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amurray
New Member

Too Many Courses Have Assignments On The Same Day

I'm curious whether anyone can recommend a strategy to prevent teachers from multiple courses from assigning assignments on the same day?

Currently our students often find themselves overloaded with too many assignments from different courses being assigned on the same day. A pseudo-solution I've given teachers is to join colleagues' courses to see their calendars, but these teachers then find managing/viewing so many courses overwhelming. Another approach could be to create a master teacher-only course where they can all add their assignments to a single calendar, but some teachers may not appreciate having to do double duty. 

Is there another solution? Has anyone come across a strategy to better manage assignment dates among courses?

Many thanks for your consideration,

Andrew

5 Replies
clong
Community Champion

Hi Andrew,

There is another question in the community that I just ran into that raises the same concern, but is essential focused on leveraging the data already in Canvas to create a List of upcoming assignments for students in a course.​ So that is a question, I think you'll want to keep an eye on as well.

Here's a couple ideas that I hope will help to get this process started:

1) I think all the teachers at a school should talk about their homework practices.  Are they considering the value of it? Do they know if it helps or hinders their student's learning? Why? Is there a desire to change homework practices and if so what are the agreed upon goals? One way to start the conversation might be to all read something like What teachers just don’t get about homework - The Boston Globe and then discuss it. Getting the majority of the teachers on board and working together is essential, and making the change will be fueled by this collaboration.

2) Grade Level teachers can make one master (shared) Google Calendar and each teacher can add their Canvas course calendar feed see: How do I subscribe to the Calendar Feed using Google Calendar? to the calendar. This should give the teachers the ability to see and filter all the assignments on this calendar and help them understand when the heavy times of homework and assignments are.

3) Another way to accomplish something similar to #2 would be to enroll the grade-alike teachers as Observers in all the other classes their students are in. As observers they would be able to see the calendar events and assignment for all the other classes their students are going to.

4) Common planning time! Do teachers have a set time each week so they can plan together and "calendar" items so it balances and eases the workloads of their students?

I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceberg, I'm really interested in what other ideas and solutions around this topic are so if you are reading this,  please share.

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the suggestions. I could see the Boston Globe article as a valuable tool to get a discussion and movement going. The Google Calendar suggestion sounds like a good solution, but unfortunately our School is currently blocking Google's Calendar feature since we are already using Outlook. If that every changed, however, I could see teachers on board with subscribing to calendar feeds. You gave me a great deal to consider.

Thank you,

Andrew

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

 @amurray ​, as a teacher, I've long been concerned by this very problem--and as a higher ed teacher, I hasten to add that it's by no means confined to K-12 courses. Indeed, the problem is somewhat exacerbated in higher ed. The common wisdom here seems to be, "Students prefer the consistency of having all of their assignments [in a course] due on the same day." However, from my (admittedly subjective) perspective, every teacher seems to want to have assignments due on Sunday at 11:59 pm--and because such a large proportion of our teachers in higher ed are adjuncts, they are all acting independently and are independently arriving at the same personal workflow accommodation.

I've used professional development sessions, which is one of the few occasions on which I'm able to interact with other adjuncts, to conduct my independent polls on what day in the week works best for others as a due date, simply so I can avoid that day in my own courses. Smiley Happy

One solution I devised for my own courses is to stagger the course work for students. That's not to say that assignments are due on a different day each week; rather, I split the workload into smaller assignments so that they can be spread out across the week. Over the last few years my courses incorporated a low-stakes graded quiz that was due on Tuesday (which meant the student needed to have at least skimmed the assigned reading by Tuesday), an in-depth quiz on the chapter due on Friday (requiring the student to have mastered the required reading and at least skimmed the ancillary materials), and a short writing assignment due on Sunday (when students ultimately demonstrate mastery of the subject matter). Each assignment contributed a successively larger amount to the course grade: 0.5%, 1.5%, and 3% respectively. Most students seemed to appreciate having their work spread out for them in this manner.

I'm hopeful your insightful question can inspire others to share their solutions in a comprehensive discussion of a problem that undoubtedly burdens many students.

Hi Stefanie,

I completely agree that this topic reaches further than K-12 and appreciate your higher Ed insights. I'd be interested to hear of some of the ways formed your questions for your independent poll. Our School calendar can be quite dynamic from week to week, but it would interesting to get a sense of when teachers typically assign their major assignments. Poll results would likely be quite eye opening for the whole School community.

Thanks for the suggestion,

Andrew

 @amurray ​, I should have specified that my "independent poll" was informal indeed; when I was grappling with this question in my syllabus design, I just asked for a show of hands, and at that particular meeting the consensus expressed a preference for Sunday due dates. Smiley Happy Mileage may vary depending on time, place, and audience.

I too would be very interested in the results of such a poll--one whose design is grounded in science, of course.