure out.  As you said, yes, the first week is the official add/drop period where students have no designation on their transcript and get a partial refund if they drop.  They have until the end of 4th week to drop with a "W" and no refund.  However, this option is not available to DE students at this school.  Her university also has special rules for DE-only students.  I believe, but cannot be sure, that this has to do with state funding for DE through the public schools.  I have since learned that since dd is homeschooled and ineligible for funding, we could have registered her as a guest student instead which would have meant the DE drop restrictions would not apply to dd.  This is how we will register her in the future.  But we did not know this when registering for these classes. 

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Does the CC have any institutional rules about providing a syllabus? At ours, it's a requirement to post the syllabus by the first day of class with all graded assignments and their due dates listed. 

In your situation, I'd call the academic dean to see what is going on. It's one thing to expect a DE student to handle normal class interactions, but they're not the legal adult financially responsible for enrolling. Since you are the one on the hook for paying, I think it's completely legitimate for you to call and ask about the institution's requirements for instructors.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

 

On another note, if you are giving her a full credit (or half credit, or whatever) for other classes she is taking at the CC, I would give it to her for this one too.  Otherwise you throw all of her credits from the CC into question.

And on yet another note--if the rumor is that there will be a final worth 80% of the grade, if I were her, starting now I'd be going over the book with a fine toothed comb.  If she does this, she will be in a good position for whatever is on the final (presumably) *and* you can feel better about giving her credit for the course.

 

This is the only class she is currently taking from this institution and we will for sure not be registering for any more!  It was actually never my plan to have her take any classes there but we tried this one because the equivilent course at the university she is attending was full.  So giving it a half credit WITH supplementation is about as far as I am willing to go.  I have already identified and started an additional home-supervised half credit social science class to replace the half credit I will not be granting for this.  If the rigor of the class eventually picks up to something even remotely resembling a college class, I may reconsider.

There is no rumor.  That was just an example.  We know nobody in this class so there is nowhere to get a rumor.  It's more that dd's approach to the class, and how I would supplement it, would change significantly if we knew it would be weighted heavily toward exam assessment.  If not, she would just continue to enter the Micky Mouse discussion posts, read the chapters that are assigned, and spent the rest of her effort on whatever I ask her to do which may or may not follow the content and time periods that the class is following.  "May not" is more likely since we have no direction of what, when, or how content will be covered.

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2 minutes ago, skimomma said:

 

It's more that dd's approach to the class, and how I would supplement it, would change significantly if we knew it would be weighted heavily toward exam assessment.  If not, she would just continue to enter the Micky Mouse discussion posts, read the chapters that are assigned, and spent the rest of her effort on whatever I ask her to do which may or may not follow the content and time periods that the class is following.  "May not" is more likely since we have no direction of what, when, or how content will be covered.

Wow, I would be very worried about not knowing when and what type of exam is expected for this class. That's a recipe for failing because you didn't know you had to prepare for a high stakes test or a surprise paper. I think you need to call up the chain of the administration of the CC until you get a syllabus. This is not normal and the instructor is putting their students in a very bad position. You paid for the class, you have a right to know what the class entails.

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7 minutes ago, skimomma said:

There is no rumor.  That was just an example.  We know nobody in this class so there is nowhere to get a rumor.  It's more that dd's approach to the class, and how I would supplement it, would change significantly if we knew it would be weighted heavily toward exam assessment.  If not, she would just continue to enter the Micky Mouse discussion posts, read the chapters that are assigned, and spent the rest of her effort on whatever I ask her to do which may or may not follow the content and time periods that the class is following.  "May not" is more likely since we have no direction of what, when, or how content will be covered.

I would assume that at some point there will be an assessment on all of the material indicated in the course description and prepare accordingly.  You don't want her to fail a college class.

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Just now, chiguirre said:

Does the CC have any institutional rules about providing a syllabus? At ours, it's a requirement to post the syllabus by the first day of class with all graded assignments and their due dates listed. 

