I can certainly empathize with this instructor. As an online writing instructor, I have also had my share of students who registered for my course because they had to take it but didn't want to and wanted to be invisible. Initially, this bothered me, but then I put it into perspective. Approximately 1500 students take developmental writing at my institution in the Fall semester, and about 700 of these repeat the course in the Spring. From this number, a percentage of these students are not going to attend class (for a number of reasons). An online course will attract more of those students than will an onground class because the teacher is invisible. It is not a reflection of the instructor; it's simply one of the facts of life in cyberspace. I emailed these nonparticipating students a few times and then figured they were busy making their beds, and I wasn't going to be able to prevent them from lying down! In terms of group discussion, I, too, had many a group fall apart due to lack of participation. I simply combined groups to get a decent number of participating students in each one. (This is one reason to have large groups initially.) In fact, last semester, I started out with four groups and ended up with one! I finally learned my lesson. This semester, I started out with one group (the entire class). As luck would have it, though, I have a very enthusiastic group this semester. No problem. I just break them into groups as needed. Finally, regarding the ineptitude of students on the computer, I would call that cyberexcuses. It's hard to believe that students aren't email and internet savvy if they have computers and register for an online course. If they have those kinds of problems, they can ask a friend for help. Sorry, but I lack sympathy for these excuses. Lonna Smith Department of Linguistics and Language Development San Jose State University Phone: (408)924-4431 _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com. Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at http://profiles.msn.com.