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Community Champion

Due Dates in online classes

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I have always distributed due dates in online classes across the week. For instance, I might have something due on Monday, something due on Wednesday, and something due on Friday. My theory has always been that I want the students to engage with the class on multiple days, believing that distributed due dates would increase engagement, success, and retention. However, when looking at classes by my colleagues, I see many of them will have everything due for a week on one day; Sunday seems popular for some reason.

Having no formal training as an instructional designer, I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on best practices or could direct me to relevant research on managing due dates in one line classes. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help!

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When I was at USF, the Dean of Hospitality (DR. Cihan Cobanoglu) required something similar. He required contact information from the students too, such as a contact phone number. If you missed any deadlines he would call the student up and ask if everything was alright. He said he usually only had to do this once and it quickly reengaged the student back into the course. Again, might not work in all scenarios but he swore that it was an effective approach.


A little unrelated, but maybe a little diverting...

Community Contributor

I was just reading about this in "Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology" by Michelle Miller which I would highly recommend.  She discusses the "spacing effect" or distributed practice which refers to the increased payoff from spreading review sessions over time rather than in one large session.  The idea is to introduce smaller, low-stakes assignments throughout the week to keep students engaged and allow students repeated opportunities to go over the material.  She cites research from 2011 by G. Xue, L. Mei, C. Chen, Z. Lu, R. Poldrack, and Q. Dong in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

23( 7): 1624– 1633, doi: 10.1162/ jocn. 2010.21532.

I agree with several of the previous posts that you have to balance this with the online students' desire to work on a more flexible schedule.  It would definitely be important to make very clear these are low-stakes assignments, and maybe make the high stakes assignments due on a specific day of the week for consistency.  If there are going to be many assignments on different days of the week, the students need to clearly understand the expectations. I love the way Canvas allows faculty to set up these assignments one time and make them available to students in many ways -- the Calendar, Syllabus, Assignments, as well as modules and pages.

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Community Champion

Oh, wow! Thanks,  @brendaa ​. I will absolutely read Miller's work. That sounds like exactly the kind of material I was hoping to read and compare to my current practices.

Awesome!  Thank you, Brenda.  Adding that to my wishlist on Amazon.

Also, I haven't listened yet but I found this interview with Dr Miller: Minds Online interview with Dr. Michelle Miller

Community Coach
Community Coach

Ordered it this afternoon! Thanks for the recommendation  @brendaa !

I'm proposing the creation of a" modifiedtitle="true" title... in the Canvas Community to gather and share discussions with a large class focus. Please consider voting the idea up! Thanks!

The Canvas Network space could fulfill this need. Large enrollment courses

is all we do...all day long.

We don't have many Canvas Network clients participating in this space.

Perhaps we should re-brand the space to focus on large enrollment courses.

This space would then be available for all Canvas users building large

enrollment courses, not just clients.

Let me know if this is desired in the community and I can start to initiate

plans to make that change if it will be helpful. Feel free to email the team if you have any large enrollment questions.

- Hilary

On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM, <