In your situation, I'd call the academic dean to see what is going on. It's one thing to expect a DE student to handle normal class interactions, but they're not the legal adult financially responsible for enrolling. Since you are the one on the hook for paying, I think it's completely legitimate for you to call and ask about the institution's requirements for instructors.

 

Yes!  It is also a rule at the university dd also attends (and that I used to teach at) that a syllabus be provided by the first day of class, although assignment and due date info is not required and rarely included.  The required components are grade scale, contact information, textbook/materials requirements, attendance policies, how the course will be assessed, learning outcomes, links to university policies (including, ironically, the policy on providing a syllabus), late assignment policies, office hours, etc.....  

I cannot find any rules like this in the CC student handbook, catalog, or website.  So there may be no such policies.  The closest I found is that instructors are required to provide attendance policies in writing during the first week of class.....which this instructor did not....but being an online class, I'm not sure how that rule could be applicable anyway.  I also cannot find any requirement that instructors respond to student communication....so I suppose there is no ground to stand on here?

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11 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

Wow, I would be very worried about not knowing when and what type of exam is expected for this class. That's a recipe for failing because you didn't know you had to prepare for a high stakes test or a surprise paper. I think you need to call up the chain of the administration of the CC until you get a syllabus. This is not normal and the instructor is putting their students in a very bad position. You paid for the class, you have a right to know what the class entails.

 

Yes!  This is the issue!  What do others think here?  Contact someone now or wait it out a bit longer?  And who to contact first if there are no department chairs or and dd does not have an academic advisor?

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2 minutes ago, skimomma said:

Contact someone now or wait it out a bit longer?

I'd have her contact someone now while at the same time preparing as though there is going to be an exam on the advertised material.

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53 minutes ago, skimomma said:

 

Thanks Lori.  I was a former academic advisor so this is one area I usually can figure out.  As you said, yes, the first week is the official add/drop period where students have no designation on their transcript and get a partial refund if they drop.  They have until the end of 4th week to drop with a "W" and no refund.  However, this option is not available to DE students at this school.  Her university also has special rules for DE-only students.  I believe, but cannot be sure, that this has to do with state funding for DE through the public schools.  I have since learned that since dd is homeschooled and ineligible for funding, we could have registered her as a guest student instead which would have meant the DE drop restrictions would not apply to dd.  This is how we will register her in the future.  But we did not know this when registering for these classes. 


I am sorry. 😞

The dropping or withdrawing at our community college is the same for DE high school students as it is for the college students. But then, our CC has classes is of good quality, so that's different, too. 😉

Sadly, you can run in to poor online classes at just about any CC or university, as there is such a high demand for them, and it is so much more difficult to oversee those instructors, since they don't have to be on campus...
 

37 minutes ago, skimomma said:

...So giving it a half credit WITH supplementation is about as far as I am willing to go.  I have already identified and started an additional home-supervised half credit social science class to replace the half credit I will not be granting for this.  If the rigor of the class eventually picks up to something even remotely resembling a college class, I may reconsider...


I totally get feeling you need to bump up the rigor to match with the university DE classes, but I strongly encourage you to grant the same amount of credit for the 4-unit CC class as for the 4-unit university classes. Otherwise, your transcript is going to look inconsistent and that will cause a red flag to raise at future admission offices. And that choice could end up backfiring and making admission officers end up questioning the validity of credit for the *university* credits.

Some credits just ARE going to be more rigorous than others -- 1 credit of high school PE is less rigorous than 1 credit of high school AP Science.

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9 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

I strongly encourage you to grant the same amount of credit for the 4-unit CC class as for the 4-unit university classes.

I totally agree.

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6 hours ago, skimomma said:

 

Yes!  This is the issue!  What do others think here?  Contact someone now or wait it out a bit longer?  And who to contact first if there are no department chairs or and dd does not have an academic advisor?

Is there an academic dean? If not, I'd call the office of the president and ask the administrative assistant who you should call. Someone is in charge of hiring instructors and supervising them, you just have to find them.

ETA: I'd also check the websites of other local schools to see if you can track down a phone number for this instructor at another school. If they're an adjunct, they may be working for more than one place. But, I'd be on the phone to the CC president's office at start of business tomorrow.

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10 hours ago, skimomma said:

 

Ugh!  It is disheartening to know this is common.  While it is not what I would complain about, I am certainly flabbergasted at the lack of effort this "4 credit" college class is demanding.  The effort she has spent for this class so far for this entire semester is less that what is expected of her for a single DAY in her live university freshman-level classes.  The textbook is high school level, if not middle school, IMO.  

I have already decided that I cannot ethically record this as a full credit on dd's transcript as I would for any other 4 credit college class.  If the class continues this way, I even feel unethical giving her a half credit unless I supplement.  I paid for this course because I do not have the bandwidth to cover the content myself right now so I am mad mad MAD.  Lesson learned, dd will not be taking any more courses from this institution.  

As long as the class transfers into the state university system as a 4 credit World History course, I wouldn’t hesitate to award her full credit on her transcript. If she wants to study the topics more one her own, fine. But I wouldn’t waste your time figuring out how to supplement. If this course is any indication of the general level of rigor at the CC, there are likely people earning two full years of college credits by taking lots of classes like this.

The class doesn’t remotely sound college level, but unfortunately I don’t think that is rare anymore. I’ve known people in three different states who have done college speech online through a CC. In two cases they just had to video their speeches and submit them. In the third, they only had to submit written materials. In my experience, the most difficult thing about speech class for most people is getting up in front of others and speaking. So if you aren’t doing that, then I don’t think you are actually taking a college speech class and shouldn’t be earning college credit.

Edited to add I would have one of you contact someone tomorrow, I wouldn’t let this go on any longer. Is there an academic dean or at least a head of the humanities (or social sciences, depending on how they classify history) division?

Edited by Frances
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Thanks everyone.  I have left a message with the VP of Academic Services after the president's admin told me that would be the best place to start.  She also warned me that it may be a while before that person gets back to me as she is very over-extended.  This is a very very VERY small CC so there seems to be no clear hierarchy in departments....or evidence that there are departments, just an instructor or two listed in the directory for each teaching category, nor are there any deans.  Most of their class offerings are online since the population the CC serves is very large geographically making live classes impossible to attend for most of the population.  I have actually been approached by this CC to teach in the past.  They offered me a job, with no interview or resume, to teach a subject that I did take in college (25 years ago) but barely passed.  It was a week after the semester started.  They were extremely desperate.  I declined, obviously, but even if I had been qualified and interested, they offered me less than 1/4 what I was being paid at the university for the same number of credits.  So, I knew there was a good chance this would not be a good experience for dd.  Sigh.  Lesson very much learned.

I didn't think of trying to find this instructor at other schools.  I know he is not part of the faculty at my university as my current job involves working closely with our faculty, including adjuncts.  There is another very small university in our region that I can check out.  Most likely, if he is teaching anywhere, he is probably at a high school as many of the instructors at this CC are high school teachers as well.  If that's the case, there are probably 20+ tiny rural schools I'd have to search through to try to find him.

I will think on the credit issue.  It's not that I expect this class to match the rigor of her university classes.....I'd be happy if it matched the rigor of her middle school history expectations at this point!  Another option would be to just leave it off her HS transcript altogether.  She will have FAR more SS credits than needed without it.  She is only taking it because she (and I) wanted one more swipe through 1400+ world history, even if much abbreviated.  She will still get college transfer credit for it if she attends the school in which she is currently considering as her top choice.  They, frighteningly, have a transfer agreement for many classes, including this one.  We would for sure drop this class if it would not result in an F on her transcript.  This is a bit of a snowball of errors......not just biting the bullet and putting together a world history class on my own, me not understanding the DE vs guest student status, registering dd for a class at a school I knew to have a high probability of trouble, ignoring my instincts when I saw the textbook for the first time, etc....  

