Tutors are Human Too

A glance at student posts on social media and the AUSU Forums suggests that students? number one complaint is about their tutors. Specifically, students often express frustration at the length of time it takes to have an assignment or exam marked.

What’s also apparent is that many students don’t seem to know how long is too long to wait for marks, and who they should contact if they’ve been waiting an inordinate amount of time. The information is on the AU website, but it takes some perseverance to find it. Here’s a summary:

Service standards for assignments. AU sets out academic service standards for many areas of responsibility, including tutors. If You’re submitting an assignment electronically, through Moodle or by e-mail, you should receive a mark within 7 or 8 business days. If you submit multiple assignments at the same time, allow an additional 5 days for each additional assignment beyond the first. When submitting an assignment by postal mail, it should be marked within 5 days of receipt by your tutor; allow additional time for mailing.

Service standards for exams. Allow 7 to 10 business days for your online exam to be marked. For a paper exam, expect it to be marked within 5 days of receipt by your tutor; allow additional time for mailing.

Now that you know what the standards are, what should you do if your tutor is taking longer to mark your assignment or exam?

Contact your tutor. Your first step should be to contact your tutor, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The problem may be a simple technical glitch: your e-mail may have been blocked and the tutor didn’t receive the attached assignment, or the tutor didn’t receive notification from Moodle that you uploaded a file to the course drop box. If you want to be certain your tutor has your assignment, e-mail or phone them to let them know you’ve submitted it. If you know your tutor has your assignment and you’ve been waiting more than 8 business days for a mark, you have every right to question them?and get answers?about the delay.

Contact the course coordinator. If you can’t get a satisfactory answer from your tutor, or they don’t respond to your query at all, try contacting the course coordinator. According to AU, Course Coordinators “have overall responsibility for monitoring students? course-related and academic concerns.” To find the coordinator for your course, go to http://www.athabascau.ca/contact/list/coordinators.php and type in the course code.

Contact Learning Services Tutorial. Still need help? Part of the LST mandate is to help resolve tutor concerns. According to AskAU, “If you have any questions or concerns about your tutor, contact Learning Services Tutorial, who may be able to address some issues immediately, such as tutor availability, technical problems, or compliance with academic service standards.”

Contact AUSU. If after following the above steps you still have an unresolved issue with your tutor, try contacting the AU Student Union. If You’re an AU undergraduate student, AUSU may be able to assist you with a tutor concern. “If students can’t find a resolution to their issue going through that process, then they most certainly can call on us,” says Karyna Hoch, AUSU’s Executive Director.

Tutors are humans, too. Most tutors, in most cases, are doing their best to assist students, provide relevant course advice, and get assignments and exams marked in a timely manner. Tutors?like students?have busy lives and?like students?are often juggling multiple responsibilities. If you think your tutor has dropped the ball, contact them first. But if the problem is unresolved and/or ongoing, you may need to pursue the matter further. You’re paying for tutor services and you deserve to get the service You’re paying for.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario