This is a follow up to my previous question. Some context:
- I teach at a new Fachhochschule-type institute, where my course is 5-day, 1 hour/day course to 20+ students.
- I am actively teaching, providing the material, and encouraging the students to always ask questions.
- My course is structured to have 4 days of lecture and 1 day of practical. In the practical, I explain a real-world problem and give the students graded exercises.
In week 1, the exercise in the practical was to prepare a half-page report on a short consultancy problem. I gave them 7 full days to write the report. No one asked questions or stated any concerns before the deadline.
The day after the deadline, only half the class had submitted on time, half of which only at minutes before said deadline. I was gobsmacked, since even half of the submitted results were very poorly made (one even stated, in the report, "excuse me, but I didn't understand anything"), by totally missing the point or even copy/pasting definitions without context from the lecture notes. In total 1/4 of the class actually proved that had sit down and worked actively on the practical.
The next day I explained that their actions were completely out of line, since in 6 months they are supposed to go in the workforce, and this behavior of completely ignoring and not giving notice to the professor would be very detrimental to their careers. I refused to evaluate any latecomer who did not advise me on time. My stern reaction did upset the students who didn't submit. I even received an 1-page email (double the size of the report) from one of the students claiming that my job is only to teach and their is only to take exams, and they are not obligated to do any extra work I give them.
Is there anything that I can do to improve the cooperativity of said students? Should I modify the final exam mark structure or organize the lectures differently? Since this is my first shot, I don't really know how to proceed.
Clarifications and Update:
- It is technically true that the student's grades (according to university policy) are determined by exams only.
- But, I am allowed to have practicals and other assignments count as part of the exam score. My mentor confirmed this.
- I think these students are bad apples because they are clinging to this technicality rather than doing the useful assignments (or at least respectfully letting me know of their concerns in advance).
- Based on the discussion here and with my mentor, I have decided to count the practical for extra credit only.