It is Thursday of week three.....1/5 of the way through the semester (including final exam week).  There are no assignments or reading listed for this week so far. In fact, no communications or activity on the teaching platform at all this week.  In three weeks, they have read one 12-page chapter (with pictures!) and discussed their opinions on why history is important on a discussion board.  I am appalled.

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You may still have refund/withdrawal options available via appeal.  If the course is clearly not a college-level course, the school could jeopardize their accreditation if they do not fix the problem.  Agreeing to withdraw/refund a student currently earning an A should be an easy sell. 

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14 minutes ago, jplain said:

You may still have refund/withdrawal options available via appeal.  If the course is clearly not a college-level course, the school could jeopardize their accreditation if they do not fix the problem.  Agreeing to withdraw/refund a student currently earning an A should be an easy sell. 

 

Good idea. I will discuss with the VP of Academic Services or whoever I end up talking to.  

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I hope OP gets it all worked out and all of that.  good thoughts and vibes, encouragement, etc on your behalf.   (and I'm another voice saying, it's one high school credit if you decide to put it on high school transcript.  consistency is a good thing with 3 or 4 university/college credit course generally is 1 credit. and I wouldn't bother to supplement.  If student is interested, she'll learn it again someday.  You did a good job, homeschool mama)

mostly wanted to chime in to say this thread is making me appreciate my middle daughter's online community college experience all the more. Her online speech class involved both written material for grades, and giving 2 speeches in front of approved audience even if it was recorded and uploaded for the instructor.  *had to show the audience in the video and meet certain requirements) Also, our statewide e-campus has local liaison with community college in case things go weird.  One course my dd's instructor "disappeared" after 4 weeks.  Turns out the instructor had to ask for medical leave to care for toddler son's return of cancer.  But instructor's department chair didn't follow through and get the students a sub.  Yikes! we had alternate contact info to try to find out what was going on. Instructor apologized to everyone and somehow finished the course and grading and told students to call and text on her personal cell phone and she'd help while sitting with chemo stuff.  She changed deadlines and thankfully it was a small course (20 students). Amazing dedication on her part.  But my point is that we had a good online community college experience with our "tn ecampus" option and it was well done with local contacts even when instructor was in another part of the state and students from all across. And I hope that OP gets positive resolution.

anyway, I'm sorry OP's child is going through this.  I wish others have a good experience like we are in a different state.

 

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2 hours ago, skimomma said:

Another option would be to just leave it off her HS transcript altogether.  

This isn't really an option - or at least, you'd still need to send the transcript from the college.  Colleges require transcripts from all colleges the student has attended.  If you did leave it off your transcript and didn't send the college transcript, but somehow they discovered she had attended, they could withdraw their acceptance or expel her at any point.  

Edited by klmama
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16 minutes ago, klmama said:

This isn't really an option - or at least, you'd still need to send the transcript from the college.  Colleges require transcripts from all colleges the student has attended.  If you did leave it off your transcript and didn't send the college transcript, but somehow they discovered she had attended, they could withdraw their acceptance or expel her at any point.  

 

Oh my word!  It certainly is hard to do the right thing here and NOT inflate her GPA and credits with a course that required practically no effort....in theory anyway, since we don't know yet what the rest of this course will end up entailing. I may be eating my words here if she gets slapped with some huge exam with zero direction on what material was to be covered.  In my digging for policy, I did find something in the student handbook that says all courses will have at least two exams unless stated otherwise in writing during the first week of class.  So theoretically, dd should be taking two exams in this course. 

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1 hour ago, klmama said:

This isn't really an option - or at least, you'd still need to send the transcript from the college.  Colleges require transcripts from all colleges the student has attended.  If you did leave it off your transcript and didn't send the college transcript, but somehow they discovered she had attended, they could withdraw their acceptance or expel her at any point.  

