Dear Virtual Student,



I’d like to congratulate you on being a number, that meaningless array of digits your school has provided to ensure you don’t stand out in a crowd. Most likely, we’ll never meet in person and I’ll never hear the sound of your voice. Sure, we’ll exchange some emails concerning course requirements. You’ll be polite and I will return your concise questions with my own professional responses. Years from now, I’m certain you’ll never mention me as your favorite teacher and I’ll never remember that day we didn’t meet.


Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m loving our virtual relationship and here’s why. I’d much rather grade a student based on what they produced than be swayed by how they performed.


A physical classroom setting is a platform for theatrics where a vocal student can easily outmaneuver an introverted peer. By now you must be thinking –“That’s not fair. How much you talk in class shouldn’t make a difference.” Really? If your syllabus includes participation, then that’s exactly what it means.


Luckily, stage presence is not a factor on-line. In a virtual classroom, you are what you submit. I’m not impressed you’re wearing a suit. I’ll never know if you have a sweaty handshake and I’ll never know if you’re lounging in your pajamas and drinking a beer while taking an online quiz.  All I care about is whether or not you answered the question.


So make it good. And I mean really good because that’s all you’ve got.



Comments about your experience with online teachers are welcome here!




  • Hayley315

    Now I’m wondering If I should’ve taken this course online :/ Or future courses…
    Im normally a range about B student virtually but coincidentally with my in classroom classes I am a b plus i tend to smile a lot, talk to the teacher a lot and become friendly. So if this all factors into the grade, sort of – Can I take you again in the spring ? For an A instead of the B i’ll most likely receive if i try my absolute best.

    Thanks, see you then.

    Just kidding 🙂

  • Deirdre Verne

    It looks like I’ll need to add a post on how to ‘smile’ online. Or maybe “Creating an “A” Personality in an Online Class.” Let me think about it.

  • BSeelick

    Online courses offer more individualized attention. Students taking courses online have direct access to their instructor and can get questions answered directly, without the time constraints of having to wait until the class meets or instructor office hours are available. These courses also enable students who may feel uncomfortable asking questions in the traditional classroom to do so in a setting that feels less stressful for them. As a result, interaction with the instructor and other students may actually be greater than with on campus classes.
    Through discussion boards and posts, online courses allow students more time and thought to formulate responses than in the traditional face-to-face discussion situation, where they may need to respond immediately or forfeit the chance to contribute to the discussion.

  • jenntrombacco

    I have taken a few online classes in my college life and i have to agree with this post. I would prefer the teacher to grade me on my assignments and tests rather then by how i act or react in class. There is always that one student in the classroom that never raises their hand but they shout out the answer the answer to every question not giving anyone else the chance to answer a question. Or you have that teacher that just randomly calls on people and the one question you don’t know the answer to you get called on and they think you have no idea whats going on in the class. There is no judgement in online class, everything is based off of what we write and how well we retain the information. And every online class is basically self paced. There are due dates but it is slightly more easy going. The other thing that is good about online class is all the people that are shy but know and understand the work may not necessarily get good grades based off of participation because they don’t want to speak up. In class teachers force you to make friends with the people you are with. They make you sit in a circle and discuss a book or they make you get in groups with people you don’t know and work on assignments. In high school that was okay because you knew everyone in your grade and in your class and it wasn’t as uncomfortable. With online class it is still learning but you get to do it on your own and i think that it is the better way to learn in college.

  • CPich23

    I would have to agree with the fact that it is better to be clearly graded on your performance work wise rather than your performance in the classroom. I am currently taking another course online and the professor makes 12% out of your grade participation, which i personally think is ridiculous. If you are handing in the assignments and the test and everything else that should be done why do we need to email you asking for help with things or write in the discussion. To me it makes no sense what so ever. It is an online course your participation is when you submit your assignments and your tests. I think you learn easier and better with an online course because its at your own pace. Plus you dont have to sit and listen to a boring professor if the professor is boring.

