Rethinking Education with SOS flares and Juggling Acts is Essential

The whole “take my class for you” thing is hotter that a Carolina Reaper. Hear me out before you assume this is some sort of shady scheme to get a professor off the hook. No, we don’t mean to abandon integrity. We want to explore why the plea is heard throughout college campuses and how it reflects on our educational circus. Visit us!

Imagine this first: you’re trying to juggle more balls that a circus performer. It’s hard to balance a full-time job, a family that needs your attention and a social schedule. It sounds good to think that someone could step in and take one of your spinning plates.

It’s not that I think everyone should start casting stand-ins like they would for movie scenes. This request is not as simple as it seems.

We thought that online classes would provide us with the best of both worlds. The idea of flexible scheduling and the ability to learn at one’s own pace sounds wonderful on paper. Some days it can feel like you are riding on an unicycle, not a noble steed. Without someone to lead you in the tangle of cyberspace information, it can become lonely.

Etiquette is the last thing you should do. Cheating? Big no-no. That’s something we all learned in kindergarten. We were told not to peer at another person’s coloring book. If students are overwhelmed by the amount of deadlines they have and can’t find any balance at all, then you must wonder whether the system might be a part of their problem.

Instead of claiming to have discovered the holy grail, let’s discuss solutions. The technology could help us here. Try to think of Wall-E and less Terminator. Imagine learning platforms which deliver information in easily digestible pieces instead of bombarding the user with information.

Change the way you test your students’ knowledge? Replace those snoozers of multiple choice exams with real-world portfolios or projects to show your true abilities.

What it means is that “take my classes for me” doesn’t mean just being lazy. Instead, this is an expression of frustration by students overwhelmed by an educational system which can seem like quicksand.

While we’re looking ahead, let’s discuss how to design learning experiences for students that are engaging, supportive, and, maybe, even a little bit fun.

We won’t be so quick to judge the next person who whispers, “Take my course for me.” In these crazy times, we should take this opportunity to think about how education is done. Why should learning be about burning us out, rather than igniting us?

Conclusion (yeah i know i said no fluff – but please stay with me): navigating this choppy water requires more than pointing finger or sticking your head in the sand. It calls for creative solutions, open dialogs and maybe a bit of humor.

When someone says “Can you pay someone else to complete my online classes?”, ask them why. Asking why people feel the way they do is a better approach than assuming that we are right. It is important to listen, and not just because we are uncomfortable.

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