 

hmm.. I missed something or policies are very different here from other places. There's a big difference between "not using this college course as part of high school course listings" versus "don't send this CC transcript".  Where I live, you don't have to list a college course as part of your high school transcript.   Yes, if you attend a college, you have to send that college's transcript to other places you apply.  But that is nothing to do with it being on your high school courses. 

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7 minutes ago, cbollin said:

 

hmm.. I missed something or policies are very different here from other places. There's a big difference between "not using this college course as part of high school course listings" versus "don't send this CC transcript".  Where I live, you don't have to list a college course as part of your high school transcript.   Yes, if you attend a college, you have to send that college's transcript to other places you apply.  But that is nothing to do with it being on your high school courses. 

Right.  She doesn't necessarily have to list it on the high school transcript, but she does have to send the college one.  That's what I said in my first sentence, although perhaps I should have worded it differently.    

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1 hour ago, skimomma said:

 

Oh my word!  It certainly is hard to do the right thing here and NOT inflate her GPA and credits with a course that required practically no effort....

 

I do not agree that giving her an A in a course is the "wrong thing" or "grade inflation".  If she were at a brick and mortar high school and took PE and it didn't require much effort (show up, have good attitude), they'd give the A.    Even my middle daughter took a credit bearing PE course at community college and got an A with little effort (walked 2 miles every day, logged in, and took some quizzes that were straight from the text).  She needed one "free elective" in her associates degree plan.  

If you don't want to call it anything on your high school, that's up to you.  Yes, you'll still have to send the college transcript to another college.  But if it is "regular level high school history", it's going to be ok as is.

hang in there.  It's not a wrong thing.

 

 

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Agree that I would still give the full credit, and it isn't grade inflation.  I think WTM forum moms are usually more academic than local public schools.  I know my classes are more rigorous, it's why we homeschool!

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6 hours ago, skimomma said:

... I will think on the credit issue.  It's not that I expect this class to match the rigor of her university classes.....I'd be happy if it matched the rigor of her middle school history expectations at this point!  Another option would be to just leave it off her HS transcript altogether.  She will have FAR more SS credits than needed without it...


Again -- WHOOP WHOOP -- RED ALERT! I strongly urge you to not do this. Not showing one course on your homeschool transcript *can* appear as if you are trying to "hide" a grade, even though you will also be submitted all transcripts (this CC transcript as well as the university transcript with DE, AND your homeschool school transcript) when your student applies for college.

Really, this issue is not about you, your goals or your expectations of a class, or how many credits she'll have overall, or anything else related to you and DD 😉 . It is all about how will the DE courses look to college admission officers. So your transcript needs to be CONSISTENT in awarding credit, needs to SHOW ALL courses and grades from DE, and needs to use the names of the college courses as your course names (again, consistency, plus ease of understanding what your student has accomplished.)

ETA for clarity:
What is REQUIRED is sending transcripts from all DE providers (as klmama said above)... So yes, you *could* leave the DE off of your transcript -- but IMO, if you do that, it's important to maintain consistency by leaving ALL DE off of the homeschool transcript. To put all EXCEPT one DE course on the homeschool credit is what raises red flags, and looks like you're trying to "hide" that one grade/course. Again, JMO, but I for consistency, I see it as an all-or-nothing proposition about putting DE courses on the transcript.

Edited by Lori D.
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Chiming in to agree with those who say that if the course is completed you should not leave it off the transcript or change the number of credits offered. You will have to send the college transcript anyway.

I'm not surprised by your experience. The university here (it's our major state university but functions as a community college) seems to have very low expectations for those that it hires as instructors for online courses. I was shocked when a good friend was hired to teach an English course. She had a masters degree but not in a related field, and does not have the organization to teach such a course. It did not go terribly well.

