Thursday, November 25, 2010

Not too sick to blog

Is there such a thing as being too sick for social media?

Apparently not.

A couple of weeks ago a student emailed me saying he was sick and would miss my class. Nothing wrong with that; we want sick students to get well as quickly as possible, and we don’t want them to make their classmates sick.

But within a couple of hours this student posted a new blog entry. Several tweets followed in short order.

When I inquired about his health, he said he had decided to blog from home to be productive.

Now, we don’t expect sick people to be productive. We expect them to work on getting better.

That usually means resting, perhaps seeing a doctor and taking medication.

It means refraining from daily activities even if they can be done sitting or lying down, such as blogging and tweeting.

I can only conclude that this student was not sick of anything other than my class.


  1. I completely disagree.

    I happen to be a student... one of yours in fact.

    Being sick sucks. You know that you can't go to school, you don't want to get anyone else sick. So you do everything you can to be as productive as possible while resting. This generally includes catching up on missed readings, writing papers,and BLOGGING. Doing everything possible to keep up with everyone who was able to go to school.

    The school work does not stop when you're sick. In fact, it just piles up, so why not attempt to complete some of it when you can't be active in class?

    Guess what? I am able to lay in my bed, RESTING and GETTING HEALTHY - perhaps even drink some tea, and still have my computer sit on my lap and write a blog.

    Shouldn't you be glad that they were at home resting, and not out and about having a "sick" day?

    Oh, and perhaps the next time you call in sick... try not to do anything productive.

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  3. I completely agree with Judy. To expect us to spend an entire day lying in bed staring at the ceiling, unless we're either taking medicine or at the doctor, is completely unreasonable. Blogging takes absolutely no energy, neither does tweeting, nor reading, unless we are staying up doing so, which was not this case with this student. Somehow I don't get the feeling that this expectation of resting, and doing nothing else, is unanimous around the CreComm faculty.

    To conclude that "this student was not sick of anything other than my class" is a totally unfair assumption. There are many reasons that can, and should, take a student out of class for the day but not incapacitate them to the point where they can't even type.

    I also find it very unfair, not to mention unprofessional, to write a post like this, which is basically calling a classmate and friend of mine a liar without any context in your blog. Students are expected to act professionally in CreComm, staff should not be exempt from that. Had any of us written a post like this about an instructor, we would be in serious trouble.

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  5. I agree with the two students who posted ahead of me. After some discussion with an adult who has been in the professional world for about 30 years or in "the real world" as she likes to refer it, I came to the realization that life doesn't stop if you're sick. She told me she would love it if she could take an entire day to just be sick. She can't. Her work doesn't stop. She must keep up and has even participated in conference calls from home.

    That being said, now-a-days it's almost taboo to try and be the "hero". Colleagues and peers would prefer that other colleagues didn't come to work sick and put them at risk of catching something. I would hope that the same is true for CreComm students and instructors.

    It's posts like this that give social media a bad name. Did you ever stop to think about how this student feels and how he or she is going to feel when he or she is sitting in your class next? You're a wonderful mentor and I would hate to think that someone wouldn't feel comfortable in your class. Perhaps a blog post was not the appropriate outlet for the issue to be addressed. A face-to-face disussion would have sufficed.

  6. Eeek! *cringe*
    Calling your instructor unprofessional=Bad idea

  7. To be clear, I think he is extremely professional. Our work is always marked fairly and handed back promptly, he does an excellent job of instructing the class, is punctual and reasonable. However, I don't believe that this post was appropriate or justified. Honestly, I was a little surprised to see it.

  8. If I'm sick, I sleep all day. I might try and read the news or something or other, but usually I just end up with a headache. If I've made the decision to stay home from work, school, or play, it's because I'm having "Alex Time" and I spend the whole day not doing anything. Otherwise, I'd be at school, work, or playing with friends.

    Personally, I would not want anything I wrote while I was sick to be on the internet for everyone to view. I know it wouldn't represent even a fraction of my (cough) talents (cough, cough) and honestly I have better things to do, like having a bubble bath and listening to Sinatra.

    I sympathize with the reactions of some of fellow students, but I would honestly ask the same questions. Sometimes however, you wake up in the morning feeling like God kicked in you gonads and by afternoon you're a whole new person. That happens, like the Benylin¿ commercial. Then by all means, be productive. You know what you did and why and consequentially this type of thing won't bother you because you did the right thing.

    Though harsh, this isn't nearly as unfair as it is made out to be.

    It really comes down to credibility. Consider it a lesson learned by all, and lets move on.

  9. "Blogging takes absolutely no energy, neither does tweeting"

    Then you're not doing it right!