So here's the story: In my lower-division ethics courses, there's a weekly quiz administered through Blackboard. The quizzes go up each Friday around noon and come down each Monday at 9 p.m. So the students have about 80 hours to complete a short, six-question reading-based quiz that (based on the statistics from Blackboard) students take an average of 14 minutes to complete.
This morning, I have two e-mails from a student in this course. The first came at 8:41 Monday night. The student wrote to explain that he had closed the browser window with his quiz in it, and Blackboard was not letting him back into the quiz. (That's how I've set it up: Students have one opportunity to complete a quiz, and they can't just open up the quiz to peek at its content and return to take it later.) He wanted my help resetting the quiz so that he could do it again.
The next e-mail arrived at 7:22 this morning. The student (in that characteristically text message-y style) berated me for not helping him: '"didnt you get my email last nite? I was needing help w/the qiuz." The tone degenerates from there.
I'm carefully weighing how to respond to this student. Here's what I'd like to say:
I am not a customer service line. Yes, I'm willing to respond when students have problems like yours. In fact, when a student e-mailed me two days ago with a similar problem, I reset the quiz and the student completed it. But you don't have a right to 24/7/365 assistance. I give you more than ample time to complete this quiz — about 3 1/2 days in fact. You waited until the last minute to complete it. When you do that, you take on the risk that you will confront an unexpected problem of the sort you confronted. But that's why you should build in time for such contingencies. My responsibility is to be available, under reasonable terms, to help you. But I have the right to set some of these terms. And among the terms I set is that I'm not necessarily going to be available to help you 19 minutes before a quiz deadline. It's not my job to save you from the consequences of your procrastination, poor time management, or lack of seriousness about your studies.
Too harsh? Anyone else confront this sort of mentality among students?