All that said, personally, I would not stress one more minute about this course, especially if it's too late to withdraw. Not worth the emotional energy. I know you are disappointed about the content, but I'd think of it as a learning experience for your daughter about how college classes can go sometimes. I would be watching and documenting, just in case the grade goes unexpectedly south, because you don't want this negatively impacting her GPA. Sometimes courses don't turn out to be what we hoped.

She really does need to be handling her interactions with the school for the most part. You can advise her behind the scenes, but she should be the face of any communications. Dual enrollment is difficult because sometimes our high schoolers are not ready to take on that responsibility, but it's part of the package.

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53 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

... personally, I would not stress one more minute about this course, especially if it's too late to withdraw. Not worth the emotional energy. I know you are disappointed about the content, but I'd think of it as a learning experience for your daughter about how college classes can go sometimes. I would be watching and documenting, just in case the grade goes unexpectedly south, because you don't want this negatively impacting her GPA....

...She really does need to be handling her interactions with the school for the most part. You can advise her behind the scenes, but she should be the face of any communications. Dual enrollment is difficult because sometimes our high schoolers are not ready to take on that responsibility, but it's part of the package.


Exactly.

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Thanks all.  Being our first DE experience, I really haven't thought much of this through.  Lots of lessons learned.  We know of no other homeschooled high school students in our area.  The few we did know all enrolled in school by 9th grade if not sooner.  All of dd's friends are in public school and most have STEMmy university-related parents so the bar is pretty high.  Homeschooling is not looked upon favorably by the faculty at my university so I feel the need to overcompensate in many ways.  I am probably overly-cautious about accountability and fairness in grading. I knew we would have to send all transcripts but did not know that meant all classes would have to be accounted for on her homeschool transcript.

There is an update.  While scouring the teaching platform AGAIN this morning as we wanted to be SURE nothing was assigned for this entire week, we found there was quite a bit of activity in one of the discussion board threads that had already been due and "graded."  Another student asked if anyone else knew why almost nothing had been assigned and where the heck (different word used here) to find the syllabus.  There have been several replies with everyone as perplexed as we are.  Others have emailed the instructor with no response.  We have taken screen shots of all of this just in case we need "evidence."  So, at least we know that if we have missed something, we are not the only ones.  VP of Student Services has not returned my call yet.

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thanks for update.  I sure hope you get in touch with someone today and get those screen shots.  Something is not right.  I truly hope it gets resolved soon and that it is not "just you."

not to confuse you more on the transcript thing , but this article on the Common App blog seems to give option that not all college courses have to be given high school credit.  so maybe ? 

https://appsupport.commonapp.org/applicantsupport/s/article/How-do-I-report-a-college-course-I-took-during-high-school-in-Courses-Grades

quoted from that link "When high school students simultaneously take college courses through a college or university, this is known as dual enrollment. For Courses & Grades, only courses receiving high school credit (i.e. appearing on your high school transcript) should be reported in this section. If you are not receiving high school credit for the course, you do not need to report this course in Courses & Grades." 

disclaimer: neither my oldest nor middle had to use Common application for their college/ universities.  Each of those had option to use the university's application.  So I'm not speaking from experience of using the Common App. I'm just sharing the information showing that there are allowances for variation in this.

 

edit for clarity: * (also on that link is a point we all agree on ) quote: "You must still send official transcripts from your high school(s) AND any college(s) you attended. " (emphasis mine)

Edited by cbollin
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Another update!

Dd's emails have still gone unanswered and I still have not had my call (now calls and email) returned.  But, the instructor posted an announcement late Friday night stating that he forgot to flip some sort of toggle in the teaching platform which is why weeks worth of assignments never showed up.  He did not explain any further but now there are readings and assignments posted for weeks 2 and 3.  They are all past due and will no longer allow students to submit.  There is nothing in the announcement about if or how the students are to make these up.  Dd scrambled all weekend to make up the work but cannot submit any of it.  

In a separate announcement posted on Saturday, the instructor said it had come to his attention that he forgot to post the syllabus.  He said a syllabus will be posted by the end of this week.  Seems to me that if he just "forgot" to post it, it should not take a full week to get it posted.

