I'm a student in an online class at university, and we're now a few weeks into the course. So far, only two lectures have been uploaded—there should be six or seven. On the course discussion board, many students have expressed concern that we're behind and have asked when we can expect course content to be published. The professor has indicated multiple times (the first time was two weeks ago) that he's working on getting caught up and will post lectures soon. If I heard that once and things changed, I might believe it, but the professor still hasn't posted anything beyond those two previously mentioned lectures.

What's the appropriate way to handle this situation, and how can I ensure my success in this class?

2 Answers 2


What does the syllabus say about when the lecture will be posted? It should say something like "Lectures posted every Sunday", etc. What you should do is copy and paste the discussion board items where students complained, and his response that he acknowledges that he missed his own deadlines, and email it to the Associate Dean (or Dean if there is no Associate Dean). One of the duties of the Associate Dean is to help students with these type of problems. In your email to his "boss", be professional and fact-based. Merely state that the professors has not posted the lectures (fact), and you wish to have them so you can keep up (the impact to you). Don't say it so negatively that the Dean feels he has to stick up for the Prof (i.e defend the university). Remember the goal is that you want the lectures posted. No matter how pissed you're at the Prof, don't try to "take him down". You just want the lectures, but at the same time you don't want a angry prof who'll nitpick your Final Exam answers? You can achieve your results with politeness and tact.


Your question lacks several important pieces of information: is there a teaching assistant for the course? A course book? Can the students give reviews for the quality of the course after taking the course?

If there's a course book, your best option is to read the relevant chapters from the course book. They may not correspond 1:1 to the lectures of the course, but often books are better than the online course material. However, since this is an online course, you can't attend the lectures, and thus the only way to know the material of the lectures is if you have some kind of summary containing the titles of the lectures.

If there's a teaching assistant for the course in addition to the professor, you could obviously contact the TA instead of contacting the professor.

If there's a review system in place, when contacting the TA and/or the professor, do remind in your e-mail that you are going to take into account late posting of the material when giving reviews of the course.

You should consider also possible reasons for why the material hasn't been posted. One reason is that the professor has the material but for some reason doesn't post it. The second possible reason is very worrying: the professor doesn't have the material yet.

Are there any alternative courses you can take instead of this course, or is the course mandatory? I would also prepare for the worst and consider other possible courses.

  • 2
    Thanks. There's no TA, but we do have course evaluations at the end of the semester. However, your point about reminding the professor of these evaluations sounds a whole lot like threatening, and that's not something I want to do, nor is it something I'd be comfortable doing. Also, the course is required. More importantly, the add/drop period has passed, so I can't drop the course without it negatively affecting my transcript.
    – Eponym
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:49
  • There is a course textbook, and luckily the syllabus does outline the course content pretty well, so I think I can determine which chapters to focus on pretty easily. That's a little reassuring; however, I'm still worried about not having course lectures.
    – Eponym
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:51
  • @Eponym Your remark about threatening is bang-on. It shows you're approaching this problem like an adult. The professor knows there will be a review and knows most of you will give negative comments unless things change very quickly. No reminder is necessary. I hope, for the sake of the students, that the professor gets his act in gear!
    – Bob Brown
    Jan 29, 2017 at 20:11
  • @BobBrown - Funny, you liked the suggestion of making a threat, but I was bothered by that. Jan 30, 2017 at 5:23
  • 1
    @aparente001 Reread Bob's comment—he's saying the exact opposite of what you think he's saying. He does agree with you. He's referring to the first comment I made, not the answer.
    – Eponym
    Jan 30, 2017 at 12:17

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