The New Online Professor

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Case Synopsis

This case depicts the real life adventures of a veteran professor assigned to teach online business courses. He has never taught online before but is an avid learner. In the beginning of the semester there are a few glitches like getting students acclimated to being in an online course and some confusion regarding university policies, namely “attendance verification”, but overall not a bad beginning. Around four weeks into the semester is when the professor found himself at a confusing and troublesome juncture point. There were some issues of possible academic dishonesty among some of the students during the execution of exam one. Also, the professor had assigned virtual teams for a semester long group assignment. The teams would have to work together in cyberspace to plan, develop, and deliver an online presentation. It comes to his attention that one of the virtual teams has an issue with a group member’s lack of participation. This has led the other members to consider “voting” the student out of the group. In response, the student has threatened to sue the team members, the professor, and the university. As the professor made a mental note to call the university attorney, he sighed aloud. He wondered how other professors handled such issues.

Case Objectives and Use

This case provides an opportunity to examine the ethical issues which may arise in an online environment. If traditional classes require students to attend the first day or be dropped, how should this be applied to an online class? If exams are given online without a proctor, how does one prevent students from collaboration on exams? Is it illegal to “vote” a student off of a team due to lack of participation? These are just some of the issues to discuss. The case, based on actual class incidents, was written for undergraduate classes in Ethics, Management, and Higher Education.


Southeast CASE Research Association Annual Conference (SECRA)


Myrtle Beach, SC