Lastly, one assignment that she can still turn in (due tomorrow by noon) is a "Semester Research Paper Topic."  That is the whole assignment.  No information of length, depth, scope, due date of actual paper, what it will be worth, or even what is expected to be turned in for the topic.  

I feel so bad for dd.  This has been a terrible first-DE experience.  Luckily her other classes are going well.

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On 1/29/2020 at 8:38 AM, skimomma said:

DD is 16 and is taking her first DE classes this semester.  She has three, two live at our local university and one online at our regional CC.  The live classes are going great and she has handled everything about them by herself.  The online class, not so much.  

It is a World History class which I was already disappointed about her taking.  After 10 years, we had the step off the third 4-year TWTM cycle for history this year for reasons I won't bother to go into.  The result was that I still wanted her to take the third and final swipe through 1400+ World History, even if it was reduced to a single semester and not done the way we do have done it at home.  This was the best solution we could come up with.

It is halfway through week 3.  So far, the only assigned work for the class has been to read one chapter of the textbook, post four original discussion board posts, and eight responses to others.  The prompt for the discussion posts have been nebulous things like, "why do you think history is important?" or "How does studying history help you make decisions in your current life?"  Nothing that has anything to do with the scant content they were to read.  Her entries have been graded and she got 100% on all of them with no feedback other than score.  This is a 4 credit course.  There is no syllabus and no indication on the learning platform of what the expectations are for the semester, if there will be exams/projects, no rubrics.  Nothing.  The only contact for the teacher is an email address.

DD sent an email during the first week inquiring about a syllabus.  This went unanswered.  She sent another one this past Monday again asking where to find the syllabus and asking more detailed questions about if there will be exams or projects.  Again, no answer.  There is no general posting space on the discussion board, only the four prompts, so no good way to query other students to see if they know something she doesn't.  The region this CC covers is very rural and large, covering an area that is roughly the size of Vermont.  Dd does not know any of the other students personally.  I have scoured the site and teaching platform to see if she is missing anything.  I taught university classes for 13 years and we have dealt with countless different platforms between that and all the online classes dd has taken.  While this one is admittedly the clunkiest we have ever encountered (which is saying A LOT), I am confident we have not left any stone unturned.

I am generally of the opinion that dd should handle her own classes as though she were a regular college student.  However, she is reluctant to go to someone at the college to complain.  She is afraid the teacher will retaliate.  Even if her name is left off a complaint, her emails asking about the same information is sure to identify her as the complainant.  She also does not really have the words to explain the issue.  Words like, "do you have an institution-wide policy for providing a syllabus for each class?"  While dd is happy this class is taking up almost none of her time, she and I are both distressed that she is not getting a single thing out of a class that was not cheap.  And, she still wants to take another walk through this period of history.

Do I, as a parent, go up the chain of command at the CC against dd's wishes?  And if so, what is the first stop?  This is a very small CC so there are no department chairs.  My options are VP of Academic Services or VP of Student Services.  Or is it too early?  Do I wait a bit?  

 

I agree that the dean needs to be contacted about the lack of instructor engagement, but your DD should be the one to do it (with your guidance behind the scenes).  If the class is really unsatisfactory to you, withdraw from the class and have DD send a note to the dean explaining why.  An alternative option would be for your DD to contact the dean asking for an alternate contact method for the instructor because you are unable to get in touch with her through the channels she provided.

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I'd make a copy of all the emails and screen shots of all the past due assignments that weren't posted on time. I think it's time to demand a refund no matter what their DE policy is. It's not your fault their professor is inept and inaccessible. They're not fulfilling their contract with you.

