Editorial: Help me to help you

BlackboardComicStudents are expected to do their homework, attend class according to the attendance policy and keep ahead of their assignments and grades.

To do so and keep track of our progress, we’ve been given Blackboard, our one-stop answers website. Professors can post syllabi and document students’ attendance and grades. This wonderful tool can help keep both students and teachers organized — so why doesn’t everyone use it?

Both groups can benefit from this tool, but there are some members of both groups who fail to do so. Those who drop the ball in either group deserve blame.

Professors, students need to monitor their progress. To this end, we need you to regularly post grades, attendance and other announcements on the website for us to see. It will also ensure that these things are being accurately recorded.

For example, if you use a sign-in sheet to take attendance, it is possible that a student could attend class but forget to sign the sheet, or arrive late and miss it. Your records would not reflect the reality of your students’ attendance. What, then, is the recourse for that student? Due to Baylor’s attendance policy, missing class is not something to be taken lightly.

Or assignments — many professors use a “you missed class, ask a friend for your assignments” philosophy. This is all very well and good — students should indeed stay on top of their assignments — but it begs the assumption that a student’s friends in class will be organized enough to know and understand the assignment’s parameters, which may not be the case. It also may be that a student has no friends in the class in the first place. This philosophy takes accountability out of the hands of the student and places it in a third party. This is bad for both students and professors. Instead, it is better to post to Blackboard.

Students, being accountable for your grades, assignments and absences is your responsibility. Using this tool can help you keep track of all of those facets of your academic career.

If you are a student and don’t keep track of your academic life, shame on you. You could contribute to the unwillingness of professors to post. It’s disheartening for anyone to see their hard work go to waste, and perhaps those who don’t have had a bumper crop of non-checker students. The person you’re hurting the most is yourself, however.

There will come a time when we don’t have the convenience of Blackboard, when our bosses are disorganized and we reap the disadvantages of their messy desks and forgotten reminder memos. We will eventually have to learn to organize and orient ourselves to a work environment in which our tasks aren’t laid out for us.

Take advantage of Blackboard while you can, and use the knowledge you gain in accepting accountability to deal with those challenges. When that day comes, you’ll wish you had a Blackboard. Why not make the best of it now?

To those in either group who avoid Blackboard due to a distaste for technology, it’s time to face the 21 century. There is no excuse for you. If you don’t know how to use it, learn. It will make your life easier and not harder in the long run. You can’t escape technology forever.

Professors expect students to be organized and aware — as they well should be. But advance preparation and organization is a two-way street. Professors must give students the tools they need to do so themselves by using Blackboard. Students must in turn use this tool to its fullest potential.