Whether you love or hate deadlines probably depends on whether you are currently struggling to meet one.

At the Open University, tutor-marked assignments have to be submitted by a certain cut-off date, though in special circumstances, students can request an extension. Most interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs) have hard cut-off dates. Our students don’t always like deadlines, but most of them seem to find them useful in helping them to keep up to date and, ultimately, to complete their studies. Remember that most of our students are studying alongside paid employment and/or caring responsibilities. It is very easy for life to get in the way.

Some of our modules have experimented with advisory cut-off dates for iCMAs, leaving them open for revision purposes and only actually requiring students to complete the iCMAs before the exam. So guess when students do the iCMAs….Deadlines work.

If I’m honest, I’ve always worried slightly that our deadlines mean that we are trying to structure our students’ learning and lives too much. It has just occurred to me that deadlines are very much part of everyday life too, so it is all part of an authentic assessment experience. Perhaps.

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2 Responses to Deadlines

  1. Tim Hunt says:

    Of course, there was John Bolton’s interesting finding:

    On different presentations of they modules they experimented with either having either hard or soft deadlines. They found that with hard deadlines (meaning that the quiz was available for less time) more students submitted the quiz.

  2. Sally Jordan says:

    Many thanks for this Tim. I agree that John’s finding is extremely interesting – and powerful. I will nag him to publish some of his work!

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