Skimomma, when you signed up your dd for this class, what kind of form did you need to sign? At our CC I have to sign both as parent and as the responsible school representative that will award dual credit for the course. So I'm the "early college high school" in addition to being dd's parent. If something like this happened to the students enrolled the three public early college high schools that feed our CC, their students would contact their high school DE rep who would then contact the appropriate dean (who would return phone calls and messages because our CC is well run). Here, students are the responsibility of their early college high schools, not direct students of the CC who are personally financially responsible to the college. A student can certainly handle all interactions with their professors, they might make academic complaints to the dean, but when the issue becomes money, it's the responsibility of the early college high school. Since I think you should demand a refund at this point, I think you might have to be the one who deals with the college administration. Did you put this on a credit card? I think you should mention that they are not providing the service they contracted for and you will contest the payment with your CC company's customer assurance policy (if you have one). 

I'm sorry, this is a total pain in the butt for you and your dd.

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3 hours ago, skimomma said:

Another update!

Dd's emails have still gone unanswered and I still have not had my call (now calls and email) returned.  But, the instructor posted an announcement late Friday night stating that he forgot to flip some sort of toggle in the teaching platform which is why weeks worth of assignments never showed up.  He did not explain any further but now there are readings and assignments posted for weeks 2 and 3.  They are all past due and will no longer allow students to submit.  There is nothing in the announcement about if or how the students are to make these up.  Dd scrambled all weekend to make up the work but cannot submit any of it.  

In a separate announcement posted on Saturday, the instructor said it had come to his attention that he forgot to post the syllabus.  He said a syllabus will be posted by the end of this week.  Seems to me that if he just "forgot" to post it, it should not take a full week to get it posted.

Lastly, one assignment that she can still turn in (due tomorrow by noon) is a "Semester Research Paper Topic."  That is the whole assignment.  No information of length, depth, scope, due date of actual paper, what it will be worth, or even what is expected to be turned in for the topic.  

I feel so bad for dd.  This has been a terrible first-DE experience.  Luckily her other classes are going well.

Oh my. I can see how an instructor might inadvertently overlook  to get content actually published on the platform (happens often; these LMS are a big PITA and not at all intuitive to use). But if you "forgot" to post the syllabus, it takes 30 seconds to actually do so once you realize- provided you actually MADE a syllabus in the first place.

This is a situation where I as a parent would feel comfortable escalating to the department chair level, and, if not satisfactory resolution comes of that, to the dean. Yes, generally the student should be doing this, but she has been emailing without response - this level of unprofessionality would have me pissed enough to step in. FWIW, I am a college instructor myself..

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, chiguirre said:

I'd make a copy of all the emails and screen shots of all the past due assignments that weren't posted on time. I think it's time to demand a refund no matter what their DE policy is. It's not your fault their professor is inept and inaccessible. They're not fulfilling their contract with you.

Skimomma, when you signed up your dd for this class, what kind of form did you need to sign? At our CC I have to sign both as parent and as the responsible school representative that will award dual credit for the course. So I'm the "early college high school" in addition to being dd's parent. If something like this happened to the students enrolled the three public early college high schools that feed our CC, their students would contact their high school DE rep who would then contact the appropriate dean (who would return phone calls and messages because our CC is well run). Here, students are the responsibility of their early college high schools, not direct students of the CC who are personally financially responsible to the college. A student can certainly handle all interactions with their professors, they might make academic complaints to the dean, but when the issue becomes money, it's the responsibility of the early college high school. Since I think you should demand a refund at this point, I think you might have to be the one who deals with the college administration. Did you put this on a credit card? I think you should mention that they are not providing the service they contracted for and you will contest the payment with your CC company's customer assurance policy (if you have one). 

This in bold.  Here, the CC will not even talk to DE parents.  Nope, parents butt out.  BUT for DE homeschoolers, I am also the "high school guidance counselor", and as soon as I mention that, magic!  It is now totally appropriate and correct for me to talk to their advisor!  Suddenly, I am welcomed with open arms!

BTW, this also works when talking to admissions at 4-years.  As soon as I said I was the guidance counselor, not just a parent, they would talk to me.

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