130 votes

How do I email other students in my online classes, to make friends, without appearing creepy?

Why not email all of them together in one email? Considering that they are taking the same (remote) course as you, they might be sitting in the same boat (not having any contact with the other ...
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72 votes

My professor is not teaching his online course himself, but uses publicly available videos instead. Is this appropriate?

If your instructor is available for questions, comments and discussions, then you can learn a great deal this way, potentially. I recommend that you try to do just that. If, after at least ten days ...
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  • 38.5k
71 votes
Accepted

How can I deal with claims of technical difficulties for an online exam?

Unless we somehow want students' grades to reflect the quality of their home Internet connection, the quality of their hardware, and their tech savvy (or their families'), there is not a sane ...
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  • 80.2k
67 votes

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

First of all, I think the distribution that you're seeing is not very unusual, and indeed looks very similar to the distribution of times that I see coming from mature scientists submitting conference ...
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  • 180k
64 votes

Is it possible to do a cheap or free online or distance Ph.D. program?

To a first approximation, it's not possible. There are few online or distance Ph.D. programs, and they usually have bad reputations. A Ph.D. from a university with a bad reputation will actually be ...
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57 votes
Accepted

How can I deal with students who try to steer a course (in the online setting)?

The game is: you listen, but then, you decide. Just because students don't like something, you do not have to do what they ask. Check whether what they say has merit, if so, you can promise to change ...
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49 votes
Accepted

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

While I admire your concern for the students, I feel that ultimately your endeavor is quixotic. To be sure, I see nothing wrong with making your deadline be at 10 pm. It won't change anything, so you ...
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  • 8,061
49 votes
Accepted

Is it a bad idea to use other professors' Youtube videos as lectures?

The answer depends on your goals. If you have plans to work in academia, eventually you might find yourself on a track to becoming a professor yourself. In this role, you are expected to teach. Hence, ...
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43 votes

My professor is not teaching his online course himself, but uses publicly available videos instead. Is this appropriate?

Your question is stated as "is it an issue". In this form I believe the right answer is "no, there are no issues". In some fundamental subjects like calculus or linear algebra I don't even expect for ...
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  • 2,866
41 votes
Accepted

What is the value of a Coursera certificate?

Value in an academic environment: zero. Everything you learn at Coursera you'd simply learn from a textbook in a few days if you needed it for your academic research or teaching. Value to a non-...
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40 votes
Accepted

Why are online lecture notes usually not accessible to non-students?

Surely 'cuz you're not paying the tuition for the class... To put it bluntly, that's what tuition is for: to give you access to class material and instructor time. I doubt having coursework material ...
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  • 19.2k
38 votes
Accepted

What methods can be used in online exams to genuinely test the students' knowledge and capabilities?

First, a two hour time limit might be difficult to enforce or to guarantee, especially if it uses a real-time clock. At some level of scale you may start to find that some students didn't get the exam ...
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  • 258k
36 votes
Accepted

Moderating online education forums: delete, snip or leave rudeness?

Snip the last part out, send a private message to the poster reminding them of the behavioral standards expected in the course forum. I don't see any reason to remove the whole post, if there are ...
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  • 107k
36 votes

Should live sessions be recorded for students when teaching a math course online?

I do provide recordings. At my former university it was a policy to do that, but I had started it already before when I didn't have to. Where I am now I can decide whether I want to do it, and I do. A ...
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34 votes

Are there any aspects of PhD work that do not translate well to distance learning?

A general answer is that a lot of PhD training is informal: it involves things that are taught by example, by osmosis, by noticing someone doing something wrong and correcting them (or right, and ...
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  • 107k
33 votes

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

I would consider a deadline at around 10p.m. very wise and student-friendly. I remember staying up late night as long as the submission system allows to post a new version and polishing the hell out ...
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31 votes
Accepted

Why would a grad school not want me to defer admission?

The MIDS program at Berkeley is an unusual special case among graduate programs. One clue is the use of admissions counselors, which are almost unheard of in typical graduate programs but are widely ...
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31 votes

Should live sessions be recorded for students when teaching a math course online?

I'm going to address this from a student's point of view. I was recently a mathematics student and I was involved in department meetings on this exact subject. I have little in the way of a direct ...
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  • 413
30 votes
Accepted

How can I prove that I didn't plagiarize?

There are a few steps you can take, but the specifics depend on the individual institution and its procedures: Find out what evidence is behind this accusation. Presumably when you talk to this "...
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  • 107k
30 votes

Is it acceptable for paid online course to use quizzes and materials from elsewhere on the internet?

Is it ok for a course to do this? It is common for instructors to use teaching materials from outside sources. There is generally no expectation of originality when it comes to teaching materials, ...
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  • 107k
29 votes

Using Discord to support online teaching

Answer to "How do I log onto discord? How do I invite my students?" Head to https://discordapp.com/ and follow the quick directions to make an account. You should then see a screen that looks like ...
29 votes
Accepted

Can the university force me to share my courses publicly online? I want to use my course material to write a book in the future

Can I rightfully refuse to use the school's platform? TL;DR: legally, probably not, but you are still more or less in the right according to the norms of academia. Longer answer: This isn’t so much ...
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  • 167k
28 votes

Is it a bad idea to use other professors' Youtube videos as lectures?

I am wondering if it would be appropriate for me to assign Youtube videos as lectures? Or would this be considered unprofessional/frowned upon/likely not allowed? My short answer: No, this is not ...
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  • 1,038
27 votes

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

I'd like to add my two cents as a current student with three years of college behind me. In my experience, I've always preferred having a deadline of midnight to a deadline of 10pm because during the ...
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27 votes

What methods can be used in online exams to genuinely test the students' knowledge and capabilities?

I think a lot of us are dealing with this right now. Here's what I and some of my colleagues are doing. Open book exams: As a lot of people are saying, there's no practical way to police students' ...
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27 votes

Should live sessions be recorded for students when teaching a math course online?

It may well be that some students cannot attend the “live” lectures. International students who could not travel on-site may face a significant time-zone difference. There might be bandwidth issues: ...
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  • 19.2k
27 votes

Should I not ask my students about their hometown?

I thought it would be good to edit my answer to start with a link to an article written from the perspectives of people who have had the question "where are you from?" asked repeatedly and ...
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  • 63.8k
27 votes

How do I email other students in my online classes, to make friends, without appearing creepy?

Your classmates who don't turn on their cameras may still be interested in making friends and discussing the course material. But perhaps they would be more comfortable doing this in a way which doesn'...
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  • 1,417
25 votes

Does dropping a Coursera course look bad in a PhD application to the university offering the course?

AFAIK Coursera is not for credit, thus should not impact your phd record in any way.
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  • 1,495
24 votes

Does dropping a Coursera course look bad in a PhD application to the university offering the course?

Certainly not. I highly doubt any university even has a mechanism for looking this up easily (since it isn't public info), or if they are even allowed to do so (might be against their privacy policy)....
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