  • bryanp

    I find this perspective you have as a professor quite interesting. In a sense it’s as if you’re forewarning us that we earn our grade based on our efforts, in another it seems as if you have been let down by previous students or worse yet, hurt. I think you should know some people will walk away from this course with a new perspective, with tangible, applicable knowledge and most of all; a true understanding of modern day marketing. I initially took this course because it satisfied my requirement to graduate; this is the last course I will take at SUNY Westchester Community College before I graduate with an Associates Degree. However that decision was one that I made months ago. Education is the key to real discussions that lead to even more learning, more credibility and ultimately growth. I’ll admit success is mixture of preparation and opportunity but with so much competition, articulation will differentiate a valuable associate from a worker. What I did not realize when I signed up for this course was how perfect it would be for the job I would later land. I’m excited to finish the text and hear your feedback, but most of all I’m excited for you to see that your impact on this class is much more than grade, you teach out of passion and we’re all here willingly. Without ever meeting you, I already feel you will be one of my most memorable professors based on how relatable and interesting the content of the course is, to me.

  • MariaClara

    It is true that online courses allow teachers to perceive better each student. At least, this works for me…
    English is my second language, and a lot of times I want to answer a question in class, or even comment on something that was just said, and someone else is just faster than me on the speech, or I can’t formulate a phrase in time, and the teacher is already in another subject… I know this is greatly my fault, because I have to try to be ‘twice as good’ exactly because of this, but if I think about grading, it makes the difference.
    When I took the online class with Professor Deirdre Verne I felt so confident to talk about anything, it was like I was finally heard.
    I know it is important to take classes in person too, and I see the positive points on it, but a student should not be graded on the quantitative portion of his/her speeches, but in the qualitative one.

  • Emily Rolnick

    Personally, I don’t feel too comfortable taking an online class. Like you said, I am just a number. In my opinion, I’m far more important to be considered “just a number”. Since my internet marketing class is only offered online, i had no choice. I feel that i learn better in a proper learning environment, opposed to in my bed, with a glass of wine and some cheetos. In a classroom, you have the opportunity to ask questions and really be able to understand whats going on. Prior to this class, I attempted to take a different class online, and it wasn’t for me. However because i know Professor Verne, I am familiar with her teaching strategies, and I know what she expects, I am okay taking her class online. I know if i have any questions I am able to contact her and not worry about a rude professor maybe or maybe not responding to my questions. Online classes are right for the right person. My friends mother takes multiple classes online, and it really works better for her situation. I like the fact that they are offered, and it allows flexibility and allows the student to work on their own terms. For me though, in-class works better!!

  • Roberto Salazar

    Thanks Professor (and thanks for the honesty!).

    This is the first time for me (taking an online class), and yes, as a student, I’m curious on how it will all go, what will be the pros and cons, and wonder “am I just a number”?

    The obvious pros are the conveniences of taking the class remotely. We all have very complex and busy lives, so the opportunity to take a course in this new forum has a lot of upside. (BTW, I never drink a beer or wear pajamas when taking a test. I save that for when I’m watching a ball game or binge watching Netflix!).

    The cons are of course, missing that human interaction with the teacher and the lively debates of my fellow classmates. However, as you pointed out, these interactions can be in many ways counter-productive and can reward the wrong students, who are naturally more demonstrative, and penalized the shyer student, who is reluctant to speak and thus contribute less to the class. Now, in this digital age thoughts can be advance without fear of reprisal or ridicule from insensitive classmates so a more democratic playing filed is set.

    On the flip: learning how to navigate among peers and standing-up to them is a valuable education on its own, and one that is absent in this new educational paradigm, so the debate goes on!

    However, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t given much thought on what this all means from the POV of the educator! I feel your thoughts are based on many a class where students have wasted your time, (and the rest of the class), with unwelcomed comments and distractions. I can only image how difficult that must be. In addition, I image this forum also makes you focus on the material more. Looking at the specific metrics of the test results and the quality of the assignments data form a strict unbiased personal perspective can be liberating. Considering the experiences you have had I assume it is. Which really begs only one outstanding question in all this:

    “don’t you once in awhile miss that apple from a student?”

  • Faebee

    This is my first online class and I was and am a little apprehensive because I am a hands on person by nature and I learn better in an environment conducive of interaction. However, what made this an easier decision for me was that I also have Professor Verne for another class. The timing and selection process was strategically planned on my part. I feel comfortable that if I need help along the way, I will be able to speak to her face to face. It is great to see that even though we are just a number to Professor Verne, she believes in grading students on their work. I also agree and believe students should be graded on their work and not how popular they are or aren’t or their “stage presence”. I am looking forward to this experience and I believe this is just the beginning.