Student e-mail: Prof, I messed up and missed the exam. Now I'm in deep trouble with my grade and I'm going to get kicked out of Hogwarts or something..
Me: Come talk with me..
Student: I'm here to talk about my grade.
Me: (not looking at Student's grades) what's the trouble.
Student: I missed your very reasonable on-line exam window, now I'm gonna get a D.
Me: How can I resolve this while being fair to the people who missed the exam for other reasons.
Student: but, I had computer trouble.
Me: We discussed that in class.
Student: But, I'm afraid of failing -- I'm gonna be really close.
Me: How can I help you and still be fair? I'm in a pickle here and I don't know how to resolve it.
Student: Thinking, thinking, thinking -- I don't know...
Me: Why don't you work really hard, write a brilliant paper and see how it comes out? You've been to class regularly, so you have that to your advantage. You're getting extra-credit points.
Student: do you think that will work?
Me: When I assign grades I look at things like attendance and a student's improvement over the semester. If you write a brilliant paper, it will be difficult for me to give you a D.
Student: Ok -- thanks.