No, Blackboard will not substitute for your lack of friends

Not three hours after reading this article in the Daily Universe–condemning the practice of using Blackboard to spam your classmates in hopes of prevailing upon them to email you the notes you didn’t take three days ago because you decided to sleep in instead of go to class–(deep breath)–I received the following email from a classmate in a large general education class:

Hey everyone, I was absent from Music class on Friday January 22. If someone could send me their notes from that day, that would be awesome!

And so on and so forth.

Whoops! Looks like someone didn’t read the paper this morning. The article was on the front page, for crying out loud! Above the fold!

Or maybe he or she just never learned plain old internet etiquette from his or her mother. (Speaking of etiquette, these “politically correct” constructions are, shall I say, quite cumbersome. I digress…)

(I might add that normally I would attribute the above quote to its proud, rightful author. But in favor of preserving his or her anonymity, I forgo that practice here.)

But wait! It gets better. An hour after catching wind of said taboo email, the astute professor of said music class sends the following stern rebuke to the class:

I always assume this is a no-brainer, but I guess I’ll have to spell it out for those of you who are guilty of this behavior.

It is not appropriate use of Blackboard to e-mail the entire class asking for notes because you missed class.

If you miss class, you are more than welcome to ask your friends who are in the class for some help. If you have no friends in the class, please make some. But do not e-mail the entire class asking for notes. It is inconsiderate and annoying to those who attend each day and are actually doing the work.

No, Blackboard will not substitute for your lack of friends.

And no, you may not use it to mooch notes off strangers because you chose not to come to class.

That’s my favorite thing favorite pet peeve about these freshman classes. They’re huge. And everybody and their dog emails everybody else (and their dogs) for notes. And frankly, hardly anyone ever responds to them.

Cuz it’s just that annoying.

8 Responses to No, Blackboard will not substitute for your lack of friends

  1. Jon says:

    Amen… Down with spam!

  2. Shaun says:

    Oh good human being, You will feel this way until you unavoidably miss a class in which you haven’t had the chance to get properly acquainted with anyone. That same article greatly stressed this fact: we all feel horribly annoyed until we are in this situation, upon which we either take the lack of notes in stride and the lesser grade, ask later in class, or sheepishly swallow our foolish pride and send the email to at least a few unknown strangers.

    I find myself always in the first category, but that’s because I am a milquetoast sort of fellow about spam. I beg that you endure an extra couple pieces of daily spam from your fellow classmates begging for someone to be a good Samaritan. Its horrible, after all, isn’t it, the extra email?

    • Steven says:

      I can bear with the extra emails, although I rarely answer them myself. In that same music class, I was approached (in person) by a girl I didn’t know who asked me if she could have a copy of the notes from the last two days because she hadn’t been there. She didn’t explain why (perhaps she had just added the class or had been deathly ill). At first I was hesitant, but seeing no real way (nor reason) to back out of it, I consented and emailed them to her later in the day.

      I didn’t know her; she didn’t know me. But she had the guts to ask me in person if I could be prevailed upon to share my notes with her. I have much more respect for her because she did that than I would have had if she had chosen to remain a faceless name on a mass email.

      Again, this returns to my original thesis. Blackboard (or any other technological tool, for that matter) simply cannot serve as a substitute for personal interactions with other human beings, be they strangers or friends.

    • Shaun says:

      That’s a very decent gesture! Yet I hypothesize from my own interactions with with others that as annoying as emails are, such an interaction as yours is looked upon with more disdain than a mass email.

      One must ask, why did your respect for her go up so much more? Did she ask you specifically because she thought you took good notes? If you hadn’t taken notes, or if she proceeded to ask each person behind you if he/she had notes from the missed class, would that have increased your respect even more? Why? People hate to be accosted by strangers, in person, online, or otherwise, and while that’s a sad state of affairs, it is still the present reality.

      I’m afraid that I view this very much as a situation where the friendless person asking for notes is going to be lambasted from some quarter, whether it’s online and in the paper about how rude the mass emails are, or in more private circles, (my time in the Cougareat sometimes yields an unintentional eavesdropping session- some things I’ve heard: “And then he just walked up to me and, well, like, asked if he could have my notes! I was just like, well, yeah, but, uh, they’re not very good- maybe you’d be better to send an email to the class to find someone with some good ones you can read or something”).

      I’ve actually been in a similar situation myself, and the awkwardness of asking a stranger for notes multiplies as you run through several strangers who are unwilling or unable to offer you notes, or simply have completely illegible notes to anyone but him/herself. That last one is especially embarrassing if he/she is willing to share.

      In my experience, I’m cursed if I email, cursed if I ask in person, and cursed if I just go without the notes.

      Mostly, I go without the notes. I’m occasionally very outgoing, but interactions like that often end up being unpleasant and annoying for the person I ask, and embarrassing for me. All I can do afterward is apologize, put my head down, and walk away with my cheeks burning like mad.

      I guess, in short, while I’m very supportive of actual human interaction, I think this particular interaction is one that is, in fact, best handled through technology using Blackboard.

    • Steven says:

      You bring up a good point. I had been typing notes on my laptop during that class period, so it seemed rather obvious to her that I had been taking notes (whether they were good is debatable). So in that sense, it was a fairly safe bet for her to ask me rather than someone else.

  3. Shaun says:

    Steve, you know they were good.

    I would gladly master the art as you have! As it is, it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. I seem to be able to listen well and learn deeply, or take good notes. I’ve gotten so tired of it I’m taking a class about it.🙂

  4. Richelle says:

    I know this is sooo “January 27th,” but I just stumbled across it and I have to give you kudos for being bold enough to say this out loud. Everyone thinks it (“grumble grumble, another loser wanting my notes, grumble grumble…”), but few are willing to publicly share their annoyance in regard to this subject.

    Also, props to your professor for sending out that e-mail. I wish someone had intervened and taken a similar measure for my Greek and Roman Mythology class this semester, which wins the prize for Most Spam from Annoying Freshmen hands-down.

    Also, do you know that those tadpoles are getting shiny new housing on the old DT site? (RIP.) Look on the back of the most recent BYU magazine. Pretty sure there won’t be any asbestos lurking in the new buildings, which kind of defeats the purpose of being a freshman, wouldn’t you say?

    • Steven says:

      Richelle,

      Thanks for your comment. Freshmen are an interesting phenomenon indeed. I would be hard-pressed to tell you a class full of freshmen that I did thoroughly enjoy that wasn’t an Honors class. (And Br. Wilson’s Book of Mormon class falls into the latter category🙂.)

      And somehow (I don’t know how), I think the freshmen will survive without asbestos, sterile though that life will be…

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